It's all about desire: Motivation, the art of setting objectives

Have you ever noticed that on occasion, you establish specific targets, tasks, or ambitions, only to find yourself falling short? We strive in various spheres such as lifestyle, weight, fitness, finance, and work, yet the question persists: why do our well-intentioned goals sometimes go unfulfilled?


Apart from the goals that are simply unattainable or obstructed by tangible barriers, the crux often lies in our willingness to step beyond our comfort zones. It's about being ready to undertake new endeavours in order to achieve those goals.

But what exactly does this desire entail? It signifies possessing a strong feeling or longing for something. Yet, is desire alone sufficient?

For instance, if the aim is to shed pounds, the desire to do so must outweigh the efforts required to attain that ideal weight. If the objective is to switch careers, the desire must be strong enough to drive you to take the necessary steps. Similarly, in the pursuit of fitness, the impulse to act and exercise must overpower the inclination towards inactivity – it's what compels you to leave the comfort of the couch.

So, why does it all come down to desire rather than sheer willpower?

Desire over willpower

Willpower, as commonly understood, involves exerting control to accomplish a task or resist impulses. Its social connotation often implies external pressure or self-denial, which isn't particularly appealing, is it?

Desire, on the other hand, is an emotional force stemming from within; it's not merely about doing, but more so about feeling. This quality makes it significantly more potent as it is oriented towards a goal, in contrast to willpower, which is primarily about denying oneself – doesn't feeling driven towards a goal that has a positive emotional aspect sound much more empowering than forcing or denying yourself?

We've all heard the story of the donkey and the carrot and stick approach of motivation. This was based on the principles of reinforcement and was introduced by the philosopher Jeremy Bentham, during the Industrial Revolution. The theory is derived from the old story of a donkey, where the best way to move him is to put a carrot in front of him (a reward) rather than jab him with a stick from behind (a punishment).

Motivation-boosting tips

As humans, we are motivated by pleasure and feel burdened by duty. Deciding whether you are motivated by carrot or stick is the first step. If you are more carrot than stick, then a reward-based motivational objective or goal will more likely benefit you. If you are more stick than carrot, then denying yourself until you have achieved your goal or objective will more likely benefit you.

Here are some top tips to help boost your motivation that works for both:

  • Set clear and achievable goals: Define specific, achievable, and measurable goals that you can work toward. Break them down into smaller, manageable tasks to maintain a sense of progress.
  • Create a vision board: Visualise your goals and aspirations by creating a vision board that includes images, quotes, and symbols representing your desired outcomes. Place it somewhere visible to serve as a daily reminder.
  • Celebrate small wins: Acknowledge and celebrate small achievements along the way. Reward yourself for meeting milestones to maintain a positive attitude and momentum.
  • Find your why: Understand the underlying reasons behind your goals and aspirations. Connect emotionally with your objectives to develop a stronger drive and commitment to achieving them.
  • Surround yourself with positive influences: Spend time with individuals who inspire and motivate you. Engage in supportive communities, read uplifting books, or listen to motivational podcasts to maintain a positive mindset.
  • Stay organised: Organise your tasks and create a structured plan. Utilise tools such as planners, to-do lists, or digital apps to keep track of your progress and stay focused on your objectives.
  • Practice self-care: Maintain a healthy lifestyle by incorporating regular exercise, proper nutrition, and sufficient sleep. Prioritise self-care activities that rejuvenate your mind and body, fostering a positive outlook.
  • Visualise success: Spend time each day visualising yourself achieving your goals. Imagine the feelings of success and the rewards that come with accomplishing what you set out to do.
  • Seek continuous learning: Embrace learning opportunities to enhance your skills and knowledge. Acquiring new information and expertise can renew your enthusiasm and drive to accomplish your objectives.
  • Stay persistent: Understand that setbacks are a part of the journey. Stay persistent and resilient in the face of challenges, learning from your mistakes and using them as stepping stones toward achieving your goals.

Being clear about your desires, goals and objectives, writing them down and then setting a reward or delayed gratification system will help you achieve them.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP5 3BN
Written by Nikki Emerton
Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP5 3BN

I’m Nikki, a recovered perfectionist, still a bit of an over-achiever, slightly introverted lover of running, the outdoors, wild swimming & good food!

I use several modalities, including coaching, NLP, Hypnotherapy, IEMT, CBT and somatic work. Helping people achieve positive changes so that they can live life to the fullest.

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