While reaching the finish line is great, there is something uniquely enjoyable about the process. Why is it that we often find less joy (than originally anticipated) for the rewards that we have attained? On the flip side — why does it feel so good to be doing something that you know will benefit you? Where does desire and motivation come from?
Dopamine has long been regarded as our brain’s response to a reward — aka the high or pleasure from getting a stimuli such as food, sex, drugs, etc. However, neuroscientists are now discovering that higher levels of dopamine are produced while learning and predicting about future reward events. This neuro-chemical anticipation of pleasure / reward can explain what most people call ‘motivation’. As the likelihood of the reward increases, more dopamine is released.
So instead of getting pumped up from a YouTube video, decide to create ‘motivation’ by anticipating and making actual progress towards that reward, which snowballs into more dopamine.
1) Define what the outcome looks like and why it is important to you (anticipated reward)
2) Break down the outcome into incremental milestones
3) Tackle the milestones one at a time
4) Reflect on how the completion of each milestone moves you closer to your reward event (increased likelihood of reward for dopamine production)
5) Celebrate the small successes along the way 🙌💯