Using the Long Term to Motivate Yourself

Sometimes it can be hard to find motivation to do things. For example, going to the gym, building that thing you’ve been thinking about or something else that can be beneficial for the future. Something I find is an easy way to increase my motivation to do longer term beneficial things is to zoom out the perspective over longer time frames and look at it again. Usually it increases my motivation to do long term things. Because their net rewards are within the scope I’m looking at the problem with, and their rewards are higher now with a longer time frame, than the typical short term activities.

When using a short time frame to look at your range of possible activities, usually what comes up as high priority and most attractive are things that are very short term and yield instant gratification. Like opening the cell phone to doom scroll, take the elevator instead of the stairs, or in other ways look for instant gratification. With this mindset, longer term actions are less alluring, as they often do not give us instant rewards. Their rewards are outside of the scope of your timeframe.

It’s easy to get into a short term mindset. But I believe it is as easy to get out of it and apply a longer term mindset. I also believe it is a habit we can train, so that over time this can happen to us automatically with very low effort. I think this is something most people struggle with at times. It’s easy to forget, but it’s also easy to improve.

Therefore I propose we do ourselves a favor and remind ourselves to look at things with a longer term perspective whenever we feel that our motivation to do long term things is low. This can greatly help us recalibrate and more easily, or even effortlessly, find motivation to do more long term things.

How does a longer term mindset change your priorities for today?

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