Max Your Motivation

Photography by: Stephanie Rausser
Max Your Motivation

Mostly A’s: “The Doer”
As someone who’s goal-oriented, you’re most motivated to change when you have a concrete set of steps you can follow. “This type of person always makes New Year’s resolutions and thrives on to-do lists,” says Art Markman, Ph.D., professor of psychology at The University of Texas at Austin. While this sounds incredibly efficient, danger lies in the tendency to do too much. “Once goal-oriented people have accomplished an objective, they’re on to the next one,” Markman explains. “They stop paying attention to the original goal and old habits begin to creep back in.”

Transform yourself: Get motivated in a more sustainable manner by taking indirect steps toward your target. For example, instead of saying, “I’m going to lose 20 pounds,” try “I’m going to run 12 miles a week,” or “No more snacking after dinner.” Rather than ordering yourself to “stress less,” aim to meditate for 10 minutes every morning. Instead of saying, “I need to find the perfect relationship,” do things that put you in contact with the sorts of people who might best fit the bill. “You’ll end up with the same desired outcome but by working toward new behaviors rather than just pushing away from what you don’t want,” says Markman. Just ask Maree Jones, 27, of Birmingham, Ala.: “I’m really driven and organized, but when it comes to romance, planning doesn’t always work,” she says. “After graduating from college, I wanted to meet new people, but the bar scene wasn’t working—so I joined a community theater group.” That’s where Jones met her husband as well as some of her closest friends. “Doing these performances was a great way to connect with people,” she says. “My mother always told me when I stopped looking for love, I would find it. I guess she was right!”

Max your motivation: Doers often get an extra boost from monitoring their progress, so check out goal-related apps like Wunderlist (wunderlist.com), keep a running tally of completed tasks in a journal or use a vision board (see makeavisionboard.com). Marcia Conner, a Virginia-based corporate strategist, also suggests taking breaks to recharge: “You may think ‘downtime’ is another name for ‘unproductive time,’ but a short stretch break or a five-minute walk will boost your efficiency and, hence, get you to your goal faster than you might think.” “The Doer” should set specific goals, like running 12 miles a week.