Use Fact-Checking to Stay Motivated
The way we view things impacts our behavior. We are more motivated to take action when we are positive and optimistic. Positive emotions open us up to see alternative solutions to a problem and the belief that we can find a solution spurs us to act.
In her book, Broadcasting Happiness, Michelle Gielan suggests fact-checking as a strategy for shifting from a negative to a positive focus. Proactively looking for facts that fuel hope can empower you to persevere when you’re discouraged. Gielan describes three steps for fact-checking your story:
- Isolate the stressful thought – identify the specific cause of your worry
- List the facts that support this story – find facts that back up your worry, making sure to include only facts, not emotions
- List fueling facts that illuminate a new story – imagine a positive story and look for facts to support it
I’m stressed right now because I feel I have too many commitments in the coming month and not enough time to get everything done. The specific cause of my worry is a writing deadline that I’m not sure I will meet. Facts to support this are that I have been traveling a lot recently, so I haven’t started the project yet. I also have multiple speaking engagements in the coming weeks that will take time to prepare and deliver.
But let me look for facts to support the story that I will meet the deadline. Despite my other commitments, I found time on my calendar to schedule 60 to 90 minutes each weekday to write. This gives me around 25 hours of writing time over the next month, which should be enough. One of my strengths is discipline, so I’m pretty good about sticking to a schedule and I’ve rarely missed a deadline. Whew! I feel better already and am going to get to work.
The next time you feel discouraged, see if fact-checking can help move your focus from paralyzing facts to activating ones. Shifting to a more optimistic mindset will motivate you to take the next step toward your goal.