Small acts of defiance can keep us motivated.

To be self-motivated, we need a sense of control over our lives. Drive, determination, and willpower, come from linking our actions to our personal identity and the values that are meaningful specifically to us. Rebelling against society’s rules can actually help us achieve more. This allowance doesn’t mean we should hurt anyone, but since our values are unique, we’ll be more motivated if we take the authority to direct our own actions.

Creating a few ways to personalize a situation can trigger our “internal locus of control,” the sense that helps us define our lives, instead of unconsciously living within external confines. Having this autonomy can help us make better personal choices, which makes it easier to take action and follow through on our commitments.

For instance, if we manage a team at work, we may be told to host weekly status meetings. If we believe those meetings waste time, our motivation will wane. Instead of agreeing and procrastinating, if we committedly decide not to do it, we’ll be more motivated to find and regularly execute a more effective way to communicate status within our team.

Take action: What in your life have you been told to do, or that you are expected to do, that you can’t find the motivation for? Figure out the value that action is connected with, customize a way to achieve it effectively, and see if you stop procrastinating.

Inspired by Charles Duhigg’s book, Smarter, Faster, Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business.

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