Whether you’re heading towards a specific goal, trying to stick to New Year’s resolutions or just pumping yourself up towards something in the future, motivation is the thing that makes or breaks success in the first instance – hands down.
Motivation is actually made up of two parts. First there is the drive to get started on the thing you wish to achieve, and the second is the willpower to keep at it.
The most long-lasting motivation is created internally. When you rely on external factors you surrender control of your progress. But when you motivate yourself, you remain in the driving seat and it’s this that will often lead to more enjoyment and a stronger sense of achievement.
Here are some steps to help you get motivated and maintain it…
Think of your main goal or what you’d like to be motivated about and then ask yourself
- What would happen if I achieved that?
- What wouldn’t happen if I achieved that?
- What would happen if I didn’t achieve that?
- What wouldn’t happen if I didn’t achieve that?
This will give you a clear idea of what will happen when you do or don’t achieve that what you’re after. These answers are your motivations.
Take those motivations and paste them everywhere. Keep the list with you in your wallet or purse, on a flash card, stick them to your computer screen, your phone screensaver or anywhere else that you regularly look at and therefore be reminded of them.
Take time to sit and think. Self-hypnosis, meditation, guided visualisation – whatever floats your boat, just DO IT! Bring your wandering mind and its thoughts back to this moment NOW. What is happening RIGHT NOW is all there ever is. All that ever exists. And it’s in this moment NOW that you can begin to focus on a plan. You can consciously recharge whenever you are feeling drained. One of the most motivating things you can do is to rest and renew yourself at regular intervals.
Listen to yourself
We can be very critical of ourselves sometimes but we can also be our own greatest cheerleaders. Focus your mind towards the positives in your motivations list and believe that anything that cannot be controlled by you is alright. Tell yourself, “it’s fine”, and keep going.
Exercise will not only keep you energised, refreshed, and motivated, it also gives you an active time to reflect on things.
Examining your thoughts while you exercise can double your productivity. If a challenge springs to mind you can push a little harder and use that energy to fuel an even better workout. A long walk or gentle run can become very introspective and the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain can reduce stress and enhance motivation as a natural by-product.
Exercise your mind as well by doing things differently. Try brushing your teeth with the other hand, swapping knife and fork around or even taking a new route to work. In this way, you’re developing a growth mindset and training your mind to enjoy new challenges. This can be applied to the major goals you wish to achieve. Sometimes having a new insight or approach to life can excite and motivate.
Find at least one (or more) like-minded people who can support and motivate you through the good and bad times. These people will share your triumphs and failures, be genuinely happy and, most importantly, be there for you. Feeling alone or having the wrong people around you can destroy your motivation.
Listen to music
Listen to your favourite, uplifting music. Create a play-list that has all the music you love listening to that makes you feel motivated, inspired and high-spirited. Play that soundtrack first thing in the morning and at regular intervals in your day to give yourself a good lift and a strong shot of motivation. Feel free to dance around and release those feel-good hormones.
The big picture
Imagine your life after you’ve achieved your goal. Allow yourself to really step into the vision. When you have a clearly-defined image, you will be more motivated to pursue the big picture. Revisit your vision regularly and allow it lift you.
Celebrate the journey
Huge goals often take time to realise. This can be frustrating and become a drain on the original motivation. So, on your journey towards success, pay attention to and celebrate how far you’ve come! Remember the challenges you’ve accomplished so far and be proud of yourself. The celebration will inspire you and build a more effective you.
You may even prefer to set a series of short-term goals and celebrate reaching those on your way towards your main objective.
Ultimately, motivation starts with mindset and if you use one or more of the tried and tested techniques outlined above, you’ll find yourself at the finish line quicker than you could ever have imagined.