When It comes to my businesses, I stay motivated because I know where I want to be and the success level I want to obtain. I know that without motivation, I could never get where I want. My mind is always brainstorming new ideas and always thinking of ways to improve what I already do. Sustaining motivation can be tough under the best of circumstances. So how do you stay motivated when your to do list is 3 pages long (front and back), you just got yet another rejection letter, your car transmission just went out and you can’t find the time to work on your goals? Motivation is not magic. It doesn’t come in a bottle and there isn’t a little unicorn colored pill for it. BUT it is something you can tap into by design then harness. Every inspirational speaker, life coach and author all have their own tips, but I have my own tips that help sustain motivation, whether you are trying to climb Runyon Canyon or build a rocket ship! Here are some great steps below to help you stay motivated!
1. Set a goal and visualize it down to the most minute detail. See it, feel it, hear the sounds that accompany the end result (crowds cheering, applause). Elite athletes visualize their performance ahead of time — right down to the smell of the sweat dripping down their face as they cross the finish line.
2. Make a list of why you want to accomplish the goal. In our busy, distracting world, it’s easy to get blown off course. This is why you need to ground yourself in your goal. You need to think, see, eat, dream the goal! For extra “success insurance,” write your list with a pen. Studies show that when we write by hand and connect the letters manually, we engage the brain more actively in the process.
3. Break your goals down into smaller pieces and set smaller and easier to reach targets — and rewards. This is the best non-pharmaceutical antidote to ADHD. A major source of stress in our lives comes from the feeling that we have an impossible number of things to do. If you take on a project and try to do the whole thing all at once, you’re going to be overwhelmed. Feeling overwhelmed tends to cause people to want to quit. I like to chip away at a project. Break it down into the smallest realistic steps and only do one at a time. Neuroscience tells us that each small success triggers the brain’s reward center, releasing feel-good chemical dopamine. This helps focus our concentration and inspires us to take another similar step. Try this with anything, whether organizing your papers and bills or setting out to find a new job.
4. Have a strategy, but be prepared to change course. Let Thomas Edison inspire you in this department: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up.” “The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
5. Get the help you need. It doesn’t necessarily take a village, but even if you could theoretically accomplish your objective alone, there’s inherent value in sharing your plan. I like to say, “Do what you do best then hire out the rest”. It’s why people get married in front of witnesses. Announcing your intentions sends a strong message to the world and, more important, to your unconscious mind, which can sometimes sabotage our best efforts. Also, we often overestimate our abilities. The flip side is being highly selective about whom you tell and ask for help. It’s akin to the builder’s rule to always get “the right tool for the right job.”
6. Pre-determine how you will deal with flagging motivation. This is not defeatist thinking. On the contrary! It’s (almost) inevitable that at some point along the way, whether because of temporary setbacks or sheer exhaustion, you will need a little boost. When that happens, I like to think of what others have endured to reach their targets and to squash even the beginning of a pity party. One of the most hard-core endurance models I can think of is such as people fighting serious diseases. Imagine how tough that may be – multiple ups and downs, but they never let the end goal leave their site.
7. Continually check in with your reasons for carrying on. I feel Steve Jobs embodied this brilliantly. He once told an interviewer: “I think most people that are able to make a sustained contribution over time — rather than just a peak — are very internally driven. You have to be. Because, in the ebb and tide of people’s opinions and of fads, there are going to be times when you are criticized, and criticism’s very difficult. And so when you’re criticized, you learn to pull back a little and listen to your own drummer. And to some extent, that isolates you from the praise, if you eventually get it, too. The praise becomes a little less important to you and the criticism becomes a little less important to you, in the same measure. And you become more internally driven.”
What do you do to stay motivated?