Renowned American motivational speaker and author, Dr. Stephen R. Covey once remarked: “Motivation is a fire from within. If someone else tries to light that fire under you, chances are it will burn very briefly.” How do you define motivation?
There are two distinct types of motivation:
- Intrinsic: Motivation that comes from within ourselves.
- Extrinsic: Motivation that is derived from outside source such as a friend, colleagues, seniors at workplace, religious or spiritual leaders, spouse, kids and lots more.
Briefly, motivation can be described as a reason or cause by which a person or a group of people behave in a certain manner. The cause or the reason has to be extremely strong, and it often involves self interest.
Considering you have good and healthy plans that do not conflict with any laws, rules and regulations, staying motivated is quite easy. Basically, motivation is merely a state of mind. Utilized properly, it can take you to heights you may have never dreamed of.
However, our simple steps below will guide you on how to remain motivated at all times, despite any adversities you may encounter:
1. Goal Setting
Setting a goal for yourself is a time-tested and proven method to remain motivated. However, it is important to set realistic and achievable goals. Set yourself a deadline by which you intend to achieve these goals.
There are three types of goals:
- Short term goals: These may be achieved in a few weeks or a couple of months.
- Mid-term goals: These usually take a year or two to achieve.
- Long-term goals: Here you can include your career options, plans for marriage, buying a home or anything that takes a longer span of time.
2. Money matters
Regardless whether we like it or not, money does matter in remaining motivated. Here, we are not speaking about millions of dollars. We are saying that having sufficient funds to lead a decent life is a great motivator by itself. You can start by saving a healthy portion of your income daily or monthly.
3. Shun any loans
Undoubtedly, people encumbered with loans exhibit a tendency to lose motivation. The reason is simple: A considerable portion of your earnings will go towards servicing whatever loans or credit card dues you have. Avoid getting into loans as much as possible, unless it is for some genuine and strong reason such as buying a home.
4. Stay with positive people
Generally, people with a positive mindset and attitude are the best motivators. Regardless of your situation, they will always try and uplift your state of mind. Such positive minded people will motivate you even if you are feeling low and beaten. Further, whenever you encounter negative thoughts, speak with such people by either meeting them or on phone.
5. Appreciate yourself first
Whenever you lose motivation, think of all the positive stuff you have done in the past and reflect on great experiences you have had. Also, remember all the adverse times you have been through and how you sailed out of them unharmed. Appreciating yourself for your achievements is a great motivational tool.
“When you’re trying to motivate yourself, appreciate the fact that you’re even thinking about making a change. And as you move forward, allow yourself to be good enough.” – Alice Domar
6. Use mistakes as experiences
This means learning from your past mistakes, because as humans we are all prone to mistakes due to inherent defects or flaws in our character. Remember, mistakes are not final. They hold vital lessons for us. Most people tend to lose motivation when things go awry and desired results are not forthcoming.
7. Examine your motive
Once again, as Dr. Stephen R. Covey puts it, the key to motivation lies in the motive itself. Should your motives be good and in conformity with laws, motivation follows automatically. But beware, wrong motives can lead to misplaced motivation which can land even the most stable and sober person into deep trouble. Once your motives are positive and clear, motivation follows automatically.
8. Avoid getting over-stressed
Stress can be divided into two different categories:
- Negative stress: That arises out of negative actions, interacting with obnoxious people and lethargy or laziness, continuing exposure to painful or unpleasant situations and loneliness.
- Positive stress: Accrues by solving work related or domestic problems. Positive stress usually leaves you satisfied and happy once the issue has been resolved or after a hard day’s work.
Stress in daily life is imminent. Staying motivated helps you to remain motivated.
Now this may sound like a tall order for anyone encountering adverse situations. However, it is worthwhile to note, every bad situation always passes. Be aware that every bad circumstance will eventually vanish. Losing motivation will not help solve any problem and neither will worrying about something. You can maintain your motivation with the sheer thought that every problem is temporary.
10. Chart your map
Sadly, most people embark on a project or endeavor without much heed to the end result. Instead, you can chart your own roadmap. Take an inventory about how you want to begin and why. This in itself is a great motivational factor. Simultaneously, bear in mind what is the exact objective or the end where your endeavor should culminate. Be fearless in your pursuit of your dreams and goals.
“I am happy because I’m grateful. I choose to be grateful. That gratitude allows me to be happy.” – Will Arnett
It is worthwhile to remember, we all lose motivation at some point of life. This is perfectly normal and nothing to be alarmed about. Analyzing cause of losing motivation, understanding and finding ways and means to counter it, works miracles indeed. Lack of motivation, left untreated, can lead to mental ailments.
How do you remain self-motivated? Let us know in the comments below!
How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals
Time is the raw material of our lives. How we choose to spend it, shapes our life accordingly. So having the motivation to spend it on achieving goals is crucial to creating a life we want.
What is Motivation?
The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as the desire or willingness to do something – our drive to take action.
Scientifically, motivation has its roots in the dopamine pathways of our brains. When we do something that feels good, that’s dopamine kicking in. Our actions are driven by the desire for that reward (the good feeling).
Author Steven Pressfield describes motivation more practically. He says we hit a point where the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it. He sees motivation as crossing the threshold where it’s easier to take action than it is to be idle. Like choosing to feel awkward while making sales calls over feeling disappointed about a diminishing bank account.
However you choose to think about it, we all want to harness motivation to achieve our goals.
How to Get Motivated
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that most people misunderstand motivation. They think that motivation is what gets us to take action. In reality, motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Once we start a task, it’s easier to continue making progress. Like Isaac Newton’s first law: objects in motion stay in motion.
This means most of the resistance when working on your goals comes right before we start. Since motivation naturally occurs after we start, we need to focus on making starting easier.
4 Ways to Make Starting Easier
1. Schedule it
One reason people can’t get started on things is that they haven’t planned when to do it.
When things aren’t scheduled it’s easier for them to fall by the wayside. You’ll end up hoping motivation falls in your lap or hoping that you’ll muster enough willpower to get it done.
An article in the Guardian said, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”
2. Measure something
It’s easy to feel uninspired when you don’t know if you’re making progress or what you’re even working towards. That’s why you need to make your success measurable in some way. Starting is easy when you know exactly how much closer your current actions will bring you to achieving your goal.
3. Extrinsic motivation
This type of motivation is from external factors. It can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation consists of incentives like money, prizes, and grades. Negative motivation consists of deterrents like being fired, having a fight, or being fined. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t work effectively long-term, but it can work well in the short term to get you started on something.
4. Make it public
Keep yourself accountable by telling friends and family your goals, or even sharing them on social media. This makes it easier to start something because you’re pressured to not let others down.
How to Stay Motivated Long Term
When we say we want to feel motivated to do something, we don’t want to be pushed or guilted into doing a task. We want to be so attracted and drawn to the idea that we can’t resist not taking action. That’s why it’s important to build a foundation that will set you up for consistency.
These are 5 techniques that will help you do just that:
1. Stay in your goldilocks zone
The goldilocks zone is when a task is the perfect level of difficulty—not too hard and not too easy. In this zone, we reach peak motivation and focus.
For example, let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year-old. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become bored and not want to play. Now let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against Serena Williams. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become demotivated because the match is too challenging.
The Goldilocks zone is in the middle of that spectrum. You want to face someone with equal skill as you. That way you have a chance to win, but you have to focus and try for it. Adjusting your workload and goals over time to stay within your Goldilocks zone keeps you engaged and motivated long-term.
2. Pursue intrinsically motivated goals
Being intrinsically motivated to achieve a goal is when you want to achieve it for what it is. There are no external factors like a reward or the risk of being fired. The drive behind your actions is coming from within.
For most intrinsic goals we pursue them because they will enrich our lives or bring us closer to fulfillment. That makes these goals extremely sustainable long-term because they directly affect our quality of life and the things we care about.
3. Use “chunking”
Chunking is the technique of breaking down a goal into smaller short-term targets. By doing this you achieve multiple successes in your pursuit of the main goal. This triggers the brain’s reward system and drives you to keep going.
Traditionally, you may set a goal that you expect to achieve in one year. That’s a long time to commit without seeing any results along the way. By chunking your goals into monthly or quarterly targets, you get the consistent positive reinforcement you need to stay motivated long-term.
For example, instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in one year, try to lose 4 pounds every month for 12 months.
4. Be flexible
We’re all victims of circumstance. Things happen along our journey that we can either adjust to or quit because of. That’s why it’s important to have leeway and flexibility when you’re pursuing a goal. If you expect everything to go perfectly, the inevitable failure can make you disengaged and desireless. When you plan for things to go wrong, you make sure you can keep up for the long haul.
5. Pursue your goals in a sustainable fashion
Don’t lose hope when you’re not an overnight success. Overnight successes are the 1%—for the most part, they don’t exist. What we see as an “overnight success” is actually countless hours of work behind the scenes finally hitting a tipping point. Pursuing goals is a story of patience, persistence, and unseen effort.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a recipe for a drop in self-confidence and satisfaction. It also cultivates a mindset where you think you haven’t done enough. As a result, you may raise your expectations and put more pressure on yourself.
This is pointless because things worth achieving take time. So we obviously won’t compare to the things around us when starting.
Mastering motivation is a superpower. With that ability at your fingertips, you can accomplish your goals and shape a life you want to live in.
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