Through all of the stories of great successes, it’s the men and women who found their motivation and consistently used it as their main drive to reach success.
Motivation and excitement about your vision, your ambition, your goal, give you energy and an ability to do what others can, but won’t do. If you’re motivated, you work longer hours, but are also more productive and focused in those hours you work. But what if you’re not internally motivated day after day to hustle, work, and trudge through the daily tasks that make-up the path to your end goal?
Are you relegated to a life of mediocrity, or is motivation something that can be coached, practiced, and created?
Today we’ll look at 15 ways to find the motivation that the Tony Robbins’, Mother Teresa’s, and Elon Musk’s of the world have.
15 Ways To Wake Up With Motivation
1. Have your biggest dreams written on a massive white board
Your dreams and audacious goals should be written where you can consistently see them. I use a big white board next to my desk. On the white board are my big goals, my weekly goals, and motivational quotes. This helps me keep the eye on the prize, maintain focus, and ward of the distractions that make their way into my day.
2. Focus only on TODAY
We can get lost in thinking about the future or regretting the past. What’s terrible about this is that while you’re worrying and wishing you were in a different position in life, someone else is working.
Worry does no good. If you truly want to succeed you need to learn how to focus your mind only on the present. Do what you can do in the moment, work on the project at hand, accomplish your daily goals and tasks, and you’ll do the same with your bigger, lifelong goals and dreams.
3. Have only 3 things on your to do list that MUST BE accomplished
Don’t try and fill your day with too much. Sure, you’d like to get a lot accomplished, but there should be 3 (only 3) important tasks that NEED to be accomplished. Focus on these first. When they’re completed, and only when they’re completed, are you allowed to move on to other things.
Too many people spread themselves thin. What ends up happening is they get overwhelmed, which crushes their motivation, and nothing gets done.
If you’re focused, you’ll stay motivated, you’ll get more done, and you’ll be where you want to be a lot faster.
4. Practice discipline
Discipline isn’t sexy, but it’s necessary. It’s in discipline that we gain freedom. We gain freedom to get more done, to improve, and to remove regret from our lives.
When you’re focused only on today, doing only what needs to be done in the now, nothing else matters. But discipline needs to be practiced everyday.
When a reporter asked two-time MVP point guard Steve Nash, how often he trained growing up, he said (and I paraphrase) Everyday. I never missed a workout, because I knew that if I missed one, I’d give myself a reason to miss another.
If you practice laziness and distraction, that is what you’ll be, and you’ll be left with nothing but regret and failure. Practice being successful by doing what successful people do everyday: they remain disciplined.
Remember, take it one day at a time. Don’t get overwhelmed with eternity when the present should be your only concern.
5. Create an inspiring environment
Your environment HAS TO inspire you. Surround yourself with images that motivate you, but also in a clean, clear space. Clutter truly does clutter the mind, but it can also be depressing to be in a messy area.
Pattern your work environment as you’d love it to be. Spend a little money on a nice desk if that’s your thing, but make sure your work space inspires you and motivates you. This is where the magic happens. This is where you should be spending most of your time. So make sure it affects you positively.
6. Have a quotes list near your desk, and your bed
It’s not the critic who counts… The famous quote by Theodore Roosevelt is always close. Be it in my notebook (one of the two), or handing from my bathroom mirror, or next to my bed, I always have inspirational quotes that keep me focused, upbeat, and aware that success isn’t immediate. That success takes hard work, dedication and much sacrifice.
If “making it” was easy, everyone would have made it. That’s why I respect all entrepreneurs, it takes guts to be in the arena.
7. Workout everyday
Part of staying motivated is warding off depressive thoughts. Being physically fit helps with that not only from an image and an energy aspect, but hormonally as well.
For men, being physically fit will help raise your natural levels of testosterone, which leads to diminished likelihood of depression. So get in the gym at least 4 times a week, and get outside and get active.
8. Set mini, measurable goals
You’ll have your big goals – and make sure they’re as clear as possible – but they need to be broken into smaller goals as well. Make these goals measurable and attainable in the near future (like “to-do’s”).
Everything should be measurable so you know where you are in relation to where you want to be (EVERYTHING).
9. Work in 90-120 minute intervals, interspersed with active breaks
Your work should be intense, purposeful, and focused. Studies have shown that we can do so for a 90-minute period, but tend to lose focus once that 90-minute period is finished.
One of the best ways to regain focus is to do something active. The endorphins release by a quick jog or set of sprints will help you not only gain energy, but regain focus.
10. Don’t work on small projects
That is, don’t set small goals that don’t excite you. You NEED TO BE excited about what you’re trying to accomplish. If it doesn’t excite you, how are you going to be motivated?
11. Clean once a week
Clean your house and work space once a week. Keep clutter and mess out of your life if you want to keep consistently motivated.
12. Take mini-vacations monthly
While the hustle and grind of creating something – i.e. the life of an entrepreneur – can be arduous and necessary, it needs “mini jolts”. Nature, for myself, is the best way to give me the jolts I need to stay focused, hustle daily, and accomplish big things.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money, but you should unplug once a month. Go local, but do what you gotta do to get out of your routine. You’ll not only be re-energized, but you’ll find that nature can enhance your creativity.
Bring a notebook and a book to accompany you on your adventure.
13. Read voraciously
In all of my study of great people, be they politicians, entrepreneurs, or conquerors, knowledge was something they all craved. If you want greatness in your future, read in your present.
14. Journal daily
Spend one week making notes about when your energy levels – and motivation levels – are at their highest. There should be patterns. Use these patterns to your advantage.
Put your most important tasks in the times when your energy levels are at their height (I do all of my writing in the wee hours of the morning, or late at night, when no one is awake to bother me, and I can focus on one thing).
A journal will also help with clarity. It’s far easier to be motivated when your mind is clear, and the road to your goal is as well.
15. Win your mental battles
In his book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill consistently refers to the battles we have in our minds. The rich think a certain way, and it isn’t necessarily a greedy way, but a positive one.
The thoughts that fill your mind should only aid you in your journey, they should detract from it. Now, you may think, How can I control all of the thoughts that come in to my head. You may not be able to control what comes in, but you do have the power to control which ones you pay attention to.
Fill your mind with creative, positive, and ambitious thoughts. Don’t give energy to your fears and worries. They do nothing but move you further away from your goals.
Bonus: Eliminate ALL distractions
I have an app on my computer called “freedom”. It shuts down the internet and all social media for a time determined by me. I start this timer every time I sit down to write to ensure that I’m not distracted.
If social media distracts you, set up your tweets, posts, or shares with an app like Hootsuite, so your curiosity isn’t constantly getting the better of you.
If you have nothing to distract you, you have no choice but to work.
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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