The dialogue in your mind is the battleground where your motivation lives and dies every day. In every moment, your words are either lifting you or sabotaging your success. Unfortunately, most people are losing this battle within themselves. They are using their most powerful asset — their mental energy — to beat themselves up, play victimization games, or stop themselves from sharing their passion.
The amount of time and energy that is wasted on self-doubt and self-sabotage is way higher than the amount of time and energy it takes to take action and share your gifts with the world, and yet still we continue to talk ourselves out of it.
You can see when a person is full of self-doubt. It shows across the contortion of their eyebrows, pursed together in a pool of worry. It screams of insecurity in the way they slump their shoulders forward, covering their heart from possible pain whenever they are asked to speak about their ideas.
Self-doubt haunts even the smartest, most conscious and most awake business individuals and thought leaders on the planet. Unless you know how to free yourself from the prison inside your mind, you will never fulfill the deepest desires of your soul or make the impact you want to create on the planet.
There are a lot of books and seminars on motivation. While you’re reading them or attending them, you’re filled with the state of euphoria which takes you out of your patterns of self-doubt and insecurity. In this state, you feel no fear or worry. However, what happens when the book is done and the seminar is over? You go right back into your old patterns of self-defeating self-talk.
If you’re looking for others to lift you up when you aren’t motivated, then you’re on an endless loop. According to an article I read in Psychology Today, “when you can make yourself whole, you stop looking to others to validate your self-esteem.” Making yourself whole and being kind to yourself with the words and images you play in your mind is a worthy endeavor. You will find that your motivation skyrockets.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” – Steve Jobs
When you catch yourself beating yourself up or playing out a nightmare over and over in your mind, follow this simple 2-step process to talk to yourself back into a state of positive motivation:
Step 1. The Mystery Behind Forgiveness
When you catch yourself in this self-sabotaging loop, don’t beat yourself up even more. Many people are trapped in this net. They try to force themselves to stop thinking the self-defeating thoughts, which only makes the fear and anxiety more powerful. It’s essential to stop and be kind to yourself about where you are in your relationship with yourself.
Forgiveness is one of the most powerful forces known to humankind. It’s up there along with words like love and faith regarding how the power of forgiveness can transform even the darkest thoughts into a portal of light.
The practice of forgiving yourself can be as simple or as complex as you need to make it. The key is that you honor the ritual of forgiveness as a sacred practice whenever your self-doubt or insecurity comes up.
You may find there is some part of you that does not want to receive forgiveness. Perhaps you have a past traumatic experience of putting yourself out there only to not get the reaction you wanted, or maybe you spent your entire life struggling without getting results.
The frustration described above is an even greater opportunity for self-healing. As the philosopher and poet Rumi says, “The wound is the place where the light enters you.” See this wounded part of yourself as an aspect of your personality, your heart, your psyche, or your body that is calling out to be seen and recognized at this moment.
Go deeper into the practice of forgiveness. Write on a piece of paper what emotion is coming up for you — fear, worry, judgment, loneliness — whatever you’re feeling. Then say out loud, “Even though I am feeling [insert name of emotion here], I still choose to share my authentic gifts with the world.”
Releasing these emotions will give more power to the intention of your honest self-expression — to reach more people, share your products and services at the highest level of your talents with the people whom you are meant to serve.
Step 2. Reframing Can Make You Invincible
Your self-talk has the most significant impact on your motivation (or lack of motivation) than even the smartest psychological tactics or most cutting-edge self-help rituals. It’s imperative that you get your inner world handled so you can make the impact you want to make with your life.
According to another article in Psychology Today, how you talk to yourself can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, so it is imperative you become aware of this right now to prevent the disastrous effects on your motivation.
In the field of NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) there is a tool called “reframing” where you put an idea in another frame just like you were to reframe a photo or a painting. When you can see your words in another frame, it changes the meaning you have about the image in the frame. Play this reframing game with yourself. Once you have forgiven yourself, it’s time to replace the negative self-talk with something that is positive and uplifting. You can play a game where you say, “If I were me, what would I say to motivate myself?”
Now, of course, this is an absurd question. You are yourself. The way the question is phrased is akin to Zen Buddhism riddles which play a game on the mind to twist it until it releases, bringing freedom and space inside the brain. When you can turn your mind into another state, you will find there is freedom to see things in a whole new way.
“Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.” – Sam Levenson
Imagine you are giving yourself advice on being motivated. Haven’t you noticed how easy it is to always advise other people on what to think, say and do when it comes to their motivation?
Well, that’s what you’re doing here with this simple mind game. Give yourself advice as though you are the one receiving your words of motivational wisdom. What would you say to yourself at this moment? When you can reframe your perspective of who is talking and who is receiving, you will find that your words of negative self-talk no longer have power over you.
By practicing this 2-step cycle of forgiveness and reframing, you will see that you can stop damaging self-talk from destroying your ability to implement. Your desires to move forward in your life and career start by sharing your gifts and talents with the world.
All great leaders have discovered that it’s not the elimination of self-doubt, but the courage to act regardless of what self-limiting thoughts are present. The action is what accomplishes your goals.
With this 2-step cycle, you will find you have more motivation to move forward with your intention because you’re no longer using all your mental energy on self-doubt, self-defeat, and self-sabotage. When your mind is free of this negative self-talk, you will discover the unlimited power inside of you to achieve all your dreams and desires in life.
How do you motivate yourself? Share your tactics below!
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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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