“You will get what you want, when you stop making excuses on why you don’t have it.”
How do you wake up in the morning?
Do you jump out of bed and look forward to starting the day?
Do you wake up in the morning and you did not want to get out of bed, hear the alarm clock ring and you press the snooze button over and over again until you are forced to get up and go to the bathroom?
Or wake up even more tired?
With the busy life style that we lead today, most of the time human beings are operating on autopilot, seldom do we stop and ask ourselves essential questions.
In addition we are being constantly bombarded with information (breaking news, whatsapp messages, tweets, emails…) and we are reacting to the situations, that our lives are being controlled by external environment that we have forgotten simple concepts of life.
What do you think about when you wake up?
Do you think about all the things you need to do, the list is endless and you feel overwhelmed before you get out of bed.
You wake up in the morning, thinking about all the challenges that you are facing in your life, think about all the critics that people have given you, even the areas where you have not succeeded. Then you feel discouraged and de-motivated.
Think about what is missing in our lives not enough money, no big title (Director, CEO) after your name or you do not have a flashy car and so on.
When faced with a problem what do you do?
Spend time discussing and analyzing the problem in great depth and then defining it in unsolvable terms?
Or do you find out who is to blame?
Human beings think between 50,000- 70,000 thoughts a day (mental chatter, images or movies playing in our head) 95% of these thoughts are repetitive of previous days and 80% of the habitual thoughts are negative.
In order to achieve success we need to learn how to focus these thoughts on what we want.
One day the Zen master wanted to show his students a new technique of shooting an arrow. He told his students to cover his eyes with a cloth and then he shot his arrow. When he opened his eyes, he saw the target with no arrow in it and when he looked at his students, they looked embarrassed because their teacher had missed.
The Zen master asked them, “What lesson do you think I intend to teach you all today?” They answered, “We thought you would show us how to shoot at the target without looking.” The Zen master said, “No, I taught you that if you want to be successful in life, don’t forget the target. You have to keep an eye on the target, otherwise you may miss a good opportunity in life.” They looked at each other, impressed with the lesson.
The moral of the story is we need to consistently focus on what we want and we need to realize that :
- What thoughts we focus on we FEEL, therefore our thoughts have a direct effect on our emotions
- What we focus on and feel we attract in our lives. Our destiny is consistently shaped by our thoughts.
“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” – Joshua J. Marine
Tips: How to control the FOCUS of your thoughts
When faced with a challenge or a problem spend 5% of your time discussing the problem, 95% of your time finding innovative and creative solutions. Remember “The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude to the problem”
Ensure that you do the following on a daily basis:
Learn something new on a daily basis. Learning does not end when you obtain your degree or leave university. The journey of life is a learning process, successful people converted their failures into stepping stones by learning from it and moving on. When you try something and it does not work out, do not despair, all you have to do is find a better way to do it.
Enjoy – Ensure that on a daily basis that you are able to enjoy and have fun. You have the ability to create memorable moments on a daily basis. Remember
“life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but how many moments that take our breath away”
Appreciate – As soon as we develop a sense of appreciation (gratitude), we are shifting our focus of thoughts on what we have and what we have been able to achieve.
Reflect on your life. “An unexamined life is not worth living” Socrates. Reflection allows for self assessment, checking that you are on the right track. Reflection gives you time to monitor your thoughts and actions, to check whether they are in alignment with your purpose in life.
Negative thoughts have a way of coming when you least expect it to. People spend too much time thinking about what happen to them in the past or the possibility of negative things happening to them in the future.
To get rid of these negative thoughts ask yourself one QUESTION “If this was my LAST day alive, what would I Love to do..” then go and do it.
Do not postpone living.
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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