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The 5 Step Process to Develop Life Long Motivation

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Motivation is often cited as the magical answer to everything you want. If you were motivated you would lose that weight, write that book, start the business and so on.

So how do we develop the habits and mind power needed to stay motivated on a daily basis?

Here is my 5 Step Process to Develop Life Long Motivation.

 

But, here’s a question:

What if motivation never strikes?

What are you going to do then?

 

Is Motivation The Solution?

I often hear people say “if I could just find the motivation to…

Within these words are an implication. The implication is that motivation is the solution to your problems.

If you were motivated you would pay off that debt, find a new job, and go back to school.

But what if that’s not the case?

What if motivation isn’t the solution?

What if motivation is a consequence of the actions you take?

 

What Came First: The Motivation or The Action?

I believe that there is a dance between motivation and action. The two of them work together to ignite each other.

Who makes the first move?

The first step?

Who leads the dance? 

 

Let’s get practical: What is easier to do in the next five minutes: find incredible motivation or take action?

Motivation isn’t something that can be summoned upon demand. But action… that’s a different beast.

Right now, can you take step 1 to get what you want in your life?

In case you don’t know the answer: It’s “yes”. You can take action right now.

Want to write a book? Write page 1.

Want to lose weight? Go on a run.

Want to find a new job? Send out your resume.

So we know that action is easier to take than to find motivation.

 

But within all of this another questions looms:

Is motivation a consequence of your actions, or are your actions a consequence of your motivation?

 

The Misunderstanding of Motivation

The unfortunate misunderstanding of motivation is that you must be motivated to achieve what you want.

Yes, motivation is wonderful. It feels good and gets us excited. But motivation can be fickle. It’s here one day and gone the next.

 

Dont-Give-Up-Motivation-Picture-Quote

 

I believe there are 2 types of motivation: 

There is short term motivation and long term motivation.

Short term motivation is shallow, fickle, and vulnerable to the ebbs and sways of daily life.

Long term motivation is not fickle nor shallow. It’s not vulnerable to the economy, the news, the “experts”, or anything in the outside world.

It’s a deep lasting motivation. It’s internal. You feel it deep in your soul.

I call this life long motivation.

 

Which brings us to a question:

How can you develop life long motivation?

 

 

The 5 Step Process to Develop Life Long Motivation

Below I share with you the 5 step process to develop life long motivation.

 

Step 1: Identify and Write Down Exactly What You Want

Above all else you must identify your purpose. You must know why you were put on this earth.

When you know exactly where you want to go, it plants the seed for life long motivation.

Here’s a great exercise to start gaining clarity on where you want to go in your life:

Take out a piece of paper and get ready to write. Imagine 5 years have passed. Everything you have wanted to accomplish has happened.

What is your day like?

What activities do you do?

What relationships do you have?

How do you make money?

How much money do you make?

How do you feel?

What are your hobbies? 

Write. Write. And write some more.

 

Step 2: Write Down Why You Want It

Knowing what you want is the first step, but knowing why you want it feeds your motivation.

Basically you’re establishing a purpose for your purpose.

So look over your 5 year vision. Then write down your response to this question:

Why do you want to achieve this vision? What impact will it have on your life if you fulfill this vision?

 

Step 3: Develop The Step by Step Plan

A killer of motivation is ambiguity, or a lack of knowledge.

Therefore to nurture motivation you need to gain knowledge and establish clarity.

A critical part of gaining clarity is to identify the specific steps you must take to fulfill your vision.

Look at your 5 year vision. Begin to write out the specific steps that you will need to take to fulfill that vision. Don’t make this difficult. You aren’t going to know all the steps. But you will know some of them.

Develop the plan. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it’s got to be something.

By creating this plan you have created a map to start working with.

 

Step 4: Take Action on Step 1

So you have put together the plan to fulfill your vision. Now is when the rubber hits the road.

You need to take action on step 1.

You have identified exactly where you want to go, why the vision matters, and the plan to fulfill the vision.

Now, take the first step to make it happen.

This brings an alignment between your daily actions and where you want to go over the longterm.

This brings meaning and purpose to each day… Which is fuel for lifelong motivation.

 

Step 5: Reflect Then Adjust

Motivation-and-Pride-Picture-QuoteAfter about 1 week take a look at the actions you have taken. Reflection allows you to learn from your experiences and to increase the rate at which you achieve what you want.

Basically, this allows you to constantly learn and grow as you move forward. As you learn and grow you will become the person you need to be to fulfill your vision.

Look at the actions you took over the course of the previous week and answer these 3 questions:

What actions are moving you towards your 5 year vision? Keep doing those.

What actions are preventing you from achieving your 5 year vision? Stop doing those.

 

What is 1 action you can start taking this week to accelerate you towards achieving your vision? Immediately implement this.

Remember: a huge killer of motivation is a lack of knowledge. When you feel like your just running on a treadmill it kills your motivation. By taking the time to step back and assess your actions and plans you are providing fuel for your motivation.

 

Above All Else Take Action

Here’s the simple reality, you can spend a lifetime waiting for motivation to strike… and it might never happen.

But right now, this moment, you can take action.

As you can see with the steps above when you take action, you give yourself the opportunity to gain motivation.

I’ll end this with a quote:

“You are much more likely to act your way into feeling, rather than feel your way into acting”.

 

Head over to The 30 Year Old Ninja to learn the critical mindset, steps, and principles to turn your dream into a reality. Izzy coaches people one on one and runs an online course to help you Achieve The Impossible. You can also follow him on Facebook to get daily inspiration.

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18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Joey Tawadrous

    Oct 27, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    This post is incredibly motivational, words cannot describe. I’m always trying my best to find ways to keep motivated, but this post really does hit the nail on the head.

    Thanks you so much!

    – Joey

  2. Mia

    Oct 24, 2013 at 9:30 am

    a lifetime to master

  3. Nilishia

    Oct 18, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Purpose- Sounds amazing , as if it makes u LIVE.. but how to find that thing you want so bad?? especially for people like me who find passion in everything(almost)?? thus making it impossible to decide THE purpose!!

  4. Shivam Pandey

    Sep 28, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    i really want to do great in life and no matter how many plans i make , i tend to overlook them after some days although i dont want to. the motivation is there but there is lack of perseverance. could you help me?

    • Colin

      Sep 28, 2013 at 11:29 pm

      Surround yourself in the environment of your goals. If it’s a business, put yourself around business people. If it’s welding, take welding classes. Most of all put yourself around the kind of people you want to be like or who are doing the same thing as you want to do. Perseverance is hard when your starving of the ideas you need. those people offer you the knowledge you need to keep you going.

  5. Sergey

    Sep 26, 2013 at 6:21 am

    Friends, the short term motivation is Hope, the long term motivation is Trust.

  6. Margarita Rara

    Sep 7, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    That’s a good one, thanks for reminding. I believe most of the people do some prep work but taking Action some times get difficult so, last point “Take Action” is most important.

  7. Praktikos

    Sep 6, 2013 at 4:43 am

    simple, easy , practical steps towards achieving greatness…NOW is the only time we have and ever will have, bless

  8. Onyeka Nchege

    Sep 4, 2013 at 2:16 am

    Great post Izzy. Absolutely agree with all…..especially step 2. You have to be crystal clear about why you are doing what you do because there will come a time when the going gets tough and you will need to remind yourself why you started down the path in the first place.

    Thanks for sharing.

  9. Donne Roma

    Sep 2, 2013 at 8:03 am

    Great article, and great advices!

  10. Ade

    Sep 2, 2013 at 1:48 am

    Just a question:
    How do I develop my own vision? Because right now I’m kinda working in line with my Dad’s vision (though awesome, cos he seems to know me even better than I know myself) and I’m also in tune with an Uncle who I have taken as my role model. Sometimes I feeling that I’m not autonomous in any way when it comes to career decisions especially. How do I overcome this and begin developing my own vision?
    Thank you.

    • Mohan Embar

      Sep 2, 2013 at 8:50 pm

      Hi Ade – for me the answer to that is to make sure that whatever path you’re taking is one you’re passionate about. My grandfather wanted me to become a doctor and offered to pay my full university tuition if I did that. The idea of becoming a doctor didn’t appeal to me at all, though.

      • Garry

        Sep 7, 2013 at 2:40 pm

        What if you find, while quickly moving through middle age, that you tend to merely like many things but are unable to pinpoint a passion?

        • Prashasti

          Sep 20, 2013 at 8:02 am

          It can be difficult, but if I was in your position I would probably list them down and evaluate on the basis of passion level, practicality and finance required. Hopefully, I’d get something which works in all ways for me. The idea needs to work in all spheres (at least, that’s what I think) 😉
          P.S : ‘liking’ things won’t be enough, you’ll need to be dying to do it 😛 come whatever may..

  11. Mohan Embar

    Sep 1, 2013 at 7:45 am

    Hi Izzy – first off, I totally agree with you that way too many people think that motivation is a prerequisite to achieving their lofty goals, despite Edison’s remark about genius being 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration. I’m tired of the Rah-Rah attitude that people think they need, so your article resonated with me. One additional point to consider is that successful people rarely go it completely alone. Sometimes a team, group, mentor, or buddy can inspire you in ways that simply willing yourself to take action can’t. (Just my $0.02 🙂 )

  12. Dionne

    Sep 1, 2013 at 6:53 am

    Motivation means nothing. It is temporary. You need to make doing the things that are going to make you succesful a habit.

  13. keithclarkeKeith

    Aug 31, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    Hey Izzy,

    Another excellent post, and… very motivating. The key thing that catches most of us is the sense of overwhelm we can encounter, so your line “Don’t make this difficult. You aren’t going to know all the steps. But you will know some of them.” is key 🙂 The only thing you haven’t mentioned is fear, which can stop the majority of us even acting on Step 1. So, I will end with a quote too, 😉

    “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
    Dale Carnegie

  14. Monet Diamante

    Aug 31, 2013 at 4:41 am

    I like the list. I like to write down the goal and work backwards. Sometimes it’s easier for me to determine the first step when I have developed what the rest of the path will look like, as well as a “reasonable” time frame. Similarly to my short term goals–if I have somewhere to be at 6 pm, I work backwards: shower by 4:30, gym by 3, so on and so forth. Thanks for this article!

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Motivation

You Can’t Be 100% Motivated And On Fire All The Time So Stop Trying To Be.

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Right now, I’m not feeling that motivated. In fact, I haven’t felt very inspired or motivated all week. Given that motivating and inspiring others is my passion and it’s what I do every day, you’d think my career was over. You’d think maybe I have no more positivity left in me.

Even the most inspirational people in the world have times when nothing happens.

I recently watched Gary Vaynerchuk give advice to a young teenager. The teenager said:

“Gary, my girlfriend broke up with me and a relative just died. The last two weeks are hell.”

Gary took a few deep breaths and you just knew he was going to say something epic – and he did.

He said to the boy “Two weeks of lows doesn’t define the rest of your life.”

 

We’re all entitled to be down for a bit.

What I learned from Gary is that we are all going to have times during our life where nothing sticks. In the last few weeks, I’ve missed several great career opportunities, had a lot of rejection, seen a slump in shares/likes on some social media platforms and had some personal challenges.

All of this is normal.

 

What’s not normal is what you see online.

That’s the real point here. What is normal has been overshadowed by all the self-help, success talk that happens online 24/7. We’re being bombarded by it and we think we have to be motivated 100% of the time.

If we have a day when we’re not inspired, we think something is wrong. In my case, given my profession, it’s even harder. There’s this stigma that I have to be some perfect human being to do what I do. That’s BS.

It’s normal for anyone you admire and even your heroes to have low points or long periods of nothing – that’s the actual norm. The highlight reel you see online of the people you follow is what’s not normal. No one lives life like how we see people living online.

The cameras are only with these people of influence some of the time. What you didn’t see was them taking a dump or having an argument with their partner.

All you saw was a highly edited success reel of what they wanted you to see so they could send you to a landing page, put up a payment wall and monetize you. That’s what being motivated 100% of the time told them to do.

You can’t blame them entirely.

What the internet really needs is more of the truth. That is, more people talking about what goes wrong, more people documenting what’s really happening.

In simple terms, the internet needs less perceived perfection and success, and more of what’s real like disappointment, f*ck ups and challenges.

 

Not being motivated is where it all happens.

The opposite of what we’re led to believe is true. It’s during the moments of zero inspiration, bugger all motivation and low points that we discover who we are. It’s in our weakest moments that our strength, resilience and courage is built.

What I’ve learned during my recent low moments is that if I can handle this sh*t, then I can handle anything.

“Motivation comes from eating crap for dinner every day of the week and still persisting with your goals”

I’m writing these words today and not really feeling like it. It’s the art of doing even through the tough times that allows me to have a 60-second highlight reel on social media that makes me look like a freaking god that goes viral all over the internet hourly.

My success highlight reel looks very impressive and it sounds fantastic during one of the speeches I give. In job interviews, it really helps. When I pitch for business, it gives me credibility.

Our success highlight reels look freaking phenomenal but it’s 0.99% of the actual story.

If humans are motivated by storytelling, then let’s start telling the real story.

We’re not f*cking motivated 100% of the time so let’s stop pretending we are. Cheers to the moments when we feel like dirt and keep going.

 

Then everything changes.

What do I mean? This week I have no motivation but I already sense that next week is shaping up to be a big one. I find out about a number of life-changing opportunities. Knowing I could get through a tough week and be cool to keep inspiring gives me hope. That hope translates into strength.

Next week could be a disaster and these so-called life-changing opportunities could all amount to a mound of dust and broken dreams. But because I survived the tough times I know I can excel during times when I plateau, go backwards or even experience massive growth.

“It only takes one moment for everything to change and before you know it you’re 100 steps ahead of where you thought you’d be”

 

Quit the game.

The game of endless success. The rat race that is showing how perfect you are.

Show up with your best self. If that best self is 1% motivated or 100% motivated it doesn’t matter. The fact you showed up and got through the quicksand of life is all that counts. Sometimes that struggle will look like winning an Oscar and other times that struggle will look like pissing your pants.

Take a step back and see the bigger picture.

No one (including me) needs to, or is, motivated 100% of the time.

You don’t need to be either.

<<<>>>

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Motivation

2 Things You Need to Know: How to Hack Motivation With Avoidance and Approach Goals

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Motivation is a sneaky beast. It can hide in plain sight, and it can express itself when we least expect it. Motivation (and its frequent companion inspiration) can often elude us for days, weeks or years, only to jump out at in an instant with such force that we drop everything in order to capture it before we lose the moment.

Often times, these random “attacks of motivation” happen with little warning, when we are least prepared to take advantage of them. For instance, how many of you have had a moment of clarity or have felt motivated to act on some idea while in the shower? How many of you have perhaps had a similar feeling when going for a run or driving to work? Motivation can come at any time and in any way. Unfortunately, the very randomness keeps us from being able to act effectively to get more done. So what do we do to take hold of our lives and guide our own sources of motivation?

To get more done in less time, we need to understand the power of two types of motivation. Once we explore each of these types of motivation, we must learn to set goals around both to create positive feedback loops. This will make it easier for us to develop stronger motivational habits and take control of what motivates us.

While there are many ways to define motivation, today I will focus on two types: avoidance and approach motivation. The way we will define both types of motivation provides an in-depth look into how we see the world, and ultimately how successful we will be in it.

1. What is avoidance motivation?

Avoidance motivation is part of what makes us human, and it is integral to our survival. This type of motivation helps us avoid negative experiences across psychological, physical, and social boundaries. It’s what told us to run away from saber-toothed tigers or to not dive into shark infested waters looking for food. Clearly, avoidance is a good way of staying safe in a world of unknowns. Unsure about what your boss thinks about your last project? It’s best not to ask to avoid disappointment or emotional trauma. Considering whether to apply for a job in another country? Best to avoid it in case you like the culture.

Unfortunately, avoidance motivation often has negative consequences. It makes us more likely to avoid tasks that we know rationally will be positive experiences for us. It makes us avoid going for that big promotion we aren’t necessarily qualified for. It makes us not get on that airplane to travel to that new new country and experience that new culture.

“Press forward. Do not stop, do not linger in your journey, but strive for the mark set before you.” — George Whitefield

2. What is approach motivation?

Approach motivation is any type of motivation that drives action and forward progress towards a certain outcome or activity. It’s what pushes the nerdy high school kid to talk to their crush in the hallway. It’s what drives the explorer to see what the view looks like from the top of the tallest mountain. It’s the itch the traveller gets when they go too long without taking a trip. It’s what inspired humans to explore outer space. Rather than avoiding certain activities, approach motivation drives individuals to explore and become more productive in their day-to-day existence.

When we consider approach motivation, the most often cited examples relate to feelings of opportunity, fulfilment and exploration. When you see an opportunity to achieve some goal that falls along Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, you are more likely to take action. When you see the opportunity to grow your pool of resources, that may motivate you to take action (strengthening your ability to provide food and shelter to yourself and your family). Similarly, you may see the opportunity to gain recognition or acclaim through appearing on television or writing a blog post. This feeds your ability to achieve self-fulfilment, belonging and perhaps even self-actualisation.

“Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.” — Sam Levenson

So how do we take this information and action it? How do we make it useful on a day-to-day basis?

The best way to leverage the lessons of approach and avoidance motivation is to set goals that align with each type of motivation. Take the following approach to help guide you on the path to taking control of what motivates you:

First, understand the difference between avoidance and approach goals. Most people will find that they tend to avoid activities that are unpleasant to them, all the while approaching those activities that are most enjoyable or fulfilling. Let’s think of approach goals as positive (i.e. finishing a project ahead of schedule, finding a new job) and avoidance goals as negative (i.e. avoiding drinking too much, avoiding talking in public).

Avoidance goals are goals for reducing, avoiding or eliminating undesired outcomes. While these goals are powerful, they are often harder to accomplish. You may want to cut down the number of sweets you eat each day, the number of cigarettes you smoke, the total time you spend watching Netflix. These types of goals work, sometimes, but they are much more likely to stick if you spin them to an approach goal with a positive spin.

Approach goals aim to guide someone to reach or maintain a desired outcome. People are more likely to commit to completing tasks and taking part in activities that are positioned in a positive light. Approach goals become more potent motivational goals because they focus on action and activity around what can be done to reach a goal.

If you want to get better at setting and following through on your personal and career goals, make a point of creating both approach and avoid goals and being aware of the subtle differences between both.

Do you have any approach or avoidance goals that have been particularly challenging to reach? Would love to hear about them!

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Motivation

Motivational Advice You Never Hear From Elon Musk

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Elon Musk is the hottest entrepreneur on the planet right now. From launching an electric car into space, selling flamethrowers on Twitter, and tunneling holes throughout the country, his unconventional ventures are inspiring millions.

It should come as no surprise that his motivational advice is unconventional, as well. Motivational content can become cliche and overused. Every now and then, you need to hear an opposing idea to challenge your way of thinking.

Here are 3 things from Elon Musk you never hear from motivational blogs that will shake you up and make you reconsider your approach:

Quote #1: “If you need inspiring words, don’t do it.”

Entrepreneurs don’t read motivational blog posts all day. They have real life problems that they need to find real life solutions to. If they have a hiring need, they contact recruitment agencies, compare costs for different vendors, implement solutions, test results, and learn from their experiences. Inspiring words are a shot of espresso to boost their performance, not the food pyramid that nourishes their body to keep going throughout the day.

A motivational quote or video might inspire them for a moment, but they certainly are not spending hours pouring through the self-help section at Barnes and Nobles. If that is you, reconsider whether you are addicted to being motivated or you are addicted to whatever it is you want to do. If you’re an aspiring writer, are you spending more time reading how to write, or are you spending more time actually writing? Audit your behavior and be honest with yourself.

If you are relying on external motivation to keep you going on a project, then once that external motivation is gone, you slow down. You must find something deeper within yourself to keep pushing through the hard times. Doubt is inevitable but failure is necessary.

Quote #2: “If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.”

People tell you to play it safe, find a mentor, research your market, make sure there is demand. All of this is conventional wisdom. It’s not bad advice, but it’s what everyone is told and it’s what everyone is doing. If Elon Musk listened to this advice he would not be Elon Musk.

Elon Musk revolutionized two industries that people never would have thought to enter. Tesla became the first American car company to go public since Ford Motor Company in 1956. When starting SpaceX, one of his friends collected several clips of rockets blowing up and made him watch a video. Elon proves if you want to make it big, you have to take a big risk.

Most importantly, if you want to succeed, you have to do something you are passionate about. Elon Musk could have made it rich in any other industry doing something far less complicated. Instead, he chose to pursue his passion for making the world a better place by providing alternative energy transportation and creating a new movement of space travel to save humanity.

He gave himself a 10% chance of success rate with both companies when he started. He chose to start them anyway. If you have nothing to risk, you have nothing to gain. The reward is proportional to the risk. If something is important to you, you will pursue it in spite of any amount of risk you might face.

Quote #3: “You should take the approach that you’re wrong. Your goal is to be less wrong.”

Most people avoid criticism. Criticism shows us we might be something wrong. We were raised to avoid being wrong but Elon Musk actively seeks it. Criticism shows you how you can improve and learn.

You learn nothing when someone tells you what you’re doing right. It might feel good, but like it is said in the movie Whiplash, “There are no two words in the English language more harmful than ‘good job’.” Feeling good breeds contentment and leads you to a place of complacency.

Of course, most of us are not Elon Musk and do not operate at his level of intensity. You might decide relentless improvement is not something you value or want in your life. Nothing is wrong with being content and happy with where you are in life. A continual desire for improvement does not mean you need to be discontent with everything. You can choose how far you want to go on your journey of self-improvement and success.

In a world where companies try to pretend like everything is going right, Elon Musk takes the opposite approach. He pretends like everything is going wrong, and he wants to make things less wrong. His approach opens the door for failure and welcomes the opportunity for improvement. Are you allowing yourself to fail? Are you acknowledging your flaws?

We all want to be like Elon Musk. Not all of us want to work 100+ hours a week. There is a middle ground somewhere where we can all learn from. Find your ‘why’ and let that inspire you. Don’t rely on motivational words to keep you going, use it as a supplement, not a meal. Lastly, when everyone is asking themself what is going well, ask yourself what is going wrong.

What do you think of Elon Musk? Comment below!

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Motivation

Struggling With Procrastination and Self-Doubt? Here’s How to Overcome Both

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Procrastination and self-doubt are two of the biggest killers of dreams and goals. I’ve been there more than once in my life regarding some important goal I set for myself to achieve. Only when it comes time to take physical action on my plans in the real world, and expose myself to rejection or failure, I start experiencing paralyzing self-doubt and fear. This turns into procrastination in the form of distractions that only create a false illusion I’m achieving my goals. In reality, I’m accomplishing nothing.

Have you ever been there? If left unchecked and unresolved in your life, this cycle of procrastination and self-doubt will soon become a habitual downward spiral where you can go for months without having produced any substantial results towards the goals. Eventually you’ll just give up on the entire goal altogether, leaving the hopes and dreams you had associated with that goal to be delayed even longer.

Here are my 3 best tips for overcoming this goal-killing self-perpetuating cycle of self-doubt and procrastination:

1. Winning The Mind/Body Game

If you’ve studied personal development for even a few minutes, you should already know that anything and everything we ever want to achieve or experience in life first starts in the mind. However, there’s also another component to the process that is just as important to develop control over, and that is the body.

Our minds can conjure up an unlimited number of ideas, solutions, and businesses with ease, but if the body isn’t activated effectively to carry out these ideas and bring them into physical reality, then nothing is accomplished and the ideas remain as only a figment of imagination, not benefiting anyone.

To overcome self-doubt and procrastination in your life, it’s first important to realize that you must become 100% acutely aware of these two components of yourself and how they operate. There is also a third component to who you are – the consciousness of you, some call it your Higher Self, which is in control of both mind and body.

We as humans have the ability, at any time that we choose, to use our conscious intention and a higher level of personal awareness to guide our thinking patterns and our physical actions in a very focused and productive way. If done this way, we can create certain desired outcomes and achieve our goals.

Without this level of self-awareness, you’ll be almost totally powerless to overcome the negative forces of self-doubt and procrastination once they start gaining momentum in your life. Know that you have the awesome creative ability to observe, evaluate, and correct your own thinking patterns and personal habits from this higher perspective.

“You have to change your thinking if you desire to have a future different from your present.” – Germany Kent

2. Developing Brutal Honesty

When we find ourselves caught in a negative cycle of procrastination and self-doubt, one critical action you should take right away is to become brutally honest with yourself about the situation. When I do this, I get out a notebook and start writing out all the things (thoughts, actions, behaviors) that I know I should be doing in order to achieve my goals, and then I write out all the things that I’m actually doing so that I can see the stark contrast between the two.

This makes it plainly obvious to me why my goals aren’t being reached, and what I can do to immediately change that trajectory. Then, I like to contemplate and visualize the pain I would experience by not seeing my goals accomplished, and compare that to the minimal amount of “pain” I may experience from taking appropriate action and staying true to my goals. At this point, it becomes clearly obvious which is the greater of the two pains – which is not achieving my goals and living with regret.

3. Third-Party Accountability

Once you’ve started getting an understanding of your mind/body connection, and developed brutal honesty with yourself, the best way to tie it all together is to establish a third-party accountability structure with a trustworthy person.

For this role, a professional accountability coach is by far the best investment anyone could make into their future. Similar to a life coach, an accountability coach is specifically focused on helping you stay 100% accountable (or as close to 100% as possible) to the daily actions, behaviors, and habits that are necessary for you to make your goals a reality.

Not only that, but a good accountability coach will also impart a heavy dose of motivation, inspiration, and positive energy with every interaction you have with them. They’ll help you believe in yourself even when you don’t. They’ll be a trusted partner who walks with you step-by-step through the journey of creating your dreams and goals.

“Choose to focus your time, energy and conversation around people who inspire you, support you and help you to grow you into your happiest, strongest, wisest self.” – Karen Salmansohn

The top-performers of every industry all rely on having specific types of coaches, consultants and mentors to help them follow-through on their goals and achieve excellence in their results. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t even be in those top positions of their field.

How much has procrastination and self-doubt affected you?  Leave a comment and let me know!

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5 Ways to Realize Your Authentic Self

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I was a scared kid throughout my younger years. Overly-cautious and wildly unsure were just a few of my characteristics as I headed into adulthood. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t present to many of the decisions I made in my youth in regards to navigating life thus I was blindly going along with it. (more…)

Dan Whalen is a franchise operator with College Hunks Hauling Junk & Moving, personal development writer, and NLP master practitioner. He has a background in business management and team leadership spanning nearly a decade, and has a deeply-rooted passion for helping people experience fulfilling lives. You can find him on Twitter at @DanielJWhalen.

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18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Joey Tawadrous

    Oct 27, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    This post is incredibly motivational, words cannot describe. I’m always trying my best to find ways to keep motivated, but this post really does hit the nail on the head.

    Thanks you so much!

    – Joey

  2. Mia

    Oct 24, 2013 at 9:30 am

    a lifetime to master

  3. Nilishia

    Oct 18, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Purpose- Sounds amazing , as if it makes u LIVE.. but how to find that thing you want so bad?? especially for people like me who find passion in everything(almost)?? thus making it impossible to decide THE purpose!!

  4. Shivam Pandey

    Sep 28, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    i really want to do great in life and no matter how many plans i make , i tend to overlook them after some days although i dont want to. the motivation is there but there is lack of perseverance. could you help me?

    • Colin

      Sep 28, 2013 at 11:29 pm

      Surround yourself in the environment of your goals. If it’s a business, put yourself around business people. If it’s welding, take welding classes. Most of all put yourself around the kind of people you want to be like or who are doing the same thing as you want to do. Perseverance is hard when your starving of the ideas you need. those people offer you the knowledge you need to keep you going.

  5. Sergey

    Sep 26, 2013 at 6:21 am

    Friends, the short term motivation is Hope, the long term motivation is Trust.

  6. Margarita Rara

    Sep 7, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    That’s a good one, thanks for reminding. I believe most of the people do some prep work but taking Action some times get difficult so, last point “Take Action” is most important.

  7. Praktikos

    Sep 6, 2013 at 4:43 am

    simple, easy , practical steps towards achieving greatness…NOW is the only time we have and ever will have, bless

  8. Onyeka Nchege

    Sep 4, 2013 at 2:16 am

    Great post Izzy. Absolutely agree with all…..especially step 2. You have to be crystal clear about why you are doing what you do because there will come a time when the going gets tough and you will need to remind yourself why you started down the path in the first place.

    Thanks for sharing.

  9. Donne Roma

    Sep 2, 2013 at 8:03 am

    Great article, and great advices!

  10. Ade

    Sep 2, 2013 at 1:48 am

    Just a question:
    How do I develop my own vision? Because right now I’m kinda working in line with my Dad’s vision (though awesome, cos he seems to know me even better than I know myself) and I’m also in tune with an Uncle who I have taken as my role model. Sometimes I feeling that I’m not autonomous in any way when it comes to career decisions especially. How do I overcome this and begin developing my own vision?
    Thank you.

    • Mohan Embar

      Sep 2, 2013 at 8:50 pm

      Hi Ade – for me the answer to that is to make sure that whatever path you’re taking is one you’re passionate about. My grandfather wanted me to become a doctor and offered to pay my full university tuition if I did that. The idea of becoming a doctor didn’t appeal to me at all, though.

      • Garry

        Sep 7, 2013 at 2:40 pm

        What if you find, while quickly moving through middle age, that you tend to merely like many things but are unable to pinpoint a passion?

        • Prashasti

          Sep 20, 2013 at 8:02 am

          It can be difficult, but if I was in your position I would probably list them down and evaluate on the basis of passion level, practicality and finance required. Hopefully, I’d get something which works in all ways for me. The idea needs to work in all spheres (at least, that’s what I think) 😉
          P.S : ‘liking’ things won’t be enough, you’ll need to be dying to do it 😛 come whatever may..

  11. Mohan Embar

    Sep 1, 2013 at 7:45 am

    Hi Izzy – first off, I totally agree with you that way too many people think that motivation is a prerequisite to achieving their lofty goals, despite Edison’s remark about genius being 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration. I’m tired of the Rah-Rah attitude that people think they need, so your article resonated with me. One additional point to consider is that successful people rarely go it completely alone. Sometimes a team, group, mentor, or buddy can inspire you in ways that simply willing yourself to take action can’t. (Just my $0.02 🙂 )

  12. Dionne

    Sep 1, 2013 at 6:53 am

    Motivation means nothing. It is temporary. You need to make doing the things that are going to make you succesful a habit.

  13. keithclarkeKeith

    Aug 31, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    Hey Izzy,

    Another excellent post, and… very motivating. The key thing that catches most of us is the sense of overwhelm we can encounter, so your line “Don’t make this difficult. You aren’t going to know all the steps. But you will know some of them.” is key 🙂 The only thing you haven’t mentioned is fear, which can stop the majority of us even acting on Step 1. So, I will end with a quote too, 😉

    “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
    Dale Carnegie

  14. Monet Diamante

    Aug 31, 2013 at 4:41 am

    I like the list. I like to write down the goal and work backwards. Sometimes it’s easier for me to determine the first step when I have developed what the rest of the path will look like, as well as a “reasonable” time frame. Similarly to my short term goals–if I have somewhere to be at 6 pm, I work backwards: shower by 4:30, gym by 3, so on and so forth. Thanks for this article!

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Motivation

You Can’t Be 100% Motivated And On Fire All The Time So Stop Trying To Be.

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Right now, I’m not feeling that motivated. In fact, I haven’t felt very inspired or motivated all week. Given that motivating and inspiring others is my passion and it’s what I do every day, you’d think my career was over. You’d think maybe I have no more positivity left in me.

Even the most inspirational people in the world have times when nothing happens.

I recently watched Gary Vaynerchuk give advice to a young teenager. The teenager said:

“Gary, my girlfriend broke up with me and a relative just died. The last two weeks are hell.”

Gary took a few deep breaths and you just knew he was going to say something epic – and he did.

He said to the boy “Two weeks of lows doesn’t define the rest of your life.”

 

We’re all entitled to be down for a bit.

What I learned from Gary is that we are all going to have times during our life where nothing sticks. In the last few weeks, I’ve missed several great career opportunities, had a lot of rejection, seen a slump in shares/likes on some social media platforms and had some personal challenges.

All of this is normal.

 

What’s not normal is what you see online.

That’s the real point here. What is normal has been overshadowed by all the self-help, success talk that happens online 24/7. We’re being bombarded by it and we think we have to be motivated 100% of the time.

If we have a day when we’re not inspired, we think something is wrong. In my case, given my profession, it’s even harder. There’s this stigma that I have to be some perfect human being to do what I do. That’s BS.

It’s normal for anyone you admire and even your heroes to have low points or long periods of nothing – that’s the actual norm. The highlight reel you see online of the people you follow is what’s not normal. No one lives life like how we see people living online.

The cameras are only with these people of influence some of the time. What you didn’t see was them taking a dump or having an argument with their partner.

All you saw was a highly edited success reel of what they wanted you to see so they could send you to a landing page, put up a payment wall and monetize you. That’s what being motivated 100% of the time told them to do.

You can’t blame them entirely.

What the internet really needs is more of the truth. That is, more people talking about what goes wrong, more people documenting what’s really happening.

In simple terms, the internet needs less perceived perfection and success, and more of what’s real like disappointment, f*ck ups and challenges.

 

Not being motivated is where it all happens.

The opposite of what we’re led to believe is true. It’s during the moments of zero inspiration, bugger all motivation and low points that we discover who we are. It’s in our weakest moments that our strength, resilience and courage is built.

What I’ve learned during my recent low moments is that if I can handle this sh*t, then I can handle anything.

“Motivation comes from eating crap for dinner every day of the week and still persisting with your goals”

I’m writing these words today and not really feeling like it. It’s the art of doing even through the tough times that allows me to have a 60-second highlight reel on social media that makes me look like a freaking god that goes viral all over the internet hourly.

My success highlight reel looks very impressive and it sounds fantastic during one of the speeches I give. In job interviews, it really helps. When I pitch for business, it gives me credibility.

Our success highlight reels look freaking phenomenal but it’s 0.99% of the actual story.

If humans are motivated by storytelling, then let’s start telling the real story.

We’re not f*cking motivated 100% of the time so let’s stop pretending we are. Cheers to the moments when we feel like dirt and keep going.

 

Then everything changes.

What do I mean? This week I have no motivation but I already sense that next week is shaping up to be a big one. I find out about a number of life-changing opportunities. Knowing I could get through a tough week and be cool to keep inspiring gives me hope. That hope translates into strength.

Next week could be a disaster and these so-called life-changing opportunities could all amount to a mound of dust and broken dreams. But because I survived the tough times I know I can excel during times when I plateau, go backwards or even experience massive growth.

“It only takes one moment for everything to change and before you know it you’re 100 steps ahead of where you thought you’d be”

 

Quit the game.

The game of endless success. The rat race that is showing how perfect you are.

Show up with your best self. If that best self is 1% motivated or 100% motivated it doesn’t matter. The fact you showed up and got through the quicksand of life is all that counts. Sometimes that struggle will look like winning an Oscar and other times that struggle will look like pissing your pants.

Take a step back and see the bigger picture.

No one (including me) needs to, or is, motivated 100% of the time.

You don’t need to be either.

<<<>>>

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Motivation

2 Things You Need to Know: How to Hack Motivation With Avoidance and Approach Goals

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Motivation is a sneaky beast. It can hide in plain sight, and it can express itself when we least expect it. Motivation (and its frequent companion inspiration) can often elude us for days, weeks or years, only to jump out at in an instant with such force that we drop everything in order to capture it before we lose the moment.

Often times, these random “attacks of motivation” happen with little warning, when we are least prepared to take advantage of them. For instance, how many of you have had a moment of clarity or have felt motivated to act on some idea while in the shower? How many of you have perhaps had a similar feeling when going for a run or driving to work? Motivation can come at any time and in any way. Unfortunately, the very randomness keeps us from being able to act effectively to get more done. So what do we do to take hold of our lives and guide our own sources of motivation?

To get more done in less time, we need to understand the power of two types of motivation. Once we explore each of these types of motivation, we must learn to set goals around both to create positive feedback loops. This will make it easier for us to develop stronger motivational habits and take control of what motivates us.

While there are many ways to define motivation, today I will focus on two types: avoidance and approach motivation. The way we will define both types of motivation provides an in-depth look into how we see the world, and ultimately how successful we will be in it.

1. What is avoidance motivation?

Avoidance motivation is part of what makes us human, and it is integral to our survival. This type of motivation helps us avoid negative experiences across psychological, physical, and social boundaries. It’s what told us to run away from saber-toothed tigers or to not dive into shark infested waters looking for food. Clearly, avoidance is a good way of staying safe in a world of unknowns. Unsure about what your boss thinks about your last project? It’s best not to ask to avoid disappointment or emotional trauma. Considering whether to apply for a job in another country? Best to avoid it in case you like the culture.

Unfortunately, avoidance motivation often has negative consequences. It makes us more likely to avoid tasks that we know rationally will be positive experiences for us. It makes us avoid going for that big promotion we aren’t necessarily qualified for. It makes us not get on that airplane to travel to that new new country and experience that new culture.

“Press forward. Do not stop, do not linger in your journey, but strive for the mark set before you.” — George Whitefield

2. What is approach motivation?

Approach motivation is any type of motivation that drives action and forward progress towards a certain outcome or activity. It’s what pushes the nerdy high school kid to talk to their crush in the hallway. It’s what drives the explorer to see what the view looks like from the top of the tallest mountain. It’s the itch the traveller gets when they go too long without taking a trip. It’s what inspired humans to explore outer space. Rather than avoiding certain activities, approach motivation drives individuals to explore and become more productive in their day-to-day existence.

When we consider approach motivation, the most often cited examples relate to feelings of opportunity, fulfilment and exploration. When you see an opportunity to achieve some goal that falls along Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, you are more likely to take action. When you see the opportunity to grow your pool of resources, that may motivate you to take action (strengthening your ability to provide food and shelter to yourself and your family). Similarly, you may see the opportunity to gain recognition or acclaim through appearing on television or writing a blog post. This feeds your ability to achieve self-fulfilment, belonging and perhaps even self-actualisation.

“Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.” — Sam Levenson

So how do we take this information and action it? How do we make it useful on a day-to-day basis?

The best way to leverage the lessons of approach and avoidance motivation is to set goals that align with each type of motivation. Take the following approach to help guide you on the path to taking control of what motivates you:

First, understand the difference between avoidance and approach goals. Most people will find that they tend to avoid activities that are unpleasant to them, all the while approaching those activities that are most enjoyable or fulfilling. Let’s think of approach goals as positive (i.e. finishing a project ahead of schedule, finding a new job) and avoidance goals as negative (i.e. avoiding drinking too much, avoiding talking in public).

Avoidance goals are goals for reducing, avoiding or eliminating undesired outcomes. While these goals are powerful, they are often harder to accomplish. You may want to cut down the number of sweets you eat each day, the number of cigarettes you smoke, the total time you spend watching Netflix. These types of goals work, sometimes, but they are much more likely to stick if you spin them to an approach goal with a positive spin.

Approach goals aim to guide someone to reach or maintain a desired outcome. People are more likely to commit to completing tasks and taking part in activities that are positioned in a positive light. Approach goals become more potent motivational goals because they focus on action and activity around what can be done to reach a goal.

If you want to get better at setting and following through on your personal and career goals, make a point of creating both approach and avoid goals and being aware of the subtle differences between both.

Do you have any approach or avoidance goals that have been particularly challenging to reach? Would love to hear about them!

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Motivation

Motivational Advice You Never Hear From Elon Musk

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Elon Musk is the hottest entrepreneur on the planet right now. From launching an electric car into space, selling flamethrowers on Twitter, and tunneling holes throughout the country, his unconventional ventures are inspiring millions.

It should come as no surprise that his motivational advice is unconventional, as well. Motivational content can become cliche and overused. Every now and then, you need to hear an opposing idea to challenge your way of thinking.

Here are 3 things from Elon Musk you never hear from motivational blogs that will shake you up and make you reconsider your approach:

Quote #1: “If you need inspiring words, don’t do it.”

Entrepreneurs don’t read motivational blog posts all day. They have real life problems that they need to find real life solutions to. If they have a hiring need, they contact recruitment agencies, compare costs for different vendors, implement solutions, test results, and learn from their experiences. Inspiring words are a shot of espresso to boost their performance, not the food pyramid that nourishes their body to keep going throughout the day.

A motivational quote or video might inspire them for a moment, but they certainly are not spending hours pouring through the self-help section at Barnes and Nobles. If that is you, reconsider whether you are addicted to being motivated or you are addicted to whatever it is you want to do. If you’re an aspiring writer, are you spending more time reading how to write, or are you spending more time actually writing? Audit your behavior and be honest with yourself.

If you are relying on external motivation to keep you going on a project, then once that external motivation is gone, you slow down. You must find something deeper within yourself to keep pushing through the hard times. Doubt is inevitable but failure is necessary.

Quote #2: “If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.”

People tell you to play it safe, find a mentor, research your market, make sure there is demand. All of this is conventional wisdom. It’s not bad advice, but it’s what everyone is told and it’s what everyone is doing. If Elon Musk listened to this advice he would not be Elon Musk.

Elon Musk revolutionized two industries that people never would have thought to enter. Tesla became the first American car company to go public since Ford Motor Company in 1956. When starting SpaceX, one of his friends collected several clips of rockets blowing up and made him watch a video. Elon proves if you want to make it big, you have to take a big risk.

Most importantly, if you want to succeed, you have to do something you are passionate about. Elon Musk could have made it rich in any other industry doing something far less complicated. Instead, he chose to pursue his passion for making the world a better place by providing alternative energy transportation and creating a new movement of space travel to save humanity.

He gave himself a 10% chance of success rate with both companies when he started. He chose to start them anyway. If you have nothing to risk, you have nothing to gain. The reward is proportional to the risk. If something is important to you, you will pursue it in spite of any amount of risk you might face.

Quote #3: “You should take the approach that you’re wrong. Your goal is to be less wrong.”

Most people avoid criticism. Criticism shows us we might be something wrong. We were raised to avoid being wrong but Elon Musk actively seeks it. Criticism shows you how you can improve and learn.

You learn nothing when someone tells you what you’re doing right. It might feel good, but like it is said in the movie Whiplash, “There are no two words in the English language more harmful than ‘good job’.” Feeling good breeds contentment and leads you to a place of complacency.

Of course, most of us are not Elon Musk and do not operate at his level of intensity. You might decide relentless improvement is not something you value or want in your life. Nothing is wrong with being content and happy with where you are in life. A continual desire for improvement does not mean you need to be discontent with everything. You can choose how far you want to go on your journey of self-improvement and success.

In a world where companies try to pretend like everything is going right, Elon Musk takes the opposite approach. He pretends like everything is going wrong, and he wants to make things less wrong. His approach opens the door for failure and welcomes the opportunity for improvement. Are you allowing yourself to fail? Are you acknowledging your flaws?

We all want to be like Elon Musk. Not all of us want to work 100+ hours a week. There is a middle ground somewhere where we can all learn from. Find your ‘why’ and let that inspire you. Don’t rely on motivational words to keep you going, use it as a supplement, not a meal. Lastly, when everyone is asking themself what is going well, ask yourself what is going wrong.

What do you think of Elon Musk? Comment below!

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Motivation

Struggling With Procrastination and Self-Doubt? Here’s How to Overcome Both

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Procrastination and self-doubt are two of the biggest killers of dreams and goals. I’ve been there more than once in my life regarding some important goal I set for myself to achieve. Only when it comes time to take physical action on my plans in the real world, and expose myself to rejection or failure, I start experiencing paralyzing self-doubt and fear. This turns into procrastination in the form of distractions that only create a false illusion I’m achieving my goals. In reality, I’m accomplishing nothing.

Have you ever been there? If left unchecked and unresolved in your life, this cycle of procrastination and self-doubt will soon become a habitual downward spiral where you can go for months without having produced any substantial results towards the goals. Eventually you’ll just give up on the entire goal altogether, leaving the hopes and dreams you had associated with that goal to be delayed even longer.

Here are my 3 best tips for overcoming this goal-killing self-perpetuating cycle of self-doubt and procrastination:

1. Winning The Mind/Body Game

If you’ve studied personal development for even a few minutes, you should already know that anything and everything we ever want to achieve or experience in life first starts in the mind. However, there’s also another component to the process that is just as important to develop control over, and that is the body.

Our minds can conjure up an unlimited number of ideas, solutions, and businesses with ease, but if the body isn’t activated effectively to carry out these ideas and bring them into physical reality, then nothing is accomplished and the ideas remain as only a figment of imagination, not benefiting anyone.

To overcome self-doubt and procrastination in your life, it’s first important to realize that you must become 100% acutely aware of these two components of yourself and how they operate. There is also a third component to who you are – the consciousness of you, some call it your Higher Self, which is in control of both mind and body.

We as humans have the ability, at any time that we choose, to use our conscious intention and a higher level of personal awareness to guide our thinking patterns and our physical actions in a very focused and productive way. If done this way, we can create certain desired outcomes and achieve our goals.

Without this level of self-awareness, you’ll be almost totally powerless to overcome the negative forces of self-doubt and procrastination once they start gaining momentum in your life. Know that you have the awesome creative ability to observe, evaluate, and correct your own thinking patterns and personal habits from this higher perspective.

“You have to change your thinking if you desire to have a future different from your present.” – Germany Kent

2. Developing Brutal Honesty

When we find ourselves caught in a negative cycle of procrastination and self-doubt, one critical action you should take right away is to become brutally honest with yourself about the situation. When I do this, I get out a notebook and start writing out all the things (thoughts, actions, behaviors) that I know I should be doing in order to achieve my goals, and then I write out all the things that I’m actually doing so that I can see the stark contrast between the two.

This makes it plainly obvious to me why my goals aren’t being reached, and what I can do to immediately change that trajectory. Then, I like to contemplate and visualize the pain I would experience by not seeing my goals accomplished, and compare that to the minimal amount of “pain” I may experience from taking appropriate action and staying true to my goals. At this point, it becomes clearly obvious which is the greater of the two pains – which is not achieving my goals and living with regret.

3. Third-Party Accountability

Once you’ve started getting an understanding of your mind/body connection, and developed brutal honesty with yourself, the best way to tie it all together is to establish a third-party accountability structure with a trustworthy person.

For this role, a professional accountability coach is by far the best investment anyone could make into their future. Similar to a life coach, an accountability coach is specifically focused on helping you stay 100% accountable (or as close to 100% as possible) to the daily actions, behaviors, and habits that are necessary for you to make your goals a reality.

Not only that, but a good accountability coach will also impart a heavy dose of motivation, inspiration, and positive energy with every interaction you have with them. They’ll help you believe in yourself even when you don’t. They’ll be a trusted partner who walks with you step-by-step through the journey of creating your dreams and goals.

“Choose to focus your time, energy and conversation around people who inspire you, support you and help you to grow you into your happiest, strongest, wisest self.” – Karen Salmansohn

The top-performers of every industry all rely on having specific types of coaches, consultants and mentors to help them follow-through on their goals and achieve excellence in their results. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t even be in those top positions of their field.

How much has procrastination and self-doubt affected you?  Leave a comment and let me know!

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