Quite simply, one of the best ways to be successful is to ensure you are motivated. Forget the cheesy internet sales guys telling you about how they got rich in 30 days. What you really need is the real definition of motivation, which is your motive for action.
Clearly there is some action you want to take and the only way you will make that action a must is if you have a motive to do so. A goal is really just an action you want to take so that you can get to some type of feeling.
No important goal is going to be achieved in a small amount of time so what you require is a motive for action, to regularly work on that goal in the form of a habit. Habits will never last though unless you set them with a successful strategy that is reinforced by your motives / reasons.
The mistake that we all make is that we think motivation will last forever, but it doesn’t. One inspiring article like this will not keep you motivated long term. The only way to achieve long-term results and outcomes towards your goal is to really go deep on why you are doing what you’re doing.
Below are my thirteen beginner steps to stay motivated.
1. Pick your biggest goal that has the most fear
The challenge of motivation is that if the goal you are heading towards isn’t big enough or ugly enough, or important enough, there is a good chance you will quit. What keeps me motivated is the thrill of picking stupid, crazy, big goals that I have attached the most amount of fear to and then crushing them.
Let me give you a quick example. I recently took up public speaking through Toastmasters. I tried to do this last year but gave up after three shots because it was way too uncomfortable. My work career has been heavily focused on sales, and I can speak in front of people no problem.
Where the challenge comes for me is when it’s more formal, and there are lots more people; like fifty plus heads in the room. Back to Toastmasters, I didn’t originally cement in my mind clearly enough why I was doing it.
When I rejoined Toastmasters a second time, I linked up in my mind that if I am going to keep doing the entrepreneur / self-development blogging gig, at some point (if I want the message to get bigger) I am going to be asked to speak about the subject publically.
Now if I look at why I do what I do every day – to inspire the world through self-development and entrepreneurship – then my motivate for action becomes much more powerful. Now the fear I experience has true meaning, and so, therefore, I am motivated and much less likely to quit.
2. Immerse yourself in the goal to stay motivated
Now there is a further step that kept me moving towards my public speaking goal; it’s quite simply the art of immersion. To make my Toastmasters experience even greater, I decided that instead of attending fortnightly like everyone else, I was going to attend every week to gain full immersion.
By attending every week, it meant that I had to go to an earlier session starting at 7:15 am. This time slot takes real guts, but the benefit it has is that it’s testing my motivation to see if I am legitimate about my goal. The other benefit is that there are fewer people at the earlier session so on one week I have only a small audience, and then on the other week, I have a massive audience.
This change in audience numbers allows me to try riskier thinks with fewer people, and not so risky things with a larger audience to slowly build my confidence.
3. Use confidence to keep you motivated
In the previous point, I touched on confidence. The important part about confidence is that most people try and motivate themselves towards a goal too quickly. If you jump straight into the deep end on the first try, you will scare yourself away from your goal.
What I learnt with public speaking was to start small and build some confidence. When I get constructive feedback on each speech, it allows me to feel like I am improving. The better I feel about myself, the more motivated I feel to keep pushing through the fear.
The best example in my life of confidence is my previous fear of flying. The reason I say previous fear is that I have pretty much got rid of all the fear. The way I did this was by taking lots of small flights.
On the every first flight I used self-development tapes to keep my confidence levels high, and then I gradually needed the tapes less and less. Once I was able to fly solo in a calm state, I used the confidence I had built previously as the reason I was going to succeed.
4. Without growth, there is no motivation
If there is no growth towards your goal, then there is a good chance that the motivation will die off. The secret to sustained motivation is to constantly strive for some level of growth. As humans, we are obsessed with growing, and if something doesn’t grow then, it dies.
The concept of growth can be best demonstrated by video games. These days, the word gamification has become a popular topic. Gamification is really about thinking about a task as if it were a video game.
bAlmost every video game in history has some form of levels. As you move through the levels, you experience more and more growth.
The makers of video games know that if you can make someone experience growth, then you can get them addicted to spending their time and money playing the video games. Now for me, after doing Tony Robbins “Unleash The Power Within,” I learnt that growth is my highest valued human need.
Surprisingly, this is the case for a lot of us. So next time you lack motivation, ask yourself the question, “is there enough growth in the current way I am executing on this goal?”
5. Become obsessed with motivated people
Staying motivated involves having other people around you that are also highly motivated. Even though your goals and their goals may be totally different, sharing stories with each other of how you are getting to your individual goals will keep you motivated.
If you have a week when you are a bit off, and you ask another motivated person who has had a great week about how they feel, you should be able to use their story of success to power your own.
6. Just get started
Before I mentioned my fear of flying. One of the other keys to this fear and motivating myself to keep going was just to get started. The way I did this was to put my money on the line and just book a flight. It’s amazing how once you have spent the money and can’t get it back you just follow through.
Just recently, I booked my longest flight yet to Asia. There was a small amount of fear but rather than dwell on it, I just motivated myself by spending the money, and then moving to the next goal in my life.
By just getting started, you force the motivation process to begin, and you virtually guarantee yourself some level of success. The process of flying has now become a bit of a game for me, and I am always trying to one up myself from the previous journey. Not to mention I am getting hooked on the travel bug and getting to visit beautiful places in the world.
7. Make sure you keep at it
With any form of goal that requires motivation, there are going to be high’s and lows. My motivation varies all the time. Take blogging as an example; I try and write articles every single week but sometimes I fall into a rut.
Now if I just let the rut continue then I would give up blogging easily. The ruts not caused by my lack of passion for writing, it’s caused by the sometimes repetitive nature of writing. The key for me to be able not to give up is to keep myself motivated.
It’s also important to remember that nothing is permanent and all it takes is a little spark of inspiration to get going again. If you keep yourself open to those sparks of inspiration, then they are much more likely to enter your life at just the right time.
8. Make the most of inspiring states of mind
The other trick I use is to make the most of inspiration. This means that if I go and watch an inspiring movie or something really cool happens like I get acknowledged for some work I did and I am feeling on top of the world, I quickly get out my laptop and start writing.
Many of us don’t make the most of our empowering states. When we feel on fire, we need to use this time to follow our passion. The single most useful form of motivation is your state of mind. Now, if your state of mind isn’t great, then you can shift it by getting into a peak state.
9. Use public announcements as motivation
For those who have been reading my articles on Addicted2Success carefully, you will notice something that I do a lot; I often announce things I am going to do publically. The reason that I do this is because my network reads my articles, and once I say something publically I am committed.
Just like the stock market, public announcements create leverage and a rare form of motivation that doesn’t exist anywhere else. Once you say you are going to do something publically, it’s hard to back down.
The reason for this is that we don’t want to disappoint people or not deliver on a promise. When you commit something publically you are going to start to get asked how you’re tracking with that commitment.
Since mentioning public speaking, I now regularly have people asking me how I am going. Now I couldn’t be known around the place as the inspiring guy looking to change the world through Addicted2Success if I just gave up without a reason could I?
The previous sentence might sound a bit stupid but since blogging on here, people think I am some super human expert on success. The reality? I am as vulnerable and flawed as anyone else. The difference? I am happy to admit it and spend every day growing and self-motivating myself towards a higher level of success.
10. Track your success
I have mentioned growth a few times already, but growth alone is not enough. The reason is that unless you track your success, you won’t know if you are growing and, therefore, you won’t be motivated.
Tracking your success is best done by keeping it “simple stupid” (a saying I picked up). Just write down once a week how you feel you are tracking with your goal. It’s also important to capture the feelings you are experiencing because they form the foundations of your motivation.
Where possible, describe your progress in an uplifting way. This involves still mentioning the negative feelings you are experiencing, but just being consciously aware to put a positive, constructive spin on it. How do you truly know if you are motivated each day?
A simple test you can do is to reflect on how you wake up. If you are tired when you wake up but you still jump out of bed and get your day started then chances are you are motivated. If you take forever to wake up, and it’s a real challenge, then you’re unfortunately not motivated.
11. Experiment with a deadline
I am the sort of person that if there is no deadline, then I find it hard to stay motivated. One simple habit I use to overcome this is to implement forced deadlines. For example, right now I have around six articles ready to post up.
To ensure I keep writing more, I make sure that I purposely run out of unpublished articles frequently. This is achieved by posting lingering articles as quick as possible so that my mind starts saying, “you have nothing to post next week!”
I then add another simple form of motivation. This one is a little crazy. It’s the concept of death being a great form of motivation. So how I do this is I tell myself, “Tim if you were to die tomorrow then the articles that haven’t been released could be lost forever.”
So, I tell myself always to post articles that are ready in case something happens to me. The fear of never having my life’s work seen by the world keeps me motivated to write more.
The more I write, the better I get, and the more growth I experience coupled with the ability to give back and inspire others. What a phenomenal reason to live huh?
The other thing I noticed when there is no deadline is that I tend to not put things off, but do things slower than I should. I become more conscious of making the outcome perfect as opposed to just getting things done and learning from the mistakes along the way.
The best deadlines I use regularly are ones that have other people I respect tied to them. For example, if I have an interview booked with an influential person, I feel a sense of urgency to get everything done before the interview because I don’t want to let the person down, and because I care about delivering value to them to some extent.
12. Motivate yourself by thinking of the end feeling
If we thought about why many people want to drive Ferrari’s then, we would uncover pretty quickly that it’s not because they love driving a huge chunk of metal around that’s painted red. The reason they are motivated to work hard and buy a Ferrari is because of the feeling they think they will get from owning one.
This concept is a very influential part of motivation because you can skip the step of owning the Ferrari. What you need to do instead is motivate yourself through the feelings you will get by achieving your goal and driving that Ferrari.
The beauty is that you can experience these feelings even before you achieve the goal. So when you spend time on your goal, and you lack motivation, picture yourself having already achieved the goal and then try and create that feeling in the moment.
A quick example for me is holidays. While planning and organising a holiday can be a real drag for me, the way I overcome it is to picture myself lying on the beach at my favourite holiday destination. Then, when I am working through the actions required to make that holiday happen, I just introduced that relaxed, beach holiday feeling, into each of the tasks I need to complete.
This easy life hack may seem overly simplistic, but it really is one of the foundations of motivation that many of the greats use.
13. Get someone to push you
The last step to motivation for beginners is to get someone to push you. This person is usually in the form of a coach or mentor. Don’t pick your lover or a friend because there is a good chance that they will allow you to take shortcuts.
Try and get someone who is independent like a coach through Skype. Joel Brown and I do this for many clients, and we both are able to get people to take action because we are independent of the person we are coaching, and often have no prior connection or relationship.
One of the best sessions I have attended on coaching was run by a man named Scott Harris. Scott is best known for his work teaching Tony Robbins’s Business Mastery program, but he is also a brilliant coach. He teaches the importance of having someone push you and how motivation is not enough.
Motivation will only get you so far, and you need to be challenged in order to get the benefits of that magical feeling called growth. A coach or mentor will also ask you tough questions that will uncover your motive for action, and try and push you forward.
It’s easy to tell yourself to do something, but when you have someone else telling you at the same time, it’s a lot easier to fall into the sweet spot of motivation.
What motivates you? How do you stay motivated? Let me know in the comment section below or directly through my Twitter or Facebook Pages.
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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