You started off as the motivated person in the world but sustaining that level of motivation became impossible. Sound familiar? Maintaining high levels of motivation can be difficult at the best of times but what if your list of things to do grows and grows? What if your’re told to work late? What if you’ve just been rejected…again?
“People say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” Zig Ziglar
I wish that I could tell you that was some ‘Magic’ solution but there really isn’t. As Zig Ziglar rightly pointed out, motivation is something that needs to be topped up daily, even several times per day. If you had a lunch that was filled with Garlic and Onions and you were about to go on a date, you would brush your teeth again wouldn’t you? The same is true of motivation; if you started the day motivated and something happened to decrease your levels of motivation, it is now up to you to increase them again.
I have read, watched or participated in, literally hundreds of Motivational programs over the last few years and every person that I have come across has their own theories and strategies. I’ve put together a list of Five things that are integral to staying motivated, whether you a re wondering how to stay motivated to lose weight or about to tidy your garage!
1) Get in Touch with ‘Why’ you want to achieve it.
Whatever you do in this life there are always reasons for it. Even the most simple of tasks. This may not seem true at first but when you take some time to analyse what you are doing you will find good reasons.
If you have run out of motivation to complete a task and staying motivated has become impossible then you need to step back and find some strong ‘reasons’ in relation to why you’re doing it. Only then will your motivation start to return.
There are several categories of reason that can motivate you:
- Getting Closer to a Big Goal – The most astounding successes in History were all built up over a period of smaller steps and unrewarding tasks that nobody saw. You may not be motivated to eat that Avocado Salad or to make those Cold Calls but recognising (truly recognising) that you are taking another step towards your ultimate body or that promotion you have been waiting for will feel great and the motivation will return.
- Personal Gain – Focus on how much of a better person you are going to be and the things that you will learn as a result of the process and you will feel motivated to continue.
- Material Things/ Financial Gain – Often we find ourselves de-motivated when people are actually paying us to be doing it. What things are you going to buy with the money? How much closer will you be to that vacation?
- Feeling Like You Have Achieved Something – Notice how great you are going to feel when you had the discipline to complete a task that most people find so boring they don’t do it and don’t get ahead. You’re doing it and your getting ahead!
- Honour the Memory of Loved One – This a massive one for me personally. I was very close to my Grandfather and when times get tough and motivation gets low I find myself saying “Go on, do it for Gramps”.
- To Inspire Others – If your your family & friends (especially children) see you doing the difficult or boring things in order to get ahead in life they will be inspired and learn to do the same. Focus on this fact and watch how motivated you are to continue.
2) ‘Choose’ to have Fun
How is it that 2 different people can have totally different feelings towards the same task? One person hates it with a passion and the other person loves it with equal passion. The simple answer is some people have an amazing ability to make any activity pleasurable and interesting. We all have this ability within us. The important thing is being able to access it.
“Seek and Ye Shall Find”
You have to ‘look’ for ways that the task can be fun. As soon as you start looking for them, you will start to find them. The fastest way to change your focus to find the fun is to ask yourself some powerful questions:
- What is the best way for me to enjoy this task?
- How can I can make this task fun for me and everyone else involved?
- What is the best way for me to make this the most enjoyable part of my day?
The brain is like a Supercomputer, keep asking a question and it has to deliver an answer. You will then have ideas as to how you make the activity enjoyable and as a bi-product, enhance your motivation.
Part of you may want to argue with this and say that there are many tasks that you simply ‘hate’! Although that maybe true, let me say this, I genuinely had fun cleaning up after my dog today. It’s all about the attitude.
3) Acknowledge How Far You’ve Come
As I mentioned above you can easily break down any massive success into smaller steps. It really is sensible to divide your Big Goals up into smaller manageable chunks so you can track your progress. However, if you don’t acknowledge this progress you will become ‘stale’ and your motivation will fade.
The difference between monitoring your progress and acknowledging your successes is to celebrate each and every little accomplishment along the way. Why is it that the fans of Sports Teams celebrate every goal or point? It’s because they know that their team is getting closer to the ultimate goal of winning the game. You need to apply this in your life to stay motivated. For example, if you want to get to 10% Body Fat and you are currently at 20%, it is absolutely crucial that you give your self a pat on the back and celebrate when you get to 15%. This will condition your mind with positive thoughts and feelings when it comes to making progress.
For whatever reason we all want everything right now and even though we always divide the big task into smaller activities, we don’t allow ourselves to be happy until the BIG goal is achieved. More often than not this is a sure fire way to suck out any motivation you have and you’ll start to hear things in your head like “Is it really worth it?”. Let that voice know that it is worth it by truly recognizing and celebrating even the littlest of ‘wins’.
4) Give Yourself a Reward
All of my clients love this strategy! Rewarding yourself always feels good, doesn’t it? The great thing for us is, this is one of the most powerful ways to stay motivated available!
Before you start on pursuing a goal, decide on the ‘achievement milestones’ that will mean that is time to reward yourself. Whether the reward is having a break for 5 minutes for smaller tasks or buying yourself something nice for bigger task, rewards will have a positive effect on your motivation levels.
It is important that you do not hear other people’s voices in your head at this point. What I mean by this is; you may think that other people will say that what you have achieved isn’t worth a reward…It doesn’t matter what they would think! What matters is if YOU honestly believe that you deserve a reward then you deserve a reward. The more that you reward yourself with honesty and integrity when you reach your milestones the more motivated you will become.
The only way to sustain motivation over a given period of time is to repeat the above steps every day, hour or even minute. Whatever works for you. This is not a definitive list but it is a start. You can add things in and take things away but let me tell you one thing, however you approach staying motivated, repetition is a must.
Without repetition your mind will ‘forget’ to be motivated. When I was an infant my parents had to call me ‘Jermaine’ over and over again until it was drilled into my psyche and, of course, I still get called Jermaine 25 years later! Repetition of any motivational strategies will deepen their impression on you as well.
I wish you the very best when it comes to staying motivated, whatever your Goal. You’re going to make it! You can click the picture below to read more about my e-book ‘How to Stay Motivated’