Motivation is not self-sustaining but rather elusive under many circumstances. No matter how motivated to feel now to get out there and conquer the world, there will come a time when it fizzles out, and all you feel is staying at home and wallow in self-pity. However, it is possible to stay motivated even in the toughest of circumstances if you know how the concept of motivation works. Got rejected a new job offer, your teenager just called you to say he’s moving back home, or your car and washing machine is trashed? Don’t worry; there is a solution for everything.
The thing is, motivation is not a weird concept but rather a psychological one. We all have heard about the pop psych directives to stick notes on the fridge or write a cheque of $1 million to yourself to always remind you of the positives, but does this work?
The truth that I’ve learned after many years of struggle is that there are no shortcuts to success and an easy way to keep yourself motivated in the long-term. Sure, there are thousands of inspirational authors, life coaches, and speakers who advertise their formula for staying motivated, but come across the best way by observing highly successful people who can get things done! Here, I’ll explain to you seven ways in which you can keep your motivation level high enough to solve the Rubik’s cube or take your first solo trip to Mount Kilimanjaro.
Seven key steps to stay motivated :
- Set a goal and visualize your approach in the most intricate detail: No, I don’t just mean think about your goal and drift aimlessly and thoughts about experiencing success. I’m talking about living, breathing, and seeing the fruits of pursuing your goal well ahead of time. Imagine yourself to be an upcoming Rockstar, who is ready to drive the crowd wild with your better than Led Zeppelin’s guitar solo.
- List out the reasons why this goal is important to you: in the kind of world we live in, which is exceptionally fast paced and highly distracting; it is important not to get thrown off balance. This is why you need to remind yourself why you must pursue the goal relentlessly. Various studies have proven that the mind remembers best when we use our hands to write something and connect the letters to make sentences, and sentences into paragraphs. Similar concepts apply to motivation because just deciding goal is not enough, and you have to invest in ways to stay motivated in unique ways.
- Breakdown this goal into smaller segments and reward yourself for meeting them: this process is also known as chunking, and it is based on the concept that smaller the amount of tasks in hand, better the performance will be. As Tony Robbins says, one of the primary sources of stress comes from a feeling of having too much to accomplish, far too soon. This is why you may feel fatigued and frustrated if you are overwhelmed with different tasks.
So, the better alternative is to break down your largest project in too smaller chunks so that it triggers the reward center in the brain. Neuroscience has revealed that accomplishing small tasks releases a chemical called dopamine, which is responsible for making us feel good. Naturally, when you accomplish more small tasks of daily, your brain will release dopamine which will eventually give you happy and motivated.
- Strategy is great, but be willing to change your course: as the great scientist Thomas Edison once said – he did not fail, he just found 10,000 other ways that don’t work. The thing we have to remember is that defeat is in giving up even before trying. Take a look at all the inspirational figures that surround us, one common element you’ll find in every one of them is that they have all experienced their share of failures but refused to quit under any circumstance. This should be your motto to keep the motivation level running high.
- Don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it: one of the greatest flaws that keep people from succeeding is that they’re hesitant to ask for help. Whether it be for ego or people just might be shy, sharing your plans with others have plenty of benefits. This is why people get married by having witnesses. Having your intentions made clear has a substantial impact on the world and another subtle effect in your subconscious mind that keeps you from feeling the motivated. But, you should be cautious about selecting which people you tell your plans, or it might have an effect opposite to your desires.
- Decide in advance how you want to deal with fleeting motivation: this is not a backward thinking nor is a sign of defeat because there will be an inevitable time when you feel like giving up due to sheer exhaustion or any temporary setback. This is when everyone requires a little boost to get back on track. The method that I found effective in these cases to think about people who endured against all odds and frightening circumstances. Think about the Holocaust survivors who made it out of the death camps, how did they keep their spirit alive? Winston Churchill is the prime example of inspiration as he refused to give up against the Germans despite being bombed 57 times during World War II.
- Re-evaluate your reasons for persevering: we are all humans, we all make mistakes. Steve Jobs once said in an interview that successful people are those who have made small yet consistent steps towards achieving their goals. Persevering against all odds is necessary because life is going to throw a whole lot of problems that you. Being internally driven means that we are not affected by success or failure, but by our self-worth. The more we understand our potential, the more motivation we can garner from different sources.
Looking at the bigger picture
A Jewish Rabbi, Rabbi Hillel, who was alive during the time of Jesus said “if not you, then who? If not now, when?” This right here is a wake-up call for those who are wasting away their time in meaningless pursuits.
But, perhaps my most favorite quote of perspective comes from the Dalai Lama, who said Man is the most surprising aspect of humanity. His Holiness said that a man sacrifices his health to make money and then sacrifices money to gain back health. Similarly, some people are so invested in the future that they forget to enjoy the present. As a result, he does not live in the present nor the future; he lives as if he’s never going to die, and dies like he hasn’t ever actually lived.
Tell us what keeps you motivated. We’d love to hear from you.
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