Self-Motivation is a skill. It doesn’t come for free.
It’s something that you have to learn. And learn it you must; because motivation is the key to bouncing out of bed each morning, with happiness and a spring in your step, excited about the day ahead.
It’s what gives you the passion and drive to overcome obstacles to get things done, to achieve your goals, to live your dreams.
Some people may seem ‘naturally motivated’ – but don’t be fooled! These people are working hard from day to day to keep a positive mindset and they are practised at it, whether they realise it or not. They are striving to be and stay happy, and they keep their goals in their minds.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”Aristotle
How do you know if you need a bit more self-motivation?
Well, do you get excited about new ideas and projects but never start them? Or do you start a new project and then give in at the first hurdle? Anybody who has ever achieved anything has had to plough through quite a lot of boring, ordinary and arduous tasks to get to the rewarding and exciting end result.
Personally, I wish that I could sit at a piano and play beautifully. But as a youngster I did not wish to practice scales and arpeggios and more scales and finger exercises and more arpeggios; I just wanted to play. So I quit. Consequently I can play little more than chopsticks today. I genuinely regret this, and possibly now I may never learn piano. Unless I get motivated of course! I sometimes feel that people who play piano well are more ‘gifted’ than me. Possibly they’re not – but they were motivated enough to practice and practice and practice, and I was not.
“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
You can transfer this idea to just about anything – starting a new business, getting fit and losing weight, clearing out the garage. You will enjoy the process and get a lot more done if you can stay motivated. Here’s how:
- Keep the end in mind
Whatever it is that you’re trying to achieve, think about the end result. Imagine you have just achieved your goal. Picture it in your mind. Where are you, what are you doing, what are you wearing, who are you with? How wonderfully proud and happy are you about what you have achieved? How do your family and friends feel about you? Embellish your picture with as much detail as you can, and take a mental ‘snapshot’ of this moment. This is the snapshot you need to keep in mind, and call it to the fore anytime you need a little extra drive. This is what will see you through the tough times. If it helps, you could make an actual picture collage from magazine cuttings or photographs – put yourself in the picture, and stick this on the wall somewhere visible – at work or on the fridge or next to your bed. Whatever it takes to keep you focussed!
- Plan, plan, PLAN!
People often give up on working towards their dreams and goals because they come up against unexpected problems, or the work becomes too arduous. You need to know in advance that you can achieve your goal, if only you keep on plan. It will all work out for you if you have clarity, however, it is important that your vision is SMART
So, for example, don’t say ‘I want more money’ because more money can be just a penny, and that probably wasn’t what you meant! Be very specific and say instead ‘I want £xxx by 20xx’ – make your vision SMART. Don’t say I will be a millionaire by next year – that is not SMART unless you have a really good plan! You need to break down your plan into detailed and step by step tasks. If it helps, work backwards from the end result. And the first thing you’re probably going to have to do is a lot of research and reading.
- Take pleasure in the little things
It can be a lonely business striving to achieve your goals. Sometimes you may be working whilst others play. You may find yourself stuck doing a really mind-numbing or difficult task. But try to stay positive, and take pleasure in these tasks. Focus on your end result and remember how lucky you are, that you have the opportunity to live your dream! Once you’ve completed this task, you may never have to do it again – it’s done! Or next time it needs to be done you may be in a position to delegate to someone else. Ask yourself, is there a more exciting task around the corner? What is next on my list? By wading through the nitty-gritty and coming out the other side you will feel a sense of pride and purpose and great achievement, knowing that you, and only you, have accomplished this wonderful thing.
- Don’t give in
If you come up against a problem, don’t give in! I promise you will encounter hundreds of problems, big and small. But the secret to achieving your goal is to know that no problem is insurmountable. Don’t keep doing the same thing over and over again hoping that it will work next time. No, if you encounter a hurdle too high to jump, change your tactics – can you run around it? Duck under it? Knock it over? Trust me, there is always an alternative solution. So you need to adjust your plan? Never mind! Just keep trying and with self-belief you will get there in the end, remembering to keep the end in mind to get you through!
Go on, go for it. Only you can do this, and you can do this! Good luck!