Author: Liz Frome
How badly do you want to achieve your goals? Are you motivated enough to keep pushing, even when times seem bleak and all hope might be lost?
Motivation drives us to make things happen but staying motivated is not always easy. Below are some tips on how to become and stay motivated and some suggestions on what to do if you just can’t get things moving.
Positive and negative motivation: Motivation is what drives us towards a goal, gets us up in the morning, keeps us working through a task, and helps us succeed when things get tough. (Things sure have been tough the last year.) Positive motivations will focus on the positive things that will happen when you act. Negative motivations focus on the negative backlash that will occur if you don’t act. Negative and positive can get you results but you need to decide what will drive you and I know what motivates me is positive motivation. I suggest sticking to a positive action plan as negative motivation can make you feel helpless and may even reduce your motivation.
Start where you are
Start today; don’t overthink it. Looking at the entire task you want to accomplish can be a problem. It can seem overwhelming, causing you to get stuck and not start. When I set a goal, I try to just jump in and start. I often realize I have made progress before I even know it. (Big motivation and no overthinking!)
Set goals and write them down
For most people, you will accomplish more if you write your goals down. Documented goals will give you a direction to focus on; one that is measurable and has an endpoint. There are many organizational tools you can purchase or find for free on the internet. Or you can just make one of your own! It is helpful to break your goals down into Important and Urgent, Important but Not Urgent, Urgent but Not Important and Not Important and Not Urgent. The goal is to prioritize what to focus on based on how overall important it is to your greater goals.
The more organized you are the better you'll be able to handle whatever is thrown at you. I find it very helpful to sit down and plan out my goals while looking ahead on my calendar, then block out specific times to work/focus on my goal. With my business, I book appointment time each week so I can ensure that every week I get closer to achieving my goals.
What are you grateful for? It is easy to come up with things we’re unhappy about in our lives, but what about things we are happy about? Motivation can come from some unlikely places, but it can also come from very likely ones. When you write out a gratitude list you detail things that you don’t take for granted in your life. This has a great effect on your attitude, state-of-mind, well-being, and desire for motivation. I remind myself daily and weekly how much I am grateful for and how much I really do have. (Of course, it has been a crazy rollercoaster over the last year, but I truly can’t focus on the dips/downs; I remind myself to focus on the top/highs!)
Plan Plan Plan
Failing to plan is planning to fail. Create a weekly plan, which will make your goals more real. No matter how small the actions may be, if they get you closer to your goal they should be included. It is great to plan but make sure you track your progress so you can look back to see how far you have come. I create a task list for the week, and I review each day so when I leave the office, I know what I have accomplished for the day! This helps keep me focused on my goals for work and for home.
Develop your why
Get back to your "why?" and remind yourself each day. I know how I think and feel; I am in tune with my motivation. I have been in tune with this since I was a small child. I love to push and challenge myself personally and professionally. I feel I am always trying to push myself out of my comfort zone and doing this helps me stay motivated
Get up earlier, Go to bed earlier, & Meditate
People who are earlier risers tend to accomplish more. During the Pandemic I have found getting plenty of rest and just taking the time to relax has helped me accomplish more. I am a person that is constantly on the go and in the past it has been hard for me to understand people who spend time doing nothing, but this past year I have found that carving out that extra time to just sit in a chair and put my feet on the ground and breathe has helped me eliminate stress. And less stress means more productivity. I get up in the morning relaxed and energized for the day to focus on my goals.
Make your goals (and achieving them) public
If you tell someone or write down your goal, you have essentially made a promise to keep your word. I tend to keep my goals to myself but will let people know once I have achieved a BIG goal I set; this helps me keep going. If I make my goals public then I tend to feel more pressure and stay motivated. As a small business owner, it is not always easy to stay on task and accomplish the goals you have set as many things get in the way. But I know that I will keep chipping away at those goals and will shout it from the mountain top when I have achieved them! That helps me stay motivated.
Eliminate Distractions - Put down your phone
Be present with your goals and don’t waste valuable time. If you are serious about your goals, then you must get serious about just how you use the time that you have. It is hard to stay motivated if you’re constantly engaging in activities that don’t help move you towards those goals. It's a good idea to put distractions aside during the work day, which can include: Your phone, social media, TV, computer games, your pets, your spouse or significant other. When I'm at work I put my phone on silent mode and focus on the task at hand. If you do have your phone on how many times do you pick it up while attempting to complete the task you should be focused on? Is texting or responding to your friend within 2 minutes more important than achieving the goals you set for yourself?
Ditch the perfection
No one is perfect and you will not always be on you’re A-game. That's okay, because if you stay focused and motivated and you will be able to achieve all you want eventually. An aphorism I always try to keep in mind for myself is "to get out on the field and out of the stands". If I am out there trying each day, I should pat myself on the back and realize that not everything will always be perfect.
Get up and get some fresh air
Get the blood flowing through your body! Motion creates emotion, and powerful emotions can arise from activity; enough to help you get and stay motivated.
Motivation in my opinion is a very personal thing and everyone is wired very differently and what helps me stay motivated may derail you. If you do want help with motivation, then find what makes you tick and develop a plan around this. One thing I am confident in: you do need to plan!
“It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop!” - Confucius
More tips to come.