Ten Tips for Mastering Motivation
I. Find your focus Know what you are trying to achieve. The more specific you are, the more targeted your efforts can be. The more targeted your efforts can be, the more clearly you can see how they are leading you towards your goals. It is easier to stay motivated when you can see where your hard work is taking you. A fuzzy focus, on the other hand, will lead to scattered efforts and wasted energy. When you feel like you are on a hamster wheel, motivation sags. II. Make it manageable If what you are doing seems unbearably big and heavy, you are taking on too much at once. You need to make it more manageable. Try this. Starting with your long-term goal, ask, "What needs to be in place in order for me to achieve that? What systems do I need to develop? What knowledge do I need? What skills do I need to develop? Who do I need to know?" Take the answers to each of those and ask, "What steps do I need to take to make each of those happen?" If the steps are still too big, keep breaking them down until you have steps that are immediately doable. This reverse engineering approach has the added benefit of helping you see specifically how each step you take will move you towards your long-term goals. III. Celebrate your successes We often get so wrapped up in doing and achieving that we forget to acknowledge what we have accomplished. That is a shame, because celebrating your successes and marking your milestones is vital to staying motivated. Celebrating your success both large and small reinforces your belief in yourself and your ability to accomplish your goals. Feeding that belief helps you feel ready to take on the next challenge. It also focuses your attention on the fact that you are making real progress. When you can not see the progress, you start to feel bogged down, like you are spinning your wheels. Celebrating your success lets you look at what you have done and say, "All this effort really is taking me where I want to go." IV. Take a break Sometimes the best recipe for motivation is to simply stop what you are doing and do something else. Letting your brain take a break, whether that means going away on vacation or simply focusing on something else for a few minutes, can have a powerful restorative effect. When something starts to feel like a mandatory chore rather than something you enjoy, you feel resistance and have to waste energy pushing yourself to do it. Giving yourself permission to take a break can let you come back to it with a fresh mind. V. Have fun Repeat after me. This.isn not.serious. Whatever you do in this life, remember to have fun! Don not get so caught up in pursuing your goals that you forget to enjoy it. Step back and ask yourself, "Is this fun? When was the last time I laughed?" When something is fun, you feel more motivated to do it. What can you do to build fun into your work? More than that, what can you do to build fun into your life? It is easier to be motivated to carry a light load than a heavy one. You can lighten whatever load you are carrying with fun. VI. Remind yourself why you are doing it. Stop right now and ask yourself, "Why am I doing this? What is the payoff of reaching my goal? How does it benefit me? What will life be like?" Remind yourself of the answer to those questions frequently. Don not lose yourself in the mundane day-to-day effort it takes to turn your dreams into reality. Keep your efforts tied to the big picture benefit of what you are working to create. VII. Don not do it alone Whatever you do as you pursue your dream job, don not try to do it all yourself because.well.you can not. There will always be some point where you need the support of others. Others can play numerous motivating roles. They might offer an ear to listen to both your hopes and frustrations, or help you get clarity so you have a clear focus. They could hold you accountable for what you commit to. Or they might simply inspire you with what they have achieved in their own journey. Ask yourself, "Where can I turn for motivation?" VIII. Help others If you feel overwhelmed and up to your eyeballs in the challenges of creating the life you want, try turning your attention to helping others. Helping makes us feel good. Studies show that it is actually a source of energy, an effect sometimes referred to as a "helper high." When we feel good about ourselves and what were doing, it is easier to stay motivated. Helping others also breaks us out of the rut we create by over-focusing on our own journey. It is easy to get so entangled in our own process that our problems seem much larger, and much more impossible, than they really are. Helping others especially those with challenges larger than our own helps put things in perspective. IX. De-clutter Look at your life. Do you see any clutter? It might be physical clutter (a messy desk, disorganized paperwork, etc.), financial clutter (balanced your checkbook lately?) or even emotional clutter. Wherever the clutter is, it is a sure bet that that it is draining your energy and getting in the way. Clutter distracts us. It makes it hard to focus. Dealing with it siphons off energy that could be put towards staying motivated to move forward. Where is the clutter in your life? What steps can you take to reduce it? X. Develop healthy habits Whatever you want to do in this life, your body is the machine with which you will make it happen. How effective that machine is depends on how well you maintain it, and the quality of the fuel you use to power it. Healthy habits, like a nutritious diet and regular exercise, ensure that you can get the most out of that machine. Unhealthy habits on the other hand, will gum up the gears. The more energy you have, and the better you feel, the easier it is to stay motivated.