After over fifteen years of learning how to keep people motivated and moving, teaching on daily basis, leading workshops, heading a business, being a wife, a mother, and keeping a regular exercise routine, I stopped and asked myself: What do I do to keep myself motivated? So after reflecting on it, I thought I would share my vision on How to Get Motivated.
When you begin a challenge, whether getting into shape, learning how to play cello, sailing single-handed around the world, revising hard for important exams, or simply getting out of bed in the morning, you will need motivation to reach your goal. You might know exactly what it is you want and what you need to do to achieve it, but as soon as the challenge peaks and you begin to struggle, that sense of determination can start to to waver. Unfortunately, without the motivation to get started and keep going, you are unlikely to ever achieve your goals.
Motivation starts with an impulse to change or do something. It requires desire – how much do you really want to achieve that goal? You might really want something – but will that be enough to stop you giving up when times get seriously tough? How naturally each stage comes to you will depend heavily on the kind of person you are. What makes you tick? What grabs your interest? What drives you to do the things you do?
I like challenges, that is what drives me. Challenges that lead to the fulfillment of my dreams. Dreams that can be simple as living in the middle of nature, having quality time with my family, to the complex ones like building up a stable and successful business that will impact people’s lives/health for better. It doesn’t really matter the “size” of a challenge, they all have something in common: you gotta have motivation to work towards its achievement.
Motivation is literally the desire to do things. It’s the difference between waking up before the sunrise and lazing around the house all day. It’s the crucial element in setting and attaining goals—and research shows you can influence your own levels of motivation and self-control. So figure out what you want, power through the pain period, and start being who you want to be.
When I talk to clients and students, one of their most common issues is the difficulty in getting motivated.
This article has a list of tips and tricks that, if used in combination, are a nearly sure way to achieve your goals and consequently get you motivated.
1. JUST GET STARTED
There are some days when you don’t feel like heading out the door for exercising, or figuring out your budget, or whatever it is you’re supposed to do that day for your goal. Well, instead of thinking about how hard it is, and how long it will take, tell yourself that you just have to start.
I have a rule (not an original one) that I just have to go down to the floor and start doing my exercise routine. Exactly: simply down to the floor and start moving! After that, it all flows naturally. It’s when you’re sitting in your house, thinking about doing it and feeling tired, that it seems hard. Once you start, it is never as hard as you thought it would be. This tip works for me every time.
2. MAKE IT A PLEASURE
One reason we might put off something that will help us achieve our goal, such as exercise for example, is because it seems like hard work. Well, this might be true, but the key is to find a way to make it fun or pleasurable. If your goal activity becomes a treat, you actually look forward to it. And that’s a good thing.
3. GIVE IT TIME, BE PATIENT
I know, this is easier said than done. But the problem with many of us is that we expect quick results. When you think about your goals, think long term. If you want to lose weight, you may see some quick initial losses, but it will take a long time to lose the rest. If you want to run a marathon, you won’t be able to do it overnight. If you don’t see the results you want soon, don’t give up … give it time. In the meantime, be happy with your progress so far, and with your ability to stick with your goals. The results will come if you give it time.
4. BREAK IT INTO SMALLER, MINI GOALS
Sometimes large or longer-term goals can be overwhelming. After a couple weeks, we may lose motivation, because we still have several months or a year or more left to accomplish the goal. It’s hard to maintain motivation for a single goal for such a long time. Solution: have smaller goals along the way.
5. REWARD YOURSELF
Often. And not just for longer-term goals, either. Above, I talked about breaking larger goals into smaller, mini goals. Well, each of those mini goals should have a reward attached to it. Make a list of your goals, with mini goals, and next to each, write down an appropriate reward.
6. FIND INSPIRATION
On a daily basis. Inspiration is one of the best motivators, and it can be found everywhere. Every day, seek inspiration, and it will help sustain motivation over the long term. Sources of inspiration can include: blogs, online success stories, forums, friends and family, magazines, books, quotes, music, photos, people you meet.
7. GET A COACH OR TAKE A CLASS
These will motivate you to at least show up, and to take action. It can be applied to any goal. This might be one of the more expensive ways of motivating yourself, but it works. And if you do some research, you might find some cheap classes in your area, or you might know a friend who will provide coaching or counseling for free.
8. HAVE POWERFUL REASONS.
Write them down. Know your reasons. Give them some thought … and write them down. If you have loved ones, and you are doing it for them, that is more powerful than just doing it for self-interest. Doing it for yourself is good too, but you should do it for something that you REALLY REALLY want to happen, for really good reasons.
9. VISUALIZE YOUR GOAL
Clearly, on a daily basis, for at least 5-10 minutes. Visualize your successful outcome in great detail. Close your eyes, and think about exactly how your successful outcome will look, will feel, will smell and taste and sound like. Where are you when you become successful? How do you look? What are you wearing? Form as clear a mental picture as possible. Now here’s the next key: do it every day. For at least a few minutes each day. This is the only way to keep that motivation going over a long period of time.
10.ALWAYS THINK POSITIVE
This is the most important one! This is my mantra. Monitor your thoughts. Be aware of your self-talk. We all talk to ourselves, a lot, but we are not always aware of these thoughts. Start listening. If you hear negative thoughts, stop them, push them out, and replace them with positive thoughts. Positive thinking can be amazingly powerful.
Remember to become aware of your urges to quit, and be prepared for them. We all have urges to stop, but they are mostly unconscious. One of the most powerful things you can do is to start being more conscious of those urges. Don’t create obstacles, be the change you want to see.
We all need to find our own incentives to do things in life. Self-discipline is difficult and takes a lot of control and practise – and we all give in to our temptations sometimes! Achieving goals is not a matter of only having “discipline”. It’s a matter of motivating yourself, and keeping your focus on your goal. Follow these tips, or any combination of them that works for you, and you should have the motivation and focus you need. Zen Habits says so! And just get started. You’ll thank yourself later.
CEO and Movement Lifestyle Coach