Motivation is a concept I have wrestled with for a long time and something I struggle with daily. My main issue with it as a concept is that it gets mixed in with many other attributes which are then packaged as motivation and sold as something we should possess, but in many ways it is unobtainable and then we are made to feel guilty for not reaching a certain standard. Nowadays we are bombarded with the ‘massive’ achievements people have accomplished and it’s made to look easy and attainable, but we don’t see the behind the scenes process which is hard and tiring and often involves many other people.
Put simply motivation is ‘a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way’. The key everyone is searching for is how to motivate themselves and others, which is not a one size fits all answer and in reality something that needs to be agile and flexible.
People love the feeling of being motivated but are less enthused to put in the work to do something about that feeling. For me, the key to achieving this is habit and regular application. I’ve tried to summarise some useful advice that helps me when I need that extra boost.
Start now, there is always tomorrow, but will you do it? Reverse one day to day one.
Review and modify, If something isn’t working don’t automatically dismiss it, break it down and analyse why it isn’t working and adjust you method then review again. For example, if you are struggling to do something change the time or location or frequency you are doing it and see if that has any effect.
Accept that you are making progress, big goals take time and often involve rejection, falls and getting back up again and again. This is going to create resilience and make you stronger.
Don’t compare yourself, this is the biggest thief of joy, peoples’ lives are not everything you see on social media that’s the highlights reel with good filters and not the true picture, always remember this and focus on what you are doing.
Be realistic, setting too many unrealistic goals is going to have the opposite effect to what you want. You are not going to learn a language, get your dream job and become an expert tennis player in six months.
Acknowledge there will be sacrifices, you are investing in making a change if you want to lead a healthier lifestyle you are going to need to change eating and fitness habits. There could be financial consequences and of course, you will lose time. Once you decide it is what you want you are halfway there.
Continually educate yourself, watch a TED talk, read a book, go to an evening class. The great thing now is so many of these resources are available for free and can be accessed remotely.
Share your goals, putting what you want out there is a way of positively affirming that you want to achieve success.
Celebrate successes, all too often when we achieve something we do not accept or celebrate it enough before adding ten more actions to the list (something I am very guilty of). Take some time to appreciate what you accomplished. It helps to keep a record of it so you can look back and see how well you are doing.
I recently started a new job, I had been wanting to change direction and move into a new role for a long time. During the job searching process, I was really struggling to find the time and motivation for this task, it felt like such a big effort and was completely overwhelming. I would say I would work on it at home then go home feeling tired and do nothing, feel guilty then repeat this cycle. A technique that worked for me was little and often, again establishing a habit. I would go to the library straight after work and try and work on a task for at least half an hour and take it from there. For example one day I would search for job opportunities, the next start to prepare an application, the next network on LinkedIn. I liked to do these tasks on certain days and thus a habit formed.
I hope this advice helps, it really is a constant journey and I would love to hear how other stay motivated. Good luck in reaching your goals!