What is it that makes you try to achieve your goals? or simply why do you get up every day? The answers to these and many other questions can help you understand what motivates you. But on many occasions, we’re not clear about it. So, what even is motivation?
Motivation is the force that drives people to keep moving towards their goals and face problems, challenges and adversities. Unfortunately, we’re not always motivated to achieve our personal and professional goals, and due to this variability in our motivation, we'll show some tips and tricks to guide you through the process of getting your motivation back... or just increasing your motivation a bit to knockout your competition!
How self-motivation works
The reason why it is often difficult to achieve our goals is the lack of self-motivation. Self-motivation is the ability to extract the necessary drive from oneself to carry out our tasks and it is one of the key elements that make up emotional intelligence. People who develop this ability are more likely to reach their goals, are more independent and have high self-esteem because they are able to overcome problems, generate solutions and persevere.
In other words, it is being able to give yourself the interest, the reasons and the enthusiasm necessary to continue with your projects… And yes, it is something that is available to everyone!
You just need to develop self-motivation habits. In fact, due to the lack of habits that bring us closer to our goals, we lose motivation as we don't see tangible results. But, if you get new habits you can motivate yourself to achieve your business and personal goals.
How do we add a new habit to our lives without giving it up after a few days? The first thing you need is a work plan.
1. Have a plan
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” - Benjamin Franklin.
If your work plan contains enough details and deadlines within your schedule, it’s a matter of following your plan closely, without stopping to doubt what the next steps are.
Find yourself an agenda and start designing your week today, and then simply follow the instructions that you set for yourself just like you let a GPS bring you closer to your destination. This will motivate you to start taking action and get closer to your goals.
2. Positive (but realistic) thinking
“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.” - Andrew Carnegie.
Motivation depends primarily on your thoughts. Based on your expectations, you’ll be able to move forward, and if you think you can achieve it or not, your motivation will increase or decrease.
There are people who, in the face of adversity, choose to see problems, and others interpret reality as a challenge, so depending on how you interpret events, you can motivate or demotivate yourself. For this reason, it’s important to maintain a positive attitude and thinking, but be careful you don’t create unreal fantasies and expect that the cosmos is going to align on our side.
On the contrary, reality will not change overnight, but you will feel more motivated and you could achieve your goals if you work on changing your thinking in ways that motivate you. You will never eliminate the possibility of failure. However, thoughts that inspire you to take action are more likely to achieve your goals than having thought to demotivate you.
In any case, you’ll have to take action to get more confidence and learn how to face your challenges in life and work. That way your thoughts and actions will take you closer to your goal and you may end up achieving your goals.
3. Setting suitable goals
“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.” —Bill Copeland.
Many people set very long-term goals and after a while, they become discouraged because they don't achieve their goals. Our advice here is trying to set short/medium-term goals linked to a “macro” goal because achieving short and medium-term goals encourages you.
When we think about goals, we almost always think about the final destination we want to achieve and rarely we stop to think about the how, but to maintain motivation, you’ll need to set goals properly, broadly speaking, your goals must meet the following characteristics:
- Realistic but challenging
- Concrete and measurable (quantifiable and not ambiguous or general)
- Divisible in long-medium-short term
4. Record of progress
“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” - Pablo Picasso.
Many times, people start out very motivated to achieve their goals, but as time goes by, that motivation gradually declines and disappears. Normally our objectives are usually in the medium and long term so that on a day-to-day basis we do not usually assess our progress. Therefore, keeping a daily record of the short-term achievements that you are achieving will help you realize your progress and generate even more motivation.
It’s fundamental that, even if you’re focused, your daily actions are congruent with the goal. For example, if your goal is to become a web developer, if you’re not practicing frequently, you won't achieve your goals. Make sure you’re on the right track to reach it and if you are not, you’re always on time to correct your course.
5. Small rewards
“The honors and rewards fall to those who show their good qualities in action” - Aristotle.
While everything goes as we want, it’s very easy to continue, the real challenge comes when things start to go wrong. In those moments is when all those negative thoughts arise.
You can motivate yourself by taking a time off or rewarding your small achievements with a piece of chocolate cake or anything else that gets you in a better mood. However, you should set this reward in advance by the achievement of a specific objective, not by a simple "I deserve it", since, if it is not, this reward will lose force.
Indeed, small rewards and recognition is what motivates human in everyday life and motivated people are 43% more productive (BrandonGaille).
6. Visualize your success
“Visualization works if you work hard. That’s the thing. You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich” - Jim Carrey.
A widely used technique is visualization. It basically consists of trying to imagine yourself achieving the goal that you have set for yourself, try to feel what you would feel, think what you would think.
Your brain has a hard time differentiating what is real from what’s not, so it will react as if it were real. If you know how good you would feel if you achieved your goals, you are more likely to keep working towards them. Visualize your success for a few minutes each day to keep your motivation booming. So, it will help you get some motivation, but you need to get mentors or look for information to look for ways to make your dreams come true.
“I think goals should never be easy, they should force you to work, even if they are uncomfortable at the time.” — Michael Phelps
How difficult it is sometimes to maintain consistency. There is always going to be a "lazy" day in which we’re not going to meet our objectives and it is understandable. But, don't make this exception a rule.
Consistency is a bridge between desire and fulfillment. Indeed, perseverance on a day-to-day basis is the key to accomplish great achievements in life. You can achieve success by creating habits and repeating the same actions everyday. You'll feel more confident about achieving your goals and you’ll be able to increase your skills little by little until you start to see results and being aware that now your goals are not that hard to achieve.
You have to be clear about why you do it. If you keep in mind the reasons that led you to make a decision, it’s easier for you to make use of these reasons in times of "downturn"... whatever the reason, keep it in mind and try to convince yourself to improve even more.
8. Compete to improve yourself
“I have been up against tough competition all my life. I wouldn't know how to get along without it”. - Walt Disney
Competing against others is a motivator for many people and a healthy competition with a friend, a partner will encourage you to improve and surpass your competitors and improve your skills.
But remember, this is not your main objective, only a help, don't obsess with comparing yourself daily, it should only be a support from time to time and, in the end, the greatest motivation is to compete against oneself.
9. Do what you enjoy and enjoy what you do, if not do it anyway
"The law of work seems unfair, but nothing can change it; the more enjoyment you get out of your work, the more money you will make." - Mark Twain
There are activities which we love doing and if you can do what you love, you get motivation effortlessly. If you can do something you are passionate about on a daily basis, you’ll perform better and this will keep you motivated.
On the contrary, there are times when you have little energy and you will have to perform tasks that you don't like. In these cases, force yourself to do it, don't think about whether you feel like doing it or not. In fact, you don't need to "feel like it" to do things. We all do many things throughout the day that we don't feel like doing and we do them anyway, and once we do them, we realize that they are not so bad.
“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” – Bruce Lee
Meditation, especially mindfulness, helps you to focus the mind on the present, in the here and now, on what we are doing at this moment. It consists of sitting and observing your breathing for a few minutes, letting the thoughts pass, seeing them as an observer. For 5 minutes you sit in a comfortable position, in a chair or on the floor, and start a process by which you dedicate yourself to observing your breathing, how air enters and leaves, the resistances encountered, the movement of the body when breathing ... and that's it. We focus on physical perceptions, putting rational thought aside.
Why should I do this? Letting your mind rest a bit and stop feeling emotions will allow your body and mind to recharge and get new energy, and having more energy your productivity will grow too.
11. Ask for help if you need it
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” ― Charles Dickens.
If you need help, ask for it. Depending on your goal, you'll need one type of help or another. It may be from a professional such as a psychologist, trainer, physiotherapist, nutritionist... someone with experience in a similar objective to yours or someone close to you who simply helps you in times of need.
Deciding to achieve your goals and knowing what’s best for you is the more important guidance in your business and personal life. No distractions will get you away from your goals. It won't be a bed of roses, but it's not impossible either.