People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.
Every morning I consult a few resources to find good quotes to post on my Facebook page and twitter account. In the process of searching for these quotes I came across this gem by Zig Ziglar (above). It rings very true, and I’ve seen it in some of my clients as well. When they leave the session they are motivated, positive, and ready to take on the world! When I see them again a week later, or check in to see how they are doing with their action steps, they have lost their motivation… it barely lasted a day.
The central problem is that the world is filled with naysayers, failures and challenges. Whenever you start a new project, or try to change a part of yourself, there will be enough people around you to tell you that your pursuit is not worth it, or that you are not good enough. Not only those around you will be negative about you, but you yourself will become negative too, we all have negative stuff we say to ourselves! And then, once you hit that first obstacle, or fail in a significant way, you lose sight of your goal. Our obstacles can become so big, that we lose perspective. The problems we face become so big that they eclipse the positives of reaching our goals.
There are a four things that are central to motivation: purpose, perspective, positivity, and perseverance. You can call them the “4 P’s” if you want, whatever.
We need to understand what motivation is before we can dive into a worthwhile discussion on motivation. The dictionary defines motivation as “a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way.” So, when I say purpose is central to motivation, I mean that you have to know the reasons for doing what you do. The benefit of this is that when you face an obstacle or challenge, you will be less likely to be dissuaded from your course of action. The challenges won’t be smaller, but a pain with a purpose is way more bearable than pain without.
To get the purpose part of motivation right, do the following:
- Figure out what things in life is really important to you. A life coach will be of great benefit here 😉
- Think of a goal that will bring more of these important stuff into your life.
- Think of at least 10 reasons why you would want to achieve your goal.
- Think of at least 10 bad things that will happen (or keep happening) if you don’t.
Once you know the purpose for doing what you are doing, it is important to keep your perspective right. It is important to focus on your motivation, your reasons. When the challenges becomes overwhelming we sometimes forget why we are in it, we lose focus and start drifting. We choose the path of least resistance rather than the one that will lead to success. It is therefore important to keep your perspective and focus on your goals so that you might achieve success.
Here’s some tips to keep your perspective:
- Write down your goal and reasons..
- Stick these up somewhere prominent.
- Make a point of reading your goals and reasons at least once a day (it’s like bathing once day, thanks mr Ziglar).
- Remind yourself of your reasons every time you feel motivation slip.
- Find people who will be supportive and tell them what you want to do and why.
When the challenges hit, it is important to not get suckered into the whole negative shabang that usually comes with it. Humans are hardwired to see the negative things first, but in order to keep your motivation up, you will have to look past that. You will have to look deeply into the situation and see the opportunities in the challenge. This can be done through a process called ‘reframing.’ Most life coaches are excellent at reframing, so having a life coach is very beneficial to your motivation.
There is no easy to follow steps on this one. Positive thinking is a discipline and takes practice. A good idea is to think of the positive sides whenever you hear about a negative situation. If you’re a politician just keep your positive sides to yourself when it comes to sensitive issues ;).
I am reminded of a story about Florence Chadwick. She was swimming across the ocean for a distance of 21 miles in dense fog. After 15 hours and 55 minutes she gave up, and asked the people in her support boat to pull her out of the the water. It turned out that she was less than a mile from her destination, and if she stayed in the water for a few more minutes, she would have made it. She even told the media afterwards, that if it wasn’t for the fog, she would not have given up.
This story not only ties in well with my earlier points on Perspective, but it also goes to show how important it is to persevere. You are probably closer to overcoming your challenge, or reaching your goal than you think you are. Even if you are not, a little perseverance will go a long way. Don’t give up.
Perseverance is also a discipline and needs to be practiced. Meditation and exercise are 2 great ways to up your perseverance game. They are both easy to measure, and can be done daily. If you want build a new habit, or break an old one, you have another opportunity for some excellent perseverance practice.
When you do fail, remember that failure is just another waypoint to success. Don’t beat yourself up, just keep going at it. If you continually fail at the same thing, change your approach.
I hope this article makes it easier for you too stay motivated. If you have more ideas on how to keep your motivation, feel free to share it in the comments.