It is very frustrating and even discouraging to set a goal, start out strong, ride the wave of motivation for a couple weeks, only to then crash and burn when that wave eventually hits shore and washes out. It is easy to be envious of the people who seemingly have endless motivation and energy to chase down their goals and dreams, but why limit yourself with self-doubt and this form of scarcity thinking? You too have the ability to harness that same human potential and fire up a furnace of motivation that burns long after the start of your new goal and even forms into something stronger and more life lasting that motivation: internal drive.
make your goals visible
One of the best ways to believe something into reality is to a) write it down and, b) put it where you can see it everyday. Start by first writing out your goals, this will help clear your focus and may even help you identify what led to past failure (if this is a repeat goal). If you don't know where to begin, you may find this worksheet helpful.
Next, pick one or two of the goals that resonate most with you. These can either be outcome goals (the ultimate prize) or process goals (the small carrots along the way). It is often more helpful to put the carrots out, as it feels good to achieve that particular goal, check it off, and then refresh it by writing another.
These two simple steps make your goal more than a wish and something you want to achieve and have already started working towards by writing it down and placing it where you can see it. In Strength's Finder 2.0, author Tom Rath writes, "Take time to think about the future. The more time you spend considering your ideas about the future, the more vivid your ideas will become. The more vivid your ideas, the more persuasive you will be." And we may all agree, that sometimes it is ourselves who we need to persuade most.
Cultivate A Proactive Mindset
Turn inactivity or reactivity into proactivity. An inactive state is one in which you find yourself potentially paralyzed by fear, uncertainty, self-doubt, or comfort and may no longer feel challenged or fulfilled at the end of the day because of this. You are where you are, too comfortable or scared to go anywhere else. A reactive state is just as bad. You've fallen into step with the flow of society: traffic patterns, average thinking and goals, falling in line circuit training at the gym, feeling like work is monotonous, waking up and coming home to the same routines, etc. Nothing feels particularly uplifting besides your evening show and paycheck.
Contrarily, in a proactive state we actively seek to learn. This could be learning new skills, about other people, new places, and obviously, new knowledge. Some ways you can be proactive today:
Become Obsessed With Progress
In this book, Be Obsessed or Be Average, Grant Cardone states, "Quitting has become normal. So many people set their sights on what it takes to just get by instead of setting their sights on what it takes to thrive and prosper and set their sights on a course to be successful." Part of the problem as well, is that the majority of us don't like to be uncomfortable, when in reality that is the only way to grow. The discipline it takes to remain consistent in our good habits eventually falls victim to the draw of our old comforts.
Don't get caught in the trap of stressing yourself out with the thought of needing to consistently take action to avoid falling back into the black hole, instead transplant this fear with obsession and addiction to the thought of improvements and progress. These thoughts will keep you hungry for the work required, a much better and motivating feeling than dread! Finally, celebrate the small successes: able to do 5 more push ups than two weeks ago? Sweet! Finished your audiobook? Yes! Cooked that new recipe for a group of friends and they loved it? Oh yeah! And so on... a win is a win is a win, no matter how big or small.
Find an Encourager
Having accountability in your life is positive, yet occasionally annoying. We can all probably think of someone who nagged us into hating the positive thing they were trying to enforce; namely, a parent, spouse, or perhaps Type A friend. Avoid recruiting this type of accountability partner because ultimately, this is not their role in your life and unless you have made this goal together, they will run out of energy to encourage you along the way and eventually come to see it as a chore that isn't as important to them as it is you.
This is where professionals come in, and not necessarily the type you have to pay for. Find a mentor in your area, they often will help you free of charge as a way to pay forward the help they received in the past. Link up with someone who attends a mutual place of interest, say at one of those evening meet up groups, who wants your support as much as you want theirs. Or bite the bullet and hire a professional, like a personal trainer or dietitian to help you filter through all the misinformation bouncing around the internet and to get you on the right track once and for all.
Incorporate even one or two of these action items into a daily routine and you are going to keep that motivation fire warm. Become great at all four, and you will have a hot burning fire that eventually evolves into lifelong internal drive as you become one of those people you were once envious of.
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