Regardless of the goal, we all know that the key to accomplishing anything is to stay motivated. Often times, the tasks required to reach a final destination are tedious or difficult, and not ones that we enjoy. For example, many business leaders know, and live by, the mantra, “”Entrepreneurs live a few years of their lives like most people won’t, so they can live the rest of their lives like most people can’t’.” So, if you want to build a successful startup, you may have to work longer and harder than someone who is just an employee.
That said, the need to stay motivated does not apply just to business. Dave Ramsey (a businessman, author, radio host, television personality, and motivational speaker) helps people with personal finance and getting out of debt. He teaches that anyone, regardless of one’s income level, can accumulate personal wealth. The key is becoming debt free, living frugally, and saving for the future. Regardless, it does take commitment and persistence. You will need to start cutting coupons for groceries, buying clothes at a consignment shop, getting rid of cable television, stop eating out, and keeping a very strict budget that many people will find challenging. So, in order to follow Ramsey’s plan, you will need to find ways to stay motivated and committed to the goal.
Motivation does not come in a bottle or a pill. However, it is something that every person can tap into. Motivational speakers, like Tony Robbins and many others, have made millions selling people tips on staying motivated. Yet, if you dig into the stories of high achieving people, like billionaire Mark Cuban, we can develop a list of ten things that are essential to staying motivated, whether your goal is to start a business, learn a new language, or lose 50 pounds.
10 Ways To Stay Motivated
1. Take it One Day at a Time
While achieving a goal requires having a long-term plan and vision, most of your energy must be focused on today. One of the big reasons that people cannot stay motivated, and fail to achieve their really big goals, is not developing the daily habits needed to reach their objective. Success does not happen by accident or luck. You need a short list of 4 or 5 things that must be accomplished every day, and create a system for reviewing your progress. Success will not magically manifest. It requires a daily commitment.
2. Surround Yourself with Positivity
The people within your social circle have a big impact on your life. They will influence and impact almost everything going on in your world. So, you want to spend your time with those people who believe you can succeed, support you, and fill you with energy. Many motivational speakers talk about the concept of like attracts like. So, attracting positive people into your life may require some personal introspection. If you have a positive attitude, you will attract positive people into your sphere. On the other hand, if you focus only on the negative, you will attract those who reinforce those thoughts. All that said, surrounding yourself with positivity may require that you have the strength to cut certain friends and family out of your life.
3. Create a Vision Board
A vision board is a tool to help keep you focused, and it will consistently remind you what you are working toward. Essentially, the point is to have a visual representation of your goal to give you clarity. It is used as a daily affirmation that will keep you centered on your intentions. Regardless, this can be a fun and creative project. Start with a corkboard, cardboard, or any other sort of board. Then grab some magazines or go to the computer to find photos of who you want to be in the future. You can also find or write-down sentences or phrases that affirm your intentions. Affix all the images on your vision board, and hang it somewhere that will cause you to see it every day.
4. Make S.M.A.R.T. Goals
All success is based on setting and accomplishing goals. Without defining your objectives, life would simply be out of control. Every accomplishment requires having a vision and creating a map for achieving your desired result. The SMART method of setting goals is a well-established technique that brings structure and accountability to your intentions. Rather than having a vague aim. SMART’s goal framework constructs a clear pathway towards an objective, and will include obvious benchmarks and milestones with an assessment of the goal’s achievability. So, what does SMART stand for?
S – Specific:
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Realistic
T – Trackable
5. Reward Yourself
Rewards are a classic and powerful method for helping to stay motivated and achieving goals. For example, many people who are trying to become fit and lose weight will reward themselves with a weekly “cheat meal”. Essentially, it is a way of linking progress with happiness. The foundation of this strategy is being specific and building your reward into your plan. So, you will not receive the reward if (and only if) you keep your workout schedule and follow your healthy meal plan. Otherwise, you just won’t get it.
I suggest using three types: small weekly rewards, medium-sized monthly rewards, and large annual rewards. A small weekly reward is something along the lines of a candy bar or your favorite dinner. A medium-sized monthly reward is more substantial, like going out to a restaurant or buying a new pair of jeans. Finally, large annual rewards are significant and can include things like a vacation trip or buying yourself a motorcycle.
6. Believe in Yourself
Ultimately, you have the power to control your life. The strength needed to reach your dreams comes from within. Therefore, you must have faith in yourself. All the goal setting and mapping are meaningless if you don’t trust and believe in yourself. Every person has the ability to achieve incredible things in their life. That said, we do have obstacles that stand in our way which will need to be overcome. Nothing will ever seem to work right or go your way if your inner voice is not telling you that you can do it.
If you don’t believe that you can make your ideas work, they won’t. We all have to deal with uncertainty. But, as Cavin Coolidge once stated, “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
7. Acknowledge Your Positive Attributes
There are many people who focus only on their weaknesses or negative attributes. Knowing that these things are a part of you helps increase your level of self-awareness. Yet, knowing what makes you special, what sets you apart, and what you do best is even more beneficial. This can save you time and energy from relearning a skill you already know. Also, identifying what you are really good out can assist you to branch out in different directions. Finally, acknowledging your positive attributes will improve your self-confidence and make you a happy person, which you will need to achieve your success.
8. Recognize Your Progress
Tracking your progress is a critical aspect of keeping focused and to stay motivated. For many people, it is not a lack of ability which causes them to fail, it is that they lost track of what they were trying to achieve. Moreover, if you don’t recognize your progress, you are more likely to focus your attention on your shortcomings or missed benchmarks. It doesn’t matter that this week you fell short. What is important is how far you have come. Also, tracking progress will empower you to see patterns in your results. As a consequence, you can better adjust your goal setting to create more realistic milestones, which, in the long run, will help give you a better chance at achieving ultimate success.
9. Visualize Accomplishing Your Goals
Simply put, visualization is the practice of creating a mental image for your desired goal. Essentially, what does success look like to you? If you are able to see the final outcome, you can also see yourself performing the acts required to achieve it. If you have read anything about the Law of Attraction, this is really what is meant by attracting into your life what you place your attention on. However, this is not a bunch of New Age mumbo-jumbo. Visualization is a well-established technique used by successful people within every field and backed by a significant amount of scientific evidence. It works because the brain reacts to imaginary action in a similar way to real-life action. As a result, you can develop learned behaviors without completing the physical activity.
10. Be Kind to Yourself
Every successful person will tell you that failure is part of the journey. The best salesperson in the world will hear ‘no’ more than they will hear ‘yes’. Every self-made millionaire will have a list of business ventures that did not pan out, and may have even filed for bankruptcy at least once in their life. Do not beat yourself up just because things are not working out the way you planned. We often only see the successful outcome of others, but not the pitfalls and struggles that a person goes through to get there. It is important to acknowledge and embrace mistakes, shortcomings, and failures. But, once you have, it is time to let them go and move forward.
Stay Motivated Bonus: Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
Finally, don’t compare yourself to others. At the end of everything, you are in competition with no one but yourself. From time to time, we all find ourselves comparing our progress and success to other people. Nevertheless, this can become emotionally damaging and stifle your motivation. While competition with others can become a good source of motivation, left uncontrolled, it can also cause self-doubt and disappointment. Further, what we typically see from others is an edited version of their reality, and not what is really going on behind the scenes. As a result, these comparisons will do nothing and will not help you achieve your goals. The better option is focusing all your attention and energy on achieving your own success.
Do you have questions? What topics have we not covered yet that are important to you? If you would like to discuss how to stay motivated and accomplish anything, or a related topic, please leave a comment below.