Ways to Get and Stay Motivated
Most self-help gurus would have you believe they jump out of bed motivated and ready to attack life, each day with a positive attitude. Reality is much farther from this fantasy, as everyone’s motivation waxes and wanes from time to time; it is part of the human experience.
Each day there are challenges to our motivation. Beginning with the dreadful feeling, when the alarm clock rings, signaling the start of a new day. Isn’t it amazing how heavy we feel immediately upon waking up, as if lead weights are pulling us down sinking deeper and deeper into our bed; just raising our arm to hit the sleep button can feel like a herculean task. Yes, as we know, real life isn’t purely filled with roses and rainbows.
So, how do we overcome the inertia and muster the energy to get moving? How do we build the momentum of motivation in our lives? How do we get up and stay motivated with the everyday dynamic ups and downs of life?
After all, motivation comes from within us,not from outside of us. No matter how much someone tries to coax or extract motivation from us, it is not possible to fuel sustained motivation by external forces. True motivation can only come from within.
How does one ignite the spark to get motivated while continually stoking the fire to stimulate motivation each day? The answer is by implementing five surefire, time-tested, proven ways to get and stay motivated:
1. Set Clearly Defined Written Goals
"Something magical happens when we put down what we want on a piece of paper, verbalize it, visualize it, define it, and allow ourselves to experience it...We can program ourselves to have it!" – Ken Poirot, Mentor Me
Part of the magic that happens when we formulate and write down a goal is we create something to be motivated—our purpose. Without a purpose there is nothing to get motivated, so this is the first step in order to create and maintain our motivation.
Set and define written goals for yourself. If you have not done it already, take out a blank piece of paper and write down a goal (or goals) for yourself. All the elements and nuances of goal setting are beyond the scope of this article. There are entire books on the subject of proper goal setting including the first foundational chapter of the book I wrote, Mentor Me. So if you need help with this step, there are plenty of resources out there to help you properly formulate and set goals.
Motivation begins with having a goal (or goals) in mind, so one is working toward something deeply meaningful in life. This is the most important step in the process of securing the inner drive to get and stay motivated.
2. Keep a Physical Weekly Calendar and Use Time Blocking
Once you have a set and defined written goal then you can plan your schedule accordingly to achieve it. Keep a physical weekly calendar so you can easily view and plan your schedule for each week.
Put the most important tasks on your calendar first, the tasks which directly help you obtain your goal(s). Block off and allocate specific amounts of time for these tasks, with a beginning time and an end time. Protect these time blocks on your calendar; do not allow yourself to get distracted or taken off task. During those set time blocks concentrate all your energy on completing only that scheduled activity. This will help you stay efficient and productive while moving you one more completed activity closer to achieving your goal(s).
Just by having the knowledge you are methodically getting closer to obtaining your goal, will fuel the fire of motivation in your life.
3. Create Daily Lists
In addition to your weekly planned calendar, other daily errands and responsibilities will pop up that need to be fulfilled.
Make a daily list of the tasks you will complete each day and carry it with you so nothing will be overlooked; it is also your physical reminder that you are ultimately in control of your success. There is great satisfaction in checking or crossing off each activity placed on your daily list. This will go a long way in keeping you focused and you will feel a sense of accomplishment, which is helpful in maintaining your motivation.
4. Reward Yourself for Goal Achievement
Once you achieve a goal, reward yourself! Rewards are very personal and can be anything from taking a vacation, buying a new car, having an evening at your favorite hot spot or restaurant, etc… Whatever the reward you choose for yourself, enjoy the moment and celebrate your achievement. After all, you earned it!
A reward is a great way to motivate yourself and it gives you a tangible experience which will inspire continued motivation.
5. Review Your Schedule Each Week
I learned something quite spectacular by trial and error. Every Sunday night (since my week started on a Monday), I would take fifteen to twenty minutes to physically open up my calendar and mentally walk through each day of my upcoming week. I found this activity is most helpful and effective right before bedtime.
Psychologists will tell you one of the benefits of sleep is the brain processes and sorts information during this time.This mental processing and sorting of your upcoming week will do wonders for your motivation, come Monday morning.
The Sundays I reviewed my weekly calendar right before bedtime, I woke up energized and ready to attack my week for success. The weeks I skipped this task, it took me days of feeling generally “off”.Until, I became fully engaged in my week.
Take just fifteen to twenty minutes right before you go to bed, the night before your week starts. Mentally walk through your weekly calendar. You will wake up ready to take on your week, like a guided missile toward goal achievement, completely fired up with motivation.
By incorporating the five ways, you will rekindle the motivation within and keep its fire burning throughout any challenges in life.