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In this article, we will go over the following things: –
- Definition and misconceptions about motivation
- Why you don’t feel motivated
- How to motivate yourself
- How to remain motivated
- Bonus Tips
What is motivation?
Before we begin anything, let’s understand what motivation really means. One of the biggest misconception about motivation is that everyone believes they can be motivated WITHOUT a goal.
What is motivation? Motivation is basically the desire and the enthusiasm to achieve a particular goal. Motivation is the positive spirit that you have to achieve something in life. Hence, how can you expect to be motivated if you don’t really wish to achieve anything in life.
You cannot be motivated for absolutely nothing! You can either be motivated to lose weight or earn more or have a big house or go to a particular college or a company. Whatever it is, you can be motivated in your life only and only when you have something to look forward to.
If you do not have any goal, what will you be motivated for? We can only be motivated FOR something, isn’t it? You can be motivated to become the best musician in the world or the be the best at your trade. But, can you be motivated to sit idle? Can you be motivated to stare at the wall? Of course not!
So, I believe that I can safely say that we can be motivated FOR a goal, desire, aim or a wish. You can be motivated to improve on what you already have or to attain something more. But, you can never be motivated for something which you have already achieved.
Why am I not motivated?
By now, you must have understood that you can be motivated only if you have something to look forward to. If you do not feel motivated enough in life, you can be sure that you do not have any goals for yourself.
Most of us are not motivated in our home, office, studies and life in general. Many of us feel so useless in life and so demotivated that we do not really achieve anything. We keep asking ourselves what is missing from life? Why am I not motivated in my day-to-day life? We do not get that KICK out of our life. Our lives seem so dull and monotonous.
We wake up, go to our school/college/work and then come home, watch TV, spend time with family, friends and sleep. Then, we repeat the same things next day.
Imagine that we have to rush to the hospital for some emergency. So, we take out the car and we start rushing towards the hospital. We are getting late, so we keep driving faster and faster without really seeing where we are headed. If we do not stop to ask for directions or to check if we are on the right path, we will never reach the destination. It does not matter how fast you go if you do not stop to check if you are on the right path.
This is exactly what we all do in life. We are always running and going faster and faster. We always keep running for higher grades, bigger pay check, more relationships and so on. We do not really know where we are going and even if we are on the right track. We are just moving where the road takes us. This is the reason that we are not motivated. We do not have any particular REAL goal in life. We take whatever road comes in front of us. But, if we have a particular goal in mind, we would have the enthusiasm to follow that road.
How to motivate myself?
Now that we have established a small fact that we can only be motivated TOWARDS a goal, we can learn how to motivate ourselves. As is obvious, we first need to have a goal in mind. This does not mean that we can have just ONE goal in life. We have different aspects of life and we can have different goals for each aspect of our life. What is important that we have a specific goal in mind for any aspect of our life.
Have a clear statement of what your goal is. Make sure that it is worded specifically and not vaguely. A goal like, “I want to lose weight” is very vague. This statement can imply that you want to lose a little weight or it might mean that you want to lose a lot of weight. This statement might mean that you want to lose weight right now or it can imply that you want to lose weight in the future.
What we want to do is add more power to our goal and be really specific. “I want to lose 10 kg of weight” is a much better target as compared to “I want to lose weight”. The more precise your goal is, the more motivated you will feel towards it. Once you have a specific goal, you can start working towards it. But, if you are unclear of what it is that you want to achieve, how can you expect to achieve it?
The first step was that we need to have a clear and specific goal. Now, let’s add something to make our goal more powerful. Once you have decided what your goal is, the next step is to specify a timeline for that particular aim. An aim or a goal is useful only if there is a deadline attached to it. Let’s take the same example of losing weight. We can associate a time with it and say, “I want to lose 10 kg of weight in one month”. Once we have a deadline attached to our goal, it seems more realistic. We do not have to lose weight 5 years from now or 5 months from now. Instead, we have to lose weight within this month.
If we mentally say to our self, “I want to lose weight”, it does not seem very powerful or motivating. We can simply pass this off as just another thought in our mind. But, if we say, “I want to lose 10 kg of weight”, we notice a difference. Instead of the thought just being a simple thought, it is now a precise thought that we want to lose a certain amount of weight. On top of that, if you attach a deadline, it become really powerful. “I want to lose 10 kg in one month” is so precise and so motivating that just repeating this to yourself can get you to feel motivated.
Imagine you repeat “I want to lose weight” to yourself 10 times a day and you also repeat “I want to lose 10 kg of weight in this month”, which one will motivate you more? I am sure there is no doubt that once we have a precise goal, it will motivate us much more than something which is vague. Therefore, by having a precise goal attached with a timeline to it, you can find yourself motivated a lot more.
Now that you have completed these steps, you will need to write your goal down! Yes, you HAVE TO write them down on a piece of paper. Why do you need to write down your goals? The reason is that once you have decided on your goal, you have finalized it in your mind. But until and unless you write what is in your mind, you do not give a though validation. A thought is only in your head and it is not physical and therefore you do not take it seriously. But, once you give a physical manifestation to that thought, you will automatically find yourself giving more importance to that thought.
How to remain motivated?
Well, now that you have a clear goal in mind for which you can be motivated, you have completed your first step. But, the problem that almost everyone has is – to STAY motivated. Once we have a goal in mind and we are set to follow it, we feel a surge of motivation.
A few days pass by and we suddenly feel that we are not as motivated as when we were in the beginning. We do not see any progress and we see that the goal is very far. It seems like forever to achieve our desires. If we have a goal which might take years to achieve, we will feel bored and irritated for not having achieved our goals.
Our energies start decreasing towards this goal and we find ourselves slipping into old habits. So, how do we remain motivated during the entire phase? How do we feel the same way that we felt when we first started off towards our goal?
THE TRICK IS to keep track of your progress and divide your larger goal into smaller measurable chunks. That’s it!
Let’s say your goal is to lose 10 kg in one month. You might go to the gym first day and see your weight and then you see your weight every day. After one week, you notice that you have lost just 2 or 3 kg. You feel that it is still a long way to go and that you are not making any progress. So, you say to yourself that it is a waste of time and you start losing motivation. What do you do then?
Instead of having a larger goal, you divide it into smaller measurable chunks. At the beginning of the month, you can set your aim to lose 10 kg. So, if we divide this monthly goal into weekly goal, we will get the new aim as, “I want to lose 2.5 kg per week”. If we divide this further into daily goal, we will get it as, “I want to lose 350 gm each day”. 10 kg in a month might seem like a huge task to reach, but if we make a daily goal of losing just 350 grams, we know that we will lose 10 kg in one month.
Completing a huge task is difficult, but attaining small ones is easy. Therefore, diving a large task into small measurable chunks help to keep us motivated even more. We do not have to look at the enormous task of 10 kg and lose motivation. Instead, we just need to look at the smaller task of 350 grams in each of session in our gym. When you see that you lost 350 grams in a day, you can rest assured that you will lose 10 kg in a month if you keep doing the same thing. This is the secret to achieving real goals in life and also to stay motivated for your long-term goals.
Now that you have understood the technique used by ALL successful people, you can learn a few bonus tips to motivate you even further. Here are a few more steps that you can add in the above method to push you even further.
Surround yourself with related images
Images are so much more powerful to convey a simple message than a text. You can enforce your goal in your mind by surrounding yourself with images that remind you of your goal all the time. You can put a poster on your wall that has the car that you desire or you can put a wallpaper on your computer/mobile phone of your role model. So, whether you are at home, on your work space, in your school/college, you will be reminded of your goals in a positive manner.
You can see it right in front of your eyes all the time. You will be reminded how it will feel to either have what you desire or to be that person.
Keep track of your progress
This is THE BEST way to boost your progress towards a goal. After diving your goals into smaller chunks, it is possible to feel great and be able to manage your goals. But, if you start keeping track of your progress, you will notice something remarkable.
Once you start keeping track of your progress, your focus naturally shifts from activity to output. What does this mean? It means that before you keep daily track of your progress, you are focused on doing the activity daily. You are focused on going to gym and working out enough. But, once you start keeping track of your progress, you will see that you will do ANYTHING to see the desired progress. You no longer focused on the activity and instead you want the final output and that is where your focus shifts.
After you start tracking your progress, you just want to achieve that daily goal in any way possible. It does not matter if you are in the mood to go to the gym or not, if you know that you HAVE to lose 350 grams today, you WILL do it. As simple as that!
Everything about a creating a goal and assigning a deadline to it and breaking it into smaller measurable tasks is well and good. But, how exactly can we force ourselves to get up and do the desired task?
The way to do that is to create a positive pressure on yourself. There are many ways you can do that. One of the ways is to tell your friends or your peers about your dreams. Once you tell them that your goal is to lose 10 kg in this month, you will find yourself having a little peer pressure. You can ask your friends to ask you regularly about your progress.
This ensures that you feel that you need to complete a goal otherwise you will look like a fool. This is a little positive pressure that you have put on yourself. You might put small notes on your work place or in your room which reminds you of what you have to do. Write your aim on a piece of paper and put it somewhere so that it is in direct view most of the time. The point is to keep a little positive pressure on yourself.
You might know that the best way to create a habit or destroy a habit is the reward and punishment technique. If you reward yourself or someone for an action, you will find that they are more likely to do that again in the future. If, however, you punish someone for an action, they are more likely to not do it in the future. This is why children are rewarded for good behaviour and punished for bad ones.
Therefore, every time you complete a small task, reward yourself with small pleasures so that you look forward to the next time. This is an extremely powerful method to solidify the action of doing something good. You will find that the next time you go to the gym, you will actually look forward to achieving your goal. You will find yourself feeling motivated to go to the gym for absolutely no reason.
Motivation is not something that only the elite performers have. It is not something we are born with. Motivation is something that we create for ourselves. If you do not have motivation, stop looking for the time or the person who will motivate you. Motivation comes only from within and you are the only person who can motivate you.
All that you need to motivate yourself is to have a goal, then make it very precise, then attach a timeline to it. After you have these 3 components in place, you will start feeling motivated automatically.
You can then add more steps and build up your habit of motivation yourself. It is really simple. You just need to educate yourself about motivation and remove any misconceptions you have about it. All the best for your goals and I hope I have helped you be motivated in life!