Motivation is essential for success in all endeavours. You may have the vehicle, the destination and the route map, however reaching your destination requires sufficient fuel. Motivation is the all important fuel that gets you started and keeps you going until you’ve achieved the success you seek.
How well you manage the power of motivation is a primary determinant for whether or not you reach your goals or realise your dreams. To set yourself up for success begin with actively managing your motivation.
The Keys to Managing Motivation For Success
1) Set goals and subgoals which are realistic for you.
You need to believe your goals are achievable. Goals and strategies need to be well paced to fit your commitments, time and resources. If your goals are set too far beyond what is reasonably achievable or believable for you, motivation quickly falls away.
Weight loss is a popular example. Imagine expecting to lose 3 kilograms a week. This is not a realistically achievable goal for most people.
Now notice how different it feels to set a goal of dropping 2 kilograms a month. A ‘do-able” goal sets your motivation up for success because at every level it feels achievable and has built in rewards as you make progress.
2) Evidence of satisfactory progress is a powerful and essential motivating reward for your efforts.
“Do-able” goals mean you are more likely to be on target when you measure your progress. It is disheartening and hugely demotivating when you cannot see progress. Using the weight loss example, when the scales show you what you want to see, the feeling of success is a powerful reward that provides the motivation and inspiration to continue those efforts.
3) Be clear and specific about your reasons for putting effort into your particular goal.
What exactly are you going to get from making the required efforts and reaching your particular goal? Complete this statement “I’m doing this because……” See how many reasons you can write down. Keep this list of reasons where they can constantly remind you.
What would reaching your goal weight mean for you? Rather than aiming for just a number on the scales, what would be different for you? For example would you feel fitter, more energised, have a healthier heart, be more confident, or be able to happily wear your favourite clothes? Instead of just a bank balance, what would having that money do for your quality and enjoyment of life?
4) Align your goals with your values.
The more important something is to us – the higher ‘value’ we put on it – then the more our motivation is turbo charged to make it happen.
‘Intrinsic’ motivation is more powerful than ‘extrinsic’ motivation. This means the goals you set need to be relevant, meaningful and important to you, rather than for example choosing goals to suit other people.
5) Identify what motivates you and what demotivates you.
Aim to set up goals and strategies that maximize your motivators and minimize your de-motivators. For example, setting a goal to be at the gym every morning at 6am is likely to set you up for failure if you are not a morning person. If you buy gym memberships you don’t use, or have to reluctantly force yourself to go, then consider a different activity to get your body moving and build fitness. If you thrive on variety then build this into your plan.
6) Frame your goals in the positive.
Focus on what you want (what you are moving towards) rather than what you don’t want (what you are trying to avoid or get away from).
When you frame your goals in terms of what you want – for example to be fitter, have more energy, or to enjoy an overseas holiday – the motivation to stay on track is positively reinforced and remains strong. This ‘moving towards what you want’ motivation harnesses the phenomenal power of desire and keeps the focus on the pleasures you intend to experience.
If you frame your goals in terms of what you are trying to get away from – feeling embarrassed at a special event, stopping smoking, not having enough money, ‘giving up’ something – then motivation is up and down and much harder to maintain. This “away from” motivation often involves a sense of deprivation. You may lose a few kilos then return to old habits until the next compelling reason to crash diet such as a special event or beach holiday. You may save enough money to pay the bills then be back in the same position next month.
7) Utilise the mighty power of imagination.
Imagine reaching your goal with all the sensory detail you can bring to it – as if you are already living it. In particular feel the wonderful feelings you will feel when you’ve reached your goal or realised your dreams. Many successful people start their day visualising and imagining that they already have the success they desire.
Good feelings are powerful positive re-inforcers that keep motivation strong. As you plan your goals and strategies, keep in mind how you can build in opportunities for ‘feel good experiences’ along the way. You may also like to read another post on motivation here.