People have asked me plenty of times how I stay motivated. They’ve asked me if I ever get tired of working at break-neck speed. The answer is simple. You have to figure out ways to remain motivated when you’re looking to accomplish your dreams and goals.
We’re not robots. Some days are better than others. But, on those down days, you have to figure out how to stoke the fire. You can’t reach your goals without the motivation to get there. It takes consistency and persistence; especially on the days you’re tired or are getting push back and just want to quit.
- Choose Your Life’s Theme Song: I wrote about this in my motivation book. If you don’t have one already, get a theme song. Music is a great motivational driver. I have three songs that motivate me: “Big Time” by Peter Gabriel, “Another Day In Paradise” by Phil Collins, and “Show Me the Way” by Styx. There are plenty of tunes to choose from. Pick a song and play it when you need to get a boost.
- Don’t Be So Serious: I get it: Life is serious. But, it doesn’t have to be that way all the time. I know we all want to achieve our goals and dreams and that takes work, but you have to have some fun. If you ever visited my offices, you would see a place where people work exceedingly hard, but the atmosphere is fun. The same is the case in my house. We take time out to enjoy little things because the only way to any success is to enjoy the process.
- Don’t Do It Alone: Not too long ago I heard the founder of a major company say that she did not tell a soul about her idea for her product for a year. She wanted to focus and not have any pushback. I don’t tend to agree. What I’ve found is that telling everyone is the way to go. It helps keep you accountable. And, if you get pushback and you stop, well clearly you really didn’t want to make that particular dream happen. I prefer not to do it alone, but if going it alone works for you until you’re ready, do it.
- Embrace Failure: If you’re not failing, you’re not really trying. Period. We live in a world that is all about “winning.” That’s great. We all like to win. But typically you can’t win without failing. “Fail fast and fail often” is embedded in the American business psyche. I’ve noticed that entrepreneurs and freelancers get this, but many others don’t. Change the narrative in your mind. Failing is okay. It shows you’re trying. Just get up and keep going when you fail. Don’t stop.
- Take It In Small Parts: I’m a big believer in dreaming big and having a grand vision. Why not? Dreams and goals are aspirational. They’re not meant to be little. If you’re dreaming big, that’s great. Keep those dreams alive by breaking them into small parts. It’s almost humanly impossible to do something big and grand in one fell swoop. It takes a lot of parts to make the whole. So, break your dreams and the vision into smaller achievable parts.
- Reward Yourself: When you accomplish a piece of your dream, reward yourself. It’s important to give yourself something for having done a great job. Alternately, when you have a particularly tough day or period of time trying to get from A to B, take a time out. Do something for yourself. It doesn’t matter what it is. Just do it for yourself. Consider it a “pre-reward” for then turning around the next morning and not quitting. Reward your tenacity.
- Be Visual: Earlier I mentioned music as a motivator. Any goal or dream also requires some sort of visual. Use it as a reminder of where you’re going. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Post-It note on your refrigerator or vision board full of pictures of the life you want to lead. Whatever it is, get it on paper somehow and make sure you look at it every day. Don’t write it down and place your dreams in a drawer–literally. Get the written or photographed dream and plan somewhere you can see it daily.
- Be Thankful: This one is an important one. I think a lot of people forget they have a lot to be thankful for in their lives. I’ve spoken to people who are going through a tough time and they tell me that they’re offended when someone tells them, “Well, at least you don’t have cancer and you have food to eat.” Their point is that suffering in this world is relative. One person may seem to have it worse than another, but to any person, whatever they are personally suffering is still tough. My thinking is that no matter what, there’s always something to be thankful for in life. Maybe it’s simply a sunset, a song, a smile from a stranger or a hug from your kid. Be thankful every day for one thing–no matter how large or small. It helps.
- Don’t Take Your Eye Off The Ball: We’re human. Sometimes we’re not at our best. If you are having a down day and can’t muster the strength to keep going, it’s okay to take a day off. You have to be kind yourself. The trick is in not allowing it to become two days and then three days. If you need a break one day, that’s fine. Get your strength back. But, the next day, get back to business and do something toward your dreams.
- “Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, give up.”: Those are the words of Winston Churchill. He said them to a group of students after London had endured 57 bombings by the Germans. You never give up. You look in the mirror and you never give up. When you give up, here’s what happens: You’re defeated. So, on those days when you feel like hanging it all up, don’t dare. It’ll pass. Breathe and keep going.
Author of “Get Off the Couch: Grip & Rip and Break the Barriers Holding You Back in Life” (Free Digital Download)
© 2016 Wayne Elsey and Not Your Father’s Charity. All Rights Reserved.