Self-motivation seems to come easily to some people, whilst others struggle to achieve even their most dearly held goals. In fact, those who are naturally self-motivated probably use one or more of the five following techniques without thinking about it.
1 – Don’t have too many goals
Having too many goals, or goals that compete with each other, is a major cause of procrastination and low self-motivation. How can you expect yourself to get behind one task if you can’t tell which is the most important? People who are naturally self-motivated have clear goals, and don’t chase too many.
As well as goals being few in number they should also be close enough in time to be meaningful. If your goal is to finish your ‘state of the nation’ novel in five years time then you might struggle. If you set a goal about the number of words you’ll write a day then that will be much easier to get a feeling of success from.
2 – Write your goal down
Writing down your goals has a transformative effect, even if you never take them out and read them again. A study of Harvard graduates found that only 3% had written down their goals for their post-graduate careers. That 3% however went on to earn 10 times the amount of the other 97% of the graduates. That’s the 3% who wrote their goals down accounting for 91% of the amount earned.
3 – Share your goals with other people
Just as powerful as writing your goals down is committing to them in public. So, if you’re trying to stop smoking don’t make the mistake of not telling your friends in case you fail. That sort of thinking, that pre-supposes failure, will make you lass likely to succeed. Instead, tell your friends that you’re stopping, and in person rather than through social media. That will make you much more likely to be motivated to succeed, and will also allow them to support you.
4 – Don’t make failure catastrophic
A big killer for self-motivation is catastrophic thinking. If you approach a business phone-call thinking “I must make a sale” then anything short of a sale is a failure. On top of that many people then unwittingly use the fact of not making a sale into a Trojan Horse to smuggle in other negative thoughts. These can range from “They won’t buy from me because they don’t like me” through “I’ll never be successful” to “I’ll lose my marriage and my home”.
That thinking is hardly going to motivate you to try. If your thinking is pushing you to avoid failure, rather than aim for success, then look at ways of adopting more positive self-talk.
5 – Make motivation a habit
This goes back to the idea of “No Zero Days”. Success rarely comes from dramatic actions made out of the blue. Instead success is most often achieved through the steady accretion of actions over days, weeks, months, and years. Whatever your goal commit to doing something practical towards it every day. As days and weeks go by not only do you see progress but you become more and more inclined to keep that record of achievement going.
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