Motivation and desire are nice to have when you need them. But what can you do when you need them and they’re in short supply? You can generate your own enthusiasm. You don’t have to wait to be inspired. Inspiration is in your hands. Like any other skill, you can learn to be motivated and full of desire on demand. Motivation fuels discipline, and discipline is what actually moves us forward.
The problem for many of us is that instead of going within to charge up our enthusiasm engine, we try to force ourselves into action with willpower. This is a short-term solution at best. Willpower is a sudden burst of energy, while self-discipline is structured, considered and consistent. Willpower seems more powerful because it is tangible and immediate. The reality is that self-discipline far outweighs that willpower – both in its sustainability and effectiveness.
Here are the 6 shortcuts to the motivation that revs up our discipline super-power. Since they are shortcuts, they keep us from falling into the temptation to lean on willpower and its lure of instant energy that quickly runs out of steam.
Learn to motivate yourself and get those challenging things done:
Keep your purpose in mind. If you require motivation to do something, there must be a reason for doing it. Keep that reason in the front of your mind. Are you dieting to fit into a special dress for your high school reunion? Are you learning to play the piano so you can sing Christmas carols around the fire with your family?
Remind yourself daily of your “why” (which is never to lose something, but something you will gain).
Visualize the end result, and mentally embody it
Set appropriate goals. Goals that are too small aren’t motivating. Goals that are too big are overwhelming. The perfect goal will excite you without overwhelming you. Goals are an excellent motivation tool. If your goals aren’t exciting, you have some work to do.
Remind yourself of your goals each day. Set aside a specific time to review your goals. Read your goals aloud and visualize your success. Imagine how you’ll feel when your goal is reached.
Break big goals down into micro-goals that feel more manageable. Progress generates small wins, and small wins keep us going.
Pay attention to your progress toward your goals. Nothing motivates like success. Whether you’re motivating yourself to do a better job at work or to stay on top of the clutter at home, notice your success and be proud. You deserve it.
Take breaks. One effective way to destroy your motivation and desire is to work non-stop. Take regular breaks and keep your motivation high. Studies find that most people do well with a 10-15-minute break each hour.
Have gratitude. It’s easy to feel down when you’re struggling and focused on what you don’t have. Remind yourself of all the people and things you already have in your life. When you have gratitude, your mood and desire will improve. Spend just a few minutes each day and mentally list all the things and people in your life that allow you to feel grateful.
Find a form of external motivation. True motivation comes from inside us, not through external means. However, we all can build additional momentum in generating motivation and desire through accountability and celebration. There are several ways to do this.
Tell others what you’re trying to accomplish. Accountability is one of the best motivators. Be certain you choose people who are safe and supportive – not judgemental and negative. Then share certain milestones you are shooting for. This prevents us from falling back into old habits through denial, avoidance and procrastination. We have cheerleaders who are rooting for us.
Promise yourself a reward. Once you get that promotion, take yourself to a place you have always wanted to visit “some day”. Or get a new wardrobe when you lose 25 lbs. Make your reward something that’s meaningful to you.
When all else fails, get started – with micro-actions at first. A little action can bring about a lot of motivation.
Motivation is nice when it occurs organically, but waiting for it to occur is not a reliable method. Happily, you have the power to create your own motivation from within. Practice these tips regularly and you’ll always be able to move in the direction of your own fulfillment rather than waiting for inspiration to magically appear.