How to Stay Motivated, All the Time!
By Philip Humbert
The most common problem people talk about when they request coaching is staying motivated. Sometimes they talk about losing focus, being discouraged, having too much to do, or procrastination, but what it boils down to is that they aren't achieving as much as they would like.
We all have things that are important to us. We have goals, a dream, or maybe some obligations we are duty-bound to complete, but we aren't making the progress we would like. Some people work hard for a while, then slack off. Others procrastinate and never get to it. Some don't know how to get started or are too tired.
The central issue is motivation.
The fact is that we do the things we are motivated to do. Ask any teenager how hard they'll work to make the team or get their driver's license. Ask yourself how many all-nighters you put in to complete an important paper in college. Ask yourself about the times you've worked hard to achieve something that simply, absolutely had to get done!
There's a wonderful story about a young man who travelled the world to meet a wise and famous teacher. When they met, the young man pleaded, "Will you teach me how to find wisdom?" Without a word, the guru led the young man to a nearby lake and suddenly pushed his head under water. At first the young man thought it was a joke, but after a few seconds, he began thrashing and fighting desperately for a breath of air. Finally, the guru let him up and calmly said, "When you desire wisdom as badly as you wanted that next breath of air, you will find it."
When we are motivated, nothing can stand in our way!
So, how do we stay motivated? Here are a few keys:.
1. Be clear! You can hit almost any target if you define it precisely enough. It's hard to stay motivated for a vague or distant goal. Be specific. Be precise and concrete. You will be far more motivated to increase sales by 6% than by "trying to sell more."
2. Have an action plan. If you have a map and know the next step, you are much more motivated to do it. "Baby-steps" are easier and safer than "giant leaps." It's relatively hard to stay motivated through the years to put a million dollars in the bank, but it's easy to start by saving $300 this month. Have a clear, do-able and action-able plan. Then, take steps one after another.
3. Surround yourself with positives. Zig Ziglar made a wonderful observation that "people complain motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does a shower. That's why I recommend both every day." Read and listen to audio programs, talk with exciting people and surround yourself with things that energize you! We live in a bad-news world. It wears everyone down! To counter this, surround yourself (every day!) with things that energize, challenge and excite you. (One more reason I recommend participating in trainings and coaching groups!).
4. The "Breakfast of Champions." With apologies to Wheaties, I encourage you to re-read and re-commit to your most important priorities, goals and plans every single day. Personally, I begin every morning by focusing on my major projects and goals for about 20 minutes. If I don't, the day gets away from me. In the rush of the day, minor distractions will beat strategic action every time. Start every day by reviewing and re-affirming your most important objectives.
5. Have plenty of cheerleaders! I think this may be the most important, easiest, and most-often over-looked. Recruit friends and family to hold you accountable. Teach them how to support and encourage you. Pick their brains for good ideas, and report back to them regularly. Form and use a MasterMind team! With a good team of cheerleaders, you can accomplish anything!