“I was thinking one day and I realized that if I just had somebody behind me all the way to motivate me I could make a big difference. Nobody came along like that so I just became that person for myself.” — Unknown.
If you’re like me, you love to stay busy. And if you’re really like me, you get overwhelmed and procrastinate on all of the tasks you agree to.
If you’re also like me, sometimes you get depressed, think the world is confusing, sit and ponder about everything you’ve ever done and wonder where in Gandhi’s name you’re going in life.
But! It doesn’t have to be that way. Loss of motivation and direction is normal (trust me it happens to everyone- some more than others). In order to get yourself back on track in those times of motivational need, there are some easy steps your awesome self can take.
Some are preventative. Some are in the moment. And some are for future successes.
First: Discover the “Why”
This may make total sense without explanation, or you might have no idea what I’m talking about when I say this. The “why,” is your reason– what keeps you going. It’s the light at the end of the tunnel of this long road you’re on.
For example, you wake up and look at a picture of a loved one who’s passed whom you want to make proud. It could be the prospect of finally owning your own business someday. It could be paying off student loans and being free of debt.
For some people, death can even be a motivator. Not in a morbid way, but in the finite amount of time kind of way. I constantly think in terms of a legacy or making my “footprint” on Earth before my time on it is done.
But whatever your “why” is, never stop reminding yourself of it. When we feel like there is no end goal, we can easily get distracted, unmotivated and unhopeful.
Just think. At the end of it all, you’ll look back and say, “I conquered this, this and this, and I’m finally here. So that was why I did all of that.”
Scott H. Young from LifeHack reminds us that if we “can’t figure out why, then there’s a good chance you shouldn’t bother with it in the first place.” Keep that in mind, too. Sometimes we don’t need to stress over something that has no place in our life (maybe we finally realize it when we think this way)
Second: Celebrate yourself, but don’t celebrate too soon
In any endeavour, it’s important to celebrate your little successes. The ones that get you closer to that end goal, the little things that make up the whole of yourself and push you forward.
For some of us, it might be an exceptional compliment from a co-worker, it could be finishing a smaller project we’ve been working on, or just getting your life together in order to pursue greater things.
There is never a moment in life when it is inappropriate to celebrate. That’s what life’s about. It’s about finding the beauty is monotony. Finding splendor in boredom. And excitement in awkwardness.
But when we get too excited about our future successes, we often times can make promises of “before-you-know-it” completion or false “not-ready-for-them” celebratory events for ourselves. This is something that Chris Dessi, CEO of Silverback Social, warns us of with his mantra of: “keeping your cards close to your chest.”
He says that “announcing your intent to do [these] feats will backfire. Resist the urge to reap the barrage of Facebook likes, and gushing comments. The positive feedback you receive from your network will trick your brain into thinking you’ve already accomplished your goal, sabotaging your once-motivated brain to do said feat.”
He recommends not posting anything about it until you’ve actually done it.
This is something I’ve recently had to remind myself of. Though I’ve co-written an ebook (as a ghost writer), I’m not in the place where I can call myself an “author.” When I recreated my email signature last week, I titled myself “Author. Videographer.” and something else.
When I shared this with my brother, however, he said: “Shea, change author to writer.”
I said, “but Chase, I’ve written, I’ve co-authored a book.”
And he responded, “Yes, Shea. But you, yourself, are not an ‘author’ yet.”
He is right.
So remember to celebrate, and motivate and encourage yourself for every little thing you do, but don’t over indulge in small successes, making the big task at hand seem very, very attainable without much more hard work.
Nothing says failure better than flaking on a friend or colleague.
Accountability is a big part of motivating yourself, whether that be contacting someone else and telling them you’re going to do something, or telling yourself that you are for sure getting something done.
Co-founder of Empact, Michael Simmons, notes: “researchers Peter Gollwitzer and Paschal Sheeran found that if-then planning increased success rates at an astounding level.”
When you mark something on your calendar, or better yet, invite a friend or tell a buddy that you’re going to have three pages of a novel done by the 29th, or that, you’re second big idea for a new company you’ll discuss over the phone in three days will happen, you begin to think that not following through is letting someone down.
And you’d be right.
Paired with guilt, you’ll be fragile and uncertain, not only letting down the person whom you’ve scheduled time for, but also, and more importantly, letting yourself down. Leaving yourself in wait of another opportunity that could end up in the dog house by not following through with your commitments.
So just, remember, commit. And put your entire soul into something. People can tell when you don’t believe yourself.
But follow these three easy steps and have fun with it. You can do this.