Motivation for success is essential to achieving any goal or outcome. You may have the vehicle, the destination and the route map.
Reaching your destination requires sufficient fuel.
Motivation is the all important fuel that gets you started and keeps you going until you’ve achieved the success you seek.
How well you manage the power of motivation is a primary determinant for whether or not you reach your goals. Whether or not you realise your dreams. To set yourself up for success begin with actively managing your motivation.
The Keys to Managing Motivation For Success
1) Set goals and subgoals which are realistic for you.
It is important to believe your goals are achievable. Goals and strategies need to be well paced to fit your commitments, your time and your resources. Motivation quickly falls away when your goals are set too far beyond what you believe you can reasonably achieve.
Weight loss is a popular example. Imagine expecting to lose 3 kilograms a week over a sustained period of time. This is not a realistically achievable goal for most people.
Now notice how different it feels to set a goal of dropping 2 kilograms a month. A ‘do-able” goal engages your motivation for success. At every level it feels achievable. Rewards are built in as you make progress.
2) Evidence of satisfactory progress is a powerful reward. This sense of reward is essential to maintain your efforts.
“Do-able” goals mean you are more likely to be on target when you measure your progress. It is disheartening and hugely demotivating when you cannot see progress. When you fall way short of your target. When you feel you have ‘failed’ in some way. Using the weight loss example, when the scales show you what you want to see, the feelings of success and achievement are a powerful reward. This reward boosts the motivation and inspiration to continue those efforts.
3) Be clear and specific about your reasons for putting effort into your particular goal.
What exactly are you going to get from making the required efforts? What is important about reaching your particular goal?
Complete this statement “I’m doing this because……”
See how many reasons you can write down. Keep this list of reasons where they can be a constant reminder.
What would reaching your goal weight mean for you? Rather than aiming for just a number on the scales, what would be different for you? For example would you feel fitter and more energised? Do you want a healthier heart? Would you be more confident? Would you be able to happily wear your favourite clothes?
Instead of just a bank balance, what would a savings goal do for you? How would it impact your sense of security? What could it do for your quality and enjoyment of life?
4) Align your goals with your personal values.
The more important something is to us – the higher ‘value’ we put on it – then the greater potential for unstoppable motivation. When something is extremely important to us we engage the turbo charged motivation of “I must have this.”
‘Intrinsic’ motivation is more powerful than ‘extrinsic’ motivation. Intrinsic motivation means the goals you set are relevant, meaningful and important to you. You are pursuing some goal because it is what you truly want for yourself. The goal is something you deeply value.
Extrinsic motivation relates to something outside of you. You pursue some goal or outcome for the purpose of impressing another person. Or to appease some fear. Or to avoid disapproval or judgement from other people. It may not be what you would freely choose for yourself. Many students drop out from University courses because ‘their heart is not in it”. The course was chosen for them by their parents or school advisors. Or they chose the course because it seemed a better option for employment even though it was not what they want to do.
5) Identify what motivates you and what demotivates you.
Aim to set up goals and strategies that maximize your motivators and minimize your de-motivators. For example, setting a goal to be at the gym every morning at 6am is courting failure if you are not a morning person! Simply changing the timing may help you to stay motivated. Do you buy gym memberships you don’t use? Do you make excuses or have to reluctantly force yourself to go? If so, then consider a different activity to get your body moving and build fitness. If you thrive on variety then build this into your plan.
6) Frame your goals in the positive.
Focus on what you want rather than what you don’t want. Focusing on what you want engages powerful ‘moving towards’ motivation. Focusing on what you don’t want engages stop and start motivation patterns. This kind of “away from” motivation literally relates to what you are trying to avoid or get away from.
When you frame your goals in terms of what you want, the motivation to stay on track is positively reinforced. Your motivation tends to get even stronger as you come closer to your goal. Examples are to feel fit and healthy, or to enjoy a specific overseas holiday, or to save a deposit for a home. This ‘moving towards what you want’ motivation harnesses the phenomenal power of desire. It keeps the focus on the pleasures you intend to experience.
When goals are framed in terms of what you are trying to get away from, then motivation is up and down. “Away from” motivation often involves a sense of deprivation. It is much harder to maintain this kind of motivation. Once the short term target is passed, the motivation is gone too. Examples are fitting into a particular outfit for a wedding or school reunion. Then resuming old habits until the next compelling reason to crash diet. You may be motivated to stop smoking to avoid disapproval, but then find yourself sneaking cigarettes. You may be motivated to save enough this month to avoid having the power cut off. Then you are back in the same position next month.
7) Utilise the mighty power of imagination.
Imagine reaching your goal with all the sensory detail you can bring to it. Bring it alive as if you are already living it. In particular, feel the wonderful feelings you will feel when you’ve reached your goal or realised your dreams. Many successful people start their day using the extraordinary power of visualising what they want. They imagine themselves already enjoying the success or outcomes they desire.
Good feelings are powerful positive re-inforcers. They keep motivation fired up. As you plan your goals and strategies, keep in mind how you can build in opportunities for ‘feel good experiences’ along the way. If you would like tor read more about motivation go here.