“Successful people are simply those with successful habits.” – Brian Tracy
You may have heard the word ‘languishing’ doing the rounds over the last few months. To languish is to be in a state where you are “failing to be successful or make progress”. If this applies to you, and you want to make a change, read on.
Here we take a look at ways of motivating yourself and inspiring others. We will give you examples of how you can motivate yourself (and others) to work; motivate yourself to exercise; motivate yourself to study; motivate yourself to keep depression at bay and; motivate yourself to be successful.
Strategies For Success
STEP 1: GOALS
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” Tony Robbins
For a while now, you have known that you could be doing more and better, but for one reason or another, you just haven’t got round to making it a reality.
We’ve all been there, so don’t think that it is a problem only you have! We all have our own individual desires, dreams and ambitions. And we all have our own obstacles to overcome to reach them.
Maybe you want to make big changes like getting a new job or saving up for a deposit on a house. Perhaps you want to make changes to your lifestyle and get in shape. Or it could be that you feel lackluster and want to be a more positive and proactive version of yourself. The list is endless.
The first and most simple way of making a start is to write your goal(s) down.
“People with clear, written goals, accomplish far more in a shorter period of time than people without them could ever imagine.” – Brian Tracy
However, before you write your goal down, make sure you are being realistic.
This means you must have a proper, objective and sincere inner conversation and take stock of your competencies.
Be truthful with yourself.
I could easily write "I want to be a Hollywood superstar" or "I want to become an ambassador for climate change" but my skills and experience just don't fit with that dream. It is never too late to change your career path, but be honest with what you can actually achieve.
Remember: there is a difference between a dream and a goal.
“Goals allow you to control the direction of change in your favor.” – Brian Tracy
Once you've written it down make sure it is clearly visible so that you can see it/them all day, everyday. This will reinforce your goal and start creating the motivation to go get it.
STEP 2: GET ORGANISED AND MOTIVATED FOR ACTION
“The key to success is to focus our conscious mind on things we desire, not things we fear.” – Brian Tracy
You’ve written your goals down, put them in a place where you see them, but haven’t taken any action to make them a reality yet.
That’s fine and normal. Rome wasn’t built in a day. You’ve already made the key step of writing them down. What you are doing now is mentally warming up for action. The more you see them, the more that message is cemented in your head, and slowly but surely it will become a mental state.
A good example to demonstrate what I mean is language learning. If you stick post-it notes on objects around your house in a language you want to learn, after just a few days you will know those words. They will become part of you. The same goes for your goals.
Once you’re in that state of mind, it’s time to look at steps for achieving them.
“Identify your problems, but give your power and energy to solutions.” Tony Robbins
The dark power of procrastination needs to be put in its place. To defeat it, you need to be motivated and organised.
Experts and those who have achieved their goals all agree that being organised is key to success. You’ve probably heard of the regimental routines of high-flying public figures such as Bill Gates or Sir Richard Branson. And if you’re anything like me, you’re probably thinking of closing this blog and giving up before you start: there’s no way I can do what they do. I’m built differently and I don’t have the multi-billion dollar motivation.
However, there are lessons to be learned from their routines that can be adapted and put into your timetable to move in the direction you want.
- The ‘to-do’ list
Daily ‘to-do’ lists are a great way of keeping you focussed. Make sure that they are not overbearing and unattainable, but realistic and doable. The process of ticking the tasks off the list as they are completed is rewarding and promotes self-esteem and motivation. Achieving the simple things, daily, will create momentum and confidence. We are all in different situations, with varying obligations, so it is up to you to decide what is necessary and then focus on getting it done.
- Stepping stone goals
Say your goal is to lose 20kg. That is unlikely to be achieved in the short term. Therefore, you need to set a series of stepping stone goals and deadlines for doing so. For example, by 20th January, I must lose 5kg. Then, by 28th february another 5kg.
At work, if you have a big project that needs completing by a deadline, make a to-do list with mini-deadlines for particular parts of the project.
What this does, much like ticking off the things on the daily ‘to-do’ list above, is create momentum, boost esteem, confidence and gives a series of little rewards for completing particular tasks. It will also make you feel like you are making positive progress. Rewards make you happy, and promote working better. You can see more on rewards below.
The big guys like Bill Gates are on their feet at 4am and go through their scheduled 30 minute or 1 hour activities. It may be things like ‘read the newspaper’ from 5am to 5.30am, “speak to my husband/wife” from 5.30am to 5.45am, and “workout” from 5.45am to 6.30am. All before breakfast, and all before they have even started work.
This is extreme, and I’d argue for most of us, there are too many unexpected variables that can blow such a scheduled routine out of the water, kids being one of them, or a delayed train another.
However, you can and should organise your time too. If you’re looking to get fitter, you need to schedule the exercise time into your daily routine with the same level of priority as a work meeting. The same is true if you are studying a course or preparing for an exam.
You can and should even schedule breaks. The point is to know what you are doing and when you are doing it. It may remove a certain amount of flexibility, but it will also remove the urge to procrastinate.
Progress is guaranteed if you stick to this.
If you are running, you are running. If you are finishing an email, you are finishing an email. Give your scheduled tasks your full attention and focus.
Do them to the best of your ability. By doing so, you remove the chances of making mistakes which lead to delays.
- Peer pressure
There is a lot of truth in the phrase “the friends you have, the life you lead”. Working in a team or group of like-minded people with similar goals will increase your chances of success. Additionally, if the people around you are all working toward the same objective, your motivation will increase too.
This is because the pressure from those around you will add emotion and give support to what you are doing. You won’t want to let them down. You won’t want to be left behind. You will want to help and support them.
“The more credit you give away, the more will come back to you. The more you help others, the more they will want to help you.” – Brian Tracy
If your goal is weight loss, join a group who share that goal. If your aim is to quit a bad habit, team up with others who want to do the same. If you want to improve a particular skill, find a course and network with the other students or work alongside someone who can teach you.
Competition adds a huge amount to motivation and your emotional involvement in achieving your goal. Furthermore, most people are decent and will help you when the going gets tough. A congratulatory pat on the back when you do something well goes a long way to boost your esteem, likewise a good kick up the bum can do wonders for motivation too.
You don’t need to, nor should you, try to do everything by yourself.
- Reward system
As mentioned above, giving yourself a reward for completing a particular task is essential for motivation.
The actual act of completing a difficult task or activity may be rewarding in itself. You feel great when the run is over. That project which gets signed off last thing on a Friday deadline gives you great satisfaction too.
However, when your goals are personal and/or unshared with a team, it is important to give yourself a reward. And for some, punishment if you don’t achieve it.
Rewards come in all forms. It might be a ‘shopping spree’ or ‘takeaway food’ or ‘spa day’. It depends on your goal. But you must be disciplined and only reward yourself if you complete the task.
Some suggest doing things like giving a colleague/friend £100 at the start of the day and if you don’t finish the task they keep the money, if you do, you get it back. That certainly puts extra motivation and emotion into the task.
There are experts who can help you achieve your goal. Seek them out.
If you are looking to make a change in your career, see a career advisor. They can give you useful and experienced insights into what you can achieve and how to achieve it.
If you want to get into shape, see a personal trainer or diet specialist.
If you need help with your emotions or are feeling low, see a therapist. They can help you make adjustments and restore balance.
You might spend £100 on a jacket when you already have three others. You probably don’t need another belt or bag or pair of shoes. Invest this money in yourself and get quality advice which will help you get where you want to be.
STEP 3: GO FOR IT!... and inspire others
You’ve made a personal promise and commitment to yourself. You’ve organised your strategy and (perhaps) a deadline for doing it. Now is the time to put all that effort into action and results.
To do this you need motivation, discipline and support. Consistently.
“People who fail focus on what they have to go through; people who succeed focus on what it will feel like at the end.” - Tony Robbins
“The ability to discipline yourself to delay gratification in the short term in order to enjoy greater rewards in the long term, is the indispensable prerequisite for success.” – Brian Tracy
But even the best of us have bad days or setbacks where finding the motivation to not throw in the towel is hard.
So what can you do to motivate yourself to workout when you're not feeling up for it? What can you do to motivate yourself at work when things seem too much or not progressing? What can you do to motivate yourself when you're feeling low on energy?
Here are some useful tips to motivate yourself to succeed:
Imagine what your life will be like when you achieve your goal. What positive changes your hard work now will have in the long term. Picture it, write it down, read it over and over, keep it with you. That is what you are aiming for. That is why you are working on this task now; to get there. Your vision should always be with you, in everything you do.
Positive Mental Attitude. Don’t see your daily tasks as a chore to be completed, but tasks which are essential to getting where you want to be. Approach them positively, do them to the best of your abilities so that you avoid mistakes and delays. Enjoy working on them, reward yourself when you finish them, move on to the next knowing you are always getting closer to your vision. Positivity is infectious, and soon you will be changing those around you.
Make sure that the space you are working in inspires you and supports you. If you are exercising, music helps for example. If you are studying, a clean and tidy workspace with good lighting will help.
Having friends and family around you that are aware of your goal is helpful for motivation too. Loved ones will provide you with support and give encouragement to push you along and keep you motivated.
- FEED YOUR BODY & MIND
Be good to yourself. Give yourself all the vitamins and nutrients you need to stay clear-headed and focused. Having the right stuff inside you will keep energy levels high, boost your immunity from time-consuming illnesses and create a barrier against negative emotions such as anxiety and depression.
As mentioned above, it is important to reward yourself for completing a task. Before starting a new task it is good to set a reward for its completion. Perhaps you want a new pair of jeans? Well, that is your reward for finishing this week’s project on time and satisfactorily.
- INSPIRE OTHERS
As your new momentum and positive attitude begins to get noticed by the people around you, the questions will follow. You can tell them what you are aiming for which further makes it real, and many of them will be inspired by your discipline and dedication that they too will change their attitudes. That will show you that you are making a difference and people are seeing a positive change in you. Keep going. Be warned that some people will not want to see you succeed, which should only add fuel to your fire: prove the haters wrong.
Sometimes people don’t do what they want to do because they are lacking inspiration, perhaps you could be theirs. Remember that you might be someone else's inspiration… so stay motivated and show them how not to give up.