The art of staying motivated
We often have ideas about what we want to do, where we want to go, what we want to achieve. They are bright, powerful and inspiring . We create a plan, maybe even tell others all about it (which is one of the tricks to help you stay more committed). For the following 2-3 weeks we feel motivated, energized, driven… and then something comes up. We either get busy at work, or suddenly need to help out our family. Maybe the kids have a difficult stretch at school, maybe we need to move house or go on a short business trip; normal everyday stuff. We stop thinking about that goal for a while and before we know it the whole idea has lost its intensity. It still lives somewhere at back of our mind but it is no longer in the foreground of our thoughts. Another month passes by, maybe we got a little reminder and realised that we were meant to start doing this or that and what a great plan that was but we are too busy. Yes it is true that most of the time we do try to fit way too many things into our day, and from week to week our to do lists are getting longer. If you are living in a city, have a family, a full time job / your own business, the day will always feel too short. That is just the reality of living in the XXI century.
So how can we turn these new ideas, the goals we have, the dreams we want to follow into a reality, and is it even possible?
Well lets start with.. ‘it is definitely possible’. Other, already extremely ”busy” people are doing it, which means it can be done. In fact it seems to me that the people who are most busy, who run several companies simultaneously, who are involved in multiple projects, often spread around several continents, while looking after their 3 kids, are doing it best of all. So what is their secret? What do they know that you don’t ?
The key to staying motivated and committed to your goals, ideas, plans is to know WHY you are doing what you are doing. Getting clarity on what is that you want to achieve, in as much detail as possible. We often have a temporary need, an idea inspired by something external, or an old dream which when analyzed closer no longer serves us. When the WHY is strong, when it is connected to our values, when it makes us feel good, feel a sense of purpose we are a lot more likely to stick to our guns: when the goal truly means something to us, rather than being yet another tick on an already long to do list.
The second important step is to regularly remind yourself of this WHY. Every day we are being bombarded with information, we need to process a huge amount of stimuli and this makes it very easy for our brain to lose focus, to disconnect from that WHY, even if it is very powerful. A weekly reminder, a note in a visible place, a trigger which will help you remember, all these things mean that you can stay connected to it and keep pushing in the right direction.
If you know your WHY but you are still struggling to stay committed, pause for a second, take a breath, take a break, reflect on it. Maybe it is no longer the right WHY. Things can take a long time to develop and we are changing every single day, so it is possible that you have evolved; that in the process of reaching that goal you have changed. This WHY is no longer in line with your values or needs. This realization can be tough, we might feel like we have wasted our time but trying to pursue that goal if the WHY no longer makes sense is the real waste. We change constantly and that is a good thing, it means that we are progressing, we are learning, we are evolving and the more we learn, the more we grow; the more we grow, the better WHYS we create and the more likely we are to one day soon reach those goals.
If this makes sense to you, follow the below 5 steps and notice how it can help you stay motivated. If it doesn’t make sense, try it anyway you might be surprised.
Brainstorm your WHY for a particular goal, dream, plan. Be as specific as you can in regards to your intention. Why are you doing what you are doing? What do you wish to achieve? How will this improve your life or the life of others? How will this contribute to your sense of happiness and satisfaction? How will this contribute to your family’s life, to society? Connect your WHY to feelings and emotions. How will it make you feel to have achieved it? Will this affect those you love?
Write it down. Getting thoughts out of our head and on to paper is necessary if we want to get more clarity and be sure that what we are thinking is what we actually want.
Create a way to remind yourself of your intention as you will forget. Maybe a reminder on your phone, maybe a note on the fridge, a screensaver image, maybe a weekly ritual. Whatever works for you.
Check in with yourself from time to time, to see if the WHY is still relevant, if it is still what and why you want to do it. We change and so does our WHY and when we are not in line with it, we are less likely to succeed.
Make sure your why is worth your while. Life is short so we’ve got to focus on what is truly important to us and what helps us become a better human being, all the rest can wait 🙂