Everyone seems to have a solution for how to stay motivated enough to complete projects and meet goals. There are as many tricks to try as there are goals themselves. Learning a new trick in and of itself isn’t bad. Hearing what helps other people meet their goals might help too. New practices become a good catalyst.
Then again, following what’s been done previously to reach success might still be the way to go. Everyone should do what suits him or her best. Analyzing what went well in the past may reveal important hidden clues to repeat.
Deadlines and Shock Factor as Motivators
One hidden clue for motivation many individuals will attest to is the power of a deadline. A second is the power of a shock factor.
Have you ever intended to keep your house clean, but lost interest after a few days of maintenance? Perhaps other priorities or your workload sabotaged your plans. Or, maybe you even suffered illness or an injury inhibiting your energy level or ability to move. Then, unexpectedly, an old friend telephones you to say he or she will be dropping by your home in a day or two and suddenly, you jump back to task.
All the reasons you stopped cleaning are pushed aside. Now that a friend will be coming you are motivated to clean lest your friend get a glimpse of your rolled up socks, dirty dishes, and sandy floors. Suddenly you find time to clean between family emergencies and your workload and, even if you have to limp around to do the cleaning, you get it done.
This is the power of a deadline and a shock factor put together. When push comes to shove, it is possible to get it done! The obstacles may not have been obstacles at all. Perhaps they were merely excuses.
There is a drive within each of us that pushes us to accomplish what we sometimes think is impossible. Sometimes guilt or embarrassment is a motivator as in the case above. Sometimes an outside source is a motivator, such as the visiting friend. What’s key in each of these situations, though, is the over-riding voice from within that shouts, “You can do it!”
You may not feel like doing it, but when pushed, you get it done. So, positive self-talk is a helpful motivator. This motivator might be termed, a can-do attitude.
When a shock-like push is successful in getting a person out of his or her rut, the experience can become a valuable defining moment. Moments like this are what some might call social proof that the impossible is possible.
It’s good to store experiences of this nature in the memory so you can tap back into them the next time you’re in a slump. Experiences like this remind you redemption is possible.
Go Easy on Yourself
Defining moments make it easier to accept a bad day at the gym, or an unproductive workday. They give you social proof that just around the corner might be the best gym workout and most productive day you’ve had in a long time.
When you find yourself unmotivated, perhaps the best thing to do is to give yourself the gift of rest. Allow yourself to rest or fail in the short term, but plan to pick yourself up again when the time is right.
You might also want to employ the shock factor by creating a few what-if scenarios to push yourself into completing the task. For instance, you might consider what might happen if you suddenly were invited to a party. You’d probably want to look good, so you might as well get your workouts in now. Or, what if your mother or neighbor should drop by? You might as well tidy and vacuum that front hall just in case.
The Power of a Schedule
You realize that to get your house in order before your friend arrives is probably going to mean you’ll need to schedule time for cleaning and shopping for snacks into your workday. When you do, you find your life and responsibilities are streamlined.
With a good schedule in place, you’re successful in completing your tasks. But, of course, having a deadline is part of the motivation as well.
The Necessity of Tools
Of course, you’ll need the right tools to achieve your goals too. Without a vacuum to clean with, a car to fetch groceries with, and a toilet bowl brush to scrub with, you might find yourself sidelined.
A similar rule applies to something like dieting or working out. If you don’t have a refrigerator full of healthy vegetables and fruit (the tools), you might be tempted to eat unhealthy products. If you don’t have a gym membership, runners, shorts, and T-shirt, you might not get your workouts in.
Ask yourself what tools will help you get the desired task done. Then ensure you have them available.
When longing to achieve any goal, work toward it with patience and persistence. When you feel yourself back stepping, accept it for what it is and remember how you’ve recovered in the past. Try adding rhythm back into your life with a self-imposed shock factor and put a good schedule and deadline in place and you’ll be back on task in no time.
All this said, remember life is about more than accomplishing goal upon goal. Take time to enjoy the rewards that come with achieved goals. There are many.