If you're finding yourself mired in muck, longing to jump forward to success, it could be a matter of not having strong enough motivation, or not reminding yourself of why you want to achieve your goals. As a result, you can start slacking, skipping your workout, sleeping in instead of writing your daily five pages on your novel, or just existing when you could be excelling.
In the inspirational movie, “Invincible,” walk-on Philadelphia Eagles player VincePapale keeps a heart-cutting note from his ex-wife in his locker. He regularly takes it out and reviews it – not to beat himself up, but to remind himself in a very visceral, emotional way why he must succeed.
While I don't necessarily recommend that you encourage your friends and family members to write you letters, telling you what a loser you are, there is something to be said for negative motivation.
Equally inspiring, however (and somewhat easier on the ego) is positive motivation. Knowing you want to send your kids to private school, look great at your high school reunion, or send your parents on an all-expenses-paid, first-class trip around the world can all keep you focused and moving forward.
Here are some ways to keep your goals in front of you:
• Create a vision board. Cut photos, words, and other images from magazines and glue them, collage-style, on a piece of posterboard. Hang it somewhere you can see frequently. (Hint: You can do the same thing digitally by creating an electronic vision board and using it for your desktop wallpaper.) Here is a good source for a digital dream board – Genesis Dream Board.
• Write it big. Write your goal on a large piece of paper, or on the whiteboard in your office. Keep it in front of yourself constantly.
• Write it everywhere. Put post-it notes on your car's dashboard, on your bathroom mirror, on your checkbook, in your day planner or calendar. The constant visual reminder will keep you focused.
• Go audio. Record your goals on a digital voice recorder and play it back, or read it out loud each morning and evening.
• Make it vivid. Like Papale's note, make your reminders emotion-laden. Picture your kids in their school uniforms. See your parents on their trip. Feel how your body will be lighter and more healthy. Post a photo of the Eiffel Tower on your bulletin board. The more completely you can view your future, the easier it will be to latch onto it and use it as a guiding light.
One of the keys here is experimentation. If you've always tried positive motivation, maybe it's time to change things up and brandish the stick instead of the carrot. You may even want to review your “patterns of success” for keys to your personal motivation recipe.
How do you motivate yourself?