Whatever your goal is, the only way you’ll be able to achieve it is by finding the motivation to take consistent action. Fortunately, there are many steps that you can take to generate motivation.
Below you’ll discover 7 ways to supercharge your motivation.
1. Forget about your goal (just for the time being). Instead, make the process that you need to follow in order to reach your goal as pleasurable as possible. If the process isn’t fun—whether it’s sitting down each morning to write in order to finish your novel, or going out for a daily run in order to complete a marathon—figure out why not. Then, find a way to make it fun!
As an illustration, if your goal is to run a marathon, here are four ways to make your runs more fun:
- Make a playlist of songs that pump you up which you can listen to as you run.
- Find a scenic running route so that you can enjoy the view as you work out.
- Turn it into a game: time your runs; each day, try to beat the previous day’s performance.
- Add segments to your runs: run for a few minutes by raising your knees a little higher, run uphill, leap over puddles, and so on.
2. Follow the Arnold Schwarzenegger approach to goal achievement. Even if you’re not an Arnold fan, let’s face it, the man knows how to achieve goals. In his 2009 Commencement Speech at USC, Arnold told the recent graduates that when he set the goal of becoming a body building champion as a teenager, he did the following:
“Right next to my bed there was this big wall that I decorated all with pictures. I hung up pictures of strongmen and bodybuilders and wrestlers and boxers and so on.”
By surrounding yourself with images of the goal that you want to achieve, you make sure that you’re always keeping your goal in mind. This means that your brain will be working on how to achieve your goal in a subconscious way round the clock. When you’re constantly coming up with ideas on how to move toward your goal, you’ll be motivated to take consistent action.
3. Improve Your Diet. The show “Frasier” is one of my favorite TV shows (although the show was cancelled many years ago, I still watch the re-runs all the time). It’s about radio psychologist Dr. Frasier Crane. In one episode Frasier is giving his talk show and he’s invited another doctor to be a guest on the show. A woman calls into the show complaining that she has trouble getting out of bed in the morning.
Frasier tells the caller that wanting to stay in bed is similar to the desire to regress to the womb, and that there was something in her life that she was trying to retreat from. He recommends that she go into therapy in order to discover the unconscious fear that was making her want to stay in bed. Then the other doctor chimes in with the following:
“You are good, Dr. Crane. The first thing that came to my head was that she might be a little hypoglycemic, I’d have suggested some protein in the morning.”
At this point the woman caller exclaims that the previous Thursday she had eaten eggs as soon as she woke up; she was able to get out of bed without any trouble and had felt great all day. She scolds Dr. Crane for scaring her, thanks the other doctor, and hangs up.
The point that I’m trying to make with this anecdote is that sometimes your lack of motivation isn’t mental or emotional, but physical. A lack of physical energy can be the reason behind your lack of motivation. In order to keep your motivation high, make sure that you’re eating in a way that’s right for you, and which keeps your physical energy high.
4. Make the goal smaller. One of the key elements that will determine how motivated you’ll be to take action toward the achievement of your goal is whether or not you expect to succeed. Imagine that you set a big goal that makes you feel the following:
- Deep down inside you feel that the goal is simply out of your reach.
- You feel that no matter what you do you’ll never be able to achieve this goal.
Do you think you’ll be very motivated to get up and do the work necessary in order to achieve this goal? Of course not. If this is the case, then you need to set a smaller goal which you can get yourself to believe is within your ability to attain.
5. Make the goal bigger. Yes, I realize this is the exact opposite of the point I made above. However, as Gretchen Rubin points out, one of the secrets of adulthood is that the opposite of a great truth is also true. Sometimes you can’t get yourself motivated to pursue a goal because the goal simply isn’t a challenge for you. That is, it just doesn’t excite you. If that’s the case, you need to raise the bar.
6. Increase the reward. The bigger the anticipated reward of achieving a goal, the more motivated you’ll be to get to it. For example, if you’re trying to motivate yourself to run a marathon, ask yourself how you can make the reward that you’ll receive for running a marathon as big as possible. Here are some ideas:
- Set a weight loss goal that you want to reach through the process of training for a marathon and go out and get the pair of jeans that you’re going to be able to fit into when you reach your target weight.
- Find a marathon that donates entrance fees to a cause that you believe in.
- As you train for the marathon, simultaneously write an eBook on all the steps that you’re taking. Then, when you run the marathon, you can sell your eBook to others like you who have always wanted to run a marathon but aren’t sure what to do.
Look at how big your reward for running a marathon is going to be now: you’re going to achieve your weight loss goal and be able to fit into those great jeans, you’re going to help raise money for a cause that you believe in, and you’re going to make money from your eBook.
7. Try immersion therapy. Immersion is about jumping in with both feet; it’s making an intense effort and tackling your goal from many different angles. As an example, a few years back I had gained a lot of weight, and I set the goal of losing forty pounds. In order to achieve my goal I did all of the following:
- I bought and read a book on how to counter emotional eating.
- I set an appointment with a nutritionist who created a diet for me to follow.
- I bought fitness magazines.
- I joined a gym.
- I hired a personal trainer.
- I started getting weekly weight loss massages.
By completely immersing myself in my goal of losing forty pounds I was able to find the motivation to modify my eating habits and begin exercising on a regular basis. And I did lose the forty pounds.
Another area in which immersion therapy works wonders is learning a new language. If you set the goal of learning Italian—for example—do all of the following:
- Enroll in an Italian language course.
- Buy Italian language tapes and listen to them during your commute, as you do the laundry, as you do yard work, and so on.
- Go on YouTube and look for Italian songs you can listen to, such as songs by Eros Ramazzotti or Tiziano Ferro.
- Watch Italian movies such as “La Strada” and “Profumo di Donna”.
- Go to Italian restaurants where the owners and waiters are Italian and try ordering in Italian.
By the way, the process above is similar to the process that I followed in order to learn Italian in preparation for a year-long trip that I was taking to Italy after my college graduation.
The way that I think about immersion is as if you’re walking into the goal, instead of just talking about a goal that’s somewhere outside of you. That is, you’re living the goal by having props, reminders, incentives, and so on related to the goal all around you, at all times.
What goal are you trying to achieve, but haven’t been able to muster up the motivation to get going? Do you see any ideas in this post that you think might help you to get motivated? Achieve your goals by supercharging your motivation.
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