"Every human mind is a great slumbering power until awakened by a keen desire and by definite resolution to do" Edgar Roberts
It is said that the greatest tool man has ever come to know was the power of his own mind. Why? Because the human mind has unimaginable potential. Take a moment and realize that every song, movie, piece of art, building, book, tool, word, fabric, meal, dessert, story, and tale was once only alive in a persons mind. The trick to controlling your mind begins with learning to motivate yourself.
The ability to take a thought and bring it into reality is where the rubber meets the road. To do this takes continual effort and a drive like no other. You are going from "zero to one".
What It Takes To Create Something Out of Nothing
I love getting the opportunity to talk to others about their passions. It's truly a joy getting to see someone just light up and get all excited about something! And the crazy thing is most of the times, what people just love doing is something that could be turned into a living for that person!
The hardest step is starting. And not knowing where to start is even more confusing; however, I'm a firm believer that if you are motivated enough you will succeed. Why? Because success is rarely chance. More often than not success is found in consistency. And most of the work leading to success is grunt work.
If you've ever had a passion about something and want to learn how to turn that into a real living income I suggest you subscribe to this BizGrips blog! That's what we're all about here at BizGrips (I'd love to have you join the BizGrips family). Also check out this FREE PDF here that is all about starting an extremely profitable business at home!
Where Does Motivation Come into Play?
Before we continue, I'd like to stress not to always count on your feelings being there. There's a common analogy that feelings are like an elephant, and the conscious mind is the rider. The idea is that the rider can direct the elephant (feelings), but at the end of the day, the elephant will go where the elephant wants to go. Feelings almost always seem to win the long haul battle. For the sake of this article, let's say Self Motivation = Grit.
If we consider self motivation grit, we can think of the important role that we play in this. We are responsible for doing what we do NOT want to do. If we always follow our feelings, we end up no where, because feelings change. However, feelings can be strategically guided. This is where self motivation comes into play. You are the rider. Master your elephant.
Motivation is a way to realign our feelings with our goals. What's the catch? We need motivation most when we feel least motivated. I know that sounds controversial, but think about that for a second.
Motivation is something that is intentional, how do we intentionally do something to trick our feelings into wanting to do that very thing? Well friends, that's what this post is all about! One thing's for sure: it's more than just self control. Let's dive in!
Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation
Motivation is like an onion, there's multiple layers to it. The outermost layer is distinguishing between the two types of motivation: Intrinsic vs Extrinsic.
It's important to know the difference between these two. Both types serve their proper place when it comes to motivating yourself.
Ever wonder why some people just seem to have so much more drive than others? It's normally due to that individual having abundant intrinsic motivation. Being able to tap into this type of motivation will allow you to motivate yourself for weeks, months, and years to come.
Here there are no external rewards. Things aren't done for material gain. Intrinsic motivation is all about feelings of enjoyment, purpose, and meaning. This is the pursuit of your deepest desires, wants, and dreams.
I would argue that this type of motivation all starts with belief in yourself (self-efficacy). This is so important, because that elephant will never move if it sees no potential reward ever. We'll talk more about this later and expand on it in a bit, but just keep this in the back of your mind for now.
"Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit"E.E. Cummings
Evaluate Your Intentions
This is the number one trick to becoming intrinsically motivated. To motivate yourself for months, and even years to come you need to look for the positive impact your goals will have. And rather than just looking at the positive impact your goals will have on you, evaluate how they will impact your loved ones, and the world around you.
Knowing that your intentions have a greater purpose than yourself will give your current suffering a purpose. And I don't necessarily mean physical suffering, rather mental suffering. It sucks having to do things that you don't want to do. But that's what an entrepreneur does:
Entrepreneurs do hard things, and they do them well
Chase Your Passion With Everything You've Got
Never, ever go at something 50%. Especially not your dreams and your passions. This is a sure-fire way to have regret. And regret is very hard to get rid of. Going after what you believe in 100% further encourages your feelings to join you along for the ride.
More often than not, our feelings follow our actions. I put together a video about this that I'd like to share:
If you got to watch the video you'll notice that I really believe working was meant to be a gift. This seems so controversial! I understand that. But I believe that starting a business of your own that revolves around your passions is easier than people think. Want to know where to start? Well then check this out.
Keep It Secret
Yep, that's right... Keep your intentions private! This is controversial, but telling people your goals gives you this sense of "reward" of accomplishing said goal. When in reality, you've done nothing towards making that goal happen.
I find that when I share my goals with people, more often than not those goals are never reached. And it's not just me that thinks this way. This is backed up by lots of research and many studies.
Rather than letting your words speak for you, let your actions. Remember the popular saying "actions speak louder than words." Well it's true! Not only that, your words actually are inhibiting the actions you take towards achieving that goal.
This is a sure way to KILL your motivation. Don't make the mistake of sharing your goals with everyone. This is actually a poor way of communicating your purpose. Start by taking actionable steps towards your goal, then let the results speak for you before your words do.
After all that hype about intrinsic motivation what's the point of extrinsic motivation? There is none. Nah, that was a joke. Extrinsic motivation definitely has its place too.
Extrinsic motivation is driven by external reward. Think of trophies, and cookies and incentives; these are all types of extrinsic motivation. The thing here is this type of motivation will never lead to motivating yourself for weeks and months and years to come. So why do we care?
Extrinsic motivation is extremely practical for completing short-term tasks that you really don't want to do. Examples of this include:
- Working overtime to get a bonus
- Studying hard to get a good grade on a test
- Running faster to get the trophy
This is the type of Do this. Get this kind of motivation. Which, oftentimes, is actually really needed to do small tasks that we cannot seem to motivate ourselves to do. It's important to reward yourself for the hard work you put in and the problems you solve!
Go All In... But Not On Everything
It's a very vast world out there, and there's lots to do! The sad truth is that because of the abundant opportunity, little stuff ever actually gets done. It's so easy to be overwhelmed with choices. So much so that this is actually considered a cognitive impairment called "Overchoice"
How do we combat this "disease"? We need to make a choice to choose one goal, and go at it 100%. Not two goals and give them 50%. Choose one goal and give it everything you've got.
Because the cool thing is that once you've completed this one goal, you now have gained a very positive reward to continue the forward momentum. Furthermore, completing goals boosts the belief you have in yourself.
So, find a great goal worth pursuing and give it everything you've got! Oftentimes, goals never get pursued because there is no belief they will ever surmount to anything. Fear not! Here is the secret to using your goals to make a living for yourself!
"All who have accomplished great things have had a great aim, have fixed their gaze on a goal which was high, one which sometimes seemed impossible." -Orison Swett Marden
Though it may be true that high goals must be set to achieve great success, true success is won each day, week, and month by breaking up a once impossible goal into smaller goals that can be achieved and planed.
Breaking up goals is a fantastic way to motivate yourself. It reminds the mind that the largest things are possible with consistent effort. Take running a marathon for example:
26.2 miles is a long way to run. But maybe you can already run half of that? if not half, then maybe a quarter? And if not a quarter then maybe an eighth? An eighth of a marathon is 3 miles... Still a long way to go if you're starting out, but doesn't that seem like a possible goal to work up to? You bet!
The Process of Dissecting a Goal
To properly dissect a goal, one has to realize the importance of self-control, and the ability to follow through on the smaller goals to achieve the larger ones.
One of my favorite quotes is "Do today what others won't so you can do tomorrow what others can't." Reading that quote in my times of lacking motivation is by itself fantastic motivation to get me going. I oftentimes think of physical fitness when it comes to this quote.
When you see someone that is extremely fit, more-often-than-not it took YEARS of consistency to get to that point. And in knowing that, it would take years for someone starting out to just be at the same level of that person, and if that person stays consistent, everyone who starts today will always be years behind them.
Now, this is not an example made to fill you with pride our haughtiness, rather I use this example to outline the truth that how we live our lives influences others. And the fruits of completing small goals over and over again compound, and the results is something that not only would inspire our past selves, but inspire those that witness our achievements.
I talk about the process of dissecting goals a lot in my time management post (which you definitely should check out). A great way that I dissect goals is using Trello. The cool thing is this is a completely free tool that has worked wonders in my own life!
Trello For Goal Setting
Above is a screenshot of my Trello board. As you can see I have it broken up into seven columns:
- Q1 Rocks
- Weekly Sprint
- Daily Tasks
- In Progress
- On Hold
This is hands down the most effective way to achieve goals - long term and short term. Let me explain how this process works.
There are four quarters in a year: Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4. Each quarter I have a few larger goals that I need to have completed. You can see for Q1 (I started my "goal year" a few months back) there are three primary goals I need to achieve.
These primary goals for a quarter are MANDATORY in order to complete the primary goals for the next quarter. And so on and so on. And at the end of the year, I will have completed one major goal. What's wrong with just writing down one major goal? Two things:
- It's very difficult to motivate yourself for an entire year without seeing progress
- It's very difficult to see the actionable steps you can take to achieve that goal
So, the quarterly goals are goals that I can more clearly see actionable steps to achieve them. Here's where the weekly sprints come into play. Each week, I have goals needed to complete which are the quarterly goals further broken down into exceptionably actionable steps.
I then separate the weekly goals into daily goals. This way, each day I know EXACTLY what needs to be done, without having to expend the will power on thinking about what would be a productive use of my time for the day.
How does this motivate me? Well, I get to see the completed box fill up for one, and on top of that, simply having a plan that I know will produce positive results drives forward motion.
Hey, if you are reading this I'd just like to take a moment and say that I am very grateful for you guys! If you have found this useful in any way I's just like to politely ask you to take a moment share this post, and comment in the comment section below any thoughts or questions you may have. It'd really help me out, and I believe the message of this post has potential to help many people!
Keep a Gratitude Journal
"There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy." -Ralph H. Blum
Gratitude is always good and dandy, but when it comes to motivating yourself how does it come into play? Simply put, no person is where they are today without the help of someone else. We already talked about having purpose behind the work you do.
Being grateful allows you to reflect on the work others have done that helped you out, and in turn use that thought to realize the greater purpose your own goal has in this world. Because at the end of the day, no goal worth pursuing benefits only yourself. Being grateful allows you to see this.
A gratitude journal is really just a daily log of things you are grateful for. This is a practice that has benefitted me beyond my ability to explain here. Every night before I go to bed I jot down at least one thing that I am grateful for.
Some people have actual journals, I just have found it easier to do it in a note taking app on my phone. I highly recommend this practice of just taking the time to be grateful for the things in your life.
Remember the Bad
Yep! You heard that right.... An important way to being more grateful is actually remembering the bad, and the hard times, and the poor choices you made, and the terrible things that happened to you.
Now there are two types of people when it comes to reflecting on the hardships in your life:
- The kind that use it as an excuse to remain where they are
- The kind that use it to realize their responsibility in escaping it
Remember responsibility does not always equate to fault. However, we are responsible to deal with many things that were never our fault. Remember that.
Reflecting and remembering the bad times allows you to be more grateful for the good times. It allows you to reflect on where you have come from. Furthermore it reminds you that things can always get better.
Choose Words Carefully
When it comes to effective communication, words play an important role. There is a reason it's often called "Language Arts". Because language is most definitely an art form.
The words we choose to use effect our psyche and also effect how we reach others. Making an effort to reach out to others and make sure the people you are grateful for know that you are grateful for them is a practice that needs to be encouraged.
Sharing our gratefulness for the ones around us lifts others up, and increases our own gratefulness.
At BizGrips we believe great businesses are built on two things:
- Passion and meaning. Having a business oriented around your passions that can have great positive effect on those around you.
- Exceptional relationships and communication.
Please subscribe to BizGrips if this interests you! I truly believe in this message and want to share it with as many people as possible. These things don't get talked about enough!
The best trick I can give you to motivate yourself is to keep the forward momentum you have already gained. This is a double-edge sword however. It's tempting to forego sleep in order to get more done, and to keep the momentum moving forward.
Though I think sometimes it's very necessary to sacrifice sleep to get certain things done, it's important not to overdo it. This is actually something I personally struggle with a lot.
Once you realize the power of momentum, the thought of losing that momentum is terrifying. Oftentimes many goals are never completed just because the momentum is lost.
Studies show the effect that sleep deprivation has on job performance. And it's very glim. Losing sleep is sometimes necessary to keep momentum going, but finding a balance is key. Too much sleep loss will kill that momentum faster than anything else.
Not to mention, sleep deprivation also leads to sickness. Getting sick is a sure-fire way to put a big halt on all progress towards your goal. Motivating yourself while sick seems like an impossible task. Remember...
A well-rested mind is a productive mind
I previously mentioned the importance of believing in yourself; this is called Self-Efficacy. Self-efficacy is key when it comes to motivating yourself to do things when you least feel like it.
The lack of self-belief will inevitably lead to a lethargic attitude. Why? Because like we talked about, your feelings are the "elephant" you are the rider. Though you can guide your feelings, the elephant still only goes towards what it believes to be the best path.
If there is no self-belief, there seems to be no reason to pursue whatever it is you do not believe in your abilities to successfully accomplish. Because, after long days and consistent hard work, if you cannot complete the objective you are left with no reward and only struggle.
You must believe in your abilities to accomplish this goal, and believe that accomplishing this goal will bring you to a much better place than where you are currently at.
The Power of Self-Efficacy
"If you believe you can, you probably can. If you believe you won't, you most assuredly won't. Belief is the ignition switch that gets you off the launching pad." -Dennis Waitley
A strong sense of self-efficacy leads to a stronger interest in the activities done in pursuit of your goal. This is closely tied to your vision, and the purpose behind what you are attempting to accomplish.
Furthermore having self-efficacy leads to quick recovery from setbacks and disappointments. Unfortunately, these will always come. Success isn't in avoiding failure, it's in the ability to quickly get back up, and learn from what caused the failure.
In doing this, failure becomes your ally in a sense. Not because it is a good thing, rather because every time you bounce back from failing you reaffirm the belief in your own abilities to overcome.
Like most anything else, self-efficacy is a "muscle" that can be grown over time. Self belief comes from continually pursuing things just out of your comfort zone and your natural abilities.
Slowly increase the amount of tasks you do that you previously had no idea how to complete. Learn how to complete these tasks. Then find the next task which should be more difficult than the previous.
This is actually a fantastic way to fall in love with learning. Learning new things not only gives you newfound knowledge that opens new doors for you, but it grants you with the belief in your abilities to successfully walk through those new opened doors.
Learning how to start a business is no different than this. Looking at the grand picture makes the task seem impossible, but incrementally learning the small things that lead to a successful business, and being able to apply those things will quickly open your eyes to the possibility of the once thought impossible goal of starting your own business.
Furthermore, it's important to celebrate your successes. This reaffirms your ability to succeed. When attempting to do something challenging and new, it's easy to see failure after failure after failure and start to think of yourself as a failure.
When you start to tally up your success-to-fail ratio, and think of yourself as a failure, remember this:
One success is worth thousands of failures
Change Takes Time
"He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery." -Harold Wilson
When trying to motivate yourself remember that things will change. Your feelings will come and go. Your strategies will evolve. Consistency will lead to success, and success means change.
Change always takes time. To go back to the working out analogy, consider what would happen if you went hard at the gym for a week. Like, really hard. I'm talking you were at the gym for 8+ hours a day. What would happen? Probably not much. It takes a long time of consistent work to see change when it comes to working out. The same thing is true for your goals and aspirations.
At the end of the day we need change, and we need to be patient with the time it takes for noticeable change to occur.
Learning how to motivate yourself is by no means an easy chore. But the ability to motivate yourself is what separates those who finish what they started and those who don't. To recap, self-motivation is built on the following things:
- Becoming intimate with the intentions behind your goal
- Limiting who you share your goals with
- Choosing one goal and going at it 100%
- Breaking down larger goals into smaller goals
- Practicing gratitude
- Getting adequate sleep
- Growing your self-efficacy "muscle"
- Realizing the time it takes for positive change to occur
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Catch you on the flip,
P.S. If you are wanting to, or have ever wanted to start a business, but are lost on where to start, click here and check this out