Monday, September 6, 2010

Motivation Part III: Self-motivation

This posting is for mentors and mentees alike. One of my favorite topics is motivation. Today I'll point you to a nice, brief article about self-motivation: How To Motivate Yourself

Of the steps mentioned the 2 most critical ones in my opinion are:

  1. Break down big goals into smaller more achievable goals. Some goals have good, natural break points (such as weight loss - 25 lbs can be done 5 lbs at a time). With others you can set aside a certain amount of time to work on that goal (even using a timer to help with time management). For example, you need to re-organize your closet? Do it in 15-30 minute chunks every day or week and over time you'll notice significant improvement.
  2. Celebrate the successes - especially the small ones! Celebrations create a positive feedback loop that will help you gain momentum to propel you towards your goal.
Another aspect not mentioned explicitly in the article is getting passionate about your goal. This does not mean getting 'obsessed'. I had an uncle that loved the phrase: "If you can't do what you like then like what you do." It's hard to get motivated to do something you hate. The key then is to find something that you like about achieving that goal and reframe your thoughts around that positive aspect. For example perhaps your goal is weight loss and to achieve that you need to exercise. I hate exercising. So I focus on an aspect that I can enjoy. I like to exercise to music and so when it's exercise time I get excited not so much about the exercising activity but instead on the fact that I get to blast my music for 30 minutes. Others may focus on what they'll look like if they stick to their exercise regimen over time.

"Tricking" yourself into liking what you do will get you far in many aspects of life especially if you are currently "stuck" in a job. Rewarding yourself after achieving milestones will also help you like what you do. The good news is that the more you practice thinking positively and finding the silver lining the better at it you will get. And the easier it will get! The additional good news is that if you master this 'trick' it will help you in all aspects of life and not just work. If you have tricks on learning to like what you do please share them in the comments section! I'd love to read about it.

For past postings on different aspects of Motivation please see:

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