As a tango dancer and teacher, I have never needed external motivation to go and dance/practice tango. It’s as natural for me as having to eat every day. However, there are other areas in my life in which I need motivation to accomplish my goals. I imagine that it’s the same for you. You have an internal drive to do some activities while others require much discipline.
Life is a journey, not a destination
Many of us set specific goals,but we should keep in mind that the journey is as important as the goal. Let’s say that my goal is to make a million dollars five years from now, and I have two ways of doing it: cleaning toilets or dancing tango. I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer to earn my money dancing tango. This preference is so strong that even if I don’t get the million dollars I would be a happier person. Whether or not I reach the goal of making the million dollars becomes almost irrelevant. In everything that you do, make sure that the journey is as enticing as the goal.
Establish a routine
I want to learn how to write in an engaging manner. I would love it if one day people find my writing either interesting or educational. To accomplish that goal, I have established the routine of writing for one hour every morning. Most of my writing is crap. I believe that it will take me years to develop the skill of writing something truly engaging, but every day that I write, I get closer to that goal. I have overcome the fear of failure because failure is my starting point. From here on, one hour at a time, every morning, I am creating that engaging writer that will have a following of avid readers.
Whatever your goal is, make some time for it. Preferably the same time every day. Make it so that it’s part of your routine, as natural as brushing your teeth. Make it a secret part of your life. As you establish your routine you will find it easier to achieve your goal.
Post quotes around your space
My daughter Andrea is a fitness fanatic; she wants to participate in a fitness competition this October. To keep her motivation high she has printed motivational quotes all around her. She also posts them regularly in her Facebook wall. I am sure that those quotes help her in times of doubt. Quotes are powerful; place a few of them around you and they will help you in times of weakness.
The power of reading
I have a friend who has been trying to quit pot smoking. Recently he has been successful after reading a book on the subject. (No Need for Weed: Understanding and Breaking Cannabis Dependency). This book has been pivotal for him. I believe that books can be a great force for self-improvement and they can offer you a shortcut to success. In a few hours you can consume the material that an expert has put together after many years of experience. With the new Kindle devices, you have access to millions of books in seconds.
My biggest motivator is podcast. I listen to about four 30 minutes podcasts per day (my latest favorite is The Good Life Project). I listen to them while walking, cleaning my place or going to the gym. They keep me connected to the people who keep me well-informed about business and mindset. I also use YouTube almost daily to find inspiration for my tango dancing. Many of my friends find inspirations watching TED talks. I’m sure that there’s a technology tool that can help you sustain your motivation.
Find an accountability partner
If you are accountable only to yourself, then it could be very easy to push your goals to the side, but if you find a person to whom you become accountable, then you are also responsible to someone else. When I was married, I was more determined to succeed in life in general than I am now that I am single. I felt that I was accountable not only to me, but to my partner as well.
Accountability partners are great when you are trying to break a habit or to instill a habit that you’d like to have. For example, you can commit to someone that you will work out 5 times this week or you will pay for dinner this weekend. The ideal accountability partner will not be someone passive. Preferably, it will be someone who would hold you to your word and who would demand for the results that you promised.
Take a break
Sometimes the best motivator is just to take a break. If you’ve been working hard for many hours, just close your laptop and go out for a walk. If you’ve been working for weeks on a project, take a few days off. Most of the time, after taking a break from your work, you come back revitalized ready to tackle the world.
What motivates you?
I would love it if you share in the comment section, motivation hacks that keeps you going.