Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How to Get and Stay Motivated

This week a friend asked me how I keep fit and slim. Well it’s isn’t one miracle solution, that’s for sure. But there are probably 4 principles; 
  1. eat less better food
  2. exercise more less strenuously
  3. Be consistent over time
  4. Be disciplined over time
So now you know, but how do you MOTIVATE yourself to do this? What makes people jump out of bed and passionately pursue their dreams? What keeps that internal fire of motivation burning bright and keeping you moving towards what you want, even when the going gets tough? 

Some people appear “naturally” motivated, but the truth is it’s a learned skill and anyone can do it.
Here’s a great list that could help you;

Know what you want AND WHY
Things don’t motivate you, feelings do! You want a new house? Analyse why you want this, feeling secure, feeling “at home,” enjoying decorating, not worrying about rent and moving. All these are feelings. Identify the feelings you want from your goal and use these intense emotional feelings to motivate you. One way to get really intense feelings is to visualise yourself getting what you want, deeply imagine yourself, the colours, the sounds, the smells, the tastes, the feel on your skin, when you achieve what you want. This also activates your subconscious mind and sets it up to “see” the opportunities that will help you achieve your goals.

Write down your goals.
Again you are activating your mind, by slowing it down to write, to get very clear about what you want and WHY you want it. Some people find adding deadlines help and getting very specific about what you want can also be very motivating. Do what motivates you.

Set rewards
Nothing worthwhile is easy, so sometimes your motivation will be tested. Make sure you set congruent rewards when you achieve milestones. Congruent means, if you lose 5kg’s – go to the movies! Don’t eat cake. If you buy a house, have a wonderful house warming party and celebrate your achievement. Even small rewards along the way can help you keep motivated. Remember the rewards will be specific to you so spend some time finding rewards that motivate you!

Share your goals with people that will support you.
Having a buddy who will keep you honest and motivated is a great asset. Most people would be flattered if asked to assist. But be warned, some people will not. Some people are threatened by your plans. Chose your friends and who you share with very carefully and avoid negative people.

Use negative emotion
Most people are more motivated by pain than pleasure, sad but true. You can use this to help you get motivated! Imagine what will happen if you don’t do what you have planned. Imagine the pain and multiply it several times. Get sad or angry, teary or depressed. Do not back away from feeling very intensely these negative emotions and how hurt and disappointed you will FEEL if you don’t carry out your planned ACTIONS.

Follow this exercise with positive visualisation so you don’t stay in a negative state!

Keep Focused on what you want
Think about what you want every day, day dream, and journal, note your small progress towards your big goals. Make sure you NOTICE your progress because this will help you STAY motivated and keep your MOMENTUM.

Resolving laziness, procrastination and self sabotage
These can all limit your motivation. The first thing is to become AWARE of this in you actions. Working out why can be hard because often you are doing it unconsciously. You miss a lecture, you drink too much, or you stay on the couch without being aware of what you are doing. GET AWARE. The best way again is by journaling, slow down your thinking and analyse your actions.

Often being lazy, procrastination and self sabotage is a BIG SIGN - there is incongruence. For example; you want to get fit, but running makes you sore; you want to start a business but you hate losing money. These contrary emotions will result in a neutralisation of your emotional, motivational drivers.

Only you can resolve the mental tug of war. If you want to get fit, but running makes you sore, do something else, there are 1000’s of fitness activities to chose and enjoy. If you want to run a business but you hate losing money, you have to address your fear, learn to live with it, learn to minimise risks in business (yes it can be done) or set a new agenda.
There is no point fighting yourself! It is a waste of energy and it will definitely sidetrack you from what you want.

Make sure what you want, is aligned with who you are and want to be. If you want to be a basket ball star but you hate training, it’s just not going to work! This sounds so obvious, but many people head off on their journey without FIRST defining who they want to be and only half way through realize that there is poor alignment in what they want and who they are... the best place is to start with a defining life purpose and work from there, then at least you’ll know you are heading in the right direction.

And it is never too late to start.

All these principles are incorporated in 4me2realize.