Motivation is not a new concept to most of us. We have felt that first burst of enthusiasm. Perhaps it was an ad or news story on TV, an article in a magazine, a chance remark, or an embarrassing moment that brought us that sudden rush of certainty that something needed to be done…could be done. We felt a strong, perhaps overwhelming desire to DO SOMETHING…something that would change what had been or create something new. Often, this is accompanied by a clear and certain knowledge of what to do, how to do, and what the result would be.
Maybe we decided to lose weight, start a business, or write a book. Still bolstered by our reaction to what we had seen, heard, or felt, were certain of success! We would start that exercise program, or open that savings account tomorrow; we would begin writing a chapter a day…tomorrow. No! Tomorrow was too far away! We knew what we wanted and how to get it and we were going to start today!
Nothing could stop us!!
Of course, we know what happened over the next few hours, days, or weeks.
The clear image we had of our success dimmed and blurred; perhaps disappeared all together. The daily exercise routine, became a couple of times a week, and then was dropped all together. We quit making the deposit, or the notebook we bought for writing our great novel suddenly seemed too full of blank pages to ever fill.
The dream ended. If we were lucky, that’s all that happened…it ended. For some, however, it lingered on as one more reminder of all the unfulfilled dreams and became part of our self image. It was another defeat to add to the stack.
So! What happened and how do we change it?
What happened was a combination of life, human nature, and personality or character.
Life supplies us with a constant stream of information, events, and opportunities. It is difficult to keep sight of the goal and the process while maintaining the initial level of motivation which burned so brightly when it was the new kid on the block.
Human nature has defense mechanisms and weaknesses which combine to cause us to lose the fervor we felt…before we begin to become aware of the obstacles in our path. Sadly, an obstacle does not have to be real to be effective. The well-intentioned doubts of friends and family, whether real or imagined, are both equally effective in extinguishing the fires of desire.
As with many things in our lives, our personalities and characters have a great impact on our success or failure in any given situation. Whether they contribute to our success or become obstacles does not, however, define us as failures! It is also important to note that the factors of personality or character which may be in the way are NOT always set in stone and may be altered so that success becomes a more common state.
Ways to maintain motivation keep our dream clear, bright, and fresh after the first giddy rush of elation we felt when we first felt we knew “the answer”. We cannot change life in general, but we can change how we live it and alter the human nature and circumstances which would rob us of success.
1. Write it down: Whatever the goal or dream, commit it to paper. Often, the dream simply becomes harder to see, more difficult to focus on, as new events and factors evolve. Writing it down allows us to refocus and see the goal again as we saw it when it was fresh.
2. Read it: Carry the paper you wrote it on with you. Make an extra copy and put it on your bathroom mirror, another on the refrigerator door. Take it out several times daily and read it…out loud is best, but silently in the bathroom is better than nothing.
3. Revise it: Things change, we grow, we learn. Be real. Having to alter a dream or the process of achieving it is not failure. It is reality.
4. Log it: Make note of what you did to achieve your goal or what you can do tomorrow or next week. Don’t worry about how far you got, or how much you did…just that you did it.
5. Learn it: Study the subject. You don’t have to go back to school for a degree, but regularly delving into the subject will help keep you focused and perhaps give you new ideas to help you on your way.
6. Share it: If you dare, you are the judge. Letting people know what you’re doing, while being aware that they may have a negative view of it, can be motivating.
7. Read about motivation: These few words are not the only ones written on the subject. There are other ideas out there, and a sentence in another article or a book may be the key you need to go farther than you have ever gone before.
The goal is to keep the motivation level somewhere near the level it was when you started.