30 Days of Personal Growth, Day 19: 10 Ways to Recharge Your Motivation

I can’t resist sharing Marc and Angel’s posts. They’re so wise! This post on motivation was just what I needed for a dragging day.

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Achieving goals is not a matter of possibility, it’s a matter of motivating yourself to focus on the right things.  You know you should be doing something, but sometimes you just don’t feel like doing anything.  This stagnation can last a long time if you don’t head it off and take action.

Here are some daily motivation tricks that work for me:

1.  Get started!

This is by far the most important tip in this article, because in the end, all of the other tips in the world won’t make as much of a difference as this simple and timeless instruction: Sit down and start!  Do you feel the push-back of laziness?  There’s no better way to overcome it than to just start.  Reading more about motivation won’t help.  Reviewing your to-do lists won’t help.  Only doing actually helps get the momentum going.  And the only way to do something is to just start.

So stop thinking about how hard the task is going to be or how long it’s going to take you.  Just get started!  Not starting is failing.  Start telling yourself, “As soon as I start working, I’ll feel more motivated.”  Because once you start, you’ll realize it’s not nearly as hard as you thought it would be.  Read Getting Things Done.

2.  Find and use your positive voice.

As Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”  Be aware of your self-talk and stay positive.  Positive thinking can be amazingly powerful.

You have the choice to replace negative self-talk with a more encouraging and friendly voice.  A voice that will consider your goal as not just a possibility, but aprobability.  A voice that does not look externally for validation before taking action, but rather uses self-belief as its driving force.  A voice that realizes that any person who has ever achieved greatness had to do so against similar odds, and that all things are possible to those who commit to their vision.

Tell yourself over and over again that you can do it.  Try saying, “I want to go to the gym,” “I am going to nail this presentation,” “I am going to have a great day,” etc.  See what effect it has.  Persist with this kind of positivity and eventually you’ll feel better about whatever it is you want to get done, and you’ll even start to fool your unconscious into believing it’s true.

3.  Spend time with people who inspire you.

What better way to recharge yourself for improvement than spending time with someone who inspires you.  They are smart, driven and motivate you to be better.  Study their qualities.  Study their habits.  Surround yourself with them, talk to them, learn from them; they are already living and producing results at a level you admire and aspire to.  Compare stories, successes and failures.  Let their inner light guide you.

4.  Start a friendly competition.

You can really raise your motivation with some friendly competition.  We are all competitive in nature, take advantage of this by using it to fuel your motivation.  Find a co-worker or friend with similar goals and turn it into a competition or game.  The key is to find a way to make it fun.  This will make the task or project seem less like work and more like play; and it will also encourage you to avoid defeat.

While you’re at it, mutually support each other toward your goals.  Staying motivated on your own can be tough.  A partner in crime always helps

5.  Think about how far you have come.

You have made so much progress, you just don’t realize it.  Open your eyes and give yourself credit for all that you have accomplished.  Think about it.  Write down your past successes.  Consider using a journal to keep track of them.  You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised when you review your results.  It’s a great motivator to see how much you have improved and how far you have come.  You felt at the top of your game before and you can do it again.

And don’t forget to be patient.  The problem with many of us is that we expect quick results.  Think long term.  If you want to run a marathon, you won’t be able to do it overnight.  If you don’t see the results you want, don’t give up, give it time.  Think of your goal as a long-term journey, and your slump is just a little bump in the road.  In the mean time, be happy with your progress.  Read The Magic of Thinking Big.

6.  Embrace failure as a positive learning experience.

Ask yourself: What have I learned from this?  As Michael Jordan once said:

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Do not judge failed attempts and mistakes as an indication of your future potential, but as part of the growth process.  Something does not have to end well for it to have been one of the most valuable experiences of a lifetime.  When times get tough, take a deep breath, and know that most great things come when you least expect it.  Being defeated is a temporary condition; giving up is what makes it permanent.  And most people that gave up didn’t realize how close they were to success.  Push through!

7.  Review, refine and breakdown your goals.

Set and pursue S.M.A.R.T. goals.  These goals must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.  And don’t be afraid to set big S.M.A.R.T. goals either.  Establish goals that inspire you even if they seem slightly out of reach at the moment.  If you set goals that are too easy to achieve, you likely achieve far less than you are capable of.  As Les Brown said, “Shoot for the moon, and if you miss you will still be standing among the stars.”

Break down your big S.M.A.R.T. goals into realistic, high impact tasks that you can track.  The thought of accomplishing a huge task can be overwhelming.  Try taking small bites at a time.  Break down your large tasks into mini goals.  Daily actions will yield greater benefits than biting off more than you can handle.  When you start to see your progress you’ll feel more alert and ready to tackle the next step.

For example, if you want to change careers, that goal may be driven by several smaller goals like going back to school, improving your networking skills, updating your resume or getting a new certification; and each of these smaller goals is then supported by even more granular sub-goals and associated daily tasks.  And it is these small daily tasks that, over time, drive and motivate larger achievement.

Also, make sure your goals are truly YOURS, and in line with your values.  If you’re striving for someone else’s goals you are never going to be motivated to pursue them.

8.  Let the whole world know what you’re up to.

When you’re trying to do something you’ve never done before, it can take a lot of concentration and effort, and life can get lonely pretty quickly.  To keep your motivation thriving, it’s important to let others know what you’re up to.  Don’t be shy!  Announce to the world that you are going to achieve a certain goal by a certain date.

Trap yourself.  None of us want to look bad in front of friends, family and co-workers.  If you’ve made a commitment to all of them, then the shame of saying you didn’t try will outweigh the effort of doing it.  Hold yourself accountable, don’t just commit once, but commit to giving progress updates to everyone at least once a week.

9.  Visualize your successful outcome in great detail.

Before we do anything our minds start seeing pictures of how everything might turn out.  Close your eyes and visualize how great the events will unfold – see yourself smiling, hear yourself being positive and feel how great you will feel doing the task, leading the project, playing the game, attending the meeting.  Form as clear a mental picture as possible.  Do this every morning for at least five minutes.  This is a surprisingly effective technique that will raise your motivation and enthusiasm, and get you into the right mood before you begin working each day.

Another great visualization / motivation technique is to post physical reminders all around you.  Post a picture of your goal in a place you’ll see every day.  Set it as your desktop wallpaper, or post it on your wall, refrigerator or bathroom mirror.  The idea is to keep your mind focused on end result and keep your excitement going.

10.  Spend some time every day working on a passion.

There are some things in life that you just have to do, even if you aren’t passionate about it – cleaning the house, paying bills, finishing that task for your boss, etc.  But the dilemma of doing these things is greatly reduced if you spend a decent amount of time each day working on something you love – something you’re truly passionate about.  Because subconsciously you know that regardless of what you’re doing, your passion is still part of your day.  Read The How of Happiness.

So make time to focus on doing something you really want to do.  Take an hour break and work on something that’s meaningful to you.  Engage yourself in a meaningful personal project, or pull the trigger on starting something you’ve wanted to do for a long time, but haven’t yet had the resolve to do.  Do so, and your motivation and happiness will skyrocket.

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30 Days of Personal Growth, Day 13: 10 Ways to Change Your Life at Any Age

Today’s wisdom comes once again from one of my favorite blogs, Marc and Angel Hack Life. Their posts never cease to inspire me. Enjoy!

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Things can change if you want them to, at any age.  As I awoke this morning, I marveled at my life today.  Where once I woke with dread at the thought of a new day, now I wake with excitement to begin – grateful to be doing what I’m doing for a living.  I am so happy I did what I had to do, and struggled through the tough times and the fears, and realigned my life with the things that make me happy.  When friends ask me how I did it, as they sometimes do, I tell them, “Hard work and persistence.  It’s a small price to pay for a changed life.”

Here are ten things you can do to change your life at any age:

  1. Subtract the wrong things. – When things aren’t adding up in your life, it’s time to start subtracting.  Sometimes you must let go to grow.  You cannot discover new oceans unless you build up enough courage to lose sight of the old, familiar shoreline.  Be brave.  Follow your values.  Make changes.  And remember, no venture is ever a waste of time.  The ones that don’t work out teach you lessons that prepare you for the ones that do.  Read A New Earth.
  2. Believe you CAN. – The biggest obstacle that stops people from achieving their dreams is the feeling that they are not good enough.  Don’t be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality.  You are good enough!  Don’t let life discourage you.  Success is often closer than it seems.  With enough determination and drive, anything is possible in time.  Everyone who got to where they are had to begin from where they were, just like you.
  3. Work hard for what you want most. – Dreams don’t just magically become realities; it takes a lot of determination, sweat, and hard work.  Remember, tough circumstances don’t last; tough people do.  Most obstacles melt away when we make up our minds to march boldly through them.  If you have a strong commitment to your goals and dreams and wake up every morning with passion to work toward them, anything is possible.
  4. Stand up for yourself. – You can’t force people to show you respect, but you can refuse to be disrespected.  If you always back down to keep the peace, you will forever be armed with anger and self-loathing and fighting a war within.  Say what you need to say, do what you need to do, and don’t let anyone bully you into a corner.
  5. Let go of the past. – Don’t stumble on something behind you.  Don’t let your shadow guide you. You are not a slave to your past. Let it go and move on.  Dream and give yourself permission to envision a ‘YOU’ that you choose to be – that you know you CAN be.  Read The Language of Letting Go.
  6. End hurtful relationships. – Just because you have a past with someone, doesn’t mean you should have a future with them.  Just because you miss someone, doesn’t mean you need them back in your life.  Sometimes missing them is just a healthy part of moving on.
  7. Be thankful for what you have. – It’s not happy people who are thankful, it’s thankful people who are happy.  Even when times are tough, think of all the beauty still around you, and smile.  Life is too short to have a victim mentality.  Say to yourself, “I am not going to be bitter, I am going to be better.”
  8. Dedicate some time every day to loving yourself. – Only when we can sit alone quietly and look with honest eyes at our strengths and our weaknesses, our failures and our triumphs, our humanness and our moral strength, and love ourselves in spite of, and because of all that we are, will we begin to truly understand the meaning and power of unconditional love.  Read The Mastery of Love.
  9. Keep learning and embracing life’s changes. – The seeds of your success are planted in your past failures.  Your best stories will come from overcoming your greatest struggles.  Your praises will be birthed from your pains.  Keep standing and keep pushing forward.  Even the coldest winters eventually turn into springtime.  Seasons always change.
  10. Enjoy where you are now. – Sometimes we’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.  Laugh at the confusion, live consciously in the moment, and enjoy your life as it unfolds.  You might not be exactly where you had intended to go, but you are precisely where you need to be.

30 Days of Personal Growth, Day 5: Marc and Angel’s 10 Enemies of Personal Greatness

One of my favorite personal growth blogs, Marc and Angel Hack Life, is always bursting with great tips on optimal living. I love their honest, direct voice and way with words. Today’s post provides their 10 barriers to personal greatness. Don’t get caught up in them!

  1. Always taking the path of least resistance. – Just because you are struggling does NOT mean you are failing.  Every great success requires some kind of struggle to get there.  Good things don’t come to those who wait.  Good things come to those who work hard and struggle to pursue the goals and dreams they believe in.  Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
  2. Comparing yourself to everyone else. – You will never fully believe in yourself if you keep comparing yourself to everyone else.  Being true to yourself in thoughts, words and actions is as important as being kind and true to others.
  3. Worrying too much about what others think of you. – As long as you are worried about what others think of you, you are owned by them.  Only when you require no approval from outside yourself can you ownyourself.  If you’re being true to yourself and it isn’t enough for the people around you, change the people around you.
  4. Ignoring your gut instincts. – There’s a difference between being agreeable and agreeing to everything.  Give yourself permission to immediately walk away from anything that gives you bad vibes.  There is no need to explain or make sense of it.  Just trust the little inner voice when it’s telling you, “This is a bad idea.”
  5. Holding on when you need to move on. – Moving on doesn’t mean forgetting, it means you choose happiness over hurt.  Sometimes you have to love people from a distance and give them the space and time to get their minds right before you let them back into your life.
  6. Living in the past. – If you don’t leave your past in the past, it will destroy your future.  Live for what today has to offer, not for what yesterday has taken away.  Life is a journey that is only traveled once.  Today’s moments quickly become tomorrow’s memories.  So appreciate every moment for what it is, because the greatest gift of life is life itself. Read The Power of Now.
  7. Doing the wrong things just because others are too. – Wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it.  Right is right, even if you are the only one doing it.  Always do what you know in your heart is right, for you.
  8. Allowing small problems to overwhelm you. – Everything is going to be alright; maybe not today but eventually.  When you’re upset, ask yourself, “Will this matter to me in a year’s time?”  Most of the time it won’t.  Remember, sometimes bad things in life open up your eyes to the good things you weren’t paying attention to before.
  9. Surrendering to the draw of comfort. – The most common and harmful addiction in the world is the draw of comfort.  Why pursue greatness when you’ve already got 324 channels and a recliner?  Just pass the chip dip and forget about your grand plans.  NO!  The truth is growth begins at the end of your comfort zone.  Stepping outside of your comfort zone will put things into perspective from an angle you can’t grasp now, and open doors of opportunity that would otherwise not exist.  Read The Power of Habit.
  10. NOT believing that you CAN. – If we don’t know that greatness is possible, we won’t bother attempting it.  All too often, we literally do not know any better than good enough.  Sometimes you have to try to do what you think you can’t do, so you realize that you actually CAN.  And sometimes it takes more than one attempt.  If ‘Plan A’ doesn’t work out, don’t fret; the alphabet has another 25 letters that would be happy to give you a chance to get it right.  The wrong choices usually bring us to the right places, eventually.  But you must believe in your own potential to get there.