8 Ways to be motivated from the beginning!
I’ve found that it’s important to start out with the right motivation, because a good start can build momentum that you can sustain for a long time. If you start out right, you will have a much better chance of succeeding. Here are some tips for starting out:
1. Start small.
Don’t start out big! Start out with a ridiculously easy goal, and then grow from there. If you want to exercise, for example, you may be thinking that you must do these intense workouts 5 days a week. No — instead, take baby steps. Just do 15-20 minutes of exercise. I know, that sounds wimpy, but it works. Commit to 15-20 minutes of exercise for one week. You may want to do more, but just stick to that. It’s so easy, you can’t fail. Do it at the same time, every day. Just some crunches, 2 push ups, and some jogging in place. Once you’ve done 2 minutes a day for a week, increase it by 5 minutes, and stick with that for a week. In a month, you’ll be doing 40-60 minutes. Want to wake up early? Don’t think about waking at 5 a.m. Instead, think about waking up 10 minutes earlier for a week. That’s all. Once you’ve done that, wake 10 minutes earlier than that. Baby steps.
2. One goal.
Too many people start with too many goals at once, and try to do too much. And it saps energy and motivation. It’s probably the most common mistake that people make. You cannot maintain energy and focus (the two most important things in accomplishing a goal) if you are trying to do two or more goals at once. It’s not possible — I’ve tried it many times. You must choose one goal, for now, and focus on it completely. I know, that’s hard but you can always do your other goals when you’ve completed your first one.
3. Re-visit your motivation.
Re-visit your reasons. Give them some thought and write them down. If you are doing it for loved ones, that is more powerful than just doing it for self-interest. Doing it for yourself is good too, but you should do it for something that you REALLY, REALLY want to happen, for good reasons.
4. Really, really want it.
This is essentially the same as the above tip, but I want to emphasize it: it’s not enough to think it would be cool to achieve something. It must be something you’re passionate about, something you’re super excited about, something you want deeply. Make sure that your goal meets these criteria, or you won’t stick with it for long.
5. Commit publicly.
None of us likes to look bad in front of others. We will go the extra mile to do something we’ve said publicly. For example, when I wanted to run my first marathon, I started writing a column about it in my local daily newspaper. The entire island of Guam (pop. 160K) knew about my goal. I couldn’t back down, and even though my motivation came and went, I stuck with it and completed it. Now, you don’t have to commit to your goal in your daily newspaper, but you can do it with friends and family and co-workers, and you can do it on your blog if you have one. And hold yourself accountable — don’t just commit once, but commit to giving progress updates to everyone every week or so.
6. Get excited.
Well, it starts with inspiration from others (see above), but you must take that excitement and build on it. For me, I’ve learned that by talking to my wife about it, and to others, and reading as much about it as possible, and visualizing what it would be like to be successful (seeing the benefits of the goal in my head), I get excited about a goal. Once I’ve done that, it’s just a matter of carrying that energy forward and keeping it going.
7. Build anticipation.
This will sound hard, and many people will skip this tip. But it really works. It helped me quit smoking after many failed attempts. If you find inspiration and want to do a goal, don’t start right away. Many of us will get excited and want to start today. That’s a mistake. Set a date in the future — a week or two, or even a month — and make that your Start Date. Note it on the calendar. Get excited about that date. Make it the most important date in your life. In the meantime, start writing out a plan. And do some of the steps below. Because by delaying your start, you are building anticipation, and increasing your focus and energy for your goal.
8. Print it out, post it up.
Print out your goal in big words and post it up on your wall or refrigerator. Post it at home and work. Put it on your computer desktop or on set it as your phone’s background. You want to have reminders about your goal, to keep you focused and keep your excitement going. Why not create a vision board?