How to Unleash Your Motivation
by Steven Gaffney
Mark Twain said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” The trouble is that getting started can be the hardest part. Here are four quick tips for unleashing your own personal motivation:
- Choose clarity. Be clear about what you are trying to achieve—and the value in it. Why do you want it? I think one of the most powerful questions we can ask ourselves is why. Goals are wonderful, but you have to evaluate whether there is enough value in obtaining the goal that it is worth overcoming all of the obstacles that stand between here and there. I am not advocating that you think negatively, but I do advocate thinking appropriately. What is the value that you are trying to achieve for yourself? What’s in it for you that will make all of your efforts worth it?
- Take stock of your beliefs. Do you really believe you can achieve your goal? So often when we set goals, there is a little voice in our heads that says, “Who are you kidding? You’ll never do that.” The inner voice that says we can never do it is a powerful one. You have to know what you believe about your ability to achieve and overcome. If you don’t truly believe, then you won’t do it.
- Make a plan. Goals are just the beginning. A clear plan with an outline of the steps to take is part of achieving any goal. Believing you can do it is just one part of the process. I’ve often heard people say, “I’m not really sure how I’m going to do it, but I know I will.” Without clear steps, no one can have the assurance of accomplishing anything. Outline the broad steps from A to Z as well as more specific small steps from A to B.
- Rely on a support group. A support group that believes in you and actually holds you accountable is invaluable part of any achievement. Clarity, belief, and plans are all necessary, but the obstacles to our goals can prove overwhelming at times. Everyone is tempted to give up at times—that’s what makes a support group so important. You need people to challenge you when you’re tempted to give up, people who will remind you of what you really want and deserve in life. Good support people will give that to you when you need it most.
Jim Ryun, the first high school athlete to run a mile in under four minutes and an Olympic silver medalist in track and field in 1968, said, “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” Indeed much of motivation to achieve is supported by habits. Think clearly, plan well, examine your beliefs, and ask for help along the way.