People constantly say things like, “I’m so unmotivated,” or “I’m just not a motivated person,” making it almost an explanation for their inaction. They turn it into almost a birth defect, like they can’t help being the way they are. Drawing a connection like this would certainly be handy. But, self-motivation has a deeper connection to the goals you’ve set and how much you want to achieve them.
You might be a recent college graduate who’s targeting millionaire status. Your coworker might be happy living in his parents’ basement and hoping to get a dog. While there might indeed be a difference in your personalities, the biggest difference in your self-motivation is in the goals you’ve each chosen and how committed you are to those targets.
If you want better self-motivation, start with a little self- reflection.
- Know yourself. What are you good at? What do you need to work on? Study yourself. Many of us focus on other people. What do you naturally do when others aren’t around? What brings you joy? Catch yourself smiling—determine what brought that joy.
- Like yourself. Do you have a high level of self-esteem? Don’t rely on other people’s opinions of you. We accept what we believe we deserve from other people. When you believe in yourself, you have the right attitude to shake off negativity.
- Be willing to feel uncomfortable. Doing something new causes most of us some anxiety. Recognize this discomfort as part of the process of stepping out of your comfort zone. Don’t let it stop you.
- Think independently, even when no one else understands why. You might need to think bigger and broader than the “experts.”
- Have faith. Believe that the best is yet to come. Trust that you have it within you to do what you need to do. Develop gratitude for what you’ve successfully accomplished — be satisfied but still reaching.
- Wait for what you want. Everything is moving so fast. We are a society that gives up quickly when we have to wait. People don’t want to wait for the next promotion — we want it now. We want to give our opinion now, even though we just started the job two weeks ago. Wait and stay encouraged while you wait.
- Understand the difference between being alone and being lonely. In order to make a difference, you must set yourself apart from everyone else. In many cases of success, many people won’t understand your process. When the approval of others is more important than the goal you are trying to achieve, the need to people please will win.
- Shake it off. Distractions, naysayers, damaging self-talk—let it roll off you. Don’t allow emotional and professional distractions that hinder your goals. Ultimate inspiration comes from within. It’s not about getting the accolades from other people.
And then it might mean a change in your environment and goals
- Have a clear direction. Know where you’re going. Your mind needs a picture of what you’re moving toward and why. It’s your mind that keeps you motivated. It’s easy to get caught being busy doing nothing. Even though there is a physical and emotional high from this busy behavior, be sure it’s not just moving and moving fast without a clear plan.
Remember also to pause and reassess periodically. Ask yourself: How effective am I? Where am I going? Is this routine working? Are there changes I need to make? How can I be better and quicker next time? What or who have I allowed to distract me? What was my greatest help/anchor during this time?
- Feelings are determined by focus. What you decide to focus on will determine how you feel. Create an atmosphere that inspires you. Purposely choose music, friends, and other successful people.
- Enjoy learning. Seek more information—from experts, books, and seminars. Learning keeps your mind flexible and helps trigger connections. And don’t limit your learning to work.
Self-motivation keeps you moving forward and is a key ingredient to your success. But, your personality has little to do with how motivated you are. Build your confidence and think about where you want to be headed. Finally, set a course and commit to moving forward.