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How to Motivate Yourself and Stay Focused

I once read that only 8% of us stick to our New Year resolutions. This is probably why I don’t make them anymore…lol. If you did, I hope you’re a part of the 8%. 

Sticking to our goals, no matter how great our motivation, can be very tough at the best of times especially as motivation alone is finite.
Think about how many times a goal has been set, the deadline comes and goes and nothing gets done! ?
So what do we do? We set another deadline telling ourselves we’ll “definitely do it this time!” And still don’t?!

But then there are the times when we really want something and we just get it done. So what’s the difference?

According to Dan Pink, there are two types of motivators: Extrinsic and Intrinsic.
Extrinsic motivators are effective for simplistic goals (e.g. making money, getting rewards, fear of failure), but ineffective for more complex goals and can actually be de-motivators.
Intrinsic motivators are more effective for complex goals (e.g. mastering a skill, having a purpose, finding love) because we are more motivated to achieve goals that really matter to us –  we find it more interesting and it’s important to us.

This is why to achieve our goals, we need something bigger than our motivation – we need to know our Why – this drives us and motivates us.
To determine our Why and create a life we enjoy living (versus merely surviving!), we need to ask ourselves: 

  • What I really want?
  • Why do I want to achieve this goal?
  • What inspires me?
  • What do I aspire to do, be and have in life?
  • What do I want my life to look like once you have achieved this goal?

For example, when I first qualified as a life coach, my motivation was to help people achieve their goals, but today my why is to facilitate conversations that help people, including myself, live their best lives. I mean, how can I not be inspired after spending a day helping with my clients to be the best versions of themselves?

With this in mind, this is how I motivate myself to stay focused on my goals:

  • Understanding my “Why” and regularly reminding myself why it is so important to achieve my goal.
  • Focusing on the big picture to overcome obstacles that arise, making sure I adapt well to changes to achieve my goals and avoid distractions.
  • Having an accountability partner and/or mentor who keeps me on track. They give me pep talks when I get discouraged as well as calling me out on my crap when I make excuses and procrastinate.
  • When I need to kick-start my momentum, I watch motivational videos on YouTube. One of my favourites is Rise and Shine.
  • Taking regular short breaks especially when I’m feeling frustrated allows me to refocus and come back to my goal  with a refreshed approach.
  • Breaking down my goal into small bite-sized steps makes it feel more manageable and achievable.
  • I like to have fun working on my goal because I’m most productive when I actually enjoy what I’m doing despite how challenging it can be.
  • Over the last 12-18 months, I’ve started practising mindfulness. For me, this is primarily meditation, prayer and listening to music, but they are so many ways you can be mindful.  This helps me to stay centred and focused, and not become so overwhelmed that I don’t do anything to achieve my goal.
  • I regularly visualise what my future self will think and feel once I have achieved my goal. They are the best daydreams EVER! In fact, I’m smiling right now just thinking about it.

I hope this helps you and gives you some ideas about how you can stay motivated and focused on achieving your goals from now and beyond!

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