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Food For The Soul

Written by Peter James Field

"How To Motivate Yourself - Motivation 101"

Self Motivation

How do we motivate ourselves so that we can achieve our true potential? This inspiring article, written by one ot the U.K.'s top therapists contains concrete tips on becoming and staying motivated. Follow these pointers and your motivation – and ability to succeed – will really skyrocket.

Have you ever listened to a motivating speaker, felt motivated to make a change in one or more aspects of your life as a result, but then failed to take action upon leaving the conference room or auditorium? Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common.

Consider this; every year on January 1st millions of people outline a list of goals they intend to achieve for the New Year. Yet, all too few accomplish their goals. Why is this?

You cannot achieve your goals and dreams unless you get started. Newton's Law of Motion certainly rings true when it comes to motivation; bodies at rest tend to stay at rest. Getting started is often the largest hurdle for most people to overcome. However, once you begin a project, initiate an idea or take action steps, most people stay the course and accomplish their goal.

How do the most successful people get motivated, and remain motivated? The answer is simple – commitment. Well, at least that's part of the answer.

The other parts of the answer involve going after the right goals or targets, having a realistic game plan, maintaining a connection to the established goals, and simply having fun during the process.

Does your Goal Pass the Acid Test?

When you consider your goals and dreams, how badly do you want to achieve them? Are you willing to do just about anything to accomplish them? This is the real acid test. Or, are they merely things that you would just like to accomplish? Herein lies the difference between goals and dreams.

If items on your to-do list, would like to have list, or goals and dreams list don't really matter enough to you at the end of the day, you aren't going to be really motivated to press on come hell or high water and accomplish what you need to. So, review your list of goals to see if they pass the acid test. Shorten your list to only those items that pass. Then, commit yourself to working through the process.

Visualization

Visualization

There's a reason professional athletes spend a great deal of time before a game, match or event visualizing. They are focusing on not only accomplishing their goal of winning, but on how they will feel as a result.

Spend time considering what your goals look like? How will you feel the moment that you accomplish them? Who will you celebrate with? And what are the actual benefits or rewards that will accompany this success?

Visualization allows you to feel connected to your goals. And it can build the confidence needed to take that first step.

Defining a Realistic Game Plan

Now that you have identified what your 'actual' goals might be and have visualized what it will be like to achieve them, it's time to determine the steps you need and intend to take. Outline specific action steps and completion dates. This is where so many fail. When defining your plan of action, you must consider what you will accomplish and by what date; otherwise, your goal is simply a dream.

When defining deliverable dates, be realistic. Set milestones that you can actually accomplish. Setting unrealistic goals is a recipe for disaster. In addition to the ultimate completion date, be sure to insert short term milestones to work as check-points.

For example, if one of your goals is to lose 15 pounds this year, you will first want to break this goal down into bite sized chunks (1 lb. at a time). Establish quarterly weigh in points. After each weigh-in, track your progress against your larger goal. Post your progress in an area that you will see daily for additional motivation; your bedroom, bathroom mirror or refridgerator. If you are on track, reward yourself. If you aren't on track, take corrective action.

Have Fun with Rewards

If one or more of your goals are long-term, it can be challenging to stay focused over the entire time period. Shorter milestone check-points will provide you with realistic targets where you can check-in to see how you are faring against goal. When you are on track, reward yourself.

Rewards don't have to be monumental in order to be effective. They must simply represent something of value or personal enjoyment. Treats if you are on a diet, the purchase of a much coveted item, a massage or a night out are simple examples of potential rewards. Your rewards need to be personal and meaningful to you personally in order to motivate you.

Be Flexible

If you get off track during your journey, allow yourself the flexibility to modify your plan. Sometimes you need to adjust the goal. Don't beat yourself up -- learn from the experience, make the necessary adjustments, and get back on track.

Ask For Help

Ask for Help

One of the most motivating things can be encouragement from someone you respect, trust, or love. Share your goals with a mentor, family member or friend and ask them to assist you along your journey. Check in with them and give them permission to hold you accountable.

External motivation is often readily available; speakers, a book or a favorite song or tune. Motivating yourself requires focus, dedication and commitment. If you have identified the right goals, formulated a realistic plan and utilize tools along the way, your chances of achieving your goals will be powerfully increased.