Do you ever look at successful people and marvel at their intense levels of motivation? How do they manage to find the strength to continue with their goals day after day? How do they have the self-discipline?
It may feel like you could never achieve the same level of motivation as your heroes, but the reality is different. It isn't that successful people are more motivated than you — they simply do a few things differently than most.
If you can master these things, then you too can achieve seemingly superhuman levels of motivation and produce the great work you've always dreamed of. It won't be easy, but it's simpler than you might think.
7 Things to Do If You Need Motivation
To get you started, here are seven motivation tips to help you crush your goals.
1. Make a Public Commitment
You’d be amazed what you can accomplish when you commit to it publicly. It’s a whole different level than when your goals are just floating in your head or sitting in a document on your computer. Public commitment leverages peer pressure in the best way possible. It’s a simple way to stay motivated, because if you don’t do what you say you would, you have no way to hide it. People will know, and they will call you out.
How public you want to make your commitment is up to you. For some people, committing on your website or social media will be out of your comfort zone, and that’s fine. You can also make a commitment to friends or family. What matters is that you have someone who will know (and hold you accountable) if you don’t meet your goal.
2. Make it Meaningful
One reason many people need motivation is that the things they’re working toward aren’t meaningful for them personally. Just look at someone like Elon Musk. He’s running multiple companies simultaneously, all while still making time to be with his family.
It’s easy to imagine that Musk has some sort of rare gift that allows him to keep up this work ethic, but if you listen to interviews with Musk, you’ll notice how intensely he believes in the work he’s doing. His vision for SpaceX, for example, is no less than to make humanity an interplanetary species. With a vision like that, motivation is easy.
Now, we’re not saying that you have to be as ambitious in your goals to achieve the same level of motivation. We can’t all be Elon Musk, and that’s okay. But if you need motivation, you can find something you believe in to work towards. It could be a goal for your job, but also just something you do on the side, such as training for a marathon or teaching yourself a new skill. What’s important is that you believe in what you’re doing and are doing it out of a genuine interest, not just because it’s something that other people say you ought to do.
3. Set Specific Goals
One common mistake people make when they set goals is to make them too broad. This can be a real motivation killer. It’s difficult to know if you’re making progress when you have a large, vague goal. Therefore, we suggest that you set specific goals — it will do wonders if you need motivation.
For example, say you want to learn the guitar. What style of music do you want to play? Acoustic or electric guitar? Do you want to shred on stage, or just strum a few tunes at family get togethers? And that’s just the beginning: once you decide on what your ultimate vision is for playing guitar, you need to break it down even further, giving you manageable weekly goals such as “learn how to strum a G chord” or “learn the chorus to ‘Sweet Home Alabama.’”
4. Keep Encouraging Words in Sight
When you’re in the thick of a difficult project and things just aren’t going your way, it’s easy to get discouraged. In times like these, it makes a world of difference to have words of encouragement visible. We recommend putting motivational and inspirational quotes from your heroes over your desk or on your desktop wallpaper. That way, you can readily turn to them when you need motivation.
To get you started, here are some of our favorite motivational quotes:
"Start acknowledging all the good you are doing. Don’t discount the little things. I mean, how many times do you scold yourself for doing something small that wasn’t perfect? How often do you think the good things such as being on time, or signing a new client is simply how it’s meant to be? They need celebrating. You need more wins in your life. This will motivate you, encourage you, and help you see how brilliant you truly are." — Kai Ashley
"If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten." — Tony Robbins
"The most effective way to do it, is to do it." — Amelia Earhart
"My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time." — Steve Jobs
“People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing — that's why we recommend it daily.” — Zig Ziglar
"What I've learned in these 11 years is you’ve just got to stay focused and believe in yourself and trust your own ability and judgment." — Mark Cuban
“If you double the number of experiments you do per year, you’re going to double your inventiveness.” — Jeff Bezos
5. Create the Right Daily Routine
What’s the first thing you do when you get up in the morning? Is it something that fills you with energy and motivation? Or is it something fills you with anxiety, stress, or boredom? If the first thing you do in the early morning is check your phone, for example, then you’re not setting yourself up for a motivating day.
Seeing whatever horrors have occured in the news or immediately getting sucked into your email inbox are not the way to set yourself up for a motivating day. Instead, we suggest doing an analog activity like reading a book, journaling, meditating, taking a walk, working out or drinking your morning coffee as you watch the sunrise. These are simple activities, but they will do a whole lot more to give your day a motivating start than immediately getting sucked into the busy stress of digital devices.
6. Have Self-Confidence
If you don’t believe in yourself, then you’re never going to able to believe in the work you’re doing. This will result in fragile motivation that will be easily shaken when things get difficult. We know it can be hard to believe in yourself sometimes; everyone has their moments of doubt. But what sets successful people apart from everyone else is that they recognize the self-doubt as normal and then push through it, doing great things anyway.
To build your self-confidence, reflect on the things that have gone right. Look at all you have been able to accomplish. Celebrate all the good things that have come as the fruit of your hard work. Write them down if you need to. Post them where you can see them; reaffirm them to yourself. This will serve as a major confidence-booster.
7. Have a Long-Term Vision
While we already stressed the importance of setting specific goals, it’s important not to go too far the other direction, either. It’s possible to get so set on checking off the items on your daily to-do list that you lose sight of why you’re doing the work to begin with. What big goals are these daily tasks serving?
If you can’t answer that question, you need to go back to the drawing board. It’s much easier to persevere through difficult times when you know that the work you’re doing is in service of a larger vision.