Motivation is a State of Mind: 5 Tips on Making It Work

motivationWe have all started down the path to a goal at one time or another with the best of intentions. We were highly motivated and virtually shot out of the gate, intent on not only meeting, but exceeding, our goals. At some point, we lost our fire. That motivation that we had at the beginning was simply lost. But where did it go? How is it that we can begin a new project with motivation to spare, only to find it peter out before we’re finished?

The key to staying motivated is to understand that motivation is a state of mind. Though we may have external motivators, ultimately, our motivation lies within. Once you understand that simple fact, you’ll be able to not only get motivated but stay motivated well through the completion of your project or the realization of your goal. Here are five tips to staying motivated:

Motivation Tip #1: One Goal, Not Many

One of the biggest hurdles to maintaining your motivation is biting off more than you can chew. If you discover that your motivation is lagging, look to what you are trying to accomplish and decide if it’s simply too much. If you are getting overwhelmed with all of the things you are trying to accomplish, sit down and prioritize your goals.

Trying to accomplish too many things at once will quickly sap your energy. Concentrate your focus on one goal, moving on to the next when the first is accomplished. For example, if you want to lose 50 pounds, break your weight loss goals into smaller chunks. Make it your first goal to lose ten pounds and then move on to the next ten. Doing so will help you maintain your energy and motivation.

Motivation Tip #2: Find Your Inspiration

How will you stay motivated to meet your goals? Look for varied sources of inspiration! If you want to start your own business, read blogs, articles and books written by successful entrepreneurs. If you want to lose weight, look for others who have achieved their weight loss goals. Don’t expect inspiration to come knocking on your door; get out there and look for it! Finding other people who have not only met their goals, but surpassed them, can be a tremendous source of inspiration and motivation.

Motivation Tip #3: Keep a Journal

Once you’ve decided on what you want to accomplish, keep a journal to track the feelings you experience along the journey. Be sure to keep track of the negatives as well as the positives. Making note of your moods and feelings along the way can help you establish a pattern and help you discover what is sapping your motivation. When you’re feeling particularly underwhelmed, read over your journal and make note of your progress. Reading your journal is a simple activity that can reignite the fire you felt when you started on your journey.

Motivation Tip #4:Surround Yourself with Positive

Believe it or not, one of the quickest ways to lose your motivation is by surrounding yourself with negative people. Whether it’s in real life or on social networking sites, remove the people around you who aren’t 100 percent supportive of your goals. There will always be those people in your life who don’t want to see you succeed, whether they are conscious of that fact or not. You don’t have to ditch these people forever, but you do need to rid yourself of them while you are trying to maintain motivation to realize your dreams.

Motivation Tip #5: Reward Yourself

No matter if it’s our pets, our kids or our spouses, when the beings in our life do something great, we reward them. Do the same for yourself! When you reach milestones along the way to your ultimate goal, do something nice for yourself. Whether you buy yourself a new outfit, give yourself a day at the spa or even spend a day fishing on the lake, do something to reward yourself. Treating yourself for a job well done is a great way to stay motivated enough to meet your goal.

Many people find it helpful to write down the rewards they will give themselves for each milestone. Writing down the ways in which you will reward yourself can keep you motivated when times get tough. If you feel yourself losing motivation, open your journal and see what you’ve promised yourself for the next milestone that you reach. If you’ve made your rewards meaningful, they’ll be enough to get you over any hurdles that you find in your path.

It’s not enough to be motivated; you’ve got to stay motivated! By following these five tips, you can find the motivation that you need to see your goals and dreams to fruition. Set a goal, surround yourself with positive people, find inspiration, keep a journal and reward yourself! You’ll soon find that you’re ready to move on to goal number two!

Jessica Alan is a guidance counselor earning an online masters degree in school counseling while helping children with motivational exercises to prepare them for college.