Wonder what you might do to motivate yourself to achieve what you want? Here are 12 tips you can use to keep moving forward:
Meditation enhances your ability to concentrate and contributes to your overall well-being. Zenhabits.net (http://zenhabits.net/meditation-for-beginners-20-practical-tips-for-quieting-the-mind/) provides a good primer for beginners.
If you find the process difficult, you might want to try a guided meditation that will talk you through the process. You can find some free guided meditations on the internet, such as at http://www.chopra.com/ccl/guided-meditations, http://www.mindfulmuscle.com/5-top-guided-meditations/, and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jyy0ra2WcQQ. You might even try some hypnosis meditations to overcome obstacles such as those found at http://www.hypnosisaudio.com/product/a-guided-meditation-meditation-for-inner-wisdom-458 by Glenn Harrold.
People differ in their exact physical needs, but in general, need: 7 - 8 hours of sleep a night, a half to one ounce of water for each pound of body weight (which can vary depending upon climatic conditions and your activity level) and a minimum of 30 minutes of daily physical exercise that incorporates aerobic, strength and flexibility components across the week.
You can improve the quality of your sleep by following the advice at http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/getting/overcoming/tips . For drinking water, you’ll know if you’re getting enough if you never feel thirsty or see that your urine is dark. For exercise guidance, you can refer to http://www.helpguide.org/harvard/whats-the-best-exercise-plan-for-me.htm to learn how you can plan a weekly exercise program that’s right for you.
Does your goal excite you? If not, you’ll lose a lot of staying power. “Shoulds" aren’t very powerful. You’ll need to either develop a new goal that is specific and challenging and aligns with what you really care about, or reframe the existing goal to make it more appealing to you.
You can consider the overall purpose for the goal - what need(s) does it serve? In what ways can you meet that need? Then, develop as many ideas as possible to find a way that interests you. Remember to stretch yourself a bit when setting the goal so it’s challenging but still doable.
You can read more about how to set goals at http://www.goalsettingsavvy.com/how-to-set-goals.html.
Perhaps your goal is exciting but it’s overwhelming or you lack confidence in whether you’re capable of accomplishing it. That’s quite likely if it’s something new. Until you’ve tested yourself, you don’t know what you’re capable of. So, it’s best to break your goal into small doable steps to build up your experience of success so you will be ready for larger challenges. Another way is to reflect back on times when you tried something comparable and you succeeded. You can also find role models who have done what you want to do to observe how they accomplished their goals to learn from them vicariously.
You can read more about how to improve your self-efficacy at http://www.goalsettingsavvy.com/self-efficacy.html .
Silence your inner critic. “Saying is believing” is a saying in social psychology so be careful what you say to yourself. If you hear yourself being critical, say “stop, that’s not helpful”. Instead of condemning yourself, ask yourself how you can make things better and act on that information.
Sometimes we just need time to relax and do other things - that’s fine. However, if you find yourself resisting working on your goal, you need to ask yourself “why?”
Many of us have insecurities that can give rise to procrastination - so the first step is to catch yourself and realize what’s going on. It’s often some kind of fear related to taking action, such as fear of failure, embarrassment, judgment, rejection, etc. What’s the underlying belief that’s stopping you?
Robert Middleton of Action Plan Marketing offers an Unstuckness Course on this subject (http://www.actionplan.com/fasttrack/unstuck-virtual). He explains how you can analyze the belief, ask whether the belief is valid, and examine what it’s benefits and costs are, so you can realize that the fear is often causing you far more negative consequences than taking action would.
Interestingly, dreaming of a goal to explore what you want is a way to set a goal, but it’s not conducive to taking action. You must develop an implementation plan to develop an action plan to attain the goal in order to succeed.
In numerous research studies, social psychologist, Gabriele Oettingen consistently found that in order to act most effectively, people must immediately consider reality and what stands in their way from making their dreams a reality. Otherwise, dreamers bask in fantasy and experience a dip in energy as if the dream was something already achieved.
The gap between the fantasy and reality is what is referred to as “mental contrasting.” Based on this line of research, it’s best for you to identify all obstacles, internal as well as external, and plan on how you will address them. You can then plan implementation intentions, phrased like “if this happens, then I will do this.”
Schedule your most important tasks at times when you are feeling most alert. Some people are morning people that get up early and start working; some are night owls that really get going in the evening; others may be a combination. Learn what time of the day works best for you and then schedule power time with short breaks such as 45 minutes of concentrated work followed by 5 - 10 minute breaks. Experiment with shorter or longer periods of work and breaks to see what you prefer.
Find a mentor who can offer you feedback and advice from his or her experience. The feedback is motivating if it gives you information regarding how you can improve your results. A trusted adviser who has done something similar may also save you learning time because you can benefit from their experiences.
Much of your learning will come from doing, because you can’t just read about what you should do - we’re all unique to some extent. You need to reflect on how things are going with respect to your goal. Is the goal something you still care about? Are you learning that it should be revised to update some new insight you have? What’s working well for you? What could be better? These are questions you can reflect on and write your answers in a journal each day to annotate your thoughts and consider what you want to do next. This will keep you on track.
Acknowledge your progress from time to time with rewards to give yourself a pat on the back. Your success is something to be celebrated and will encourage you to take further action. You’ll be more likely to expect success with each success you experience, and you’ll anticipate another earned reward.
Surround yourself with people who are positive and believe in you. They may also provide insights regarding your strengths that you might take for granted. Moreover, they may have ideas or know of resources that could be helpful to you.
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