Dale Carnegie, the renowned American writer and communicator once stated, “Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.” While this bit of wisdom may touch many, the truth is, staying motivated each day is one of the hardest obstacles many of us face. Whether you want a better job, to lose weight, find the right person or pursue your passion, we humans are fickle creatures who can easily get bogged down by all the roadblocks. Think about it, we always state what we want and immediately follow it with a ‘but’. I want to improve my skills, but I don’t have the time. I want to change careers, but it’s too much trouble. Well, it is high time you kiss your ‘but’ goodbye. We will never get what we want if we don’t stay motivated and we will never stay motivated in the land of ‘buts’, so in the hopes of breaking the cycle, here are four ways to stay focused and motivated on your way to happy ever after.
Understand what it is you really want. In order to stay motivated, you must have a goal or something you are working toward. Maybe you want to start growing your own business, make a life change or just to fit into those jeans from high school. Whatever you want to happen, really think about your ideal situation and picture how you’d like for the final results to look like. Once you know exactly what it is you want to happen, it’s time to consider how you will make your desire happen. Usually it is in these early stages of visualization when we are plotting our plan of action that we are most likely to fall victim to the ‘buts’. No matter how hard, don’t give in to negativity. When you have a goal, it is far better to think of ways to accomplish it than to think of ways you won’t. Staying positive will not only help you think more clearly, it will also keep your motivation from wavering.
Always have a plan, but remember to go with the flow. In every area in life, we have to be flexible. Things rarely work out the way you thought they would, but they always have a way of leading you to something much better than you imagined. This is because life is filled with funny (read: annoying) twists of fate that can leave you frustrated because nothing went exactly the way you wanted it to. That’s because we must be flexible and adapt to life’s curveballs. Think of it like driving from location A to location B. You know exactly how you will get there. You begin at point A, make a left here, drive 4 miles, turn right, go two blocks and end at point B. Only there is construction, you got a flat and you have to take a detour. It doesn’t matter that you had to speed up, slow down and curve around. In the end, all that matters is that you did what you had to do to arrive at point B!
Use any progress as motivation to push you forward, no matter how small. We all tend to look at others and see the accomplishment and not the road that led them there. No one is so fortunate that they got exactly what they wanted overnight. That’s why a huge part of staying motivated and getting what you want is to celebrate the tiny milestones. We all know how good it feels to make just a tiny bit of progress when we are really passionate about something. It’s this itty-bitty piece of progress that we should savor and use as fuel to propel us toward the next milestone. Being patient with yourself and finding hope in the smallest victories will go a long way toward carrying down the long road to success.
Always remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. Whether you’re the head of a multinational corporation or just starting out with what you want to do in life, you should always remember why you do what you do. Sure, we all have days when we never ever want to think about work again, but just like moods, bad days don’t last forever. Find motivation in the bigger picture. Your purpose is important because it matters. Not just to you, it matters in the big scheme of things. We all have a job to do and it gets harder to stay motived and on track if you don’t even remember why you’re doing it in the first place. Each day you find yourself wanting to quit, think about yourself when you first began and think of how far you’ve come already. When we work hard with purpose, it becomes our mission; and when we have a mission, it will become that much harder to give up on ourselves.