Self Motivation – A Key To Success

Self Motivation - A key to success

Successful performance at just about anything requires that you be able to keep yourself motivated. Discouragement and lack of motivation hits everyone at some time or another. The more techniques we have to help us restart our engine or to keep it going when things get tough or boring, the more successful we will be.

Techniques To Build Self-Motivation

1. VISUAL GOALS

Everyone expects to get something for the time and effort they put in doing whatever job they do. Maybe your goal is a new house, a car, a vacation or just a new piece of clothing. Whatever it is that you are working for, make it visual.?
Cut out pictures that show your goal or that represent your goal in some way.

Tape these pictures to a sheet of poster board and hang it in your home or at work or anyplace you can so you will see it often. Carry a picture with you so you can look at what you are working towards every time you become discouraged or feel like slacking off.

This technique works well for goals that are things we want and also goals that represent physical changes such as losing weight. You can post and carry pictures of the car you want or pictures of Hawaii to represent the vacation you want. You can also post and carry pictures of you when you were slim or at least slimmer than you are. Some of my clients who don't remember ever being slim found that they could cut out pictures from a magazine of someone else who was slim and then paste their face over the face in the picture. After the initial laugh about how silly that looked, they became used to it and found that it worked just as well as the others who had slim pictures of themself.

The more visual and more real you can make the goal, the better it will work at keeping you motivated. One person I know was saving money for a very specific and expensive sports car. He knew it would take awhile before he had the money and he became discouraged often even though he had pictures of the car scattered all over his house and in the car he drove then. To make it more real to him, he and his wife went to the car dealer and took his picture sitting behind the wheel, looking in the trunk and standing next to the car. After posting these pictures, he related that it made it so much more real and much easier to stay on task when he became discouraged.

2. WRITTEN CONTRACTS

Motivational research shows that people who write out what they are going to do are far more successful than people who only tell themselves they will do something. Putting something in writing makes it psychologically more powerful. This is one reason why making written lists helps us stay more organized than just having a mental list. Our society favors written contracts and most of us have grown up knowing that you are supposed to honor written contracts. We can take advantage of this psychological conditioning to help us stay motivated. We can make a contract with ourself.

In the contract, state what you will do, when you will complete the task and what your reward will be once the contract is fulfilled. Read your contract over every morning and every evening before going to bed. If your goals are too small or too large, revise them. You can rewrite your contract as needed but don't make it so easy that it becomes useless as a motivator.

3. REWARDS

Everyone likes to be rewarded for doing a good job. We also like being rewarded for just completing something we needed or wanted to do. Unfortunately, there are many times when there is noone else around to pat us on the back for the job we completed. Pats on the back, "good job", "nice work", "thank you" are all essential to being a motivated, productive person. There are many people in positions of authority who do not realize this or who don't care. If this is what's happening to you, you probably already feel discouraged. While rewarding yourself is not as potent as having the reward come from someone else, it can still help you stay motivated, productive and happier than if you received no reinforcement at all.

To make the reward system really work, you must pick rewards that you really want. Large or small, expensive or cheap, if it isn't something you want, it isn't a reward.
The size of the reward should also fit the size of the project. Buying a new car because you cleaned the garage is out of the question - if you know what I mean. Taking an hour to sit and read your favorite mystery novel after completing the task seems more in line.

PUT IT IN WRITING. Review the section on written contracts in Part 1. Make a contract with yourself to reward yourself with "X" when you complete whatever project you are working on. How often you reward yourself will depend on how unmotivated you are. If you are feeling unmotivated to do a project, you may contract with yourself to give yourself a reward after eact step of the project or after every hour you've worked. If you are motivated to do something, you may wait until it's totally completed before rewarding yourself.

Finally, if you promise yourself a reward, you must give it to yourself and you must take it. Our mind is a fascinating device and it has a hugh memory. Make a contract with yourself for a special reward, complete the task but then, don't take the reward. The next time, your mind will recall the broken promise and the contract for a reward will not have the same motivating results as if you had taken and received the reward the last time.

This technique also holds true when you are trying to motivate someone else (spouse, child, friend, employee). Use all the same procedures and you will be able to produce some motivation for the other person. Just make sure the reward is something they want and not something you want.

4. ACT "AS IF"

Many of us have heard the phrase "Smile and things will get better." The psychological truth is that this is true. If you wake up feeling rotten, hating the world, put a smile on your face and some bounce in your step and pretty soon, you will start feeling better. Most people know that our body language tells a lot about our mood. What most people don't know is that, because of this relationship, you can use your body language to change your mood and how you feel about yourself. If you start acting confident (stand straight, head high, shoulders back, a smile on your face and walk crisply) even though you feel discouraged, your discouragement will begin to disolve. You will begin to feel more confident and sure of yourself. As this begins to happen, you will become more energized and motivated which, in turn, will make you feel even better about yourself.

In the beginning, you will be aware that you are just "faking it". With practice, it will become more natural and will become a genuine part of your personality. You can now start to transform your personality so you will be the type of person you want to be. It will take time and persistence but it does work.

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