Do you have a dream? An ambition? Did you make a plan on how to reach this, as I explained in my previous post? Are you ready to take action? Then what’s holding you back?
Don’t worry, I have been there and many times still am in the very same position! You have it all figured out in your head (and preferably also on paper), yet nothing’s happening. For me it was mostly a lack of energy. I simply couldn’t find the energy to actually put in the work. But as you know, goals are not easily reached. You will have to put in a lot of work. Now don’t get me wrong, I was actually working towards my goals, just never the full 100%.
I always thought I was a perfectionist. However, recently I found out the opposite is true. When I see something or think of something that I want to do, I start to work on it. I work until I’m satisfied enough but never until I perfect it. To give you some examples, I’ve learned how to do the splits, but only until there was about 5 cm left, I’ve learned how to whistle on my fingers, but it only works in about half of the attempts I make, I’ve started learning German but only until I knew enough in relation to what I needed it for. These might be stupid examples but they show how I’m actually not a perfectionist, ot not anymore. And let me explain why I’m convinced that this is actually a good thing.
For starters, perfection makes you forget to live in the moment, to live in the now. It doesn’t let you be fully present as you’re constantly busy reliving the past, focusing on what to change, and worrying about the future. But worrying about what? Perfection is different to everyone and therefore not even achievable. You can’t be perfect in everyone’s eyes. As a result, you’ll never be able to fully complete a task as nothing is ever good enough if you strive for perfection. Even more so, people generally don’t like perfection as it makes them feel inferior. We connect easier with people who can show themselves as imperfect. So why stress over being perfect? Instead, strive for progress and excellence in all that you set out to do!
Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good – Voltaire
A small nuance I’d like to make however, is that even if you don’t strive for perfection, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t finish what you start. What I mean is to be realistic about what you need to do to complete a project. That is, to reach with it what you intended to reach. This doesn’t need to be “perfect”, but you still need to get there! And if you tend to lose interest, finding ways to motivate yourself is going to be essential.
This was what I needed too, more motivation, more energy and more self-discipline to work on what I want to accomplish and finish what I started. I needed to stop being lazy and to simply put in the work. In the end, finding underlying reasons to do something comes from yourself. Others can inspire and even stimulate you, but it is up to you to make yourself take action.
For me, it started at the end of 2018, when I stumbled on a Facebook ad for transformation week. As terrifying as these ads may often be (I bet you too, already had the feeling you were being watched by government spies when ads came up about something you recently thought of but swear to God never actually looked up); at this point in my life, it was the gift out of heaven. Transformation week was a 7 day free program about reaching your full potential.
So the 2nd of January, one day after the start of the program, I signed up. As usual in my procrastinating ways, 4 days later on a drowsy Sunday afternoon, I finally dragged my lazy ass out of the couch, moved my laptop from its usual spot on my lap, and made my way to a more productive location, the living room table. Ready to start reaching my full potential. The course, by Brendon Burchard and his wife, had one video each day, explaining 7 habits that high performing people tend to live by. Additionaly, there were also a number of questions you had to fill in, helping you get on track.
High Performance Habits
After doing the course, I decided to also read Brendon’s book – High Performance Habits. Both the course and book gave me many valuable insights and I would recommend everyone to read the book and do the exercises. Not only will this help you to be more productive, it will also help you learn a lot about yourself. But to get you started I’ll already give you a couple of basic ideas of the book. Many things however, are similar to what I’ve already discussed in previous posts such as the importance of goal setting, so I’ll focus on the things that helped me most in being more motivated.
1. Get Clarity
The most important aspect of being motivated to reach your goals, is knowing what your goals are. Duh. Be sure to be clear about them. Take time for yourself and find out what it is that truly makes you want to wake up each day. If you don’t know what would, then maybe you just haven’t found it yet. If you find yourself in this situation, try out as many new things as you can and get new experiences. What would make you enthusiastic? Is there something that is meaningful to you? What could give you satisfaction? Often this stems from a passion, or from a need you want to fulfill for the people around you. But getting more clarity, finding something meaningful and purposeful that brings you joy, will motivate you by itself.
Honestly, this is not an easy task. It wasn’t, and still isn’t for me either. The thing is, I know that freedom is what I want and what would ultimately make me happy. However, for the way to get there, this isn’t always the case. Therefore, whenever I lack motivation, I need to focus on the end goal, less on the process. The vision I have for my life is what gets me up in the morning.
2. Generate energy
Your mind and body are connected. Just think about how a long day at the office doesn’t just make you mentally exhausted, but physically as well. Generating more energy means getting both your mental and physical health in check. The most powerful change to make is starting your day off with a great morning routine. Start with some minor exercise or movement (yoga, stretching etc.), set your mind for a new day (meditation or reading things that build you up) and have a balanced breakfast. Releasing tension and setting intention will help you stay focused and motivated throughout the day.
I am also trying to build these daily, and weekly exercises into my routine. Now for me, the most important thing to get me moving is finding a type of exercise I actually enjoy doing. Don’t even bother trying to make me go for a run, but put some inline skates on my feet and I’ll be flying out the door. The same counts for dancing. Ever since traveling through South America, I’ve been passionate about dancing salsa! It makes me so happy that it doesn’t even feel like exercise (but trust me, it is)!
The daily morning routine of meditation and stretching is a little harder for me to make a habit of. I’m not a morning person at all but thinking about the benefits I will get from it usually does the trick. Seeing how important your health is to all other areas of life, I will be dedicating my next posts to this! Be sure to subscribe below if you would like to find out more about this topic!
3. Raise necessity
Another big motivator is making a necessity out of reaching your goals. You need to make your actions a must because of reasons that are usually bigger than yourself. When you make it your duty to reach your goals, it will become so much easier to work your ass off. If you know for what or for whom you can’t afford not to take action, trust me, you will. Maybe it is for your partner, your family, your (future) kids or for those in need. When you desire to add value and serve others, when you fixate on something that’s bigger than yourself, you will force yourself to be more focused and productive. It is true that sometimes you would do more for others than you would for yourself.
For me, I want to give back to others. Starting with this blog, I hope to inspire as many people as I can and give them means to reach their goals. I need to succeed not only for myself, but for you and everyone else too. Because if I can do it, then anyone can.
Now as the book says, High Performance Habits, there is a nuance I have to make. Motivation will only get you so far. At some point all of these previous points need to become habits. At first they will help you get the motivation to start working on your goals, but with time and practice, the things you do to reach your goals need to become habits. By being consistent you can establish a habit and make it part or your identity.
To conclude, remember that motivation comes from within. The best way to keep yourself motivated is by finding new reasons to show up! Still not convinced? Be sure to do some research yourself, give it a try and find out what works for you!
And as always, don’t forget to make it happen!