Inward, Onward, Forward: A Guide for Maintaining Motivation

 

The pleasure principle is said to drive much of human behavior.  It is within our nature to seek immediate satisfaction or gratification.  By definition, instant gratification is the desire to experience pleasure or fulfillment without delay or deferment. Instant gratification is rewarding in that we are able to satisfy our needs, wants, and urges when they are at the forefront of our mind, when they are most strongly felt and most guaranteed, which can make sustaining motivation to accomplish long-term goals particularly difficult.

 

When there is no immediate reward or when the realization of the goal seems very distant, potentially unlikely or difficult to attain, motivation can decrease and effort toward meeting that goal can begin to dwindle. It’s not only the absence of instant gratification that impacts our ability to stay on track, there are many other things that can throw us off our game like temptation, distrust, failure (regression/steps backward) or self-destructive beliefs (just to name a few).

 

In order establish and maintain efforts related to a specific goal or vision, it is crucial to use appropriate tools to stay motivated, to be able to find balance between desires and a realistic sense timelines, efforts and patience required and to be able to manage anxieties and tensions that arise along the way.

 

Create Short Term Goals and Celebrate Small Wins

Establishing short term goals can help you to feel accomplished or successful more often. In addition, short term goals can provide a sense proximity to your longer term goals.  Meeting short term goals can create moments of instant gratification when the end goal or vision requires delayed gratification. No matter how little, celebrating your progress can keep you optimistic and help to you stay on track.  Motivation is a journey, remind yourself of and celebrate (often) how far you’ve come.

     

Be Soft With Yourself

Realize that motivation is a roller coaster, some days you’ll have it and other days you won’t. Write down or bring to mind positive qualities about yourself to counter any negative self-talk. Stop punishing yourself for failures or setbacks, they are normal and you are human!

 

No Penalties, Only Rewards

Treat yourself whenever you complete something that brings you closer to your end goal (AKA celebrate small accomplishments and the realization of short term goals). Punishment is not proven to help obtain long-term goals, whereas rewards are correlated with positive motivation and achievement.

 

Establish A Power Posse

The groups you associate with often determine the type of person you become. Spending time with those whose habits and values move them forward will help you to build similar habits. So, surround yourself with like-minded people who keep you motivated and those who may even have the same end goal! Select people who believe in you, those who make you feel powerful and encourage you to go after your dreams-Those who are just as excited (and if you’re lucky, even more so) as you about who you are, what you do and what you dream to do.  Befriend someone who can be a coach or a mentor or someone who you look up to, someone whose work you love or someone who inspires you.

 

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