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5 Tips For More Motivation and Progress

One of the secrets to a happy life is within our ability to generate regular forward progress in a variety of important areas.

For example, if you are making positive progress in your body/health, relationships, business/career and finances, chances are you'll feel great about yourself and your life in general.

On the other hand, if you feel stuck, unmotivated, or derailed by even the slightest of challenges, it can destroy your self worth and your ability to push through towards important goals.

Here, we dive into 5 tips that can help you to avoid stagnation in your life due to a lack of motivation, or due to changing circumstances that might be out of your control.

The idea here, isn’t to use these insights and tools to achieve just one solitary goal, but more so, to develop stronger mental and emotional fitness so that you can be a better, more productive version of yourself more often.

By taking the time to work on these intangible skills, it will ultimately contribute to a life of greater joy, satisfaction and fulfilment for you. 

1. Self Belief

Believing in yourself isn’t always easy, particularly if you've experienced some form of set back or failure in your life.

However, self belief is one of the most important foundational principles for making continued progress, because it serves as a reminder that you are capable of just about anything you truly desire, that you put your mind towards.

It's vital to realise that failure is just part of life.

But it's how we define failure and respond to life's inevitable challenges that is most important.

Your perspective really matters, because it impacts your view of the world and how you interpret any situation.  

No matter the circumstance, there is always a "silver lining" or "empowering meaning" - it's just up to you create the "right story" in your mind that serves you.  Always remember to focus on a half-full glass instead of a half-empty one.

The reality is that if you lose your job, business or even your marriage and you feel like a victim, it's difficult to move forward unless you take the positive lessons from those experiences.  And this means shaping your beliefs and perspectives around them.

Developing an unshakeable belief in yourself can ultimately be a very powerful intangible force that can help you get through or achieve almost anything - but it is a practice you need to work on and reinforce until it becomes a habitual part of you.

If you struggle to believe in yourself, take a moment to scan back through your life to uncover a moment or two that made you really proud of yourself. 

What challenge did you overcome?

What goal did you set your mind to and achieve?

How did you deal with the adversity? What steps did you take to take to reach your goal? Did you exceed your expectations of yourself?

Take the positives from these key moments and be proud of them.  Use them as fuel or tools in your tool box to reassure yourself that you're capable of anything if you believe and set your mind to it. 

Remember, a lack of self belief usually can be traced back to some form of failure or set back.  So the key is to reframe those setbacks as "learning experiences" rather than failures or dead-end events, and this will help you to build more robust self belief and to keep moving forward.

2. Set Goals and Find Your Why

Goals are the juice that fuels motivation and progress, because they give you a reason to take action and to keep on doing it, even when the going gets tough.

Back to the weight loss example...

If you have a clear goal to lose 10 kilograms, then your mind will subconsciously guide you towards that goal if you have compelling reasons attached to it. Those compelling reasons might include:

  • To get in shape for a special event
  • To be fit and mobile in your golden years so that you can enjoy time in the backyard with your grandkids or
  • To reclaim your energy and avoid becoming a disease statistic.

If you simply say you want to "lose weight", without being specific as to WHY you want to do this, your subconscious mind has nothing in particular to work towards and will therefore dabble or generalise in its response.  The subconscious doesn't know the difference between fact or fiction so it can be manipulated easily.  

So, when setting goals, be as specific as you can with the result you want to achieve and make it measurable if you can.  Clarity is power when it comes to goals and making progress as this is the juice that causes you to stick with the process, even when you feel like giving up.

3. Create an Action Plan

A goal is just a wish without a clear action plan.

An action plan lays out the exact steps you need to take to achieve your goal, so that you know exactly what you have to do to get there.  A jumbo jet can't reach its clear destination unless the pilot enters the exact co-ordinates and guides the plane.

In other words, goals that are fuzzy, without meaning and without a road map in place, are rarely achieved.

The secret when it comes to creating goal orientated action plans, is to create small milestones that guide you to the ultimate goal.  By breaking the process into bite-sized pieces, the goal will seem much more achievable as you reach each mini milestone.

Each checkpoint gives you the opportunity to either celebrate for being on track, or it gives you the chance to make adjustments if you're off track and heading in the wrong direction. 

A manageable action plan can also be motivating, because just like crossing off items on your to-do list, it makes you hungry to complete more items and make faster progress.

An action plan for losing 10 kilos might look like this: :

  1. Write down the clear goal to lose 10 kilos by a certain date
  2. Attach a feeling or emotion to the result (i.e. how will you feel when you achieve that goal?) Write it down
  3. Determine and write down the methods you're going to use to help you achieve this goal (what types of exercise are you going to perform and what will your daily diet look like?)
  4. Clear out your fridge and pantry of foods that you know will not serve you in reaching this goal
  5. Create a shopping list for the main functional healthy foods you're going to eat each day to help you achieve your goal
  6. Schedule your workouts for the week on Sunday night before you go to bed
  7. Listen to 10 minutes of motivating content every morning
  8. Take action and stick to the plan one day at a time, reminding yourself of your goal every morning and night
  9. Check in with your progress at the end of each week and adjust small pieces to your workout or diet where necessary.

Most people get average results because they usually have no clarity for what they want and no documented plan to get there.

Realise that the quality of your life adds up to the sum total of daily micro decisions and actions you take. Break your goals down into bite-sized pieces and write down simple, logical actionable steps to follow that will help you get there.

Learn more in our blog Self Care Mindset: How to Get on a Healthy Path & Stick to Positive New Habits

4. Celebrate Each Mini Milestone

In a world where we are constantly under pressure and/or striving for more, we often overlook the importance of celebrating the little achievements along the way.

Our levels of emotional stress and self-esteem can be deeply impacted if we feel like we are never enough, not appreciated or not making a meaningful contribution.

Some goals can take years to accomplish, which is why it's vital to break things down into smaller targets and to celebrate as you reach those mini goals.

Of course, celebration doesn't necessarily have to mean party streamers and champagne or to binge on junk food.  It can be as simple as giving yourself permission to take a break for a day, to switch off with a movie, or to enjoy a glass of wine with friends.

Failing to acknowledge the achievement of smaller goals can make everything seem too overwhelming, so it's very important to celebrate as you go along. 

Simple celebratory rewards that don’t undermine your goals, can include things like a relaxation massage, a hot bath or even a new outfit!  Do whatever works for you.

5. Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself 

In a world of constant social media and pretty pictures, we can fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to others which can stand in the way of our own personal progress and goals.

Only judge yourself against yourself - no one else.  You have your own unique strengths, weakness and experiences, so it's especially important to remember that you are you.

If you fall off the wagon, don't beat yourself up.  Just jump back on as soon as you can.

If you search within yourself, it's easy to know deep down if you're short changing yourself or giving 100%.

No one is perfect, certainly not all of the time.  So give yourself permission to check out every once in a while, but don't lose sight of your goals and what's in your heart.

The final key here is to always see things as they are but not worse than they are.  Many people make the mistake of getting overwhelmed by the task at hand or being caught up in comparison and this gives them permission to take no action at all.

When you see things truthfully as they are (but not worse than they are), this opens a doorway for you to step through and move forward with meaningful progress.  

The Main Takeaway

Motivation and progress is a function of our mind and how we perceive our environment.

Nothing meaningful happens in life without some form of action - and its motivation and progress that leads us to these meaningful goals.

If you want to own your own successful business, nothing will happen unless you have a vision, a reason for doing it, before actioning a clearly set out plan. 

Likewise, if you want to be in great shape or to heal some type of trauma, your mindset, perspective and actions will greatly impact how you achieve those goals.

Remember, you have the power to achieve whatever you focus on and put your mind too. Your happiness is directly linked to the amount of progress you make on a regular basis and you deserve to be happy.

Tolman Self Care.


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