Siddhartha Gautama once said, “There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth. Not going all the way, and not starting.”
While it may be true that the journey of 1,000 miles – or sales – begins with one step, what if you can’t seem to find or keep the motivation to continue journeying toward your desires? Well, you’re not alone.
Every day we hear from would-be entrepreneurs who want to start their own ecommerce stores, but can’t seem to pull the trigger. Whether your end goal is to be your own boss, travel the world as a digital nomad or climb Mount Everest, our suggestions are the same.
Some experts believe it takes the same amount of motivation to will ourselves out of bed on an early morning as it does to move forward on a major goal.
Don’t believe it?
Try out these nine simple motivational tactics designed to keep you oriented in the direction of your dreams, and decide for yourself.
How to Motivate Yourself...and Stay Motivated
1. Find a tribe. No (wo)man is an island, and the value of community and social support cannot be overstated. Whether it be an online forum, business incubator, co-working space or internal committee, surround yourself with yes men (and women). These are the folks who will reorient you toward your goals when you lose sight of them. Nurture the relationships that nurture you. Open yourself up to constructive feedback from those you trust. When the road gets rough, these guideposts will help you navigate it.
2. Cast yourself into podcasts. Some say there are no new ideas. We say there are no new problems. As much as we may think we’re isolated and unique in our challenges, no one suffers alone. Do a deep dive into the endless stream of inspirational podcasts from greats who have come, and failed, before you. Listen to the hurdles they overcame and apply their hard-fought lessons to your situation. Think of these segments as free private lectures to inspire your every acumen, business or otherwise. Some inspirational pods we love include: Oprah’s Master Class, Lewis Howes School of Greatness and The Tim Ferris Show.
According to this renowned psychologist, to get what you want, you simply have to communicate and collaborate with your mind.
3. Affirm yourself. Think visualizations and affirmations are ineffective at best, and woo-woo at worst? The best therapist in Britain begs to differ. In her Ted Talk, Marissa Peer breaks down brain psychology into four simple pillars. According to this renowned psychologist, to get what you want, you simply have to communicate and collaborate with your mind. She explains that just two things shape your entire reality: the pictures you make in your head and the words you say to yourself. So make sure the things you show and tell your mind align with your broader aspirations. Or else!
Because the brain always does exactly what you want it to do, putting yourself down or creating resistance to completing a project is still a collab with your mind, but won’t yield the results you want. Give it a full listen to understand the limitless power of choice and how to turn doing what seems hard, like starting an online store or healing a broken bone, into pleasure.
4. Commit to self-care. Starting your business is a marathon – not a sprint. Since you’re in it for the long haul, better learn to preserve your energy and recharge where you can. When we talk about self-care, most people assume we mean diet and exercise. True, caring for your physical body is certainly part if it. But we recommend you try taking a more holistic approach – one that also looks after your emotional well-being, focus and attention, as well as your purpose and drive. Find ways to continually stay connected to your "why". Do breathing exercise to sharpen your focus and ground against stress. When all else fails, remember that power-napping reliably begets productivity. Science says so.
5. Connect with a career coach. They’re quick to point out and shift self-limiting beliefs. They can also help you create a roadmap with resources to navigate your personal path to success. If you’re self-employed you can usually write off their fees, but always double check with your CPA to make sure.
Sometimes all you need is one other person to help you deliver on a deadline.
6. Get an accountability buddy. Sometimes all you need is one other person to help you deliver on a deadline. If you’re someone with a deep desire to not disappoint, it’s a great strategy. And if you’re not, odds are still good it’ll help. An American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) study showed you have a 65-95% chance of completing a goal simply by committing to someone.
7. Subscribe to some industry-specific blogs. It’s the information superage, and anything you want to learn is a mere click away. With RSS feeds, you can have industry-specific know how delivered right to you. We’ll take this opportunity to shamelessly plug Volusion’s expert blog reel, where you can find curated insider tips on everything from business strategy to SEO and marketing practices.
8. Strive for progress, not perfection. Perfection is an illusion. It’s more likely to keep you stuck that motivate you to succeed. Set short-term goals you can reward yourself for along the way toward your end game. Even crossing a task or two off your to-do list can give you the small dopamine boost you need to keep going. Continually reward yourself for progressing, instead of beating yourself up for falling short of perfection.
9. Be patient with yourself. Think beating yourself up is the only way to push yourself to do better? Think again. Self-criticism is likely to undermine your success every time. Austin-based researcher Kristen Neff has an extensive body of work on The Motivational Power of Self-compassion. In one piece she writes, “Self-compassionate people have more intrinsic motivation in life...Research also shows that self-compassion helps people engage in healthier behaviors like sticking to their weight-loss goals, exercising, quitting smoking and seeking medical care when needed.”
In short, you don’t have to hit 10,000 steps a day to reach your goal. (Unless you have a fitness goal. Then by all means, get to stepping.) Take these motivational tips to heart and lace up for the long haul. We’ll see you at the finish line.
Have any advice for following your dreams? Share it in the comments!