In a previous post, I wrote about self-motivation to succeed, and how you can increase your level of motivation by changing the ways you think and the things you do.
I got a lot of feedback on that one, including some people who asked about ways to maintain their motivation over the long haul. This is important because personal productivity and success is usually a marathon, not a sprint. If your motivation fades too soon, your early performance won’t be enough to carry you, and may actually turn out to be wasted.
To help you maintain a high level of motivation throughout your work and your life, here are some proven suggestions:
We all feel motivated by past, present, and future rewards, including increased compensation, responsibilities and authority, as well as by accolades and other forms of recognition. But no matter how many of these you earn, and how often you earn them, their motivational power usually pales in comparison to the influence of rewards you establish for yourself.
This is why you can strengthen your motivation by focusing inwards, and rewarding yourself when you meet your own criteria.
Most of us already do this, but we establish rewards for ourselves without enough conscious thought. For example, when we want to take a vacation, buy a new car, watch a show or attend a concert, we purposefully take whatever steps are necessary to obtain that reward.
But the method works even better when you set your sights on more meaningful rewards, and earn them by meeting more important and life-changing criteria, perhaps some that even make you a better person.
For example, you can strengthen your motivation by tying a desirable reward to achieving certain levels of productivity and success, to adopting new and improved behaviors, or to successfully cultivating specific attitudes and feelings.
Treat Yourself Well
Another way to keep yourself motivated over the long-haul is to be good to yourself. For example, an uncomfortable chair, a cramped office, a balky computer, an unreliable car, or an inadequate wardrobe probably won’t prevent you from doing all you want and accomplishing important goals. But irritating deficiencies and problems like these each take a tiny but cumulative toll on your motivation.
Eventually, these annoyances may drive you to become fed up, unhappy, and unwilling to put in the strong efforts needed for the demanding tasks, projects, and goals you will be facing.
To maintain and strengthen your motivation over the long-term, therefore, it’s helpful to take steps to eliminate or at least ameliorate any irritations, difficulties, and inadequacies that nag at you day after day.
Taking the time, making the effort, and spending the money to treat yourself well, whatever that may mean to you, nearly always pay off motivationally, and in many other ways, as well.
Upgrade Your Posse
Many experts, studies, and personal coaches offer compelling evidence that you are heavily influenced by the people around you. This is why you can strengthen your long-term motivation by carefully selecting the friends and colleagues with whom you spend the most time.
You want people in your posse who are positive rather than negative, who are capable and tend to make good choices, who are honest and generous, and – primarily – who think well of you.
People like this will help you improve your own work and life, make better decisions, and get more enjoyment from your experiences. They will also contribute to your level of motivation. They’ll help you feel more positive about your opportunities, and less dejected when an event or relationship doesn’t work out as well as you hoped.
A couple of other important factors in strengthening your motivation include lessening your fear of failure, and setting more balanced goals, both of which I’ve written about previously and won’t rehash here.
As you probably understand, motivation is the fuel that makes you go. Your drive to succeed and your efforts to accomplish all you do are dependent on a high level of motivation. Neglecting your motivation for too long is a sure way to start on a downward spiral of dissatisfaction and under-achievement you may never be able to reverse.
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