You just finished watching Rocky Balboa do the unthinkable, he avenged Apollo Creed’s death and shocked the Soviet Union when he defeated the legendary Ivan Drago. Motivation is at an all-time high.

That one hour cycling class, yeah no problem. That marketing campaign you have been struggling with for weeks to develop a ground-breaking idea, bring it on. And that vision you had of starting a business making goofy coffee mugs for the office – oh you better believe it, it’s happening. Now!

Immediately you begin the next day, and even on to the next week, convinced this is finally the time you make a change. Finally the moment you prove them Debbie Downers wrong, you can provide value, you are worth more than they assume, and you’re just as brilliant as Tinker Hatfield, because that brilliant design you have for the next Air Jordan’s is going to change the game forever!

But then reality kicks in. This is harder than you thought! You’re telling me, I have to do all that work, and risk how much!? Am I able to do this? Am I good enough? All these questions of doubt and insecurity start racing through your head, and before you know it you’re back at square one. You finished you’re shift, it’s time to go home and kick off your boots, sit back with a nice bowl of ice cream, and watch who wins the next season of “America’s Got Talent”.

See getting motivated, now that’s the easy part. But staying motivated, now that’s the challenge. Perhaps that’s the deal breaker and what separates us from success and failure. Maybe recognizing the key to success and to leading a positive change is simply to stay motivated. Simply to break our old, lazy habits, embrace fear, attack challenges, welcome failure, and challenge the status quo.

So how do we do this? Well here are a few tips that can help generate a consistent wave of motivation, that are going to make people believe you’re the next Rocky Balboa.

Break large, impossible goals into smaller, realistic targets

Taking on large projects and giving ourselves unrealistic timeframes can be overwhelming. We visualize the big picture, but often times we fail to recognize all the minor accomplishments and work that will accumulate to our desired end goals.

Breaking down our visions into smaller realistic objectives is a simple remedy to stay motivated. Being able to identify small realistic goals helps maintain our motivation, as each minor goal reached will help us break the previous plateau and get one step closer to our desired destination.

Losing 10lbs in two weeks is much more attainable than expecting to lose 25lbs by month’s end. Or your goal is to build a six-figure income business. Don’t focus on achieving a successful profitable business right off the bat. First develop a business plan, then manufacture your product, next prospect potential customers, and then maybe make your first $1000.

For more on how small steps lead to big changes, check out “Change The Way You View Change”.

The fact is achieving small attainable goals helps produce healthy habits. Each small success triggers your brain’s reward center. Developing the habit of being rewarded with minor accomplishments will help overwrite your previous habit of losing motivation.

So here it is. A simple formula to help keep you motivated. Cue + Routine = Reward

Use the cues as your small attainable goals, routine will be your plan to achieve them, and rewards will be making your goals appear more feasible as you get one step closer!

Looking for an excellent read on how to develop new habits? Definitely check out Charles Duhigg’s “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business”.

Learn the Mastery Curve

We have been raised and molded to believe that if we work for something, we should get it. Simple logic, the more work we put in, the more success that results. But unfortunately, we live in a society with large misconceptions of self-improvement.

Popular culture has continued to measure our personal advancements and expect continued growth based on our effort and energy. But as George Leonard tells us in his book “Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment”, these are false and misguided assumptions.

Most people assume success vs. effort looks like this:

graph-1

But in reality, our progress should look more like this:

graph-2

The fact is we evolve in small periods of growth. If you’re learning a new skill, or starting a business, it usually has a small initial growth and then plateaus. The issue however, is most people quit and lose motivation when that first stage of saturation hits.

We need to look at the big picture here because the realistic cycle of growth is going to go through several of these plateaus and stages of consistent non-improvement. If we’re motivated enough to pass through these struggles and plateaus, we will see it pay dividends in the long run.

Perhaps you envisioned a clear, straight-away path to your goal. But the history of self-improvement tends to show it may be those five miniature stages of growth that help you conquer your goals.

Moral of the story is that there are no overnight successes! Don’t expect your goals to be reached solely because you exerted a certain amount of your personal effort and energy. Don’t lose motivation when your growth plateaus. Instead, gain more from each individual stage of growth.

Visualize

Athletes do it all the time. How many highlights have we seen of Michael Jordan’s series-clinching shot against the Utah Jazz in the 1998 NBA Finals? Well, how many times do you think Michael Jordan visualized that shot in his head before taking it?

Attention to detail is critical. The more we can see and understand, the more we can believe. Helping us believe and understand our desired destination helps the actions we take towards it more feasible.

It’s exactly “The Law of Attraction”. Or as others refer to it, “The Secret”, which states our thoughts, and our minds, act as frequency towers to emit signals of our wishes to the universe. The more we visualize our dreams, pay attention to detail, and emit these demands, the greater chance of the universe granting what we want.

Obviously, just day dreaming of being the next Elon Musk or LeBron James will most likely not bring on their successes. But the more we consume these thoughts, the more likely we will take necessary actions, shift patterns of behavior, and acquire resources to maintain our motivation to reach our goals.

what-we-become

Take breaks

I think this is the part people often forget. It’s important to take a break, it’s important to relax. Our brains and bodies need a reset, time to time. We heard Rihanna and Drake say it, “Work, Work, Work, Work, Work”, and a lot of us literally assume it’s a theme song to our lives.

What’s a life with no fun? Work hard, play hard, right? If we consistently work and obsess over achieving what seems to be unrealistic goals, it’s easy to lose motivation.

You’re doing all this work, making sacrifices, and yet, you never have time to relax. You wonder if all the work is worth it? You begin to lose motivation. Hey, have a break, have a Kit Kat!

Giving ourselves an occasional break, or even a mini-weekend getaway, is an easy way to restore our lost motivation. Life can be harsh and scary. The more we let it beat us down with endless work and stress, the easier it is for us to lose motivation. So instead of finding easy ways to lose motivation, give yourself easy breaks to restore it.

– Daniel

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