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Gareth Martin

Executive / Life Coach
Host of Ridiculously Human Podcast

How to get and stay motivated

Motivation is entirely individual and it really comes down to finding out what works for you. Every single person in the world is different, which is what makes motivation such an interesting and diverse concept. Just because your friends get motivated by going to the gym, or by having a successful career which gives them a title, should by no means be the reason to motivate you too.

Acknowledging that we are all different and by not doing what society thinks you should do, is your first step of breaking the mould.

It’s also good to know and recognise that we are all in this together. If you are Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tony Robbins, the lady down the road, your manager, or any other living being, we will all have times when we struggle with motivation. It is just part of being human. Some of us have tools and strategies to deal with it better.

Right now, there are people all over the world who are just like you. They’re either confused, they are lonely, they’re missing somebody, they’re depressed, they’re hurt, they’re scarred from the past, they’re having personal issues no one knows about, they have secrets you wouldn’t believe. They wish, they dream and they hope.

And right now, they are sitting here reading these words, and I’m writing this for you so you don’t feel alone anymore.

Always remember, don’t let the past define you, don’t worry about things in the future which have never happened, try and focus on today and what you can do about it now. If today’s not so great, don’t worry! Tomorrow’s a new chance.

An idea around motivation which I have been thinking about for a while now is that you will eventually start doing something, only once you are so annoyed with the stories and goals you have been telling and setting yourself, but never executing them.

The author Steven Pressfield has a great line in his book, The War of Art, which gets to the core of motivation. To paraphrase Pressfield, “At some point, the pain of not doing it becomes greater than the pain of doing it.” Basically, it is easier to change than to stay the same.

Most of us are caught up in the treadmill of life and never get off it to take a breath, to reassess what we are doing and see where we are going. We are trying to keep our heads above water.

Sadly, we don’t really know who we are. We have to make a concerted effort to get to know ourselves better. We need to up our self-awareness game and get into the right head space and mindset.

Here are a few practical tips on how to get going with your own motivation:

1 — Start writing. Each morning, during the day, or in the evening, write down your thoughts. Just let them flow. There are different neurological and practical benefits for writing things down at different times of the day. Once you start doing it, you’ll soon figure out the benefits and realise which works best for you. Morning Pages is something I highly recommend. Another thing I recommended is The Daily Stoic Journal.

2 — Stop comparing yourself to others. What you see on the outside and on social media, you can almost 100% guarantee that it’s not what is going on in reality. We never know what is below the surface and going on in other people’s lives. Everybody has their own issues and challenges to deal with, just like you!

Compare yourself to who you want to be and where you want to go and that is all. Definitely, learn from others and watch them, but don’t compare. People who are highly successful have done the hard yards and taken a long time to get there. We must always remember that nothing happens overnight, never ever.

3 — Take ownership for absolutely every single thing in your life. Good and bad. Don’t point fingers at anybody else. There is something gratifying and humbling about this. When you take full ownership there is nobody else you can blame and it gives you a sense of power and responsibility. Giving praise to others and taking the flack in situations, will allow you to grow and motivate you to be a better person.

4 — Everybody, including you, has a desire to do something in life. It doesn’t matter how big or small it is. Let that desire be the kick start for your motivation. Always remember that it is going to take dedication and discipline to get what you want.

5 — As mentioned above, what you desire will not happen now, you need to apply massive patience. This is going to be your greatest asset of all. Most people give up and become demotivated because they want gratification much sooner than they deserve it.

6 — Set goals. Break them down into small achievable tasks. Look at the first step and get on that step. Once you’re on that first step, then look up and go to the next step.

7 — Understanding that it is not going to be an easy ride. You have to realise this! So many people check-out because it gets overwhelming and self-doubt starts creeping in. Instead of letting that little voice stop you in your tracks, say “I see you, let’s dance”

8 — Enjoy the challenges and the journey. Every single thing you want to achieve is going to have barriers, hurdles and speed bumps. It’s how you deal with those, which is what will define your success and keep you motivated. Seeing each of these challenges as a learning experience will help you grow and make you more motivated the next time they appear, because you’ll know how to deal with them.

9 — Remember that the motivation gets stronger over time. You have to start though. Once you start seeing results or ticking things off, it gets you more motivated and geed up. Those early morning runs become easier because you get faster, you start dropping weight, or start feeling healthier overall. Motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Getting started, even in very small ways, is a form of active inspiration that naturally produces momentum.

10 — Each tiny decision that you make each day can take you in one direction or another. There is a compound effect over time.

11 — You need to let go. A lot of people don’t become who they want to be because they are attached to who they have always been.

12 — Anybody who has done anything extraordinary has encountered issues and difficulties. All you have to do is ask them, watch a YouTube video or listen to a Podcast, to understand that you have to keep going with whatever life throws at you.

13 — When you come up with excuses for why you are not doing what you should, that is a trap within itself. Put strategies in place for when you are making excuses. Be aware of these and don’t let them govern you.

14 — Always look at the bigger picture and have faith in yourself. If things don’t work out the way you want, then you still need to keep that faith to keep going. Believe in yourself.

15 — Character is what makes you strong. Feel the fear and embrace it.

16 — If you don’t fall, you are not going to get what you want. We are the accumulation of all the mistakes we have made in life! Why? Because hopefully, you have learned from them each time. Fall, dust yourself off, pick yourself up and keep going.

17 — Overtime and with consistency, you will win every race that you run. Day in and day out, you need to show up. You owe it to yourself and those around you.

18 — If you want to produce great acorns then think like an oak tree and not an acorn. Think about what you what to become, not what you are.

19 — Work to your potential and not your quota. Operate to your potential, it’s your ethical and moral obligation to yourself. Every single person I know is able to achieve way much more than they think is possible. Once you start believing, then magic starts to happen.

20 — You were born with a gift to make this life and this world a better place. Earl Nightingale, the original motivational and personal development guru, said that if you spend one hour a day doing something you wish or want to be, then in 5 years you will be a national expert. If you were to focus one hour a day, for 5 years, you will transform yourself and the world around you and collectively we will transform the world as we know it today.

21 — Know how you are smart and what you care about. What are the values that motivate your choices? Know what your velocity is, and be aware of the intensity and drive which you naturally operate. Know the background imprint that you carry with you, positive, neutral or negative, and what effect it’s had on you. Know your behavioural style and how you come across to other people. Known the patterns in your choices so that you are continually learning more and more about what it’s like to be you, so that you can do an even better job at it.

22 — What is your dream? It’s the most valuable, delicate gift you have available to you. There are people who will try and steal it from you every single day. You have the ability to build your dream up, but make sure to watch out for the dream stealers.

23 — Pay attention to the little changes every single day. Celebrate them. It all starts by making one little change and adding to it every day.

24 — Get someone to help you. Tell others. Creativity, passion and love — these are the ultimate human resources which you need to draw on, to keep you going.

25 — Stop responding and start acting. Initiate and plan the change you seek. Time will move with or without you. Change will move with or without you. Motivation and success will only happen with you. Establish where you are in your life today and where you want to go. Start changing how you look at morning’s, how you treat others and how you treat yourself. Your dream is only a dream until it has a plan. Until you begin to wake-up and start to work at it. If you don’t have a plan you have no protection. A plan tells you what you want to do and don’t want to do. Remind yourself that you are able to do it every single day.

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