When I looked back on my days as an athlete, I understood what was different. I remembered what (or who) made me push myself even when I didn’t want to. The difference was, as an athlete, I had structured days and a coach to report to. Structure keeps us focused and a coach keeps pushing and challenging us.
1. Get rid of distractions.
Meaningless things and distractions will always be in your way, especially those easy, usual things you would rather do instead of focusing on new challenging and meaningful projects. Learn to focus on what is most important. Write a list of time-wasters and hold yourself accountable to not do them.
2. Stop being nice to yourself.
Motivation means action and action bring results. Sometimes your actions fail to bring the results you want. So you prefer to be nice to yourself and not put yourself in a difficult situation. You wait for the perfect timing, for an opportunity, while you drive yourself into stagnation and sometimes even into depression. Get out there, challenge yourself, do something that you want to do even if you are afraid.
3. Use your imagination.
The next step after getting rid of negative thoughts is to use your imagination. When things go well, you are full of positive energy, and when you are experiencing difficulties, you need to be even more energetic. So rename your situation. If you keep repeating I hate my work, guess which feelings those words will evoke? It’s a matter of imagination! You can always find something to learn even from the worst boss in the world at the most boring job. I have a great exercise for you: Just for three days, think and say positive things only. See what happens.
4. Seek knowledge, not results.
If you focus on the excitement of discovery, improving, exploring and experimenting, your motivation will always be fueled. If you focus only on results, your motivation will be like weather—it will die the minute you hit a storm. So the key is to focus on the journey, not the destination. Keep thinking about what you are learning along the way and what you can improve.
5. Focus on commitment, not motivation.
Just how committed are you to your goal? How important is it for you, and what are you willing to sacrifice in order to achieve it? If you find yourself fully committed, motivation will follow.