Everyone has that one friend, that one person on their Facebook or Instagram feed that posts nothing but motivational images and inspirational quotes on a daily (sometimes even hourly) basis. Telling you to be happy, to be positive, to remove yourself of negative thoughts so you are able reach your goals, and continuously repeating the fact that success is not something that is handed to you, but one that is earned – through hard work and dedication.
Whilst these people may deserve to be “unfollowed” or hidden and do us all a favour and SAVE the photos on their phone without feeling the need to post them hourly, they are in fact – 100% accurate.
Hard work, dedication and a positive outlook are the key to success – but it’s MOTIVATION that’s the driving factor. This can sometimes seem difficult, especially with all the distractions and overwhelming negativity that seem to exist in our society, so I thought I would put together 5 ways I keep focused and motivated that may help you:
1. SET REALISTIC GOALS
Like with any successful plan, it’s important to set realistic and achievable goals. Writing down exactly what you want to achieve in the long term and then breaking this down into smaller, short term goals, can really help you stay on track.
Take for instance, my long term goal: To one day become the Head of digital communications at the Sydney radio station FBI or the Australian radio station Triple J. In order to achieve this, I have made a plan of action, a set of realistic yearly goals, that can be achieved and/or altered depending on my speed of progress:
2014– Move to London and secure a position in digital marketing, continuing to build my personal brand online
2015– Undertake further study in digital communications and content marketing in London
2016– Gain a position in Content Marketing at a reputable communications company (radio/broadcast/print/digital magazine)
And the list goes on…
Now, whilst yearly progress will work well for a career plan, other areas that you want to improve, such as increasing your fitness level, can work better by setting weekly/monthly goals. Such as increasing the time you will spend on the treadmill by 1 minute or adding 5 more reps to your workouts each week.
Trust me, there is no better motivation that having a realistic goal in front of you to strive for, and it is the accomplishment of that goal – that will push you forward and onto the next.
2. CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE
In a world full of seemingly urgent distractions like emails, text messages and social media notifications, we are often overwhelmed with worry about the “annoying” things in our life, that we forget to embrace all the good things. Changing your perspective can be a refreshing exercise that can clear your mind and help you stay focused, positive and motivated to succeed.
There are many ways to change your perspective – these are the 4 exercises that really helped me:
1. When you wake up in the morning, say out loud at least one thing you are grateful for. Try to make a list each week of everything you appreciate, whether big or small, it will shift your thought process from focusing on the small negative aspects of your life – to recognizing and embracing the positive.
2. Go for a walk, or a run, or join a local sporting club. Exercise is a great way to clear your mind, and as activity only fuels more activity, it will keep you focused and motivated to do what needs to be done to achieve your goals.
3. Ask WHY – Why are you working towards the goals you have listed? Why do you work where you do? Why do you live where you do? Asking yourself WHY you do things can really help uncover what motivates you, where you want to go in life and what goals you want to achieve.
4. Express your feelings on paper – Whether you are more inclined to draw or write, expressing your feelings about a certain situation or problem on paper can help you create order and structure for your thoughts. You will be able to see things in a new light, with a clear mind, leading to one or more possible solutions.
3. STAY POSITIVE
Staying positive is an important part of keeping focused and motivated, and whilst everyone is different, I believe that the following are surefire ways to block out the negative thoughts and let the good vibes flow:
- Go slowly – Breathe, stop running around like a headless chicken when you get stressed and take things slowly – its quality that matters, not quantity.
- Accept who you are – Don’t be afraid of judgement, embrace the inner you and take time to do what makes YOU happy.
- Remove negative people from your life – If you have someone who is constantly bringing you down, get rid of them! Their negativity will eat away at you
- When something bad happens – dont ask WHY it happened to you, instead ask HOW you can learn from this. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
- Invest time in helping others, do not become selfish or self-absorbed. Think about how you can make a difference in others’ lives.
- TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF – both physically and mentally. Exercise and eat well, it will help you stay mentally alert.
- Spend some time alone – listen to music, write a journal or go for a long walk, take time to unwind.
4. READ ABOUT IT
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body” ~Joseph Addison
Reading has many benefits, and similar to the way that exercise makes you stronger, reading can increase your intelligence, as well as open your mind to other scenarios, lifestyles and a world of possibilities. Reading can do wonders to motivate you, here are just a few of the benefits:
– Increasing your knowledge on a given subject, such as how a professional in your field has achieved their success, provides background and therefore a greater understanding and deeper appreciation.
– With the introduction of the internet and micro-blogging sites such as Twitter, only allowing a mere 40 characters per post – our attention spans have become shorter. Reading has the ability to strengthen your focus for longer periods of time.
– It can reduce stress – a well-written novel can transport you to other realms, while an engaging article will distract you and keep you in the present moment
– Increasing your vocabulary knowledge is of great help in any profession, as is being articulate and well-spoken. Reading on a regular basis will give you the vocabulary expansion, and consequently the self-confidence, to significantly boost your self-esteem.
– Reading has been proven to assist in improving your memory, as every new memory you forge strengthens existing ones, and also helps stabilize your mood, which will help you stay on track, focused and motivated to succeed.
5.USE VISUAL CUES
Humans process images 60,000 times faster than text, and remember only 20% of what we read alone, compared to 80% which we see – demonstrating the clear importance of having visual cues to help you stay on the path to success.
You DO NOT have to post motivational pics and inspiration every half hour – in fact I highly recommend that you don’t, but collecting and looking at pictures of how far you’ve come or what you’ve achieved as well as subscribing to motivational speakers and inspirational blogs, can really help you remember why you are so determined to reach your goals. Use the images as motivation in themselves – wake up in the morning and read three inspirational quotes that you will embrace that day – and read them before you go to sleep. Keep those visions of success at the forefront of your mind.
MAKE A VISION BOARD – As discussed previously, writing and drawing situations can clear your mind and help you see solutions. By making a vision board – you are visualising your goals, and planning the strategies you will put in place to achieve your dreams – which will only make it easier to begin the path to success. I personally, use a whiteboard – this way I am easily able to alter and change my goals and strategies as I progress, but it also means I can physically see myself achieving what I have set out to do, as I cross off each task on the journey to reach my goals.
Staying motivated and keeping focused may seem tricky, but I promise, if you make sure to include these 5 simple strategies in your every day life, you’ll make it.
If you have any other tips on staying motivated, positive and focused, I would love to read about them in the comments – there is ALWAYS more to learn.