Today’s post is Part 4 of my Motivation Mojo series:
I love when I find a new goal to focus on. When I sit down and decide to pursue a goal, I have an immensely pleasurable feeling of adventure, of anticipation, of excitement. Here is something new and worthwhile that I’ve set my mind on. For a few blissful moments, I am on top of the world.
But that feeling fades quickly, in the face of self-doubt and the hard work that goes along with most accomplishments. In those moments, its great to remind myself why I set the goal in the first place.
This reminder comes in handy often over the course of reaching a goal. It’s especially helpful to focus on the end result of a goal when those naysayers in our lives are questioning us; when things are not going according to plan and delays and setbacks result; and when our self-esteem may not be particularly high and we feel vulnerable, unsure of ourselves and a little lost.
The most important time to remember exactly what it is that you want is when you’ve had a prolonged period of time when you feel discouraged. Reminding yourself often – with some of the tools I’ll discuss later – is crucial to having lasting motivation. But you especially need to remind yourself of your ‘why’ and focus on the end result when you’ve sunken down to a low point and the end seems like it’ll never come.
Just as your mind can be a hindrance to your motivation, it can also be a powerful ally in keeping you on track.
Tune In To Your Positive Mind
The most direct route to figuring out what you want is by identifying what you don’t want. I find that a lot of people will give you a blank stare if you ask them what they want or what their main goal or objective is. But if you ask them what they don’t want, they have a long and detailed list to rattle off for you – they don’t like their boss, their commute or how much they get paid; they don’t like their furniture; they don’t like when their friends only keep in touch when they’re single.
Within each desire is the converse, something that’s unwanted. So the same is true for things you don’t want. If you reverse them, and carefully examine them, your desires are right there.
So I’d ask the person who had the dislikes I listed above: what kind of boss do you enjoy working for? What rate of pay and distance would be good for you? What style of furniture do you like, and what’s your budget for new furniture? What types of friendships best fit your personality?
When you hit upon an answer that makes you smile and fills your mind with happiness, that’s your real desire. Not the object of your attention itself – the feeling you get when you think of that thing.
We strive for certain things in life because we want the feeling that we believe these things will bring us. It’s not necessarily the thing itself that motivates us.
For example, people often strive to earn a lot of money. But money is really just old paper that has changed hands endless times (have you thought about all the hands that have touched your money? Eww!). Having the paper in and of itself is not so earth-shattering. But having the options that money can provide you – what to eat, where to live, what to drive, what to do – is an attractive reason to stay on your grind and work toward lofty goals. In the end, we want the ability to choose between comfortable and attractive options. The money is our means of securing those options.
Once you know which emotions drive you, then it becomes much easier to target what you really want and turn your focus away from those things that you don’t want. Once you know what you want, in those dark and long hours where your goal seems far away, remind yourself why you want that goal. Remind yourself of what you really want.
The power in this step lies in reminding your mind of what your desired emotions are when it chooses to repeat negative thoughts of worry, doubt and insecurity. Start playing positive messages as a constant loop in your mind, and you’ll be amazed at how much your mood, outlook and overall well-being improves.
The caveat in this step is not to get caught up in yearning while focusing on your desires. It’s not that difficult to come to the conclusion that wanting more in life leads to frustration and pain, especially when your desires never seem to manifest. But the wanting is not the source of the pain – its believing that you can’t have what you want that causes so much pain and discomfort surrounding your desires.
After all, if you truly believed that sooner or later you would get everything you wanted, there would be no thoughts of worry, doubt and insecurity in your mind. If you fully trusted that everything works out for your good (and it really does, if you moved out of your own way and allowed it to be so), then there would be no cause for impatience or worry. What does timing matter, when things will be fine? Impatience simply means that you want things to happen now, because you believe there is a possibility that they might not happen if you have to wait.