Finding motivation in life can be a difficult task sometimes. It is especially hard when you have a period of unhappiness and hardship. Long-term goals can be difficult because we crave gratification and when we go a long time without it, it can create dissatisfaction. This is why it is important to create short-term and long-term goals. Long-term goals can even be broken down into smaller pieces which is great because it allows you to feel and see your progress; it is vital to feel that you are headed in the direction of achieving your dreams. Maybe you are at a point in your life where you cannot seem to remember what, other than the fact that it is routine, that is keeping you going everyday. People need motivation and gratification in order to do something with their life and experience joy. Here are some suggestions and tips for getting you on your way to finding your motivation:
Clearly identify your goal or mission. Write down on paper specifically what it is that you want to accomplish. When do you want to achieve this goal? Is there more than one outcome that you are hoping to see? If your mission is broad (such as “what do I want out of life?”), you still need to be somewhat specific. For example, if you are simply trying to find a reason to get going everyday, ask yourself, “what are my reasons, my long-term and short-term goals for waking up today?” Maybe short-term is so that you can go to work and make money in order to provide for your family, take that summer vacation to Florida, and to have money for the weekend. If you need to be reminded (which definitely helps!), write it down on a sticky note and put it somewhere you can see it everyday.
a. Write down your short-term goal.
Example: I want to lose 5 pounds before my sister’s wedding this spring.
b. Write down your long-term goal.
Example: I want to have a handful of friends that I can rely on and see on a regular basis.
c. If the type of motivation you are seeking is more along the lines of, “what do I want to do with my life? What is it about life that I can use as a reason to wake up everyday? etc.,” Try starting with identifying what is important to you, what you value, and what makes you happy. From there, see if you can brainstorm into something that is tangible or at least easily described.
Why would you want to succeed? What would be the benefits? If your goal is not something you really want, then sure, it will be very hard to find the motivation to succeed. That is why people say that you can’t force someone to do something they don’t want to do. If you can identify an outcome and if it is something you want, then it will be a lot easier to keep motivated.
It is harder when the action is something you feel that you need and do not want. This is a lie! A common cognitive distortion; we do not NEED to do anything, we CHOOSE our actions. If you take control and realize your desires, it will be a lot easier to motivate yourself.
For example, you may say that you NEED to get your bachelor’s degree in order to get into another program that you WANT. Reframe this. Attach the bachelor’s degree as a step to your bigger goal of finishing the program. Another common motivation struggle; work. You can say that you NEED to go to work to pay your bills and put food on the table. However, you do not NEED to work! Yes, and by this I mean in theory. You will not die if you do not go to work and the sky will not come crashing down. There are people in this world who live without working. You choose to go to work because….you want the money, the desire to feel a sense of accomplishment, you do not want a foreclosure on your house, you do not want to live on food stamps, etc. The point here is to simply realize that YOU are in control and you want something.
How can you do this? List small and big things. If you need to number it go right ahead-make a list. Make sure to include a column for short-term things and long-term things. Remember to be flexible with your list and write in pencil so you can make changes as your desires change. Have rewards for yourself. At the bare minimum, check it off the list and acknowledge your hard work and the progress you have made.