The truth about success and self motivation...
We've all been there, feeling like our goals are never going to be reached. It can be such a deflating feeling and it's so easy to change our minds and move on to something, maybe that we want less but that feels more manageable. We look at social media and see so many people achieving and showing their successes and wondering how they manage? On the flip side, sometimes we reach our goals and instead of feeling elated we fall a little... flat?
These are two common experiences I've witnessed and lived myself over the past 5 years of working full time in this industry. And amongst the motivational quotes plastered around (yep, I'm shading myself) there's the story that no one tends to tell you about success and self motivation. So here I am to give you some honesty, and with my last post on giving you the most in mind, I'm also throwing in a few tips for staying on track with your goals...
Success doesn't always feel how you'd imagine, there are no "i've made it" moments. Okay, maybe someone out there thinks that or says it occasionally. But actually no one stops once they've got to a point that they deem "successful" and more often than not it's more of a "great! okay next..." moment. We put a lot of expectation on what it should feel like, and because of our thank u next culture sometimes it can either feel anti climactic or simply non existent. Sometimes we might imagine our achievements so much we'd already lived them ten times over before they even happen. Sometimes we expect lots of clapping and cheering only to be met with out mums response of "so that's a good thing right??" We need to learn to clap for ourselves in those moments where no one is there cheering us on. Which brings me to...
Self motivation. This is one of the questions I'm asked most frequently. It's not always hyping yourself up and being infectiously positive and smashing out your best work day in day out - it's something most people just won't tell you and will give you a BS sugar coated answer. Don't get me wrong I listen to Gashi's "my year" song at least once a week because I like to try and manifest that this, in fact, will be my year. But simply self motivation often comes without the hype and can simply be just mastering the act of showing up, even when you don't want to, even when it might not be your best work, but showing up anyway. Because goals might take 10 months to achieve or they might take 10 years, but the one certainty is if you don't keep showing up then your goals won't ever be reached.
Simple steps to self motivate on our path to success:
- keep showing up, and find the satisfaction in that simple daily task. Your motivation might be to improve your phone skills at work - if it is then simply picking up the phone is another checkbox on your journey to improvement. Your goal might be to get fit, in this case every day that you simply get up and get your gym kit on is another successful day. Finding joy in your daily successes is what will keep you motivated and keep potential anxieties at bay (if you're an anxious human that is - I'm speaking from personal experience here for sure!).
- Understand that there is a difference between motion and action. Yes, I'm nabbing this bit of advice from James Clear's Atomic Habits (read it, thank me later). Talking about going to the gym or watching work out videos on YouTube is't actually doing the work. Yes, sometimes it might help. But more often that not a lot of us (especially my anxious mates out there that have fear of failure - yep again personal experience) tend to be more motion that action. Writing a list of content to create isn't the same as actually doing it, and scrolling through lots of elaborate meal inspo on the couch isn't the same as getting up, going to Tesco, and cooking a simple healthy meal that takes 20 mins max.
- Celebrate your successes for more than 5 minutes. Even if you're not vibing with it. Reward yourself, take that day off, have a rosé. Take a moment to revel in it in private and let it sink in. More often than not our world is so fast paced we feel as though we should constantly be on to the next thing. We forget to take a moment to let ourselves process and believe me that's a fast way to burn out.
- Perspective - it's not always all about success but even if it is - you need to learn to play the long game. Along the way to achieving your goals it's important to keep a balance. Whether your goal is physical or academic, it's important to do the fun stuff in order to maintain some harmony in your life (vice versa if your goal is something epic and fun then it's essential to keep on top of the more mundane boring bits along the way too). Sacrificing everything on our path to get where we want to be might pay off, but if it's for 10 years more than 10 months you're going to start feeling that imbalance at some point.
The most important take away from this lesson? Enjoy the process, find joy in your journey and have a life outside of your goals along the way. That way the hard times don't feel so hard, the journey won't seem so long, and even if an achievement does feel anti climactic, you have a great group to celebrate your successes with.