No matter what you do for a living, the key to success is motivating yourself, each and every day. Most people don’t realize that motivation mostly emerges from minor changes in your own behavior. Here’s how to remain a go-getter, even when the going gets rough:
- Realize that you are in control. You cannot control the outside world, but you can control your emotional reaction to it.
- Accept where you are. Life is like those signs that read “You Are Here.” You can get somewhere else only if you know where you are now.
- Adopt a positive vocabulary. Use strong adjectives (e.g., “fantastic”) to describe what’s good and weak words (e.g., “annoying”) to describe what’s not.
- Condition your mind. Train yourself to think positive thoughts while avoiding negative thoughts.
- Condition your body. It takes physical energy to take action. Get your food and exercise budget in place and follow it like a business plan.
- Avoid negative people. They drain your energy and waste your time, so hanging with them is like shooting yourself in the foot.
- Seek out the similarly motivated. Their positive energy will rub off on you, and you can imitate their success strategies.
- Have goals—but remain flexible. No plan should be cast in concrete, lest it become more important than achieving the goal.
- Act with a higher purpose. Any activity or action that doesn’t serve your higher goal is wasted effort—and should be avoided.
- Take responsibility. If you blame (or credit) luck, fate, or divine intervention, you’ll always have an excuse.
- Stretch past your limits. Walking the old, familiar path is how you grow old. Stretching makes you grow and evolve.
- Don’t expect perfection. Perfectionists are the losers in the game of life. Strive for excellence rather than the unachievable.
- Celebrate your failures. Your most important lessons in life will come from what you don’t achieve. Take time to understand where you fell short.
- Don’t take success too seriously. Success can breed tomorrow’s failure if you use it as an excuse to become complacent.
- Avoid weak goals. Goals are the soul of achievement, so never begin them with “I’ll try…” Always start with “I will” or “I must.”
- Treat inaction as the only real failure. If you don’t take action, you fail by default and can’t even learn from the experience.
- Welcome obstacles. You can’t grow stronger if you’re not lifting something heavy, so savor your problems.
- Get perspective. Take the time and effort to step back, reexamine your assumptions, and find truths that you missed before.
- Appreciate being alive. Never neglect to marvel at the miracle of conscious existence, which is all too soon over.
- Relax more often. Spend at least one hour every day doing something that’s just because you enjoy doing it.
- Experience wonder. Take pleasure in the unexpected and unusual because without them life would be tedious and boring.
- Be playful. The joy of a child still lives inside you; let that child out at least once each day.
- Give thanks. Experience deep gratitude for all the wonderful things in your life: family, friends, work, and play.
Getting and keeping motivated puts you in control of your actions and your career, thereby lessening stress. Even implementing a handful of these changes can have a major effect on your health and your attitude.