Many times we can identify rewards that will keep us moving forward. This external outcome provides a useful carrot, but the ultimate reward is completion of your goals. What you really want is internal drive. When you get really clear on what you are going for, you naturally become motivated from within to take the necessary steps as well as less impacted by the ups and downs of the processes required to get there.
One way to connect with this internal motivation is by setting aside time to get really comprehensive and shine the light on any fuzzy or cloudy areas in your aspirations. Some people do this by journaling or creating a vision board or mind map, some by talking it out, and some just spend time reflecting. Choose a method that works for you and bring clarity to your vision. Knowing exactly what you want and, conversely, precisely what you do not want makes the path for achievement much clearer and can make a big difference to your goal accomplishment.
1) Build Your Vision
What is the mental picture you hold for your future? Add as much detail to this visualization of your experiences five or ten years from now as you can. Take your time and create an audio, visual, or written record of all the details you reveal. Keep adding to it until nothing else comes to mind. If you have trouble getting started, use cues from your daily experience such as movies, magazines, or books that demonstrate the quality of life that inspires you. Imagine how it will feel to be there. Fill in what your relationships and community experience will be like. What qualities do they have? Outline your health and physical condition in this image. Include your daily experience – how you spend your time and have fun. What is your financial outlook? Describe your living environment. All these different areas are connected and provide you with a full panoramic view of your future life.
2) Check-in and Refine
Periodically revisit your vision. Ask again what you want and add new ideas and perspectives to your future landscape to keep it up to date and current. Yesterday’s aspirations will evolve as you engage. As you try things out and develop greater skill and understanding you will have insights that result in necessary changes to your vision. Listen to and observe yourself. Sometimes what you want to see in others or who you prefer to mix with provides cues about who and how you want to be. Be thankful for the elements from your vision that are already part of your experience and identify the places to focus that will bring the most benefit in making the rest of the vision a reality.
3) Connect the Dots
As you become increasingly familiar with the masterpiece you are creating, you may identify common threads that provide core motivation. You can use this to come up with a themed mantra or personal internal intention that pulls you forward. Make every effort to serve the whole picture. Motivation is inclusive so take care not to segregate elements of your vision or you may find yourself neglecting key needs or values. This is your jigsaw puzzle, but you do not get the full effect if pieces are missing. To see how all the parts fit into the whole, switch between global and specific aims. Use this framework of how your goals relate to each other to identify the most important steps and their sequencing.
To recap, the first key to motivating yourself is knowing exactly what you want. Elaborate as fully as you can on the scene you hold for yourself in the future. By building and refining your vision, and examining how each part of it is interconnected, you will find out more about yourself and where you are driven. Keep your vision of what is meaningful to you as a prominent guide for your successful life experience.
Key #2 for your motivation is getting something done. To move beyond the dream you have spent time fleshing out, you must take action. Find out more in the next blog in this series.