The key to success is staying motivated. Day in, day out, staying motivated will keep you focused on the task at hand. Develop and nurture that motivation by making minor changes in your own behavior.
Here’s how to be 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 keep the plan 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 paths 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 just because you enjoy doing it.
- Experience wonder. Take pleasure in the unexpected and unusual, because otherwise 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. If this list is too overwhelming, break it up into just a few changes every few weeks, and build gradually on the solid foundation in which you’re investing.
Geoffrey James is a veteran business journalist who now writes a daily column for Inc.com. His latest book, Business Without the Bullsh*t, won the following praise from Publishers Weekly: “The author’s pithy and frank style matches his title…a quick, impactful primer for anyone wanting to be more effective on the job.” Visit www.geoffreyjames.com to learn more.