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8 Things Successful People Do To Keep Themselves Motivated All The Time

8 Things Successful People Do To Keep Themselves Motivated All The Time

We tend to think that whether we can achieve what we want depends largely on our abilities, but what is more important is whether we can stay motivated most of the time especially the critical moments because motivation can directly affect the steadiness of our performance.

So what’s stopping you from being motivated to achieve more? Is the difficulty of better achievements widening from the previous one? Or is there a brick wall too high to scale? To help you find a new and more consistent energy and how to stay motivated, you can learn to adopt these 8 things that successful people do to keep themselves motivated all the time.

1. They establish the big WHY

What if you came to work one day and your boss told you to do up a presentation slide by 3pm without giving you any reason to do so, would you feel a sense of purpose in achieving it?

But what if he told you that it’s a breakthrough presentation to a client that could send the company soaring for unprecedented sales. Would that change your perspective on the job?

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It should be the same with your life. Instead of establishing to-do lists, establish the big WHY you have to do them and what’s the end goal.

2. They staying focused on the big picture

Most of us tend to lose focus on the big picture because things at work can get so repetitive and boring. Soon you’ll be passing comments with zombie references to your colleagues at the local bar. “Look at me, I’m starting to turn into a dead man walking”. You’ll start to question whether your goal is worth fighting for and guess what? 100% of the time, it’s worth it, once you’ve achieved it.

So keep your eye on the prize, all the time. Jim Carrey who once had to drop out of school to support his family at age 15 didn’t let that stop him from pursuing his ultimate goal and that is to become a well-known comedian.

3. They write their ideas down all the time

How to stay motivated to do more? Successful people do that by writing down their ideas all the time. Why? Because they understand that ideas don’t stay long in their heads and you will never know whether that one idea in your notebook could be the next revolutionary big thing.

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Writing out your ideas and thoughts would also give you more clarity on the direction you’ve set yourself to take.

4. They have an extremely supportive partner

The last thing you would need to have your motivation going into a freefall plunge is an unsupportive partner. If you haven’t realised, many successful people out there always have praises for their partners for getting them where they are today.

If your partner is unsupportive on things you want to pursue, communicate to find out why he/she doesn’t like what you’re doing. The end goal is to let your partner know that you’ll put 100% effort into securing a brighter future for both of you.

There’s a famous story about Steve Jobs skipping a meeting which is unprecedented to go out with a lady who would then be his wife. Steve Job’s dedication to his wife is so admirable just because she supports him in every way during his ups and downs.

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5. They Alternate between things that motivate them

I’m sure that during some point in our lives, we were motivated by some youtube video that inspired us to the bone. But watching that youtube video over and over again, it would start losing its impact gradually. Instead, try alternating between things that would motivate you, like a book, or talking to a mentor. Schedule your exposure to different motivational materials so that you’ll stay motivated at all times.

6. They read a lot

One of the most common way for successful people to keep their motivation up is to read whenever they can. Reading can fire up a motivation through countless ideas that are being communicated through books, some of which are newly found ideas and some that are a stronger reinforcement of ideas that you already know.

Bill Gates, one of the richest man on earth still manages to read a book every week because knowledge is key and it breeds new motivation.

7. They have loads of fun

If fun is not part of the plan, you would probably lose sight of your goals easier. Taking everything too seriously is a sure recipe for failure because if you simply do not enjoy doing what you do, how could you accomplish a tough goal?

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Yes, you will come across daunting tasks every now and then, but surely it doesn’t hurt to put a little fun in it, does it? Adding humour and fun in your tasks can set your motivation at a high level every day.

8. They wake up really early

By waking early, you’ll be able to have ample time to plan out your day before starting work. And there’s also something about waking up early that drives super successful people to do what they do every day.

Richard Branson, the CEO of Virgin group, wakes up at 5.30am every morning to go for a run and have breakfast before going to work.

Featured photo credit: Sir Richard Branson via flic.kr

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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