Motivation Articles

Lessons for All Walks of Life

Basics for Success

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If there were dreams for sale, what would you try to buy? No matter what you "purchase" – find a better job, run a marathon, lose ten pounds, learn a new skill – motivation usually makes the difference between success and failure, misery and fun. These tips will help get you started:
  • Surround yourself with friends who think positive. The beliefs and attitudes of your peers are contagious.
  • Learn from your mistakes. All things of value are created from experience, including failure. Mistakes can give you insight into yourself and others. Don’t ever be afraid to go for it.
  • Have a plan B and C and D. What will you do if things don’t work? With an alternative plan, you can relax knowing even in the worst case you’ll be prepared.
  • Write down good ideas the moment you think of them. Keep a notepad handy. We all get good ideas, but only a few of us save them and more importantly, execute them.
  • Be realistic about your work habits and needs. Are you a morning person? Did you get that daily vegetable thing down yet? Do you need quiet? Do you prefer being a team member or going solo? Do you have the time? Can you make the time?
  • Bribe yourself. So what are you going to do just for you as a reward when you have reached your goal? Go a little crazy here.
  • Use your dreams. Right before you go to sleep, think about your goals. Get a strong mental image in your mind. If you do this night after night, your dreams will offer insights and you will sleep better.
  • Wallow in your greatness. Make a list of everything you’ve accomplished, big and small, in the past day. Then do this for the past week. You’ll realize you are a very motivated person who does hundreds of small things every day. You simply forgot, or worse, took them for granted. Realizing what a motivated person you are already will inspire you to take on bigger tasks.
  • Set priorities. If you don’t make a plan, then you plan to fail. Do you actually spend time working on reaching your goals? Or do you let everything and everyone take precedence. Balance all your demands as best you can.
  • Stop sabotaging yourself. If you don’t feel motivated, maybe it’s because you have an internal conflict. What would you lose if you reached your goal? For example, if you took a new job, would your friends be envious? If you slimmed down, would you lose an excuse for being unhappy? Be sure that you own your dream and you really want everything that comes with it. Don’t do something to please someone else.
  • Make it fun to get started. Do you like looking at the big picture first or the details? Do you like seeking advice from "coaches" or friends? Do you like to start with what’s familiar or do you prefer novelty? Organize the tasks to fit your lifestyle
  • Get rid of negative self-talk. And those coffee mugs that say "Life’s a bitch." Some of the things we say to ourselves we would never say to our best friend. Why then is it part of our internal chatter?
  • Catch your children’s enthusiasm. Children may not have all the skills but they have excitement and no fear of failure. Approach your goals with a childlike spirit. This kind of energy could make a difference. Special note: if you don’t have any children, borrow some for a day.
  • Tell a friend you’re starting the project. This type of disclosure to a peer may help keep you accountable to yourself.
  • Make up some of your own motivation tips – and use them.

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Member Comments

  • Things that I knew deep down inside but the reminder is helpful!
  • Agree with Deb, this is great information. Am making copies to keep me motivated.
  • Loved this article. I'm printing out two copies - one for the fridge, and one for my bulletin board in my office.
  • This really helped me pinpoint some things and gave me some ideas that might help me stay positive longer :) Thanks
  • Wow, this really hit home ! Thank you for th inspiration.
  • Great article and its given me lots to think about. I havnt an answer yet to the sabotage question. If I do lose the weight what else do lose? Hmmm - I need to think about that because clearly there is something that makes me binge for seemingly no reason. Thanks for giving me that - I usually look for something that has made me overeat - not what might happen/not happen if I overeat and sabotage weight lose.
  • Great article. Very well-organized. Bulleted points let me see at a glance what I want to remember and incorporate into my life. Thanks a million!
  • DAVIDHOMERE
    This article is well written, It offers great insight and motivation. I got down Most of the components that stand behind this article. However planning myself to include most of them in my busy schedule is difficult. Sometimes, I prioritized my tasks without forgetting the end of the planner's list. I perform them the next day. Thank you for the reminder. By the way, I eat 5 servings of vegetables or fruit daily, Drink enough water base on my body weight, 6 servings of complex carbohydrates top with small amount of good fat like extra virgin olive oil. A little bit of 2 -3 proteins daily. Eliminate simple carbohydrates like sugar and process foods, read every label well for unhealthy clues. Exercise 20-45 minutes daily.
  • This is a great article, full of reminders. My Dad used to tell me that "Mistakes" were "lessons" that go unlearned. I need to be reminded of this every so often. Another thing I do (this may sound weird) is I feel the muscles in my thighs, this reminds me that I HAVE made progress. And it's the last thing I do before I fall asleep. I know, it does sound weird, but I feel so proud of myself when I do it.
  • Great Ideas, I will use and pass on!!! TY
    nancylee
  • MDACKO
    Thank you, this will get me back on track!
  • Thanks, Julie, for this wonderful article! I'm putting it into PowerPoint and hanging on the wall above my computer at home...and planning to put it somewhere in my office where our staff of 5 can see it everyday! Probably right by the SparkPeople bumper stickers posted on the kitchen cupboards at the office!

About The Author

Julie Isphording Julie Isphording
Julie, a former Olympic marathon runner, is an author, radio host and fitness expert.

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