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Some thoughts on motivation...

  • Be honest - what do you really want, not what do you think you should want, or what you think someone else wants. Motivation comes from within.
  • Count the cost - what is it going to take? (I'd love to plan an instrument, but I'm not prepared to spend the time learning)
  • Prioritize - work out what you're not going to do. Good prioritization is about working out what you don't do, not what's most important
  • Be honest - did you build in time for relaxation, hanging out with friends, watching TV, etc?
  • Make a plan - it does not have to be sophisticated; maybe a simple list, maybe a week by week set of objectives.
  • Understand that people smoke - Part of the reason is that people will trade a little pleasure in the short term for a horrific death in the long term. This means that it is hard to achieve your long term goals because short term rewards will get in the way.
  • Find your rewards - Finding some short term reward that is part of a long term goal helps keep motivation high. The reward might be directly related to your long term goal (losing a pound of weight, running a mile, getting a 'C' grade, etc), or it might not (a bar of chocolate for losing a pound, etc).
  • Be Sociable - Find peer support, others who've done what you are trying to achieve. These people can form part of your reward, as they will celebrate your victories. Avoid anyone who is not positive, or does not genuinely appreciate what you've accomplished.
  • Start with the end in mind - understand where your goal will lead you.
  • Be honest - Reality is much tougher than you expect. Many things are easy to plan, but hard to do. It's easy to say 'I am getting up at 4 am to run', and another matter to actually get out of bed. Visualize what it is you are proposing.
  • Art of War - This book is about achieving goals, and avoiding conflict.
  • Understand the 'Why' - Revisit your motivation and try to realize what is driving you. For instance, losing weight might appear to be your goal, but it is more likely a means to another end. Are you trying to be healthier? Be more attractive? Stop someone nagging you? Run faster? All are valid reasons, but they may provide different long term motivational power.
  • Look to others - Find out what has worked for other people, and what they have tried that has failed.
  • Be Honest - Consider carefully what your world will look like if you fail in your goals. If the world in which you have failed is grim (too fat to move, dead of a heart attack, stuck in a dead end job), then use that visualization as motivation. If the world in which you have failed is okay, then rethink your goals.
  • Make a choice - Henry Ford said ""Whether You Think You Can or Can't, You're Right"
  • Run to the next tree - Motivation is often about controlling your thinking. If you think about the long term effort, it can crush you. Focus on short term, attainable goals.
  • Be Public - Announcing your goal publically can boost your confidence, and get support from those around you.