• Susanne Birgersdotter

Once you decide to start a business, you’re in for a long journey. The road to success can sometimes be long, and often, very long. If there is one thing you will need to keep you going, it is motivation. Self-motivation separates the winners from the losers. We can all have the right education, acquire training, get funding and other resources, and create wonderful business plans. We might have intelligence, skills, and money. But all that is for naught if we don’t have the right motivation to succeed.

We all create New Year’s resolutions, but only a few follow through with it. Because we lack the right motivation.

Do not bank on money as motivation. You will either lose appetite or get lost along the way. The glitter of gold will soon fade when the work becomes a drag, the challenges insurmountable, and the disappointments beat you down.

Motivation is an intangible force that drives us to work harder, try harder, and persist despite tumbles and challenges. It is something that must come from within, emanating from a positive outlook, a healthy attitude to work and life, and established habits. Here are ways to foster better motivation and to overcome the inevitable slack and drag.

Define your goal

What do you want to achieve? Is it a comfortable life with your family? A better physique? Happiness? Fame and fortune? Be able to do the things you love? Visualize the life you’re aiming for. Create a dream board that shows all your goals and display it somewhere you can see – in your office, on your bedside table, or use it as the wallpaper on your computer.

When defining your goal, also make sure that it is what you want. Not what your parents want, not what you think you want, or what you think the society wants. Only those goals that we truly love will sustain our motivation.

Have a plan, and several backups

Once you’re set on your goals, write down the plans – a masterplan and broken-down plans from the big picture. Include as many details as you can, but don’t write anything in stone. Plans that are adaptable, detailed, and positive will motivate rather than intimidate.

Adaptable – While you can write the best plans, you can never totally predict what the future holds. You should be able to easily change or modify the plan according to the current situation. Have a Plan B, C, D or as many you can conceive. But it is also important not to dwell much on planning. Start on the project and just improve the plan as you go along.Detailed – Breaking down big goals into smaller chunks of challenges will make the journey easier, less daunting. Cleaning the entire house may sound too intimidating, too huge of a task. But if you break it down to a room a day, the goal gets more detailed, easier to tackle and accomplish.Positive – Make your life or business journey as fun and enjoyable as you can. Include the people you love and the activities you enjoy into your plans. Always choose to see the silver linings, the half-full glass, and the learnings.

Recognize your progress

Every once in a while, sit back and review your progress. Day to day changes might not seem obvious, but if you stop and take the time to assess your journey, you will see the improvements and accomplishments. Compare your current status to day one. Are you still on track? You might need to adjust your goals and plans. It is very rewarding and motivating to see your progress and realize the improvements you’ve worked on. This will buoy you up until your next goal is achieved or your next review.

Anticipate off-peak moments

Recognize and appreciate the natural ups and downs of your psyche and body. Some of us are early birds, waking up cheery and ready for work. While many are night owls, sleepy during the day, but bright and wired at night. Some will need afternoon breaks, while others need early bedtimes. Know when you are most alert, pumped up, and productive. Plan your day, schedule most tasks during your active hours and taking time to rest on your off-peak hours. Trying to accomplish tasks during your sleepy hours will not do you any favors and will take a toll on your motivation.

Reward yourself

Give yourself credit for your accomplishments. A reward is highly motivating. This is why companies give out bonuses to performing employees, supermarkets give points to customers, and airlines give miles credits. So, pat yourself on the back, buy yourself that fabulous pair of shoes you’ve been wanting, or treat yourself to a luxurious spa or a relaxing vacation. Rewards don’t always have to be a material thing, or expensive. It can be an hour-long walk with your dog, a slice of cake, or a work-free weekend. Think of things that you will really love and enjoy, then write it down next to your goals.

Bank on self-discipline

We can’t be motivated all the time. That is where self-discipline will save the day. Do not expect to feel positive and pumped all day, every day. Everyone is excited and positive during the first phases of starting a business, a marriage, or a project. But long-term goals will need consistency, efficient planning, and dedication to achieve. The novelty spark will soon fade. Only an established routine and developed self-discipline will weather the sluggish points and low morale phases.

I would like to share more of my struggles, achievements, and life journeys in the hopes of providing nuggets of wisdom, views, and guidance. I’ve picked up from my experience. You can get my book, Pivotal Moments, here. It is also available in Kindle from this link.