It’s normal to need a bit of a boost after you’ve been working on something for a while. External motivators like money and praise can only go so far — they’ll kickstart you at the beginning of your journey, but they won’t carry you to the finish line. You’ll need a strong inner drive when the world throws obstacles your way. These are my five favorite ways to strengthen my inner drive when I need some self-motivation.
You’ll have to work to create a habit of this one, but it’s worth it. Journaling isn’t just a good way to document your journey; it’s also a way for you to mind dump all of your crazy thoughts and feelings on paper so you can focus on the stuff that really matters. You can write down your goals in your journal, list things you’re grateful for or record what you’ve done throughout the week. Had a bad work day? Vent about it — your journal won’t judge. Did something inspire you? Write it down to save for later! Once you’ve journaled for a while, you’ll find you have a clearer head, and you can flip back through the pages (or Word documents) to reminisce later on.
Related: 11 Habits of Truly Happy People
Be involved in your community.
Whether it’s personal or professional, being a part of a community is a great way to strengthen your inner drive. A group of like-minded people will have your back when your motivation begins to slip. A supportive community will also pump you up and get you excited to work, not just help you grudgingly push through your to-do lists. Networking events within your industry, co-working spaces and groups or even an online business forum can be a fantastic help if you need some work-related motivation. When you want to work on the personal end of your inner drive, local meetups, mentors and community centers are a great place to start.
Taking the time to educate people has a handful of personal benefits. Sometimes you don’t realize exactly how much you know until you have to teach it to someone else, which is a huge confidence boost. When you educate others, whether it’s a single person or a packed workshop, you’re acknowledging that you’re successful enough to be considered a reliable source of wisdom in that area.
People will come to you when they have a question on your favorite subject, and that’s motivation enough to brush up on your skills and keep working toward your goals. It’s reassuring to know that you’ve gotten far enough to teach others to succeed as you have, but it’s also a reminder to push yourself a little harder to maintain that pseudo-expert status.
What will it look like to reach your goals? Will you be able to afford a membership at a cool co-working space? Will you finally be able to take a vacation? Look past the material rewards and focus on the personal and social. Will you have more family time each week? Will you be able to speak at next year’s biggest industry conference?
For some people, envisioning success is enough to motivate them to push toward their goals. For others, it helps to make those conceptions concrete by creating a vision board. You can do this using a corkboard, a few pages in your notebook, or a Pinterest board. Just find pictures that capture your idea of success — whether they’re Google images of a beach, photos of your family, or a clip-art podium — and pin them to your board. If you keep your vision board in a place you’ll always see it, you’ll have a constant reminder of why you should keep pushing toward success, even when things get rocky.
“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”
You’ve probably seen this quote by Henry Ford over a hundred times, but it holds true: Your attitude makes up most of your ability to reach a goal. I like to maintain a positive attitude by practicing optimism throughout the day. Instead of thinking I’m bad at something, I say it’s something I’m working on; rather than focusing on how much I dislike a particular task, I look forward to something else that excites me.
Of course, optimism alone won’t lead to success — you still have to gather resources and put in the effort — but it’ll help you immensely in getting there.
A strong inner drive will keep you moving when you feel yourself starting to lose steam. How do you motivate yourself from within?