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Michael Sinkin: On motivation

 
March 18, 2010

Michael Sinkin: On motivation

 

Motivation is the process choosing between different possible actions using reason. We make choices every second. We are constantly deciding to do one thing rather than another and this affects our life in some way. We often have to fight with ourselves to achieve our goals; we may have to do something we don’t want to at a particular moment or decline an offer we would otherwise have accepted with pleasure.

 

In this article, I’m going to provide several tips to improve self-motivation:

  1. Each of our actions should be sensible, well thought out and bring us closer to achieving our goal (whether directly or indirectly). The way we organise our activity has a strong influence on our level of motivation. So, try to structure the way you work to make it as interesting and enjoyable as possible.
  2. Focus on one goal at a time so that nothing gets in the way or distracts you. One of the most common mistakes is when we start one task, then begin another and end up being torn between a number of things without bringing any projects to conclusion. We set too many aims and spend a lot of time on achieving them. You should understand that motivation is quite changeable: it may be here today and gone tomorrow. You should choose one goal, concentrate on it fully and complete the task at hand before your motivation runs out.
  3. Ideally, you should move straight from intention to action without a break in between. If you just tell yourself “something needs to be done” you are setting yourself an abstract task in an undefined future. This can leave you with a feeling that tasks are not being completed, which, in turn, leads to dissatisfaction. The best thing you can do is to solve problems as soon as they arise. In other words, if you need to do something then do it immediately before you have a chance to think up excuses for your laziness.
  4. Think of potential pluses rather than minuses. Instead of thinking about the problems involved in completing a task, focus on why you're doing whatever it is you're doing. This positive way of thinking will provide added motivation. You should picture your end result and keep it in mind at all times while trying to find ways of achieving it.
  5. Find some support. If it’s difficult to do something by yourself then let somebody help you. Find a likeminded colleague or project partner. I usually find them at EDISON Software where I work. Sometimes, it may be useful to find a competitor instead as healthy competition can be a great motivator when work becomes a contest with each participant striving to be the best.
  6. Make public commitments which you then have to follow through on. Take responsibility. If you are a man of your word then this approach may work for you.
  7. Try to find some inspiration. This might be a book, a story about a particular person, etc. We sometimes feel we are capable of moving mountains after listening to our favourite song or watching a good film.
  8. Have confidence in the fact that if you act, you will succeed in achieving your goal. Don’t be negative by saying things like: “I'll never be able to do that!” If something seems too complicated then start from something very small. If you find it difficult to start a task it may be because you are trying to tackle the problem too broadly. Every long journey begins with one small step and is made up of the many steps and strides which follow. The main thing is to make a start. Even if you have no time to work towards your goal, devote at least five minutes to it a day. Build up and accumulate your “small achievements” one by one. This means you can feel good about every little victory. Then consolidate your success and build upon it with your next small step. After some time, when you look back, you'll see you've come a long way.

 

All successful people have one thing in common: they go all the way and accomplish goals. You can do more and you know it. So, good luck in all your undertakings and current projects!