I wrote an article a little while ago talking about the idea that most of the motivation for becoming a better person comes from a dark place. We tend to get motivated most when we hit absolute rock bottom.
The only issue is that it is hard to maintain that motivation. We all know that getting out of any hole takes time, and usually we don’t have the motivation it takes to climb all the way out before we fall off again.
When we fall off we hit rock bottom, then we get fed up, then we gather motivation only to climb part way, fall off and repeat the cycle.
So how do we maintain motivation? We won’t always have the rock bottom “I’m fed up and I can’t take this anymore” attitude to push us. It isn’t sustainable.
That’s why today I am going to share some tips for a more sustainable long term motivation that will carry you all the way to your goals.
Get Small Wins
Last week I gave you a small glimpse into one of the times that I was at rock bottom.
It was after the end of a long relationship that ended badly and it was my fault. I hated myself.
I think my brain has buried most of my memories from that period, but I remember hating myself so much that I stopped eating.
After god knows how long I got that ‘I’m fed up and I can’t live like this anymore’ motivation. At that point it was either I change, or die, literally. I didn’t say I was going to become happy or that I would start going out and socializing or anything, that was unthinkable.
I decided to start eating breakfast. That’s all. That was my small win.
At that point that was the only positive thing I was doing in my life, but I did it and I let myself feel good about it. That is what we have to do.
Start with one small win, get it consistently, consider the day a success and you’ll eventually have the confidence to go after those big wins.
After you’ve decided what your small win will be, you need to be accountable.
That means you get a calendar and put a check mark every day that you get your win. You need this visible record of your wins so you can see right in front of your face that you have been succeeding.
After a couple weeks of getting small wins and seeing those check marks build, you can add on another small win objective and start marking yourself out of two.
The only way this process works is if you start small and hold yourself accountable. Sustainable motivation comes from action and accountability.
Raise The Stakes
This is the last step and arguably the most important.
If you are only accountable to yourself then you can fall off anytime and no one will ever know the difference. That is why you have to raise the stakes.
Place a bet on yourself that you won’t want to lose.
You can give a friend a sum of money and tell them that if you fail they can keep it. You can make bets with friends that will have you doing embarrassing things if you fail.
One person I follow online even said that the first 10 people who comment on his status will get $50 if he fails at his goal.
This kind of incentive is the best way to keep you to your word.
Those are the ways you can keep yourself motivated after the pure ‘fed up’ motivation wears off.
Pick a small win, be accountable, raise the stakes, and repeat that process for a second small win.
With these steps you can end the cycle of being at rock bottom, getting fed up, getting a little progress, getting comfortable, falling off, and hitting rock bottom again.
Believe me, I spent a good portion of my life in that cycle and it only gets worse every time you hit rock bottom.
So please, try this out. It’s the best way to climb out of that hole for good.
After all, we aren’t meant to spend our lives in darkness.