The other day, I was asked a question by a reader and friend.
She asked: "It’s hard for me to stay motivated and consistently make progress towards my goals. How do I get motivated and stay motivated?"
It's a good question, because when we are motivated, we stay consistent and we make progress. We'll stay up late, read all the books, put in the extra work, develop the skills, create the habits and do all the little things necessary to realize our goal.
It's that simple.
This got me thinking about the times where I was driven like an obsessive maniac to accomplish a goal, and the times I was unmotivated and failed.
After searching through my stories, and re-reading the lessons of great leaders and peak performers, I noticed that there are 4 fundamentals to getting motivated and staying motivated.
When we understand and implement these fundamentals we create unstoppable motivation and achieve our goal.
Here's the story:
When I was 19, my college soccer coach sat me down at the end of the season.
As I entered the room, I felt a strong sense of anxiety creep over me. It was NOT going to be a pleasant conversation.
He looked me in the eye, paused and told me the bad news.
“I’m NOT going to have you back next year.”
The words stung. My heart stopped, my chest tightened and my throat closed.
I was cut.
After our conversation, I got up and left, wanting to get out of there as fast as humanly possible.
Once back at my apartment, I shut the door to my room and the gravity of what happened began to sink in. I laid down in bed, buried my face in my pillow and cried. I couldn't move -- It hurt too much. I was ashamed. I had failed.
What would my dad say? What would my friends say? How would I explain this to everybody? What would they think?
My self-image, my identity, who I thought I was -- vanished.
Motivation Starts With A Choice
We’ve all had moments like these and we’re forced to choose 1 of 2 options.
- We can wallow in our self pity and become a victim to our life’s circumstances.
- We can use these moments to motivate ourselves and become something else.
I wish I could tell you that I chose option 2, but that wasn't the case. For a few weeks I played the role of victim, drinking a lot of Jose Cuervo, and partying 5 nights a week (it was college).
A good friend saw what was going on, and challenged me to stop feeling bad for myself and start working towards a new goal.
After mulling it over for a few days, I set a new target - play college football.
It was a crazy idea. You don’t just go from collegiate soccer player and walk on a college football team.
You could say my chances of success were slim, but I had one thing working for me… I WAS MOTIVATED!
Fast forward 9 months... Hundreds of brutal training session, thousands of pounds of calorie dense food, countless gallons of water -- I had achieved my goal.
Over that 9 month period, I gained 35 lbs, was a 1,000 lb weight-lifting club member and a starter on the football team.
That my friends, is the power of unstoppable motivation.
How Bad Do You Want It?
Each of us is on a journey. We have big goals and a vision for what we want to do with our lives. We want to grow our businesses, get fit, get promoted, change the world and relentlessly give our gifts.
But there is a problem: We all know what we SHOULD be doing, the hard part is actually doing it. It's easy to sit back and tell ourselves to "take action!", "Just do it!" and "be consistent!". But this rarely works.
What separates those who have achieved their goal and those that haven't, always comes back to motivation. If you want it bad enough, you'll figure out how to make it a reality.
So instead of setting another goal (and losing interest, 2 weeks after the initial novelty wears off), let’s dig in and go through the 4 fundamentals of unstoppable motivation.
(I’m sticking with the football analogy, so bear with me.)
1st Quarter: Create Your Own Reasons
The humiliation of being cut, motivated me to change. I was angry. Mad. Pissed. Hurt. No one had to tell me to go the gym, lift weights, eat all that pasta, or do the extra work.
The shame I felt was reason enough.
BUT, it didn’t need to be this way and I later learned an important lesson...
YOU CAN CREATE YOUR OWN REASONS.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO WAIT.
You don't have to wait for things to get bad before you change. You can get leverage on yourself now. 
Want to know how? Here's an exercise that will help you create your own reasons. It’s called the Motivational Seesaw.
Think about your goals:
- Write down 10 amazing things that will happen if you accomplish them. Write what's going to happen in 1, 5, 10, 20 & 50 years if you take action now and achieve your goal. We're creating positive anchors towards your goal (what you are fighting for). Come up with 10 solid reasons.
- Write down 10 bad/awful/negative things that will happen if you fail to achieve your goal. These are your negative anchors (what you are fighting against). Write whats going to happen in 1, 5, 10, 20 & 50 year increments if you don't take action now. Come up with 10 solid reasons.
You want the motivational seesaw to tip in your favor, so that you get enough leverage to change. You'll know it's working when you are excited, and can’t wait to start. If you don't feel anything, go through the exercise again and dig even deeper. 
Final thought: You can spend all day planning, but at the end of the day you need strong reasons to push through the inevitable BS and failures that happen when working towards anything. This exercise creates those reasons.
If you ever feel flat and unmotivated, come back to this step.
2nd Quarter: Timeblock and Focus Your Energy
In football, I understood that every day at 4:00 PM it was time to lift weights. There wasn’t any question. I dropped whatever I was doing and headed to the gym. If I was sick, I still showed up. If I was tired, I still showed up. If my favorite show was on, I still showed up. There was never an excuse for failing to show up.
At first the commitment was exciting and new, then it sucked, then I learned to love it. This time became sacred, because I understood how important it was to achieving my goal. I learned to channel my energy so that at 4:00 PM each day I was at my best.
Think about your goals -- Have you blocked out time to work on them?
If you don't timeblock for these specific tasks, it's unlikely you'll get to work, you won’t make progress and your motivation will evaporate. 
Whenever you are going after a big goal, your mind is going to play all sorts of tricks on you. If you listen, you’ll be stuck in a cycle of procrastination, resistance, and perfectionism. You'll never get to work.
How long has you business idea collected dust in your head? How long have you put off writing your book? How long have you waited reach out to that VIP?
Your goals will never be realized unless you timeblock and get to work.
3rd Quarter: Discipline, Willpower & Self-Trust
There was exactly 269 days between my decision to play and the start of football camp. I needed all of them.
Each day the routine was the same.
- 7:30 AM: Wake up.
- 8:00-4:00 PM: Classes, lunch and study.
- 4:00-6:00 PM: Train, lift weights, and physical therapy.
- 6:00-11:45 PM: Eat, rest, and study.
- 11:45-7:30 AM: Sleep and grow.
The consistent routine, helped me stay focused and motivated. I knew what to expect each day, so I was able to focus my energy when it mattered.
Every night I went to bed, happy with the progress for the day, eager to see what I was going to do tomorrow.
This part is fundamental, because...
When you consistently do the things you said you were going to do,
you develop self-trust.
Think about your goals -- Have you done the work you promised yourself? Or are you lying to yourself and making excuses?
Discipline, willpower, self-trust and confidence are built together. They are like a bridge between you and your goals. The more solid you build your bridge, the more successful you'll be. 
The opposite is also true. Each time you promise yourself and fail to follow through, you become unhappy, dissatisfied, procrastinate and lose confidence. You stop dreaming.
- Peak performers build an indestructible bridge made of the finest materials. They use it on the route to achieve ANY goal.
- Weak performers build a bridge made of twigs, paper-mache, and broken dreams. Their bridge snaps under the weight of any goal.
4th Quarter: Measure It and It will Improve.
I was too weak to play football and knew it. Our training program was especially intimidating as it centered around the weight-lifting exercise I hated most: Back Squats.
If you've never done back squats before, they're brutal. The bar hurts, it feels like it's going to crush you, and you get the sensation that you're suffocating. Doesn't that sound pleasant?
I couldn't hide my lack of strength, the only option was to work on it. Each day in the gym I wrote down what I lifted and tracked my progress. After 6 humiliating weeks of being the weakest guy in the room, I had gotten stronger.
Each week, I looked at my results from the previous week. If I didn't improve, I broke down what happened -- analyzing, tweaking and testing the results. Because I was measuring progress, I made gains, which motivated me to keep working.
After countless brutal sessions in the squat rack, my maximum squat had improved from 225 to 415lbs (no longer the weakest guy on the team!).
That happened because I measured progress, tracked results and changed when things weren't working.
Think about your goals -- are you measuring progress towards them?
If not, this Peter Drucker principle says it all...
What gets measured, gets improved.
And when you improve, you are motivated.
When you’re properly motivated, you’re unstoppable. 
Any goal you are going to accomplish, starts with your desire to make it a reality. And yet, we all forget to do the little things that get and keep us motivated.
Let this article be a friendly reminder and refer back to it whenever you are stuck in a cycle of procrastination.
Remember, the process of creating unstoppable motivation and achieving any goal is simple...
- Create Your Own Reasons: Reasons come first, results come second.
- Timeblock : Keep this time sacred and remove distractions, they kill motivation.
- Build Discipline and Willpower: Do the things you said you were going to do.
- Measure It: It will improve.
So... Which goal are you going to tackle next?
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