You probably have a hectic schedule, like I do. If you are raising a family or building a dojo, working full-time, or teaching martial arts, life can be exciting, but draining.
Every morning you wake up with a list of “to-do” items that seems extremely long and you set your sights on accomplishing as many as possible. Still, at the end of the day, it is discouraging to notice how few of your items were completed, which causes your motivation to diminish.
How can you stay motivated and improve your self-discipline with life swirling so hectically around you? What if you are in a rut and cannot figure out how to keep moving in a positive direction?
Motivation and self-discipline do not get delivered to your life like mail to your inbox. The great thing, though, is that you have full control. Just when you feel like you cannot accomplish your dreams or become the successful person you have always wanted to be, the secret is revealed.
You can create self-discipline and surround yourself with the motivation that you need to reach every goal.
Goals are the pathway to success. They can be big or small, near or far, but they must exist if you wish to remain motivated. For example, in my youth, I had a desire to be a writer. It was a concept and an interest, but never memorialized as a goal. It never happened until I turned 50 years old. Why? I had no reason to pursue it. I had no internal motivation for success. It was a dream, not a goal.
At the prompting of a friend several years ago, I began writing a martial arts inspired blog. This time, I made goals. I wanted views and followers and to write posts that made a difference. I was motivated and empowered by each small success along the way which gave me the desire to continually strive for bigger and better goals surrounding the blog.
I applied self-discipline in the chaos of an already busy life and I enjoyed the small successes. They became so important to me that I decided to work on getting better at my craft. From that, others decided they liked what I had to say. They wanted me to write articles for them, a book, and other materials. My goals paid off because they erupted into self-motivation through self-discipline and a vision.
Goals cannot just float around in your head. A true goal, one that keeps you moving in the right direction, is written down, has a timeline and provides you with specific direction. Write down big, general goals to get started.
Examples would be, “I want to start my own martial art program within one year.” When you write it down it becomes a unique contract with yourself. Then, start to parcel out the smaller goals, the stepping-stones that lead to the bigger picture. You can consider things such as what training you will need and by when, what licenses you will need, what location you want, how you will market. This is a small business plan that will all work toward achievement of your goal.
Perhaps your goals are more personal. You need to lose weight. You want to earn more money. You want better health. Each of these large goals should be divided into smaller goals. The reason you stay motivated and that you infuse self-discipline in the process is simple. Success feels good.
When you feel good about your life and realize accomplishments that are meaningful, you have a reason to continue. Everyone wants to feel productive and to know that they have a purpose and can reach their goals no matter how big or small.
Goals are one sure way to build your confidence and to reap the rewards of hard work. Write them down, commit, and get started. You will see that you will spend more time productively.
Goals are just one way to stay motivated and to increase your self-discipline. When you have accomplishments, you are more likely to stay committed.
Another way to find motivation is to apply a “martial art mindset” to your life. I’ve had to apply it to several personal obstacles that could have been devastating had I not, such as troubled pregnancies, fires at my house, etc. These stories motivate others to work through their issues, too, and to have faith in themselves.
What motivated me to continue, to fight through, and to persevere? The reminder was that if I could achieve a black belt, and a second degree, that I could do just about anything. Others’ inspirational stories and the beautiful black belt that I gracefully drape around my waist week after week, year after year, are wonderful reminders of the benefits and usefulness of applying self-discipline, focus, and motivation into my life. I do what I do because I love it.
Love or passion for something is another great motivator. How do I keep motivated to write article after article while working a full-time job, teaching martial arts part-time, and being a mother and wife? What prompts me to reach for personal excellence, to not give up, or to be a meaningful teacher?
It is passion for martial arts and of martial arts wisdom and grace that keeps me going. When you have a passion for something you will automatically find motivation in that passion. But even passion needs to be driven by success and success means different things to each person. That is why tailoring goals to your specific success factors is so important and will keep you motivated to continue.
Along with setting goals, there is another concept that you should set in motion. It is your personal mission. There is a reason that you feel passionate about learning or teaching a martial art. There is a reason you want to share your stories, your lineage, and what your style is all about.
In the end, you want to help someone else feel the same way. You want them to experience what you have learned and how to apply it to their lives. A good way to define your mission can be through the impact it has upon others.
My main mission in my writing is to show others how to live better, happier lives by applying a martial art mindset and positive outlook to their lives. Everything else I do, all my other goals, revolve around that. My mission keeps me motivated because when I help someone else, I feel rewarded. Your mission can be whatever feels right for you and you will know it’s right because you continue to move forward in a positive and fulfilling direction.
These are all great ways to keep motivated and to use self-discipline to keep you on track. My goals, my mission, and all the other steps I take around these factors make me feel productive, worthy, and helpful. They are great, positive steps toward all the personal achievements I want in my life.
Other positive steps that will keep you inspired are striving for personal excellence and finding balance. Personal excellence means not complaining about others or being complacent. It is easy to equate hard work with forward momentum, and it normally is, but balance is important, too.
Make sure that you infuse rest and relaxation into your life. Hard work and effort are good and pay off but should not diminish your physical or mental health. To keep motivated, you need mental and physical breaks that offer you respite from the daily grind. Maybe a vacation is in order, or just a day off, an evening watching a movie or an afternoon with the family. Then, you can return refreshed and ready to continue to pursue your goals.
There are a couple of other things to consider when it comes to motivation and self-discipline. Do not allow any negative reactions from others about what you are doing affect you, and do not compare yourself to others in a negative way. Both of these can defuse your well-intended, well-directed efforts.
You are you, unique and rare. If you remember anything about finding personal success or capturing your own motivation through self-discipline and confidence, it is that it must be success of your own choosing. Basing your life’s focus on the ill-directed criticisms or judgmental words of others will break your concentration immediately.
Being a blogger, I had to endure a brief period of cyber-hate over a post that I wrote that was misinterpreted. There was no way of cleaning up the mess as the hate traveled across the Internet. At first I was really concerned. What if this “hate” infiltrated my blog, what if other people got caught up in it, believed it, or stopped reading my words?
Then, it all made sense. It really doesn’t matter. I’m not getting paid to write. I am doing it as an outreach. If people stop reading, then so be it. It’s not what the cyber haters think about me that matters, it is about the one person who finds something positive in reading it. One person. That’s it. That is my motivation. The moment I released what others thought, I was able to move on.
Along the same lines, do not compare yourself to others, unless you are looking at a role model who inspires you. The minute you compare yourself to someone else in a negative light, you are setting yourself up for failure and your motivation will drop.
“I’ll never be that good,” “I’ll never figure that out,” “I’ll never be like her,” and the list goes on. You will never break free of this continuous chain of negative comparisons. Those with whom you are comparing yourself have different personalities, trait, and limits than you. As martial artists, one may kick super high while the other can punch with lightning speed. Even two black belts who have trained together have different strengths and weaknesses. There is simply no such thing as a true comparison.
Once you have your goals and your mission, and you are following them toward personal success, it does not matter what anyone else thinks or what anyone else does. You may need to toughen your skin, but the good news is that no one can ever take your mission, your goals, or your mindset away from you. You may start to compare yourself to others, but once you focus on your own talents, you will be empowered and motivated to continue in your pursuits.
What motivates me? People like you who seek personal success, positivity, and empowerment. I blog several times a week and have other writing deadlines. I love to write but I must also abide by some goals and standards that I keep for myself. That way, I feel as if I am progressing and learning and doing what I love at the same time.
What motivates you? What self-discipline do you need to put in action to continue reaching your goals? Now that you understand how to stay motivated, I have just one last question.
What are you waiting for?