Whether you’re looking for a new job, trying to make your current one better, or planning a career transition, you’ll need a healthy dose of motivation. Without discipline and will, your dreams and ambitions never come to life, turning even the best intentions into dust.
Here are seven ways to motivate yourself, so you can pick and choose the ones that work best for you:
Find the why. When we set out to do something, it's important to keep the why in the front of your mind. Are you looking for a new job because you dislike your boss? Need more money? Want a shorter commute? Getting where we want to go can be a long journey, so never forget what set you out on the road to begin with. Write down why you’re motivated and refer to it often.
Look forward. Pretend you have accomplished your goal. For example, if your goal is to learn a new language to impress a girl, you need to consider if the task is worth taking on—what if she rejects you? View things from multiple perspectives and ensure you are taking worthwhile roads. Once you commit, put the negative scenario out of your mind and concentrate on how good it will feel when you succeed.
Just do it. There's a reason the Nike slogan has endured for more than two decades. In the Data Age, we have so much information available to us at all times that it’s easy to get lost in number-crunching oblivion. But there's nothing like rolling up your sleeves and getting started. Think about it: A perfect resume is useless if you don’t send out. You’d be better served sending out 10 resumes that are almost perfect than none at all. Rarely are actions an absolute waste of time.
Reward yourself. If your goal is to get a new job, you will need to take action to make a change. Set goals and share them with someone you trust so that you can be held accountable. For example, promise that you'll send out two resumes a week to relevant jobs. If you succeed, reward yourself with a predetermined item. Likewise, if you fail, be sure to carry out a predetermined punishment. Even if a project doesn’t feel as if it’s worth your time, make it your business to make it worth your time. Otherwise, getting started can feel impossible.
Think of someone you hate. We all know jealousy and hatred are ugly emotions, but unless you're a Buddhist monastic, they’re also a reality. Why not turn something dark into a tremendous motivator? Image the person you dislike taking action while you rest on your laurels? Wouldn’t you rather be showered with happiness and rewards? Push yourself to get started—today!
Give yourself choices. Negative self-talk is often a high hurdle we must clear to get ourselves pumped up to do something we dread. Remember: You don't have to, you want to. This simple thought-swap can make any task more palatable.
Break it up. What sounds easier? Writing 1,000 words in two hours or writing 125 words in 15 minutes? Breaking your task into smaller parts will help you get started.
Andrew G. Rosen is the founder and editor of Jobacle.com, a career advice blog. He is also the author of How to Quit Your Job and an established freelance blogger who is available for hire. Follow him on Twitter (@jobacle) or connect on LinkedIn.