Tricks to keep yourself motivated for success

You might be familiar with Thomas Edison’s famous quote that many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up.

In every entrepreneurial success story, there are times when the going gets tought.

Take for instance Chris Kirubi’s failed paint company, Tabitha Karanja’s tax battles or even Steve Jobs getting fired from his own company. What these entrepreneurs have in common is motivation; that inner sense to keep going, even when you would rather pull the covers over your head.

Here’s how you can trick your mind to stay motivated.

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Keep it secret

Researchers at New York University found that we’re actually less likely to accomplish our goals if we share them with others. Specifically, they noted that people feel less motivated and don’t see their goals through if their friends point out small improvements right away.

Try keeping your projects to yourself until they’re done, then feel free to tell it all.

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Stop waiting

A 2016 TED Talk, titled Inside the mind of a master procrastinator, by Tim Urban talks about how “the procrastinator’s brain has an Instant Gratification Monkey,” that “compels a procrastinator to interrupt productivity”. Urban discusses the one thing that wakes us up to do work when a deadline gets too close - the Panic Monster. Staying aware of the Instant Gratification Monkey is a job for all of us, whether we self-identify as a serious procrastinator or not.

Start that blog, send that email, write one line of that business proposal. Focus on being better than perfect to beat procrastination. “We need to think about what we’re really procrastinating on, because everyone is procrastinating on something in life,” Urban warns.

The Ulysses Pact

Named for the clever hero of the Trojan war, the Ulysses Pact is a technique for holding yourself accountable to stick with a goal even when it’s hard. The key ingredient in a Ulysses Pact is that we make a choice in the present, when things are relatively easy that binds us to perform an action in the future (when things are hard).

For example, suppose you want to stick to a plan of writing one blog post a day. You could tell your friend or accountability partner you would send them Sh500 if you miss a post. 

Strategic reading

If you read any two books during this time, let them be What Got You Here Won’t Get You There and Lincoln on Leadership. The first is a great read on retooling one’s thinking as an entrepreneur and manager who must constantly evolve in a leadership role. The author, Marshall Goldsmith, writes on personal development as the key to better management.

Again, focusing internally on changing behavior patterns is critical to finding the means to overcome trying times and ultimately improve as an entrepreneur. The book on Abraham Lincoln emphasises the powerful lessons of leadership from one of the most remarkable leaders in modern history.

Change how you view, or do, a task

Psychology teaches us that the more you enjoy the process, and the more it matches important values for you, the more likely you are to complete an activity.

You can change how you view tasks by recognising their significance or making them more fun. For example, if you’ve got accounting to complete, look at it as a symbol of you being in control of your finances.

Make admin tasks more enjoyable by making up little games or take your laptop outside so you can enjoy a bit of sun while you work.

The Seinfeld Strategy

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld gave a young comedian, Brad Isaac, advice on how to stay motivated and consistent. He told him to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall.

For each day Brad does his task, he was to put a big red X over that day. “After a few days, you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day.

You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.” You’ll notice that Seinfeld didn’t say a single thing about results.  

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Tabitha KaranjaChris KirubiSteve JobsEntrepreneurshipJobsSuccess