I'm no stranger to feeling trapped in life.
I have trained with some of the best coaches in the world throughout my 20 year sports career and again at the 2008 Olympics.
But when I wanted to start my own business to share my knowledge of motivational psychology and training with others, it wasn't as easy as I imagined it would be.
Starting a new business is not easy. You have to forego the convenience of a stable paycheck to plunge into the unknown, an unpredictable precipice. There are many things that keep us from taking the plunge - things like fear and uncertainty. And one thing above all: motivation.
As I looked back on my days as an athlete, I understood what was different. I remembered what (or who) made me push myself even when I didn't want to. The difference was that as an athlete I had structured days and a coach to report to. The structure keeps us focused and a coach pushes and challenges us further.
Fortunately, I passed this phase and founded Onbotraining, an online coaching service that helps people achieve their goals. I have decided to collect the lessons I have learned along the way and share them with others like you in order to improve myself.
Here are my top 10 tips for achieving anything you want in life.
1. Focus on engagement, not motivation.
How committed are you to your goal? How important is it to you and what are you willing to sacrifice to achieve it? If you are fully committed, motivation will follow.
2. Look for knowledge, not results.
When you focus on the excitement of discovering, improving, exploring, and experimenting, your motivation will always be boosted. If you only focus on results, your motivation will be like the weather - it will die as soon as you hit a storm. So the key is to focus on the journey, not the destination. Keep thinking about what you can learn and what you can improve along the way.
3. Make the trip fun.
It's a great game! Once you take it seriously, there is a great chance it will carry heavy emotional weight and you will lose perspective and get stuck again.
4. Get rid of stagnant thoughts.
Thoughts affect feelings and feelings determine how you see your work. You have a lot of thoughts in your head and you always have a choice on which to focus on: those that hold you emotionally (fears, doubts) or those that move you forward (excitement, experimentation, trying) new things that get out of your comfort zone).
5. Use your imagination.
The next step after getting rid of negative thoughts is to use your imagination. When things are going well you are full of positive energy, and when you are struggling you need to be even more energetic. So rename your situation. If you keep repeating that I hate my job, guess how those words will make you feel? It's a question of your imagination! You can always find something to learn from even the worst boss in the world on the boring job. I have a great exercise for you: only think and say positive things for three days. See what happens.
6. Stop being nice to yourself.
Motivation means action and action brings results. Sometimes your actions don't bring the results you want. You'd rather be nice to yourself and not put yourself in a difficult situation. You are waiting for the perfect timing, for an opportunity, while you plunge into stagnation and sometimes even depression. Get out there, challenge yourself, do something you want to do even when you are scared.
7. Get rid of distractions.
Insignificant things and distractions are always in your way, especially the simple, common things that you would rather do than focus on new challenging and meaningful projects. Learn to focus on what is most important. Write a list of time wasters and blame yourself for not doing them.
8. Don't rely on others.
You should never expect others to do it for you, not even your partner, friend, or boss. They are all preoccupied with their own needs. Nobody will make you happy or achieve your goals for you. It's all up to you.
Know your three steps forward. You don't need more. Fill out your weekly calendar and write down when you will do what and how. When-what-how is important to plan. Review how each day went based on what you learned and revise what you can improve.
10. Protect yourself from burnout.
It's easy to get burned out when you are very motivated. Watch yourself for signs of fatigue and take time to rest. Your body and mind will rest when you add relaxation and fun to your weekly calendar. Do various tasks, keep switching between something creative and logical, something physical and quiet, and work alone and with a team. Change locations. Meditate or take a deep breath, close your eyes, or focus on one thing for five minutes.
How to protect yourself from burnout
You lack motivation, not because you are lazy or have no goal. Even the biggest stars, richest businessmen, or the most accomplished athletes are sometimes lost. What motivates them is curiosity about how much better or faster they can get. So above all, be curious and this will guide you towards your goals and success.