By Lorraine Cohen

What do you dream about? Do you have dreams of building a blockbuster business, material wealth, taking great vacations, writing the next bestseller, or contributing to the lives of others? Whatever dreams you have big or small, staying motivated can sometimes be a challenge.

Initially, many people hit the ground running towards their goals with great enthusiasm and determination. They keep up the momentum for a period of time and often lose steam, (emotionally, psychologically, physically, and spiritually) for a variety of reasons. That’s just part of being human!

Below are 10 ways to help you stay motivated and moving forward:

1. Create a vivid and compelling vision of the dream you wish to achieve. Consider all the aspects of your life as if you were looking through a wide-angled lens. See your vision take form as a picture in your mind. Write down all you see, think, and feel. See yourself in that vision of having what you want. Now, you must make the decision to say YES to have what you want. Making the decision is the first step to committing to a dream. In other words, how bad do you want it and what are you willing to do (or be) to have your dream?

2. Identify what stimulates and motivates you. It might be certain music, movies, books such as Lance Armstrong’s amazing success story, exercise, magazines, places or people (heroes, role models) that get you juiced and pumped. Notice the people and things that drain and de-motivate. See #4.

3. Be passionate. Webster’s dictionary defines passion as “A powerfull emotion or appetite; boundless enthusiasm”. Passion is a great motivator and if you are motivated you are passionate! These are three strategies to keep your passions strong:

Revisit your vision, goals, and dreams daily so they stay up front in your heart and mind.
Design a “rough day” strategy. We all have days when it seems nothing is going the way we want. When faced with “one of those days”, having a strategy on how to stay positive will be key to sustaining motivation. For me personally, I meditate to quiet my mind so that I feel more centered. Reaching out to a close friend also helps me regain perspective to recommit to my dreams.
Take control of your environment. We make choices everyday about the people we associate with, where we live, the work we do, and where we go. If your environment isn’t supporting you, identify three actions you will take immediately to improve your situation so that you can move forward. See #4

4. Decrease and eliminate energy drains. What are you tolerating and putting up with that drains your energy? We put up with, accept, take on and are dragged down by: clutter, people’s behavior, unmet needs, unfinished business, repairs, avoided conflicts/confrontations, and negative thinking. Clearing out clutter and energy drains will dramatically free up energy and lift your spirits.

5. Practice extreme self –care. I use extreme because taking the best care of YOU is serious! Give yourself permission to make self-care a priority. When needs are not being met, negative thoughts and reactions intensify. When we feel replenished, we handle situations with strength, clarity and focus. Make a list of the people and things that energize and recharge you and commit to adding them into your life with regularity.

6. Monitor your self-talk. Self-talk is the constant commentary of things we say to ourselves (internally) and repeat to others (externally). Our self-talk can be supportive or non-supportive, positive or negative (the stories we tell ourselves that cause pain and stress). Observe your self-talk. Watch for opportunities to replace your negative thinking with empowering language that comes from your heart. Choose your attitude. You are the source of your thoughts, beliefs, assumptions, opinions, judgments, and feelings. Your viewpoint affects your decisions and actions; therefore your attitude directly affects the outcome. In this way, you can become a powerfull self-motivator. Choose to see challenges and problems as opportunities, possibilities, and learning experiences that help you evolve as a person.

7. Meet your fears head-on. Fear is fueled by negative beliefs and self-talk. Remember, you are the source of your thoughts. Fear can be a powerfull motivator or a detractor. If you’ve been working with the tips on this list and still feel overwhelmed by your fears, try these additional strategies to regain control.

Be present. Are you in the present moment of focusing on the future?
Be grateful. Focus on everyone and everything that brings you joy.
Connect with your Source (your spiritual connection) for peace and comfort.
Separate the facts (your reality, what’s true) from the story (what you are telling yourself in your head).

Transforming fear is a process, so stay with it!  Still challenged by fear? Contact me. I can help you change your relationship with fear so that you can move forward.

8. Surround yourself with people who positively support you. We are influenced and impacted by the people in our lives especially within our inner circle. Choose to be in close affiliation with those who bring out your best.

9. Draw on past successes to calm discouragement, doubt or fear. What are you most proud of having accomplished? Recall specific challenges (big and small) that you have overcome, especially ones that initially felt insurmountable.

10. Celebrate! Acknowledging and rewarding yourself for your accomplishments (benchmarks) along the way is a great source of motivation and inspiration to help you go the distance. Make sure you’re having fun!

Quote – “Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.” – Anonymous
Copyright © Lorraine Cohen. All Rights Reserved.

This article first appeared in the Spring 2007 issue of WE Magazine