We all have something we really want in life that feels just beyond our reach. Success requires determination, which means consistent effort, total focus, and relentless resolve. While we might start off with the best intentions, there will always be setbacks along the way. Finding the motivation to keep pushing forward can be difficult; the good news is, it’s possible to create the mindset you need to stick to your long-term goals — no matter what life throws at you — and be even more successful than you ever imagined.
Motivation fuels willpower. To keep the fire burning, the reason why you’re doing what you’re doing needs to be at the forefront of your mind. Use tangible reminders that force you to keep your long-term goal front-and-center. It might be as simple as a sticky note with an inspirational quote, or a photo of the objective toward which you’re working. These "endgame" reminders will help strengthen your self-control and discipline, making it easier to reach your target.
Negativity has a way of sucking up motivation and can make you want to throw in the towel. If a negative thought emerges, try to counteract it with a positive one. Remember to count your blessings. Complaining about a situation is never going to make you feel better about it. Instead, it’s a waste of mental energy that could go toward finding a productive solution instead. If something’s wrong, don’t talk about it. Do something to fix it.
The only person you should be trying to impress? Yourself. People might like your possessions, your title, your clothes, your car, or your accomplishments — but that doesn’t necessarily mean they like you. A relationship based on the superficial is not a real relationship. Having genuine connections with people will make you happier. When you stop trying to impress and just be yourself, you’ll have more mental energy for the people who really matter in your life, and new aquaintances will notice your authenticity.
Comparison is the thief of joy. Instead of viewing others' successes as highlighting your shortcomings, let them inspire you. Someone else shining at something doesn't diminish your own light. In fact, surrounding yourself with successful people could make you all the more driven to find success of your own. When you cheer for others, they’ll cheer for you when your time comes.
Your confidence can take a hit when things don’t work out like you thought they would, especially when something in which you were deeply invested falls through. But instead of looking at your past mistakes as failure, see them as training for the future. Don’t let setbacks deter you from trying again. Think about what went wrong so you know what not to do next time. Learn from your mistakes, learn from the mistakes of others—and move forward.
If you’re not catching enough z’s at night, your energy will be depleted and so will your determination. Doctors recommend we get eight hours of sleep each night, but many get a lot less than that. If you don’t allow your brain the time it needs to refresh and recharge each night, you won’t be operating at your fullest potential — no matter how many gallons of coffee you guzzle the next day. Find ways to unwind as bedtime approaches, and turn off all screens at least half an hour before turning in.
If you feel like you’re falling into a slump, take a closer look at the kinds of foods you’re eating to fuel your body. You wouldn’t put watered-down gasoline in a sports car and expect peak performance; the same logic applies to nutrition. A healthy diet keeps you going, both mentally and physically, all day long. As an added bonus, healthful food also floods your body with feel-good endorphins. Think about how much more you’re able to achieve when you’re full of positive energy. A few tweaks to your diet, like swapping out processed snacks for fresh fruit, might make all the difference.
Ever hear of the mind-body connection? Regular exercise is just as essential for your brain as it is for your physique. Exercise relieves stress, enhances concentration, boosts self-esteem, and improves endurance — both mental and physical. If you want to have a more determined mindset, squeeze a few hours of physical activity into your weekly schedule.
Many people think success and luck go hand in hand. While it’s true that there’s some element of good fortune to success, successful people don’t sit around waiting for their lucky break. They have the mindset that their success is totally within their control. Gandhi said it best: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Pour all your mental energy into making things happen, rather than hoping things will happen. If you get lucky along the way, even better.
We have a finite supply of mental energy, so there’s no point in wasting it on things we have no control over — whether that’s politics, family dynamics, or something else that weighs heavily on us. We have the power to make positive changes in the world and in our lives. However, trying to make everyone else change according to our ideals is just a recipe for frustration and despair, which is a total drain on mental resources. Do what you can do and learn to let go of what you can’t.
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