The career of your dreams won't just plop down in your lap. It
takes consistent, persistent effort on your part. Here are ten tips to help
you stay motivated as you turn your dreams into reality.
I. Find your focus
Know what you are trying to achieve. The more specific you are, the more
targeted your efforts can be. The more targeted your efforts can be, the
more clearly you can see how they are leading you towards your goals. It's
easier to stay motivated when you can see where your hard work is taking you.
A fuzzy focus, on the other hand, will lead to scattered efforts and wasted
energy. When you feel like you're on a hamster wheel, motivation sags.
II. Make it manageable
If what you're doing seems unbearably big and heavy, you're taking on too
much at once. You need to make it more manageable.
Try this. Starting with your long-term goal, ask, "What needs to be in
place in order for me to achieve that? What systems do I need to develop?
What knowledge do I need? What skills do I need to develop? Who do I need
Take the answers to each of those and ask, "What steps do I need to take to
make each of those happen?" If the steps are still too big, keep breaking
them down until you have steps that are immediately doable.
This reverse engineering approach has the added benefit of helping you see
specifically how each step you take will move you towards your long-term goals.
III. Celebrate your successes
We often get so wrapped up in doing and achieving that we forget to
acknowledge what we've accomplished. That's a shame, because celebrating
your successes and marking your milestones is vital to staying motivated.
Celebrating your success both large and small reinforces your belief in
yourself and your ability to accomplish your goals. Feeding that belief
helps you feel ready to take on the next challenge.
It also focuses your attention on the fact that you are making real
progress. When you can't see the progress, you start to feel bogged down,
like you're spinning your wheels. Celebrating your success lets you look at
what you've done and say, "All this effort really is taking me where I want
IV. Take a break
Sometimes the best recipe for motivation is to simply stop what you're
doing and do something else. Letting your brain take a break, whether that
means going away on vacation or simply focusing on something else for a few
minutes, can have a powerful restorative effect.
When something starts to feel like a mandatory chore rather than something
you enjoy, you feel resistance and have to waste energy pushing yourself to
do it. Giving yourself permission to take a break can let you come back to
it with a fresh mind.
V. Have fun
Repeat after me. This.isn't.serious.
Whatever you do in this life, remember to have fun! Don't get so caught up
in pursuing your goals that you forget to enjoy it. Step back and ask
yourself, "Is this fun? When was the last time I laughed?"
When something is fun, you feel more motivated to do it. What can you do to
build fun into your work? More than that, what can you do to build fun into
your life? It's easier to be motivated to carry a light load than a heavy
one. You can lighten whatever load you're carrying with fun.
VI. Remind yourself why you're doing it.
Stop right now and ask yourself, "Why am I doing this? What is the payoff
of reaching my goal? How does it benefit me? What will life be like?"
Remind yourself of the answer to those questions frequently. Don't lose
yourself in the mundane day-to-day effort it takes to turn your dreams into
reality. Keep your efforts tied to the big picture benefit of what you're
working to create.
VII. Don't do it alone
Whatever you do as you pursue your dream job, don't try to do it all
yourself because.well.you can't. There will always be some point where you
need the support of others.
Others can play numerous motivating roles. They might offer an ear to
listen to both your hopes and frustrations, or help you get clarity so you
have a clear focus. They could hold you accountable for what you commit to.
Or they might simply inspire you with what they have achieved in their own
Ask yourself, "Where can I turn for motivation?"
VIII. Help others
If you feel overwhelmed and up to your eyeballs in the challenges of
creating the life you want, try turning your attention to helping others.
Helping makes us feel good. Studies show that it is actually a source of
energy, an effect sometimes referred to as a "helper's high." When we feel
good about ourselves and what we're doing, it's easier to stay motivated.
Helping others also breaks us out of the rut we create by over-focusing on
our own journey. It's easy to get so entangled in our own process that our
problems seem much larger, and much more impossible, than they really are.
Helping others especially those with challenges larger than our own
helps put things in perspective.
Look at your life. Do you see any clutter? It might be physical clutter (a
messy desk, disorganized paperwork, etc.), financial clutter (balanced your
checkbook lately?) or even emotional clutter.
Wherever the clutter is, it's a sure bet that that it is draining your
energy and getting in the way. Clutter distracts us. It makes it hard to
focus. Dealing with it siphons off energy that could be put towards staying
motivated to move forward.
Where is the clutter in your life? What steps can you take to reduce it?
X. Develop healthy habits
Whatever you want to do in this life, your body is the machine with which
you will make it happen. How effective that machine is depends on how well
you maintain it, and the quality of the fuel you use to power it.
Healthy habits, like a nutritious diet and regular exercise, ensure that
you can get the most out of that machine. Unhealthy habits on the other
hand, will gum up the gears. The more energy you have, and the better you
feel, the easier it is to stay motivated.
© 2006 Curt Rosengren. All rights reserved.
Curt Rosengren is a Passion Catalyst. Through his writing, speaking, and
individual coaching, he helps people fuel their career success with
passion. He is the author of The Occupational Adventure Guide: A Travel
Guide to the Career of Your Dreams. You can find out more about his work at