A Long Term Motivation:
Taking a cue from our previous posts, I understand that our examination post – 9 Practical Ideas To Crack Exams was very well received and we received a few requests to come up with a similar post on maintaining motivation for a longer period of time. To be very honest, this is a tough one and also one of the reasons as to what separates the people who really do it from the ones who miss out on – the constant energy of motivation and ‘Discipline’. Today we are going to talk about how we maintain this motivation for a long time, especially in a situation where you are preparing for your exams which are about a year away such as the dreaded UPSC exams which are quite intense or the IIT JEE exams which are quite the coveted ones as well.
Long Term Motivation: Why do you want to do it in the first place:
This is where it all starts, this is the prime reason as to why you started your quest in the first place and this defines your hunger for the goal. Write down all the reasons why you want to achieve this goal and stick it on a wall or the mirror or the place where you look at daily. Make sure that these reasons are in bold, in colour. And don’t write reasons like – I want to do this because it feels good or my parents expect this out of me or it solves all my problems, write down what your real reasons are, write down as to why this is so important to you that it HAS TO HAPPEN and there is no way around it. Make sure that these reasons are strong and have a definite purpose.
Long Term Motivation: Your Action Plan:
When you have a long term goal, you have to remember that you need to sustain it with smaller goals. If you are writing an exam in a year, make sure that you have periodical tests which enable you to check where you are and understand where the competition stands. You will need to feel the water before you jump in and these small tests are a great way to keep you on your toes and a great feedback for you to realise what you need to do to stay ahead of the competition. Set up small achievable goes but tie them all to a deadline because as long as you don’t have a deadline, it is as good as a wishful thinking.
Long Term Motivation: Role Models
This holds good almost every time you are set out to do something in life. No matter what field you are in, there are people who you can find. These people need not be the perfect idols for you, but these are the people upon whom you can model your success plan. Don’t even think that you have to do everything they did – but they can be a good benchmark to keep a tab on your effort.
Long Term Motivation: Super Human Effort
This perhaps is one of the silliest thing you would want to push towards if you are looking at a goal which is not quite immediate. If you are giving an exam one year later, then there is no point in trying to push yourself to 14hour days everyday. Keep it simple – you are here to win the war, not just the battle. You will have no motivation left if you keep punishing yourself through the process. Keep the expectations reasonable, identify what the needs are and train yourself to do that on a regular basis. It is like preparing for a marathon, not a sprint which is in two weeks time. You need to be in a proper shape to execute that and you can do that through a disciplined effort.
Long Term Motivation: Reward Yourself
If you want to keep yourself motivated for a long time, make sure that you have sufficient opportunities to pat your back. If you keep punishing yourself for every mistake you did – you will end up creating a monster who is severely unhappy with everything. You got to enjoy the process. The results are absolutely nothing if you do not enjoy the process. You want to reward good behaviour so that you get more of it. The human mind is quite simple – it responds to both pain and pleasure. You need to inflict pleasure sometimes in order to sustain the good behaviour.
Long Term Motivation: Your Past is not your Present or Future
Remind yourself this time and again – your past successes or failures are in no way related to what is going to happen next. Of course they may give you some good lessons but that is all they give, they can never predict the future for you. Also, something very important is “In retrospect, everything looks simple and easy” and we all have a tendency to glorify our past. And to be honest, this is something we need to step out of consciously or else it is going to leave us extremely dissatisfied.
You need to make a conscious decision as to what is important to you – whether your notions of the past or what you want to do with your life. And I am guessing if you are really committed to the goal at hand, then it makes sense to focus on what you want to achieve and how rather than living in the glories or the shade of past pleasures or pains. More thoughts on that can be found here.
Long Term Motivation: Priorities
Trust me, in the end it all comes to that. There will always be a question whether to party tonight inspite of following your time table. There will be a time where you have to choose between a date and the preparation for exams. There is no room for regrets here, it doesn’t really make too much sense to be doing that. Either go to the party or not. And if you go to the party, make up for it with an extra study time. Don’t just procrastinate to feel bad for yourself so that someone comes up to you to say that it is ok to goof off once in a while. Maybe it is, but self pity is not going to come to your rescue in the process.
I do agree that this post seems less “you can do it” types as opposed to “you better do it” kind of stuff. Forgive me if I sound a bit too harsh, but in the end – the goal is not going to alter itself for you or me and neither does the competition.
We just have to choose between our priorities and the question is – What is Yours?
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