Working with student teachers at Great Basin College one of the criteria that I must rate is teacher instruction and interaction as applied to “Motivating Students.” I find this both curious and laughable as I utilize my definition of motivation. Motivation comes from within. I set goals and meet them through self-determination and the desire for and amazing zest that arises from accomplishment. I can suggest, cajole, offer avenues and opportunities, and even push a bit, however, motivation comes from the body and soul. I achieve my goals because I push and pull and prod and explore and though effort, visualization, and adaptation I arrive at my target. Sometimes it is exactly as I have envisioned, but more likely it has morphed into the reality of the moment.
Reaching goals requires motivation, the type that comes from deep down inside wrapped in aspiration and a yearning for a dream-come-true. It happens because I wish it, but I also know I must exert effort and engage in hard work. I must have a plan, expectations for myself, and an inkling of how I want the “end” to appear. I place “end” in quotation marks to indicate that true goals never end; upon “arrival” at the “end” I always encounter new beginnings, the next step in the road.
To help you create personal motivation, your dreams in the balance, you must first decide exactly what it is that you hope to accomplish. Close your eyes. See it. Feel it. Touch it. Smell it. Scrutinize it. Listen to its rumblings. Observe its manifestations. How can you begin to write a book without an outline of where you want to go and scribbling notes for direction? How can you complete a marathon without clear plans for training, body building, proper nutrition, and time to fit this all into an over-packed schedule? How do you lose 10 or 20 or even 5 pounds while sugar lines your shelves and self-control is way out of reach? You may start out all right, headed in the right direction, but the chances of faltering increase exponentially with a lack of design.
Plan: How many minutes each day will you dedicate to your goal? Start slow, if necessary, with an outline for building. An initial 15 minutes at the keyboard may get you started but your novel will require you to enter “the Zone” and 15 minutes is inadequate for that. Increase minute by minute until one day you glance up and one hour has transformed into a day.
Time: When will you fit this into your schedule at the same time every day? No squeezing in a 30-minute run when this is your day for 7 miles. If it means getting up an hour earlier, cutting out a side-trip to the mall, running to and then showering at the gym, do it.
Visualize and Revamp: Goals change over time so what adjustments will you make to achieve success? This does not mean, “Well, I didn’t eat right today so tomorrow I will starve.” Instead it is critical to maintain steady control. If you do fall off the wagon, make sure it is a short drop to soft ground rather than a plunge off a precipitous precipice.
Assess Progress: How are you doing? Are you closer to the goal? Do you need to make adjustments? Do you need to modify so that you can still sense success? Failure is a downer, so expunge it from your vocabulary.
Finally, decide who is driving the bus of your motivation. If it is you, even with intermittent assistance from friends and coaches, that is perfect. You are in charge. You will recognize your drive and ambition controlling your behavior when the tingle of triumph wiggles your toes, thumps in your heart, and explodes in your mind. That is motivation.