How to Stay Insanely Self-Motivated, According to Science

It is easy to set a goal — we do it all the time. Staying motivated to achieve those goals, well that’s a different story.

Take New Year’s resolutions, for instance — while 93% of people set them, only 8% of them actually find the inner-drive to follow through.Many are surprised to learn that although I own a finance firm, many of my team members are from very “un-Wall Street” backgrounds. The reason behind this is that a smart, motivated person can accomplish nearly anything. Even if they haven’t learned it before, they’ll have the drive, determination, and willpower to get it done. While a less-motivated veteran Wall Streeter might initially hit the ground quicker, I’ve found that willpower is a bigger determinant of long-term success.

The crux of the issue behind most people’s self-motivation.

Staying motivated is not something that happens naturally all the time. Rather, we need to be intentional about our behaviors to be sure we are staying on the right path.

Unfortunately, people often take the wrong direction in finding motivation — they blindly tie it to huge goals that are unattainable and use all of their energy to attempt to power through it all and get it done. In reality, a lot of this leads to burnout and waning willpower.

Instead, start by being specific and making it a challenge.

According to the American Psychological Association, people who set goals that are both specific and challenging, are 90% more likely to achieve what they’ve set their mind to. When we set goals that are broad and general our motivation is lessened since we don’t have realistic and measurable milestones to check off along the way.As I always tell my team, goals are dreams with deadlines. Here’s a more motivating and achievable example of the above:

Own it.

Having control and ownership of what we are doing makes us more motivated to actually do it. Gaining autonomy over your work and allowing your team to do the same can create a vibrantly productive environment.

Celebrate the little wins.

Like most entrepreneurs, you probably have major — even audacious — long-term goals that you’re tackling. But as you probably know, these huge aspirations won’t get accomplished overnight.

Reap the rewards.

“By fighting the small battles. I get joy in overcoming obstacles, and by celebrating after a small win. This includes rewarding myself for a job well done. You can get overwhelmed by focusing too much on the big picture.”

Be accountable.

“Peer to Peer Accountability. This is a crucial step I take. Look for another business owner in the same or totally different profession that you can talk to on a weekly or daily basis if possible to discuss ideas, challenges, and triumphs. This is a great way to keep both parties accountable.”