We entrepreneurs are always on the hunt for our next motivational fix. We attend inspirational seminars, drink six cups of coffee a day and spend hours reading self-help books, all for the sake of feeling that energizing, motivational high that will spur our next big ‘aha’ moment. But what if those sporadic motivational highs are actually preventing us from reaching our goals?
The true secret to success is more than just maintaining motivation. It’s also about controlling the sporadic, unfocused thought process that often occurs during motivational highs and using that extra energy efficiently. That's the difference between impulsive and consistent motivation.
Impulsive motivation is those mornings when you wake up with a positive attitude, get to the gym early and, before lunch, check off your to-do list the 10 daunting tasks you’ve been avoiding for a month. This form of motivation goes hand-in-hand with the “Motivation Arrousal Theory” that identifies the human instinct for seeking greater stimulation. It’s enjoyable while it lasts but the crash that follows typically results in exhaustion, disappointment and, ultimately, less motivation.
Consistent motivation requires self discipline and emotional stability. It allows us to maintain an even level of stimulation to accomplish tasks at a sustainable rate. While it may not be as enjoyable as impulsive motivation, it helps us to maintain a clear, level-headed mindset for logical, rather than emotional, decision-making.
Both forms of motivation are useful but reaching optimum productivity comes from using impulsive motivation efficiently. Here are a few tips for achieving that:
1. Acknowledge the impulses. When you feel the sporadic, energizing effects of impulsive motivation, it’s important to acknowledge that it’s both temporary and unsustainable. This helps resist those sporadic, unplanned decisions that could be a burden later.
2. Avoid distractions. This means closing out of all social media accounts, blogging websites, or anything that could potentially cause a shift of mental energy. The goal here is to use the energy efficiently.
3. Create a detailed to-do list with 5 long-term goals. A detailed list of long term goals is a great way to keep your mind focused during periods of impulse. Spend a few minutes jotting down a few daunting tasks that you need to get off your plate, as well as 3-4 sub-steps required to accomplish each task. Keep the list handy and only refer to it during those times of impulse.
4. Keep a realistic mindset. As entrepreneurs, we love to dream about our future accomplishments, especially when we’re riding the effects of a full-blown motivational high. However, it’s important to remember that each potential, life-changing idea has 100+ timeconsuming tasks that follow. Maintain a balanced, realistic mindset by focusing your energy on the short term tasks rather than the long term fantasies.