By Dr. Chris Stankovich
#1 LOVE What You Do!
In order to increase motivation, persistence, and resiliency you must love what you do! Finding reasons why you want to do something increases intrinsic motivation, better enabling you to work through tough times and keep your head up when things don’t look so good. It is vitally important that you find something – anything – within the tasks that you do so that you find value in doing them. For example, if you are an athlete and not receiving much playing time, it would make perfect sense for you to become bored and disinterested in putting much effort into practice. However, by finding something about playing sports (other than simply getting more playing time – that’s obvious) you will increase your mood state, allowing you to continue to participate at a high level. So what “other things” might keep you invested in participating? How about getting great physical workouts, being with terrific friends, or simply enjoying the learning experience you are receiving that will allow you to excel when your number is eventually called!
#2 Set Goals
In order to be successful you must develop “road maps” in life to follow. Goal setting is really an exercise in road mapping, as setting goals allows you to specify targets and mobilize and sustain your efforts toward them. Goal setting research clearly shows that when people set specific, measurable goals they always outperform people who set no goals, as well as people who set “do your best” types of goals. These scientific findings have been witnessed across settings, including in sports, school, and life. Furthermore, setting goals can dramatically help with self-esteem and self-confidence, two additional variables closely linked with peak performance.
The ability to focus – to put all your energy and perception toward one target, while at the same time eliminating outside, irrelevant factors – is quite an ability indeed. Outside distracters are all those little things that take our attention away from the task at-hand, including what we need to do later in the day, the voices in our heads that remind us that we “aren’t good enough,” or that last play 2 minutes ago where we screwed up and seemingly let the team down. People excel in life when they are able to devote all their attention and energy toward the important aspects of success , while refusing to acknowledge things that A) don’t matter, or B) things that have already happened and cannot be changed.
#4 Don’t Give Up
Persistence and resiliency are two key pieces to success! This very simple suggestion (Don’t give up) is arguably the biggest tip to success, as most people endure stress, frustration – and even failure – before finally succeeding and reaching their final long-term goals in life. Unfortunately, most people do not hear of these tough stories, and instead wrongfully assume that when people become successful, it happened easily and without any problems. Like the old saying goes, “It’s not how many times you fall down, but how many times you get up!” If the goals you have set for yourself are currently not working, take a step back, regroup, and “build a better mousetrap” for tomorrow!
#5 Evaluate and Learn
Regardless of what happens to you, whether you “win or lose,” or whether you succeed or fail, it is most important that you allow a little time to pass (and let the emotions settle), then revisit the event that recently happened and learn from the experience. Unfortunately, far too many times people do not do this – especially when they fail at something – and instead allow the emotions of what just happened to get in the way of using logic to learn from the situation – and improve upon it in the future! Keep in mind that logic and emotion are on opposite ends of the continuum, and in order for true learning and growth to occur, you must flush out the emotions, become “level-headed” again, and work diligently to better understand what you can do differently and better the next time out!