It’s a pattern of behaviour that many people can relate to. You have a brilliant idea, you gain momentum, then for some reason you plateau. Self-motivation goes out the window and you lose interest. Suddenly you’re on cruise control with no direction. Perhaps you’ve received negative feedback? Or you’re wrangling your own inner demons, convinced you cannot accomplish what you started? Why do we sometimes seem to jeopardise our own success?
Natalie Cook unleashes the secrets to being your own inspiration. Learn how to light your own fire and keep it burning.
Find your inspirational mojo
If you find yourself in a motivational rut, then it’s time to work out what really makes you tick. Sit down with a pen and paper and just start writing ideas down. Flick through magazines or watch some TV and recognise what images or words light that spark for you. Take note of the people in your life who you admire. Acknowledge who they are, what they’ve accomplished and what it is about them that you respect and look up to. These things will help you pinpoint your purpose and give you the clarity and focus you need.
“Start with one thing that you have this little tiny burning desire in your belly to do.” – Natalie Cook”
Put a photo of your dream or goal up in areas of your house where you will see it constantly. Surround yourself with the idea and images to the point you cannot escape it, then notice your passion for it ignite when others start to ask what the images are about.
Nat was famous for surrounding herself with GOLD. Gold toaster, gold sheets, gold camera, gold sunglasses everything in her life was gold. She even washed in Palmolive GOLD soap. This helps focus your whole body, mind and spirit onto what you desire.
“In the Motiv8 me series we work together to pinpoint your purpose and find what makes you tick.” – Natalie Cook
Patience is a virtue
Being impatient is one of the main reasons goals fail. You need to dream big…Reach for the stars and if you fall short you are still on top of the world! Then, be patient. It’s about being persistent and being kind to yourself when things don’t go to plan.
“The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we hit it.” – Michelangelo
Dream big with purpose
With a goal in mind, ask yourself “Why do I want it?” This is one of the most simple, but effective, motivation techniques around. Understanding the ‘why’ is really important; it’s at the heart of staying motivated. If you need to, grab your paper and pen again and jot down all the reasons why you want to achieve your goal. If you get stuck, be persistent. Highlight some and erase others when you get more clarity around your purpose.
“It’s the WHY that keeps you getting out of bed everyday, even when your whole body is saying not to!” – Natalie Cook
Writing it all down not only makes your goal more tangible and real, it also makes you more accountable. A visual reminder, like a list or sticking notes around the house, helps you work through any fear of failure you may have, especially if your goal is on show to family and friends. I guarantee that you will walk, talk and act differently and this is the first step to making it happen.
Replace fear with fun
One common reason people abandon their goals is fear. Fear of failure or even fear of success. What you may not realise though is that fear only kicks in when you stop enjoying yourself. Therefore you should replace your fear with FUN. It’s one of those ‘inspiration secrets’ that sounds easier than it is – but it’s crucial to self-motivation.
Confront fear in calmer times to prepare yourself. Rehearse any physical movements that will help you and rehearse your approach and attitude to specific situations. Address them when there is no pressure to catch you off guard and keep reminding yourself to enjoy the experience. When you’re focusing on all your reactions and movements in advance, you’re able to remove any mental barriers and promote your real skill.
I encourage you to do one thing each week that scares you!
Mingle with like-minded supporters
If you’re noticing a pattern in your commitment to your goals, or lack thereof, then it may be time to have a look at who you’re socialising with. There is a lot to be said about mingling with like-minded people. Perhaps you have been part of a group of motivated people in the past, then ‘life’ got in the way, as it often does and you changed direction? Did you notice your commitment and self-motivation start to dwindle away?
It’s so important to have the right people around you. It can become an addiction of sorts to mingle with those who understand you, your dreams, aspirations and perhaps inner demons. Those who will not bring you down with negativity but uplift you with confidence and ideas, encourage momentum and bring a few ‘aha!’ moments are only going to benefit your journey.
”You have to surround yourself with the people who are going to support you achieving your goals” – Natalie Cook
Achieve through visualisation
Natalie has always been transparent about the self-motivation strategies she employs for her own goals. She believes visualisation is the key to success. Mental imagery can make you feel more in control – stronger, more effective, more productive and happier. The brain actually uses the same neural networks whether you physically do something or merely picture yourself doing it, so use this to your advantage. Use your mind to practice a movement, a speech, a reaction. By doing so, the nervous system will provide responses parallel to those for the actual physical execution of the same thing.
Visualisation can help keep you calm and focused in more stressful moments and is a great way to motivate yourself. Be specific and make it colourful. Use all your senses! Place yourself as the centre of attention and imagine every step of the process. If your goal is to get a little fitter, imagine each individual step needed to get yourself from home to the gym. And better still imagine how you will feel after your workout. Those who are able to visualise to this level of detail are generally more successful in achieving their goals.
Celebrate your losses
So you’ve fallen off the wagon. A lot of the most successful people in the world have…time and time again. But it’s what you do with these moments that makes all the difference. Attitude and focus is everything. If you hold on to any negative emotions it will cause you to plateau, spin your wheels in the mud and stop you from progressing in life.
Natalie believes it’s beneficial to view every loss with a positive attitude. For example, if you’re supposed to be improving your diet but just polished off a block of chocolate, don’t chastise yourself. Just enjoy it and be ok with it. You can always restart the healthy menu at the next meal.
Other motivation techniques include celebrating the small wins and acknowledging them during challenging times, or having a reference to use when you win or achieve something. It may be a phrase, a mantra, an action (like a clap) or a sound (like ringing a bell).
But self-motivation doesn’t have to be complicated. Go to work on training your inner cheer squad. The louder you can make it the better off you will be.
“Only by working on my attitude and revisiting my commitment to excellence could I reverse the cycle of negativity.” – Natalie Cook