Restart Your Mojo
Whether it is the end of a project at work, the end of a semester at Uni, or the end of a marathon, we all tend to have the downtime after it. As a result we have to do a difficult thing; restart a pursuit after you have challenged yourself to prepare for an experience, you have then had that experience and you are now enjoying a break from it. For many of us it doesn't have to be a physical pursuit that generally follows this path.
What can we do though to get ourselves up and about and reengaging our mojo?
The first thing is to enjoy the success of the previous challenge. As human beings we do enjoy rewarding ourselves for achieving a challenge, and we should because celebrating success is important not only for our motivation but our self esteem as well. So toast a few beers to your success and analyse why you achieved what you did, what could have been done better, and recognise how much effort went into the process. By doing this we are able to see more about who we are and how we function, what makes us happy and how we can get the best out of ourselves, it goes along way to self-awareness. It also sets us up to improve where we need to improve and continue to develop our strengths as well. For example, we may have excelled in a certain area during the last project but we weren't as good in another area. Realising this allows us to rely on our strengths which we gain confidence from for next time, and it also highlights where we can get better and provides us with the understanding of how we can improve our performance.
We then need to set a goal for the next challenge. What is the next project, set of exams, or physical pursuit? You may even go through this process before the previous challenge has even been completed. This then gives you clarity as to how long you can bask in the glory of finishing the current challenge. By giving ourselves another target we once again have something to work towards. Remember, however, this is only a tiny part of the process. The action plan that underpins this target is a huge aspect of achieving success. It's what many of us call the "detail". It's nice to say "I'm going to run a marathon", the true test is what you do to prepare to run that marathon as best you can. How well do you plan your training program and how well do you follow it? That's the essence of performance.
Part of the action plan has to include elements of emotional blackmail. We need to use our emotional states to influence our motivation. It revolves around being positive. If we are feeling positive we are more inclined to do what we set out to achieve. Think about all the times you have procrastinated with the best of them, how were you feeling? Were you in a bad or sad mood? Probably. We plan well when we think, we act best when we feel. Be aware of how you are actually feeling the next time you are willing to take on the world and win. Winning the little battles allows us to feel optimistic so celebrate each milestone no matter how small it is. it fuels our desire to maintain the effort and helps keep us focused. We find distractions more easily when we feel bogged down or we aren’t seeing progress.
The last thing to do is to publicise it, especially with people who you trust because it will be up to them to hold you accountable when you decide it’s all too hard. The days you decide you want to take the easy option are the days you will need to call on these people to give you that kick in the behind to get back on track. So make your goal clear to them and let them know that you are charging them with the responsibility to keep you honest and accountable. The next time they ask you how you are going with the challenge won’t be out of sheer courtesy; they will genuinely be wanting to know whether you are still on track.
In the same ball park is being around people who will have a positive influence on you. If you want to run a marathon spend time with marathon runners. If anyone knows an ironman triathlete, they will understand how that can be an insular society but one that helps motivate each other. They genuinely thrive off each other. As parents we often talk about the peer pressure our kids will experience and how important it is in the decisions they make. Unfortunately, we look at it in a negative context, so what if we were to look at it in a positive light, the peer pressure to achieve can be very powerful. The secret is to surround ourselves with like-minded positive people. Positivity has a constant battle against negativity because as humans we side with negativity way too easily. A study analysing 12,000 diary entries of corporate employees found that the negative effect of a setback at work on happiness was more than twice as strong as the positive effect of an event that signalled progress. And the power of a setback to increase frustration is over three times as strong as the power of progress to decrease frustration. This reflects what many of us see day in day out at work, but it doesn’t have to if we spend a little time and do a little work on our mindset and regenerate our mojo after every challenge.