For those unable to attend my Monday Clarity session – we talked about how to get motivated for the new year. If you want the replay you can find it here:​

There’s a whole host of techniques that people use consciously or unconsciously to motivate themselves. Here’s a list of my 4 favorite ways to keep myself motivated that I’ve found to be the most effective. They cover motivation at all levels from a macro-view of your entire life down to everyday tasks.

Align yourself with your highest values

The only way to keep yourself motivated for a long period of time (if say you’re working on something that requires years of effort to come to fruition) is to make sure you’re very passionate about what you’re doing. Passion follows anything that you do if it is alignment with your highest values. This is why people who are passionate about the environment or about human rights can go to jail or put themselves in harm’s way and yet still get up every morning and work tirelessly towards their mission. If you do things that you enjoy, you may be motivated temporarily, but if you want to sustain it for a long period of time, it is important to bring in passion and an alignment with your highest values. I usually guide people through a values elicitation exercise to identify what their most important values are. You first  come up with a list of your top 5 values in your career or any area of your life that you want to work on. Then you check if everything you are doing in this area of your life contains every value in your list. If it doesn’t, you’re likely to run out of motivation in what you’re doing. If you’d like to learn more about this, check out my other blog which goes more deeply into values elicitation.

Tell people about your goals

If you set goals for yourself  but keep falling short of them, this tip will be very useful to you. If you’re working toward a well-defined goal, start telling people around you what this goal is, why it’s important to you and by when you hope to achieve it. It’s easy to slack when no one is watching you. When I conduct trainings, I find it very difficult to wake up in the morning and exercise by myself. But on days I have rowing practice with my boat rowing team, I never miss. I show up because I don’t want to disappoint my fellow colleagues and have them think I’m a slacker. So if people know about your goals, depend on you for completing them or can hold you responsible if you don’t complete them then you’re much more likely to carry through with whatever you want to accomplish.

Contemplate death

This is a deeply transformative exercise that I learnt when I was practicing Buddhism. The practice is to contemplate the constant imminence of death. It is to be completely honest with yourself that you can die at any moment and may not be around to live any more days. In a strange way, thinking about death makes you feel more alive and is a great way to give yourself a boost of motivation. An added bonus of this practice is that you get clear on the things that are most important to you to live your life to the fullest. Sometimes you may be highly motivated, spending hours fixing the TV or creating a business that gives you no fulfillment. But when you contemplate death, you begin to spend every precious moment doing things that fulfill you completely.

Create a magic circle

If you want instantaneous motivation, then practice setting up a magic circle. You can visualize this circle in any way you want, glowing, colored. Visualize yourself at a moment when you were really enthusiastic and full of energy and motivation. Drop all these feelings into the circle and watch them being held firmly inside the circle. Add any visuals or imagery that help clarify this vision. Step into this circle and feel all of those feelings come flooding into you. You can store away this circle for use whenever you need a quick fix of motivation. If you’d like to learn more about this technique, take a look at my video on magic circles and anchoring.

We would love to hear about how you keep yourself motivated. Write to us with your favorite techniques that keep you steadily working toward your visions.