Article by Inga Stasiulionyte
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I'm no stranger to feeling stuck in life.
I trained with some of the best coaches on the planet during my 20-year sports career, and again when I competed in the 2008 Olympics. But when I wanted to start my own company and share my knowledge about motivational psychology and training with others, it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be.
Launching a new business is not easy. You have to give up the comforts of a stable paycheck and delve into an unpredictable abyss. A lot of things keep us from making that leap – things like fear and insecurity. One thing in particular holds us back more than the rest: motivation.
When I looked back on my days as an athlete, I understood what was different. I remembered what (or who) made me push myself even when I didn't want to. The difference was, as an athlete, I had structured days and a coach to report to. Structure keeps us focused and a coach keeps pushing and challenging us.
Thankfully, I passed this stage and founded Onbotraining, an online coaching service that helps people achieve their goals. I decided to collect the lessons I've learned along the way and share them with others, like you, who are striving to better themselves.
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So, here are my 10 best tips for achieving anything you want in life:
1. Focus on Commitment, Not Motivation
Just how committed are you to your goal? How important is it for you, and what are you willing to sacrifice in order to achieve it? If you find yourself fully committed, motivation will follow.
2. Seek Knowledge, Not Results
If you focus on the excitement of discovery, improvement, exploration, and experimentation, your motivation will always be fueled. If you focus only on results, your motivation will wither the minute you hit an obstacle. The key is to focus on the journey, not the destination. Keep thinking about what you are learning along the way and what you can improve.
3. Make the Journey Fun
It's an awesome game! The minute you make it serious, there's a big chance it will turn into a heavy emotional weight and you will lose perspective, becoming stuck again.
4. Get Rid of Stagnating Thoughts
Thoughts influence feelings, and feelings determine how you view your work. You have a lot of thoughts in your head, and you always have a choice of which ones to focus on: the ones that will make you emotionally stuck (fears, doubts) or the ones that will move you forward (excitement, trying new things, stepping out of your comfort zone).
5. Use Your Imagination
The next step after getting rid of negative thoughts is to use your imagination. When things go well, you are full of positive energy. When you are experiencing difficulties, you need to be even more energetic. So rename your situation. If you keep repeating "I hate my work," guess which feelings will rise to the top? It's a matter of imagination! You can always find something to learn, even from the worst boss in the world at the most boring job.
I have a great exercise for you: For three days, think and say positive things only. See what happens.
6. Stop Being Nice to Yourself
Motivation means action, and action brings results. Sometimes, your actions fail to bring the results you want – so you prefer to be nice to yourself and not put yourself in difficult situations. You wait for the perfect timing – all the while driving yourself into stagnation and, sometimes, even into depression. Get out there and challenge yourself. Do something that you want to do, even if you are afraid.
7. Get Rid of Distractions
Meaningless things and distractions will always be in your way, especially those easy things you would rather do instead of focusing on new, challenging, meaningful projects. Learn to focus on what is the most important. Write a list of time-wasters and hold yourself accountable to not do them.
8. Don't Rely on Others
You should never expect others to do it for you – not even your partner, friend, or boss. They are all busy with their own needs. No one will make you happy or achieve your goals for you. It's all on you.
Know your three steps forward. You do not need more. Fill out your weekly calendar, noting when you will do what and how. The "when-what-how" of it all is important to schedule. Review how each day went according to what you learned, and reflect on what you could improve.
10. Protect Yourself From Burnout
It's easy to burn out when you are very motivated. Stay alert. Recognize any signs of tiredness and take time to rest. Your body and mind rest when you schedule relaxation and fun time into your weekly calendar.
Do diverse tasks. Switch between something creative and something logical, or something physical and something mental, or working alone and working with a team. Switch locations. Meditate, or just take deep breaths. Close your eyes, or focus on one thing for five minutes.
You lack motivation not because you are lazy or don't have a goal. Even the biggest stars, richest businesspeople, and the most accomplished athletes get lost sometimes. What gets them motivated again is their curiosity about how much better or faster they can get. So above all, be curious. This will lead you to your goals.
A version of this article originally appeared on SUCCESS.com.
Inga Stasiulionyte is an Olympian athlete and javelin thrower who competed at the Beijing Olympic Games during her 20-year career. While developing her career in sports, Inga simultaneously pursued a career in business, working with executives as a life coach. Inga's dream is to provide access to everyone to the knowledge, tools, and training that she received in sports that helped her win. She cooperated with a motivational writer to create Onbotraining.com, a motivational online coaching program that inspires people to reach their goals in life. Inga is a University of Southern California graduate with a bachelor's degree in entrepreneurship and a minor in communication design. She also completed master's studies in international business and global affairs at the International University of Monaco.