Have your goals have been slipping further and further down on your to-do list? The right motivation, accountability and disciplined action can make the difference.
M is for Motivated
I almost lost my mind in Big Lots this weekend. They had a whole row of cute placards, wall art and office decor that I wanted to buy. “Yes! You’ve got this! You can do it!” printed in curly font on canvas.
Yes I am. Yes I do! YES IS CAN!
Motivation is when you feel like doing things. Like you, I love feeling motivated. On my best days, I’m focused, excited and ready to jump into any and everything with both feet.
But motivation, like any emotion, can be fleeting. It can be circumstantial. It’s like a firework display - it elicits oohs and aahhs, but eventually fades away leaving us wanting more.
When the feeling does fade, we need more than sweet slogans and cute wall art to help us regain focus. That’s where accountability and discipline come into play.
A is for Accountability
Accountability isn’t necessary, but it is a great supplement to motivation. This is especially true when accountability is within the boundaries of a mentor/mentee relationship. Mentorship can take on formal or informal framework and can vary in engagement. One mentor may be someone you bounce ideas off of, where another may provide situational guidance or context. No matter who or how many people you have in your corner, you need at least one person on your team providing quality accountability.
Your accountability mentor or partner should regularly ask you three questions:
D is for Disciplined
Discipline is the final, and possibly most important, key to growth. One way to think about discipline is as a system of behavior. We all have areas where we are more or less disciplined than others (house chores and physical exercise come to mind).
Once established, we can draw on discipline even when motivation fails us. No, I don’t feel like doing the yard, but I do it anyway because it’s Tuesday and I always do the yard on Tuesday. Motivation is trying to feel like doing things. Discipline is doing it even if you don’t feel like doing it.
Admittedly I put a lot of emphasis on action. That’s because I am a big believer in experiential learning theory. As we do the actions, we learn what works for us, what doesn’t, and how to apply that learning in future situations. If we only rely on motivation, we limit our growth to irregular starts and stops. However through consistent action we develop something deeper - a discipline that is rooted in our character and the results we sincerely desire.
Maisha Hagan is the owner and head coach at Beauty & the Boss - a professional development and career coaching service for women in male-dominated industries.