Full disclosure—I am not a morning person.

I’ve come a long way though from the person who needed that cup of coffee to have a conversation. (Okay, I’m still working on it).

When I started my own business, I had to figure out ways to keep myself focused and motivated while working from home. It was hard staying on task without the external pressure and accountability you get from having others around you at work.

I realized pretty early on that it would take more than a great cup of coffee to keep me jumping up every morning to hit the entrepreneurial grind.

Learning to be productive and stay motivated when working on your own is not easy.

One of the keys to my success was figuring out that I had to set really good goals that excite and motivate me.

According to Psychology Today motivation is “literally the desire to do things.” It is the key ingredient to being able to not just set but reach your goals. Without it, you will procrastinate and kick the can down the road. With motivation, you will jump out of bed ready to tackle anything.

The good news is that we can directly influence our motivation levels to set ourselves up for success.

Feelings Matter!

During the early days of being in business, I struggled. I created really left brain, logical goals that were classic new biz owner speak: Grow my business. Increase awareness. Get more clients.

It all looked good on paper, but it felt like an uphill battle. Instead of feeling motivated, I began to feel that being out on my own wasn’t all sunshine and roses.

Neuroscience teaches us that when our brain and our feelings compete for dominance, our feelings will win.

Blame it on our “primitive” brain (aka limbic system). That old lizard brain is driven by our emotions and desires. It’s focused on pushing us towards pleasure and keeping us away from pain.

When we set goals that move our comfort zone, make us freak out and work against our habits, the lizard brain will fight us to “play it safe” aka procrastinate.

When our goals create negative emotions, logic flies out the window and the lizard kicks in to save us from ourselves.

My business goals were tapping into my emotions—the wrong ones!

While thinking logically about what you want to accomplish and laying out a strategic plan is key, you can’t rule out or forget the impact of your emotions.

Create positive emotions around your goals will to keep the lizard from freaking.

Here are a Few Tips to Set Yourself Up for Success

  1. Get Your Brain and Your Feelings on the Same Page

Let’s go back to the goals to grow my business and get more clients. Of course I want to get more clients. Of course I want to grow my business. So why did I freak out?

The inner dialogue went something like this:

Ok, Nic, you spent over 10 years in marketing. You know you have to get people to know who you are and respect the quality of your brand. You are the brand. They have to get to know you. You have to go out there and network.

Lizard Brain:  Did you say network? Walk into packed rooms with sharks swimming around just waiting to have you for lunch? You’re an introvert for crying out loud. You don’t like walking into crowded rooms where you don’t know anyone. Nope. Not gonna do it!

I had to learn to talk to myself differently and reframe my thoughts. Instead of freaking myself out at the thought of networking I focused on meeting 2-3 people at each event that I’d like to get to know better or share information with. I was just creating new relationships.

Being introverted doesn’t mean I don’t like people, I just prefer them in small doses. It was much easier to deal with the thought of meeting a couple of people. Once I calmed down, it became easier and easier to go out and follow through.

Who knew 13 years later, I’d be speaking to large groups for a living. It all started with creating goals that were tied to positive emotions.

  1. Don’t Fall for the Motivation Myths.

We have all heard that they myths that if you just write down your goals, visualize them, and try your best it will all work out.

Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson Ph.D. in The Science of Success calls these the three biggest myths about motivation that won’t go away.

While early studies seemed to indicate that those who wrote their goals down had a higher rate of success, it’s not the act of writing them down that guarantees it. Writing your goals out with a well laid plan is a great start, but there are other ingredients like your emotions, resources and habits that come into play as well.

Visualizing your goals is key, but if you only visualize a successful outcome and skip over the possible pitfalls you do yourself a disservice. I find tremendous value in visualizing possible obstacles and how you’ll overcome them. This helps prepare you (and the lizard) for actually pushing through problems when you’re working on your goals.

Finally, trying your best might not be enough, if you don’t have the necessary skills to accomplish your task. Be honest and evaluate if your best gives you what you need to achieve your goal. If the answer is “no”, then your goal should probably be acquiring those skills you need to be ready.

  1. Watch your self talk.

Words matter. They paint a picture. They trigger emotions. The way we think and speak about our goals will impact our success.

Do you say to yourself “Why bother?” Do you start listing all the reasons why you won’t reach your goal? Are you a self-hater? Does your inner critic chime in to tell you that “you’ve tried this before and it never happens?” Do you use words that trigger doubt?

Get serious and focused about choosing words that inspire you to take action and work on your goals.

Are you used to saying words that make your goal a necessity?  Words like “I have to/must, need to” can create feelings of guilt and nothing triggers negative emotion like guilt.

While you’re at it, avoid words that lack commitment  like might, try, wish, and if.

Claim your goal as though it has already come to pass and speak it into existence.

Use words that tap into positive emotions: I Will, I’d Love to, I Choose to, I Deserve to, I Want to, I’ve Decided to, I’m Ready to.

When you’re talking about your goals (in your head or with someone else) speak positively about what you will do. Be mindful about your word choice and keep things positive.

Ready to Jump Out of Bed Excited?

I’m challenging you to shake up your morning routine. Create morning mantras around your goals that will jumpstart your day.

Write your mantras on index cards or sticky notes and keep them close.

Feel free to use this formula to get your started.

{I Choose to, I Want to, I Need to} do {your goal here} because  it will let me {what you’ll accomplish} and I will feel {name your emotion} when I do it.

Still stuck on your goals? Book a Discovery Session with Nicole to get you jumping again.

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