The Key to Success: Staying Motivated

[Instructors: Try discussing these tips for staying motivated with your new students at the beginning of the semester, during a mid-term lull, or even toward the end of the course to stoke students’ momentum.]

 “Today is the first day of your life.”

“Just do it.”

Clichés about staying motivated abound. But the simple fact is that learning how to push through difficulties to attain a goal is critical to anyone who wants to succeed. The following tips for staying motivated come from author and personal brand manager Chris Dessi.*

  1. Take a break. You can only perform at your peak level if you are rested. One way to know it’s time to give yourself a break is if you feel you cannot take time off. That’s when you need a break the most.
  2. Be tight lipped. Sure, set goals. But don’t share them with your network—positive feedback can backfire and actually inhibit your intentions. Share the good news after you have accomplished the goal.shutterstock_296462225_Feb 2016
  3. Define your legacy early. We all have a finite amount of time. Don’t allow yourself to be caught up in mindless activities. Everything you do, even when you are young, contributes to who you are and what you become. Make whatever you do count.
  4. Celebrate wins. No matter how inconsequential the positive moment, take time to build good habits and reward yourself for a job well done.
  5. Cut your to-do list in half. A list can be overwhelming if it is not doable. Completing a realistic set of tasks, even if more modest than originally planned, will be far more rewarding.
  6. Treat yourself kindly. Don’t compare yourself to those who have accomplished more than you. Know there will always be people ahead of you and concentrate on your own goals.
  7. Focus. Distractions are everywhere, but you don’t have to pay attention to them. Turn off the phone, disengage from social media, and get to work.
  8. Admit failures. Work through your feelings about defeats instead of keeping them inside and perhaps taking them out on the wrong person. By sharing your vulnerability, you will build deeper connections with peers. You will also find it easier to move on to the next more constructive item on your to-do list.

* Dessi, C. (2015, December 17). 10 simple ways to motivate yourself every day. Retrieved from

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