Here we only deal with that one crucial factor--mustering up the
To help you decide what goals you really value and are willing
to work for.
To suggest some methods for getting the motivation to reach
your truly desired goals.
STEP ONE: Decide what you really want to accomplish. What
price are you willing to pay? Deal with early distractions and
your own resistance.
Within the context of having many motives, there are two
fundamental needs for many of us: (a) the need to achieve and (b)
the need for social affiliation or love. Ordinarily, the latter provides its
own motivation or drive, but it is not uncommon for someone who
truly wants to achieve some distant goal, e.g. become a doctor, to find
it very difficult to give up partying, hanging around with friends,
listening to music, watching TV, playing sports, etc. We want to have it
all. But often we can't. So, the first question is: "Is there anything you
are willing to throw yourself into, to sacrifice for?"
If your answer is "no," it is not something to feel guilty about. For
example, I have heard powerful arguments that it is better to
personally and directly help friends right now than to strive to excel in
the future as a psychologist or to develop "the best" department or to
write a book. There are many good ways to live. Being overly
competitive--always trying to beat the competition and excel--may not
be the ideal life style (Kohn, 1986). Likewise, there are tolerant ways
of looking at a low or moderate need to achieve: perhaps you are still
maturing psychologically and need love and attention from friends or a
lover more than anything else at this time (see Maslow's theories in
chapter 4). Perhaps you need to build your own self-esteem before
you can devote yourself to others and a career. Perhaps you correctly
realize your limitations and/or prefer to live at a leisurely pace. We
don't all have to be high achievers.
If your answer is "yes, I would make many sacrifices in order
to________," you probably already know what you need to do (by
noting what other successful persons have done). Becoming highly
motivated isn't easy, if it doesn't come naturally to you. But it is
possible. I've seen many students change and devote themselves to a
career, to studying, to taking charge of their life. Here are some things
to do to heighten your motivation:
Write down all the reasons why you want to (e.g. be a
psychiatrist). (You are most motivated when doing whatever is
your choice, not someone else's, and gives meaning to your