Success= Motivation + Self-awareness

Clients frequently ask me how to stay motivated when working toward long term goals. It’s not uncommon for motivation to wane, as time progresses.  In fact, it’s estimated that 80% of New Year resolutions are all but abandoned by the end of February- less than two months into the new year!

First, let’s look at the different types of motivation.  Understanding what sparks your motivation offers you the ability to combine self-awareness with long term productivity. According to a recent article about Business Management, motivation can be broken down into 7 brackets:


  • Achievement- the motivation to pursue goals
  • Affiliation- the motivation to relate to and compliment others
  • Competence- the motivation to excel at something
  • Power- the motivation to influence change
  • Incentive- the motivation of receiving a reward
  • Fear- the motivation that comes from aversion to a situation or outcome

Some of these types provide short term motivation, and others can support long term motivation. Keep in mind, an individual can be motivated by more than one of these categories.

Let’s consider this example:

John’s 3-year goal is to be able to purchase a new building for his expanding dental practice. His current practice is strong, with a good amount of new referral business coming in monthly. If this continues for the next 18 months, his wait time for appointments will exceed 4 weeks, at which time he has determined that new patients will lose patience and find a different dentist with a shorter booking window. He will continue to hire, but eventually the limiting factor will be the number of chairs he can fit in his small office. In order to reach his 3-year goal, John must continue to grow his recurring patient base, invest in modern business process, hire additional hygienists, upgrade equipment, etc. This requires John to work ON his business, while also being active IN his business.

Often, maintaining this balance can become cumbersome and produce burn out. John knows that as a practice owner, he is motivated by competence and achievement. So John enlists the help of his trusted business advisor to work on defining milestones that fuel both of his two types of motivation. His motivational self-awareness allows John and his advisor to develop a path to his goal that keeps his energy up, and his actions focused. His advisor provides the insight into the identification of those milestones, and accountability to keep John moving from milestone to milestone at a pace that gets him to where he needs to be in 3 years.  Teamwork!

Step one is to define your goals. Step two is to identify what motivates you. Step three is to work with your trusted advisor to stitch together a plan that keeps your energy up, holds you accountable, and helps you reach your SMART goals.



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