3 tips to stay motivated

Motivational Long Road

I don’t know the statistics. After all, 57% of all statistics are made up on the spot. But a lot of blogs end up fading out, never to be updated again.

No-one sets out to create a blog for a few weeks and then forget about. Every single person behind the scenes truly thought they would build a successful blog.

I’ve been struggling with motivation over the last couple of days. The weather and Pokemon Go doesn’t help, but taking a night off is a slippery slope.

What has this got to do with making an income from apps? Well, this is supposed to be a “warts and all” blog. I want to highlight that I’m struggling. If anyone else gets 2 months in and considers giving up, they can see they’re not alone.

Also, I find producing something; anything; helps. So here’s 3 tips to stay motivated that I’ve used over the last week or so.

NB. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase or register then I might get a commission from that sale.

Tip 1 – Remember that success doesn’t come overnight

It’s natural to compare yourself to others. It’s not a good idea, but I’d bet we all do it. We make comparisons are against success stories and think “why aren’t I that successful?”.

Suggesting you stop comparing yourself to others is probably the better advice. But it’s not going to happen. Instead, I find looking at people that have taken a long time to get where they are helps.

Consider John Hanke. He has the following, paraphrased, history:

1996 – First MMO
2000 – Launch company to create first online GPS-linked 3D map of the world
2004 – Google buys the company and create Google Earth
2010 – Launch Niantic Labs to create a game layer on Google maps
2012 – Launch “ingress”
2014 – April Fools joke of Pokemon on Google Maps.
2016 – Pokemon Go launched

20 YEARS! There are clearly a lot of success stories in those 20 years. But I bet there were also a lot of “why am I bothering” moments too. Also, I wonder how much his plans changed over those 20 years? John clearly didn’t set out to make Pokemon Go in 1996!

Regardless of what you’re doing, I’m sure there’s someone you look up to. Perhaps you’re thinking “how do they do that?”. Do some digging and find out how long they’ve been working in their field.

John Hanke clearly didn’t set out to make Pokemon Go in 1996

Long Hard Work Isn’t News

I was shocked the other day when I found out one of the people I look up to in the React space has been working in JavaScript and pushing the envelope for a long time. A lot longer than I realised. I thought he’d recently jumped into React and made a load of incredible stuff because he was that much better than me. Very demotivating. Now I know the amount of work that’s been put in over the years, I’m massively motivated.

It reminded me of [amazon text=So Good They Can’t Ignore You&asin=B01KFR64LQ]. In the book and <http://calnewport.com/blog/2016/05/24/the-deliberate-creative/>, Cal suggests the same things. Breakthroughs come from people who are already on the cutting edge of their field.

I think it’s the same for the journey to the cutting edge. While learning, new things can appear amazing and beyond you. But if you’ve been working in an area for a long time, the number of new things will get smaller and smaller. Jumping to a new technology with all that knowledge will help you “get it” quicker.

Remember that success doesn’t come overnight. People you admire have probably been doing it for a long time. With effort, you too can become that person. Just keep chipping away, one small step at a time.

Tip 2 – Set smaller short term goals

Us humans are terrible at estimating. We constantly over estimate how much we can achieve in the short term. Yet strangely, we almost always under estimate how much we can get done in the long term. We can use this knowledge to our advantage.

Try it yourself. Without thinking too much, set a goal for 1 month, 6 months and 1 year time. For example, I set myself:

1 month – Write 2 blog posts a week, Write a new tutorial, release my second app, Start my third app
6 months – Start learning React Native and releasing some apps on the app store
1 year – This blog has an audience of 1000 people, earning £100/month

Don’t do anything else. Sleep on those goals for a night or two to let your subconscious work on it.

Before committing to them, can the 1-month goal be broken down a little? I find it’s much better to start small and over achieve. Also, move at least 1 of the targets to the next deadline OR create a 3-month deadline. Then commit to them. I ended up with:

1 month – Write 1 blog post a week which includes a new tutorial. Release my second app. Design my third app.
3 months – Consider 2 blog posts a week. Start my third app.
6 months – Start learning React Native and releasing some apps on the app store
1 year – This blog has an audience of 1000 people, earning £100/month

I reduced the 1-month goal a lot. There’s also a 3-month goal to consider upping my short term goals. Finally, I left the long term goals alone. Time will tell if they’re achievable, but they feel more realistic than the first try.

If you set smaller short term goals, you get that sense of achievement more frequently. Try it and let me know how you get on.

Tip 3 – Read something that is motivational

I read a lot of what I guess you can call “self-help” books. What started as a morbid curiosity of “what do people see in them”. I now try to read at least 2 a month to see if there’s a gem I’m missing.

As you can imagine, the range in quality is large. However, I find that almost all of them have at least 1 thing that’s really motivational. I like to keep these books close by, or on my phone if I’ve got the digital copies. I bookmark a particular bit and refer back to them when I’m struggling.

My current list is:

  • [amazon text=Rich Dad’s Cashflow Quadrant: Guide to Financial Freedom by Robert Kiyosaki&asin=B00OL3NEW8] – Just looking at the 4 sections reminds me that I don’t want to be an E forever.
  • [amazon text=The Power of Starting Something Stupid: How to Crush Fear, Make Dreams Happen, and Live Without Regret by Richie Norton&asin=1609070097] – The title reminds me that this is a “stupid” venture. I’m one of these people who try harder when someone says “you can’t do that”.
  • New Entry as of this morning – The Freedom Ladder by Justin Jackson – Ties in nicely to Tip 1 and 2. It takes time but keep things small.

Note the use of “current”. The list changes all the time (see the 3rd entry from this morning). I find reading the same thing over and over reduces its effect, so like to switch things around.

Whenever I question why I bother, I like to take a little walk and read one of these. This normally happens when I’m about to start something new, or I’ve hit a really hard problem.

If I read something that is motivational, I end up motivated again. It may not last long, but it’s often enough to get me over the hump and take another tiny step to success.

Conclusion

I’ve tried lots of things over the years, but these 3 tips to stay motivated have really helped me recently. I’m no longer envious of people who appear to be way ahead of me. I set myself more achievable targets so get that buzz of achievement frequently. And finally, I refresh my sources of motivation by re-reading stuff I’ve found in the past.

Hopefully, this will stop MyAppIncome fading into nothing. Time will tell.

What do you do to stay motivated?

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