What is motivation?
Motivation is the force that compels you to stick with your goals and achieve them. It fuels the desire to get your black belt, run a marathon, excel at your job or school, and more.

Without motivation, we would lack the desire for personal enrichment. Many of life’s blessings would simply pass us by. It’s the action taken that determines our destination. As congressman and civil rights champion John Lewis famously stated: If not us, then who? If not now, then when? Motivation energizes action. Action leads to improving the finer aspects of your life.

Tough times never last but tough people do.
There’s no ideal time or moment to get moving. When faced with adversity, motivation ignites our fighting spirit, driving us to seize the moment and embrace challenge to make something better of it.

Change your habits.
Start by identifying the patterns you want to change and work to transform them.

Become your best you. Chart your own course rather than following someone else’s roadmap. Remain genuine and stay focused on what’s required of you.

Set achievable goals. As the old saying goes, “Inch by inch, life is a cinch. Yard by yard, life is hard.” Starting with manageable goals, we train our brain to achieve success, thereby creating an environment of change needed for intermediate and long-term accomplishments.

Learn to manage time.
Prioritize. How are you currently investing your most precious resource? Is there a specific period assigned to key tasks? Are you focused, or attempting to multitask with mediocre results? Give your time to you, your tasks, and learn to say NO.

Build skills and talents.
Fortify your foundation. The skills and talents you currently possess – without becoming distracted by your shortcomings. This doesn’t mean you should be complacent or stagnant. Once you determine your proficiencies, you can work on your deficiencies. Today, we enjoy easy access to a wealth of resources (i.e., books, internet), but nothing beats a “complimentary relationship” with a mentor or supportive group of colleagues. They have abilities and talents you don’t, and vice versa.

Improve your mental strength.
The secret to tapping into your motivation is simple: if you truly believe it, you can achieve it. Positive mental outlook is a byproduct of earned success born of discipline and even struggle. If we master a singular thing and best ourselves in one effort, we realize we have the capability to excel and succeed in a great many things. Positive experiences shape our expectations.

In my view, the study and practice of budo (martial arts) is possibly the best way to channel our motivation and develop mental well-being and fortitude.