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Starting Small: Tips for Self Motivation for New Beginnings
April 13, 2022

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Keep Going

I cannot stop thinking about this tweet from @VisualizeValue and how incredible it is for self motivation:

"This is Pointless"

How many times have you felt like this?

I think back to when I was having difficulty in my first year undergraduate DSP courses. “These classes are too hard! How am I even supposed to use all of this weird math? This is pointless.”

Then I graduated and began working on my masters degree. “Doing research is too hard! I want to build real world systems. This is pointless.”

Then I graduated and went into industry. “I don’t know enough to build real systems! This is pointless.”

Then I built some real systems and went back to get my PhD. “This journal paper will never get published! This is pointless.”

And then the journal paper was accepted and I graduated.

And on.

And on.

And on.

Self Motivation

How do you combat the “pointless” feeling?

The first step is to look back down the mountain to see how far you’ve come.

Self Motivation: Looking back down the mountain
Self Motivation: Looking back down the mountain

It’s too easy to look up the mountain to see how far you have to go. So focus on what you have accomplished and use that as motivation to propel yourself to new heights.

The second step is to write down your work accomplished and your successes.

Putting all of the information in one location allows your brain to focus on the successes without any distraction. I use a physical journal and I make a new bullet point each time I accomplish something and I call that a success.

Self Motivation: My accomplishment log used to be empty. Now it is full of things I have accomplished. It is worn and dirty because I use it everyday.
Self Motivation: My accomplishment log used to be empty. Now it is full of things I have accomplished. It is worn and dirty because I use it everyday.

A success can be:

  • Writing new blog post
  • Creating a YouTube channel
  • Installing a new piece of software
  • Sending a tweet

Your success may be:

  • Beginning a new piece of software
  • Applying for an internship
  • Removing a bug from your code
  • Giving a presentation

Each of these successes are a small step in your journey up the mountain. So do yourself a favor and appreciate them.

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