So here we are, the final part to this four part series. [ Until I update it to a stable Beta Build ]. Only took five months to get here, but we did it. In this mini series I have discussed the serious risks of prolonged Burn Out, tips to stay Organized during production, and how to stay Healthy when you end up sitting for most of the day. However most of these can’t be done without our last step, Motivation. Without a good system or a basic motivational foundation most of the actions we took during the first three steps won’t amount to much. Motivation is the driving force that can help implement new habits as well as keep you focused through the rougher patches of life. Wether it be personal projects, work, or refusing to slam the snooze button one more time. Motivation is the power house for Determination.
Below of course will be some helpful tips and tricks on staying motivated, by tricking yourself into action, and discussing habits that are big motivation killers. [ Like the Playstation that hasn’t been turned on for a month, and well, you just got to check to make sure it still runs. ]
Motivation Crash Course
There are a lot of tricks to help you keep true while trudging through your to do list. All tasks and projects have rough patches. Wether it be a person, process, or location you don’t like. [ Like my husky’s hatred for the vet’s office but, she absolutely loves car rides. ] There is always going to be a time in which you start second guessing yourself. It’s during these times where most goals go unachieved or projects die. This is where the joy and eagerness you had at the beginning fades away. And to be honest it’s real shitty.
While attending college I spent countless hours on “Rev-Share” and “Exposure” projects that never saw the light of day. Not due to the lack of talent but because there weren’t manageable goals and the vagueness of most milestone where so far down the road, that a lot of teams disappeared because they lost sight of the end goal. [ And I signed NDA’s cause the paperwork looked cool, felt official, and felt that I was really doing something. At least I can keep warm by burning my exposure dollars. ]
So how can we go about preventing these sort of things from happening? How can we stick to our goals and push through those rough patches that are carelessly sprinkled throughout our lives?
1. Visualize Your Goals
The first step to motivation is to visualize your goal. To sear a mental image of what the finished goal will look like into your brain. If your goal is to loose weight, visualize yourself thinner. If you want to work at a certain game studio, visualize yourself working in that studio. Visualizing your goals is the first step in achieving them. Don’t let your dreams be memes.
2. Manage Your Goals.
Breaking down your goals into bite size chunks can turn mountains into mole hills. We don’t want to sprint to the finish line. Doing so will cause exhaustion [ risking burnout. ] Or. When you get there, the fruits of your labor are sour and bitter [ unless you like those sort of things. ] So if your goal is pretty hefty, break it down. Jumping feet first into a AAA gaming studio straight out of college is safe to say, a very big and challenging goal. So maybe your first step would be to create a portfolio that matches the art style of your target studio. Maybe enroll with that studios QA Department and work your way up. [ As stated by many accounts and interviews posted over at Gamasutra. ] Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was any AAA Quality Portfolio.
3. Make it Fun
Set goals that interest you. Basically making sensible goals, as life shouldn’t be a drag. For example if you want to loose weight but don’t want to get involved with weights or power cleans, then just stick to the dieting and running. Or if you don’t like running then just the dieting. Essentially your goals should be enjoyable because, if you hate the notion of your goal you won’t reach for it or stick to it. For myself I like the nature parks, so my [ monthly ] exercising involves walking around national parks and reserves. Sometimes even taking the dog, if it’s cool enough.
4. Set Rewards
Who doesn’t like rewards? We have them everywhere. From Games to Movies, to even grocery shopping. [ With most stores you can download an app and get points for buying food. ] So why not add a reward system to your goals? Maybe you land that large goal of getting in with a studio. Go out and treat yourself. If it’s a smaller goal then take a day off, play a video game or travel. Really the goals should be something you will want and motivating enough that you will work for it. You carrot [ for me, french fries ] on a stick.
5. Make Your Goals Public
Team up or find a social network. Maybe you need that extra pressure to reach your goals or an extra hand to make something great. Team collaboration or even a mentor is great to have as support. Two great support groups on facebook are Level Up! and 10k Hours. The are great groups of people that always provide great feedback and helpful tips. Also of course there is Polycount. Another great site to seek help and support, as well as motivation to keep improving.
6. Complete One Task A Day
Completing one task a day is progress. Even if it’s a small task it’s one more task than yesterday and one more step. The best habit is to jump straight into work and limit the amount of distractions you deal with on a daily basis. One example would be to not check your emails until noon, instead focusing most of your morning on breakfast and work. This should be catered to you. Some people aren’t functional until noon while others are most productive after the sun goes down. You want place the bulk of your work during the time where you are the most productive.
7. Be Flexible
You know, shit just happens in life and you need to be flexible. Frequently adapting your goals to whatever life throws at you is a great habit to practice. If you can’t adapt your goals to fit within your circumstances, they become stagnate and eventually forgotten. For an easy example if your goal is to run every morning, but it begins to get cold outside or even snows. The goal is now difficult to do. Running in snow isn’t fun for most people. So in order to keep with your goal change it to run in the afternoon [ when it’s hopefully warmer ] or change it to a treadmill until it starts getting warmer. Having the idea to wait out the cold, is a slippery slope. As a day without running, turns into two, which then turns into week. So by the time it is warm outside again, you have either gained weight or hate running.
8. Make a list of reasons
Last tip is to write out reminders as to why you are setting these goals. Sometimes the reasons you set a goal often get forgotten on the road to achieving them. So whip out the sticky notes or set phone reminders. Plaster your reasons where you can, like the fridge, mirror, or on-top of your game console. Share them with friends who can keep you on track or share with your parents or significant other [ as both of them wont ever stop nagging about it. ]
Now for two biggest things to avoid when trying to achieve your goals.
Negative thoughts and people are the worse things to keep around yourself when you are trying to achieve your goals. [ And in general. ] But don’t get negativity confused with criticism. As good criticism can serve as a reality check and actually help steer you back towards your goals, if you start to wander. However, in order to achieve your goals and to stay motivated you will need try your best to remove negative thoughts and even people on your way to achieve your goals.
2. Imperfect Scenerios
Focusing on the negative and mentally creating the most unlikely of scenarios only feeds into the sense of hopelessness. Causing you to feel defeated before even taking the first step. Imagining these negative outcomes can be very debilitating. A lot of goals I started off for 2018 never come to fruition because I focused on the worse outcome, so they never made it past the sticky note phase.
To keep motivated you need to be positive in many situations and cut out the negativity. Setting fun and manageable goals will remove the dread that is sometimes associated with “setting goals”. Helping you take the first steps towards major life changes or even smaller changes. Like repotting plants or upgrading the coffee table from a alcohol and fast food stained, cheap college grade plywood table to a elegant mid-century modern heavy duty table, with matching coasters.