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Shivani Gopal

Shivani Gopal

August 08, 2019
| Career

How to stay motivated with a motivational swipe file

When you’re feeling down and out, stressed, and like you need that extra push — it can be hard to continue forward with your head held high.

It’s imperative that you prepare for these moments because life will throw you curve balls from time to time. A great way to stay motivated is by creating a motivational swipe file. This reminds you of all the times you've triumphed over adversity and achieved something remarkable, along with other inspirational stories and quotes from amazing people. It’s a great way to re-center your focus and remind yourself that you can get through the hurdles and be better off for it.

Here’s a simple step by step process that you can use to create you very own motivational swipe file – so that you can fight the motivational blues away and get back to achieving your important goals.

...the reality is that a successful mindset brings more success, and the more that we achieve, the more addictive it is to keep on striving.

9 simple steps to create your ultimate motivational swipe file

1. Chose your weapon

Pick your tool of choice, aka your weapon of choice. I really like Evernote because it lets you take pictures and scan documents with your mobile phone, screenshot with your computer, and allows you to compile all the loose ends into one hefty ‘note’. Best of all, it’s saved to the cloud and accessible anywhere. Feel free to use ‘Word’, Google sheets or anything else that’s simple and easy for you.

2. Add your favourite quotes

Here are some of our all-time favourites:

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit."Aristotle

"I know for sure that what we dwell on is who we become."Oprah Winfrey

"If you’re going to be able to look back on something and laugh about it, you might as well laugh about it now."Marie Osmond

"Sometimes you just got to give yourself what you wish someone else would give you."Dr Phil

“I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.”Maya Angelou

3. Add victory pictures

We’ve heard it countless of times: 'a picture is worth a thousand words'.

Document those moments where you’ve achieved something meaningful. That holiday that you’ve worked so hard to be able to afford, that win you had while going through tumultuous circumstances; when everything worked out fine, even though you weren’t sure that you were going to get through…

Take a photo in those moments and add it to your swipe file. Capture your victories so that you can always remind yourself of them. When you do this, you have proof that you have what it takes to succeed.

4. Add inspiration music

Scientists have found that listening to music changes the way you perceive the world. But, you already knew that, because you feel the change in your mood when your favourite song comes on. Music engages a wide range of neurobiological functions that affect our physiology.  

“You can dial up a mood, mindset or perception on demand by choosing music that elicits a specific emotional response in you.”Christopher Bergland

Use music to pick yourself up, frame your mental state and reinvigorate your emotional energy. It works, professional athletes do it all the time. 

5. Don’t forget about inspirational movies


Movies are powerful. They transport us to other realms and allow us to be an inconspicuous fly on the wall. Movies bring palpably aesthetic experiences right to us as we sit in our chairs. It would be a waste not to use them to boost our motivation. 

Here are some of our all time favourites:

  • The Blind Side

  • The Help

  • Hidden Figures

  • Schindler’s List

  • The Pursuit of Happiness

  • Good Will Hunting

  • Life is Beautiful

  • Million Dollar Baby

  • Freedom Riders

  • The Upside

  • Erin Brochovich

  • The Color Purple

6. Don’t be a party pooper at your own party

In so many instances, we tend to reign down on our own parade. We sink into a kind of superstitious paranoia and believe that if we praise ourselves or enjoy our victories too much, we may ‘jinx’ our chances of success in the future. As silly as this sounds, we do it all the time — because we want to protect ourselves from those negative emotions that failure brings. But, the reality is that a successful mindset brings more success, and the more that we achieve, the more addictive it is to keep on striving. So, make it a point to give yourself space to enjoy your wins and successes.

7. Stop focusing on all the bad stuff that happened in the past

It’s interesting to note that our human memory isn’t a reliable tool to accurately recall our past. Often, it’s malleable – we tend to frame our memories to neatly fit into our belief system. Why? Because memory is a function that’s meant to synthesise meaning from experiences and store it away so we can learn from our past. But, we humans are really too smart for our own good at times, and we tend to only recall the memories that confirm our own cognitive bias.

When you take pictures of all your victories, including the people that helped you make it happen, and write a little blurb about how you feel at that moment – you overcome your limiting self beliefs. There’s nothing quite like a victory note, especially when you think about your future self who’s down and out reading it back.

8. Add your own personal life lessons

The path to success is paved with potholes. So, it’s inevitable that we’ll trip at some stage. When we do, we often learn something about ourselves that we didn’t know: areas we need to improve, or a strength that we didn’t know we had which ended up saving our butt.

In these moments, don’t waste your epiphany, open up your swipe file and write down the obstacle that you overcame and what it taught you. Let the lesson glare at you for months and years to come so that your obstacles truly become teachable moments, instead of opportunities to dwell on your insecurities.

“The obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition”Ryan Holiday

9. Find remarkable stories because they show you what's possible

There are few things sweeter than a great story. We are suckers for great stories, especially underdog tales where the hero or heroine succeeds in an almost impossible journey. They find the treasure, learn valuable lessons and fulfill their destiny, all the while benefitting themselves and all mankind.

Epic, right!

Seek out the real-life versions of these stories and add them to your swipe file. When we see people overcome challenges and achieve victory, we have no choice but to be inspired. It actually shatters the glass ceiling in our mind, too.

In the 2009 Berlin Olympics, Usain Bolt broke his own record by completing the 100m sprint in 9.58 seconds. In the 100m sprint, there is a badge of honour called the ‘10-second barrier’. If sprinters can break the barrier, they are considered among the fastest people in the world.

The 10-second barrier was first broken on the night of June 20, 1968, by 3 American sprinters. Since then, “the world record has been improved upon twelve times since electronic timing became mandatory in 1977.” What was thought to once be impossible has now become the benchmark in professional athletics.

Researchers have found that when we see others achieving great things, it removes the limiting beliefs from our own mind, and we realise that it can also be a reality for us. When we hear these stories we know that there’s an untapped spring of potential in us that we just need to access, and when we do, we break records, build successful businesses, start a movement — but most importantly, we gain the drive to overcome the obstacles that are standing in our way, today.

Your remarkable life starts here.

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