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The Easiest Way to Motivate Yourself

Updated on January 30, 2020
Paul Ledford profile image

Paul is from Alabama but has spent his adult life in Hawaii and Japan. He teaches, translates, and writes about life.

Photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash
Photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash

Whether we're trying to stay on track in our careers, prepare for a big test, quit drugs or alcohol, or just trying to muster up the time and energy to spend with family or just to exercise, getting motivated to do things can be difficult at times. Procrastination is like a disease that eats away the precious time we have on this earth. So, when you find yourself feeling like a couch potato but could, or should, be doing more meaningful things with your life, just follow this routine.

Be sure to do this when you're feeling down or just feel like you're procrastinating. It only takes only 5 minutes depending on how good your imagination is.

1. Lie down or sit in a comfortable place.

Lie down on the floor, outside in the grass on a sunny day, in a comfortable chair, or anywhere that makes you feel at peace. Make sure you're not too sleepy when you do this. You also want to turn the TV, music, or an unnatural noise that may interfere. This will help you really focus on your thoughts.

2. Close your eyes.

Try to keep your eyes closed during this whole process. Keep your body still and stay in a comfortable position.

3. Think of a large hospital near your house.

The hospital can be any hospital that you're familiar with. Try to imagine the layout of one of the overnight patient rooms. It has a typical hospital bed with machines on each side. A small bathroom in the corner. Maybe it's a two-patient room with a curtain divider for privacy. The window looks out over the parking deck. Think of as many details as you can as a way to get yourself absorbed into this scene.

4. Imagine that you're 80 years old.

If you're already 80 years old, imagine whatever age you consider to be close to the end of your life.

5. Picture yourself lying in the hospital bed.

You're lying down in the hospital bed with an IV stuck in your arm. You have different tubes and pads connected to your body. The "beep, beep, beep, beep" sound from the machine monitoring your heartbeat is very vivid.

6. You get your diagnosis results.

Imagine that your body has become frail and weak from your age. The doctor comes in to tell you that you only have a few weeks to live. The words sink in deep. You will no longer be alive on this earth much longer.

7. Think of your regrets.

This is where you can let your imagination run wild. Think of things that you wish you had done during your life.

  • People who you should have been better to
  • People who you should have cut out of your lives
  • Relationships that you should appreciate more
  • Things that you could have done better if you tried harder
  • Things that you wasted too much time on
  • New things that you wished you could have tried

This list can go on and on, but try to be as detailed as possible.

And now it's time to go to work.

Photo by Manasvita S on Unsplash
Photo by Manasvita S on Unsplash

8. Come out of your relaxed state and start your new life.

Now, come back to reality and get a pencil and paper. Write down the things you imagined that you would regret. After you finish your list, cross out any of the things that are literally impossible (not to be confused with just things that you think you can't do). For example, being nicer to someone who has already passed away is impossible.

Next, put a priority number next to the things on your list. There will only be a 1 or 2.

  • Write a "1" if this is one of the most important things to you. You can have several 1s.
  • Write a "2" if this is important to you but you feel like it's more for someone else's behalf or more important to them than it is to you.

There may be things that seem like exceptions; for example, when sacrificing things you want for your child or spouse. But in this case, these should be most important to you as well, therefore, having a "1" written next to them. This will let you know how to prioritize things. Now, cross out all the things that you wrote the number "2" next to. You should focus on all number 1s. You'll ultimately want to reword these into measurable things with dates that you can keep track of. A few examples of how to change the wording are:

  • I want to lose weight → I will weigh 200 pounds by December 1st
  • I want to spend more time with my daughter → I will spend 2 Saturdays per month on a day date with my daughter
  • I want to sleep better → I will not watch TV after 7PM and I'll go to bed by 10:30PM.

And make the goals realistic or you'll be setting yourself up for failure. But for now, just get off your butt and get started. Because the fact is, we will end up on that hospital bed as some point. Make sure you do everything you can each day to reach your goals and do the things you want in life. And try to spend at least 5 to 10 minutes each day working to achieve the things on your list. People have done much more difficult things, so do your best and you'll become a happier person that you can be proud of. Good luck!


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