How Can I Get Motivated? 10 Ways to Motivate Yourself
Finding motivation really isn't that hard, but how do you maintain it is the real question!
Do you have a lot of goals and ideas, but it feels like you can never find the time, energy or motivation to reach them? Do you berate yourself a lot or spend a lot of time engaged in self-sabotaging behaviors like procrastination? If so, you are definitely not alone!
One of the biggest reasons motivation seems to wane is the tendency we have to live in the future. We build vision boards with all of these lofty goals, or daydream about all the amazing things we're going to do “someday”. This is the fastest way to kill a dream, because you never get started!
Motivation Tip #1 – Actually Start!
If you find you have a huge bucket list or a ton of dreams and goals that you have never really worked toward; pick one and start breaking it down into smaller tasks.
For example, say you decide you want to freelance full time and give up your corporate office job. It's easy to tell yourself all the reasons why you can't start right now. You defeat yourself before even getting started. Break it down.
What would you do? Research your business idea, develop a business plan, calculate your start up costs. Every time you complete one of these tasks, pin that up on your board next to “start my own business”. You'll see that you've already made progress, making motivation easier to maintain.
Self-Motivation Tip #2 – Fake it 'til You Make it.
We've all heard this one before and most people don't like the idea of “phoniness”, but in all honesty, sometimes when you smile even when you don't feel like it; you end up happier. How many times have you dreaded exercise, but once you got started, your energy felt amazing? Fake it. Do it anyway, even if you don't want to.
Tell yourself “I really don't want to work out right now, but I am going to give it 5 minutes.” Chances are, once you have 5 minutes invested into the task, you'll be motivated enough to continue.
100 Ways to Motivate Yourself is an amazing audiobook. The authors voice is very relaxing... but the message is amazing, so do give it a listen :)
Motivate Yourself Tip #3 – Use Visual Cues
Visual cues are a great way to remind ourselves what our goals are and what we've accomplished. This is why “to do” lists can be so satisfying, because we see progress and can cross those finished tasks off. It provides a sense of relief. To do lists are about so much more than organization; they motivate.
Also, when certain tasks have been completed towards a larger goal; make a note of it and post it to a bulletin board/vision board. Sometimes, working towards a lofty goal can feel a bit like standing at the bottom of Everest looking up. It's very easy to lack motivation when feeling overwhelmed. Keep track of milestones that remind you how far you've climbed!
Motivation Technique #4 – Call a Friend
Find people who are genuinely supportive of your goal(s) and talk to them when you need a little shot of enthusiasm. Taking a long road alone is lonely. It's important to surround yourself with those who support you and help you feel good about yourself. If you can't find those people in real life; find a group online to support you.
I am the only woman in my family/friends who is self-employed, so I found a forum online for freelancing women where I can discuss the challenges that come from managing a household, kids, a business and everything else all under the same roof. In turn, I listen to other women and we all support each other. We can understand the challenges the others face, and It's good to have a shoulder/ear – even if it's a virtual one.
Motivate Yourself Tip #5 – Congratulate Yourself
We spend a lot of time berating ourselves for all the things we forgot to do, or didn't manage to finish. Be honest, how many times today have you given yourself credit for what you've done well? Now how many times have you engaged in negative self-talk?
Our ratios of negative to positive tend to be very self-defeating. Learn to appreciate your good qualities, acknowledge your gifts, accomplishments and contributions. When we value things, we tend to take better care of them, so it only makes sense that you need to value yourself and your goals if you ever hope to reach them!
Motivate Yourself #6 – Start Small
Not feeling like moving today? We all have those days. Rather than sit on the sofa and let the pull of inertia suck you in further; do something small. Get up and clean off your desk or quickly tidy up a room. Do some small task that makes you feel you have accomplished something and that will tend to fuel more motivation.
If not, go back up to number 2. Fake it and tell yourself the same thing. “I really don't feel like doing anything right now, but I will spend 5 minutes ____________ “. Spend that five minutes doing something productive. It's all in the mindset. Once you get in the habit of pushing through procrastination temptations, you'll find more “hidden” motivation.
I love the author's alternative look at traditional reward incentive rituals. This book proposes the idea that explaining why a task is important and then allowing individuals to take on those tasks with as much autonomy as possible, stimulates the interest and commitment to finish. It looks at this as a much more effective approach to being motivated than offering a simple reward for finishing a task.
Motivation Tip #7 Make it into a Game or Personal Challenge
If you are a naturally competitive sort, or you love to do things like beat your previous record; find ways to turn some of your least favorite, but mandatory tasks into a game. Try to beat your previous “score”. When we make things more fun, or give them something that adds a bit more interest, it's easier to get (and stay) moving.
This technique can work great with exercise! “On Monday I was able to do 10 pushups, today I'm going to see if I can do 12”. Keep track of progress or milestones and then try to beat them. Walking/running times, scores on your favorite fitness games, or logging more steps on your pedometer are all great mini-motivators.
Motivation Tip #8 Kill Distractions That Kill Dreams
Distractions are everywhere and most of us spend far too many precious minutes indulging in them. Turn off the TV and limit social media. I did both and my world was instantly transformed. I killed the cable and we bought a Roku box that we use with streaming Netflix. We severely limit our time in front of the TV.
It's a scary proposition at first for those used to having perpetual TV around. Chances are, if the idea of losing it hurts; it means it needs to go or be greatly reduced.
I recently added a free browser extension called LeechBlock to Firefox. During my work hours, It can be set to block access to time wasting websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. You can set it for specific time frames, or to only allow yourself to browse those sites so many minutes per hour. It's very versatile and it's been a REAL eye opener to me. You don't realize how much valuable time you waste on those sites until you block yourself from them.
Motivation Tip #9 Brainstorm
If your lack of motivation stems from not feeling inspired, or you aren't sure exactly what it is you want to do or focus on, that can definitely lead to a lack of motivation. Motivation comes from enthusiasm. A quick way to get inspired is to use creative thinking; brainstorming is ideal for that practice.
Writers are usually quite familiar with brainstorming, but it can be used for a lot of things.
Take a big piece of paper or poster board and lay it on the table. Your main subject goes in the center. In this case, think of one area of your life where you need more insight or ideas. If you decide you want more insight into a career area you would put that in the center. From there you draw branches and every branch has an idea or question for further exploration.
One branch might say “natural strengths” and then you would list your talents and skills that you enjoy. Another branch might be the opposite, “challenges”. If you bore easily for example, or you lack people skills. The idea is to keep building branches, and then branches off of those branches. As you keep going, you get more ideas and more motivation.
Sometimes, you can have family members participate. When we were deciding how to start a craft business; brainstorming was a family affair. It was very fun and it became a pool of creative ideas and inspirations. Talk about motivating!
Self-Motivation Idea #10 Milestones & Rewards
A lot of people focus on the reward for reaching a long-term goal and that's great, but milestone rewards can provide the incentive to keep moving forward. This is great for weight loss goals for instance. Let's say I have 30 pounds to lose. I tell myself that when I lose my 30 pounds I am going to reward myself with a day trip to the spa and some lovely new clothes. This is great, but that's a long time to wait for the reward.
The better way may be to split the rewards up into milestones. For every 5 pounds lost, give yourself a little treat, perhaps a new pair of earrings, or a trip to the movies. These smaller goals can be reached quickly and they keep the incentive alive.
Place a list of milestones and those rewards on your vision board. You can see easily the forthcoming rewards and also the progress you've made all in one place. It keeps you on track and making progress towards the larger reward at the end.
What is your biggest dream killer?
© 2013 Christin Sander