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3 Unusual Methods For Instant Motivation

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How many times have you looked at endless task lists, dozens of unread emails, and mountains of paperwork… and felt utter dread at the thought of working on them? And even looked at the clock and hoped it was near the end of the day, just so you could call it quits?

I’ve been there, so I know exactly what it’s like to want to disappear and pretend like work doesn’t exist. Of course, just because you don’t feel like doing the work, doesn’t mean it’s going away. Unfortunately, most of the typical motivational tactics out there never worked out for me, so I had to come up with some counterintuitive methods to rev up my motivation and actually get some work done.

So if you’re in the same boat as me and struggle to get motivated sometimes, know that it doesn’t have to be this way.

Your Brain Is Attuned To The Wrong Thing

The big problem here is that you’re too focused on the incorrect thing – and that’s the fact that you’ve got a lot of work to do. So naturally, when all your attention is focused on something you “don’t” feel like doing, your mental resistance is going to rise and take over.

And what does that lead to? A severe case of procrastination. And no matter what type of work you need to do (even if it’s related to a big goal you’ve always had), this problem can rear its ugly head and take you out of your game.

When it comes to motivation, people are generally told to use methods like SMART goals or visualizing yourself succeeding. Well, those things might work for some people. But in my experience, they fail HARD when it comes to creating the instant motivation you need – especially when your mood and energy are in low supply.

And why is that? Because they don’t redirect our focus and emotions onto productively compelling things.

“The only difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.” – Jimmy Johnson

Rather than using the popular motivation tactics seen online, I suggest trying something that most people haven’t really done before. Basically, we’re going to change your focus onto tactics that (while a bit odd or scary) will urge you to act on your goals in the NOW – so let’s take a look.

1. Have a punishment system

Even if people don’t like it, a person is twice as likely to work in order to avoid a punishment, rather than working towards a reward instead. This is something Daniel Kanheman (a well-established expert on motivation and author of “Thinking, Fast and Slow ) discovered in his many psychology experiments. So rather than focusing solely on getting a treat for good behavior, it’d make sense to find a way to create consequences for not doing your work instead.

Here’s a few ideas to work with:

  • If you don’t go to the gym after work, then you have to eat something nasty (e.g. something bitter, like grapefruit)
  • If you don’t start or work on your new business, then you have to donate to charity (bonus points for charities you “don’t” support)
  • If you don’t get out of bed on time, then you have to take a cold shower

Anyway, the point is to make the “good” option seem like a walk in the park compared to the cost of not doing it. You can even combine this with rewards for extra motivational punch.

2. Use Peer Pressure

We never really grow out of peer pressure. So if everybody around you is pressuring you to do something (whether good OR bad), you are FAR more likely to do it.

Try getting your friends and family to “peer pressure” you into working on your goals. For example, once you get home from work, the first thing you’ll want to do is kick back and relax. But if your family starts to “gang up” on you, and eggs you on to get some exercise in, then it’d probably be hard to refuse them.

In fact, you’d probably find it hard to “not” go to the gym if that were the case. So see if you can foster a productive culture around your close ones. That way, you’ll never let your laziness or mood dominate your actions, and you’ll be able to stay on point with your goals.

“Work hard for what you want because it won’t come to you without a fight. You have to be strong and courageous and know that you can do anything you put your mind to.” – Leah LaBelle

3. Turn Your Fears Into Trash-Talking Rivals

This is kind of an interesting one. It’s similar to the previous tip, but with an even sharper edge to it. If you’ve ever been on a sports team, and were the receiver of trash talk before, you know how infuriating it can be to have somebody do this to you.

But the important thing is that whenever it happens, that rage instantly transforms into a desire to obliterate your opponent. And trust me when I say this is a power you should not ignore.

A trick I came up to use this is whenever I’d be nervous to send an email proposal to a client (or  if I needed to open their email and read their possibly negative response) is I’d imagine a person saying things to me like, “I bet you won’t send it,” or “You’re too scared to open it, aren’t you, scaredy cat?” Then I’d get annoyed and eventually get it done. And it always worked.

It’s odd, I know. But when wielded well, it works amazingly. And it does especially well when you’re avoiding a task due to anxiety. It’s probably because it doesn’t mask your anxiousness, it redirects it and focuses instead.

I know these motivation methods are a bit strange. But when you’ve tried everything else, and you’re still struggling to overcome procrastination, it’s time you look outside of the box if you want to become successful in life. So give these methods a shot and see if your motivation soars because of it.

Ericson Ay Mires here, and if you’d like to see more motivation advice like this, you owe it to yourself to download the first chapter of my ebook, “Motivation Instinct,” for free - it shows you why typical advice like “just be positive” and “visualize your success” doesn’t work for the average person… and the “dangerous” motivation method I use to create instant, long-lasting motivation to achieve all my goals instead.

Motivation

How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals

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Time is the raw material of our lives. How we choose to spend it, shapes our life accordingly. So having the motivation to spend it on achieving goals is crucial to creating a life we want.

What is Motivation?

The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as the desire or willingness to do something – our drive to take action.

Scientifically, motivation has its roots in the dopamine pathways of our brains. When we do something that feels good, that’s dopamine kicking in. Our actions are driven by the desire for that reward (the good feeling).

Author Steven Pressfield describes motivation more practically. He says we hit a point where the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it. He sees motivation as crossing the threshold where it’s easier to take action than it is to be idle. Like choosing to feel awkward while making sales calls over feeling disappointed about a diminishing bank account.

However you choose to think about it, we all want to harness motivation to achieve our goals. 

How to Get Motivated

James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that most people misunderstand motivation. They think that motivation is what gets us to take action. In reality, motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Once we start a task, it’s easier to continue making progress. Like Isaac Newton’s first law: objects in motion stay in motion.

This means most of the resistance when working on your goals comes right before we start. Since motivation naturally occurs after we start, we need to focus on making starting easier.

4 Ways to Make Starting Easier

1. Schedule it

One reason people can’t get started on things is that they haven’t planned when to do it. 

When things aren’t scheduled it’s easier for them to fall by the wayside. You’ll end up hoping motivation falls in your lap or hoping that you’ll muster enough willpower to get it done.

An article in the Guardian said, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”

2. Measure something

It’s easy to feel uninspired when you don’t know if you’re making progress or what you’re even working towards. That’s why you need to make your success measurable in some way. Starting is easy when you know exactly how much closer your current actions will bring you to achieving your goal.

3. Extrinsic motivation

This type of motivation is from external factors. It can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation consists of incentives like money, prizes, and grades. Negative motivation consists of deterrents like being fired, having a fight, or being fined. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t work effectively long-term, but it can work well in the short term to get you started on something.

4. Make it public

Keep yourself accountable by telling friends and family your goals, or even sharing them on social media. This makes it easier to start something because you’re pressured to not let others down.

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar

How to Stay Motivated Long Term

When we say we want to feel motivated to do something, we don’t want to be pushed or guilted into doing a task. We want to be so attracted and drawn to the idea that we can’t resist not taking action. That’s why it’s important to build a foundation that will set you up for consistency.

These are 5 techniques that will help you do just that:

1. Stay in your goldilocks zone

The goldilocks zone is when a task is the perfect level of difficulty—not too hard and not too easy. In this zone, we reach peak motivation and focus.

For example, let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year-old. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become bored and not want to play. Now let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against Serena Williams. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become demotivated because the match is too challenging. 

The Goldilocks zone is in the middle of that spectrum. You want to face someone with equal skill as you. That way you have a chance to win, but you have to focus and try for it. Adjusting your workload and goals over time to stay within your Goldilocks zone keeps you engaged and motivated long-term.

2. Pursue intrinsically motivated goals

Being intrinsically motivated to achieve a goal is when you want to achieve it for what it is. There are no external factors like a reward or the risk of being fired. The drive behind your actions is coming from within. 

For most intrinsic goals we pursue them because they will enrich our lives or bring us closer to fulfillment. That makes these goals extremely sustainable long-term because they directly affect our quality of life and the things we care about.

3. Use “chunking”

Chunking is the technique of breaking down a goal into smaller short-term targets. By doing this you achieve multiple successes in your pursuit of the main goal. This triggers the brain’s reward system and drives you to keep going.

Traditionally, you may set a goal that you expect to achieve in one year. That’s a long time to commit without seeing any results along the way. By chunking your goals into monthly or quarterly targets, you get the consistent positive reinforcement you need to stay motivated long-term.

For example, instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in one year, try to lose 4 pounds every month for 12 months.

4. Be flexible

We’re all victims of circumstance. Things happen along our journey that we can either adjust to or quit because of. That’s why it’s important to have leeway and flexibility when you’re pursuing a goal. If you expect everything to go perfectly, the inevitable failure can make you disengaged and desireless. When you plan for things to go wrong, you make sure you can keep up for the long haul.

5. Pursue your goals in a sustainable fashion

Don’t lose hope when you’re not an overnight success. Overnight successes are the 1%—for the most part, they don’t exist. What we see as an “overnight success” is actually countless hours of work behind the scenes finally hitting a tipping point. Pursuing goals is a story of patience, persistence, and unseen effort.

Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a recipe for a drop in self-confidence and satisfaction. It also cultivates a mindset where you think you haven’t done enough. As a result, you may raise your expectations and put more pressure on yourself.

This is pointless because things worth achieving take time. So we obviously won’t compare to the things around us when starting.

Mastering motivation is a superpower. With that ability at your fingertips, you can accomplish your goals and shape a life you want to live in.

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Motivation

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Why “No Pain, No Gain” Is More Powerful Than You Realize

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