While some of us can naturally maintain a relatively high constant level of motivation, others find it more difficult. This is actually a normal fact of life. After all, the beauty and richness of life is in our attempt to reconcile and manage our different states.
Here are a few simple things you can use to motivate yourself on a daily basis:
1. The habit of accomplishing one single task once you get out of bed
This may sound trivial but it can have tremendous impact on your energy level. Right when you wake up, one simple task such as making your bed, exercising or cooking breakfast can get you energized for the rest of the day.
Getting something done first thing in the morning will give you a sense of achievement which will, in turn impact the rest of your day. The little things do count. How will you ever find the motivation to accomplish a big task when you can’t even finish a small one? A journey of a thousand miles begin with a single step…in the right direction!
2. Connect your small tasks to your values
In the first step, you may get something done, but if it is not in alignment with your values or beliefs you are less likely to feel empowered. Whatever the task you get done, frame it in relation to something that is important to you. You can apply this in your personal life, professional or spiritual life. Doing a task you know relates to something meaningful to you will give you the required energy to carry it until completion.
People who engage in routine jobs may find it very hard to remain motivated. Frame your job into something greater than yourself. For instance, a bus driver may say: “I am glad I can contribute to the future of our society by bringing children to school.” Framing the routine job that way will give you a sense of contribution. Knowing that you are making a difference will give you a sense of pride that will in return motivate you.
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” – Steve Jobs
3. The habit of crossing out tasks on your to-do list
You will feel more energized if you put your tasks on a sheet of paper because nothing is more motivating than crossing tasks off your to-do lists. This is a clear signal to your brain that you have been able to accomplish a particular task. That will generate a snowball effect since a single task accomplished and crossed out can have widespread effect on other tasks. Due to this, take up the habit of crossing out tasks on your to-do list.
4. The habit of being self-compassionate
We tend to be nice to other people. It is amazing to see how someone can be so empathetic and motivate another even when they are feeling down themselves. Paradoxically, instead of giving themselves a positive pep talk, they will go on a guilt trip. We are not trying to achieve perfection here, we are simply trying to do what we were born to do grow!
It is okay if you did not finish a specific task today. Instead of complaining or blaming, make the decision right now, that you will complete this task tomorrow. Talk to yourself as you would to a good friend. Give yourself a second chance. Don’t engage in self-deprecating talk. Remember, no one or nothing can motivate you if you are not willing to give yourself a chance.
“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” – Dalai Lama
5. The habit of taking responsibility
It is amazing how much taking responsibility for our results can change our perspective. I have had the chance to work with small teams, and in my experience, I’ve learned that people get more motivated when they know they are responsible for the outcome of their tasks. Don’t wait for the situation to be agreeable to get motivated. Take responsibility for your task and see how much energy you will put into it. While hygiene factors can help motivate you, only when you know you are really responsible for the results of a particular task will you build motivation that lasts.
As humans we have unlimited psychic power. Just as you would pay more for natural and organic food and beverages, you need to harness your natural source of motivation rather than expecting outside factors to motivate you. May that same motivation level that attracted you to this article keep you motivated in a more consistent manner.
How do you stay motivated from day to day? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals
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.
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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