If you’d like to learn how to increase your motivation so you can get more done during the day, sign up for the free 90-Day Master Class hosted by the founder of Addicted2Success.com, Joel Brown.
How many times have you heard the questions: “What drives you” or “What excites you?” These questions may come from well-meaning people but they make one problematic assumption – Our motivation depends on something external. As a result, instead of actively building structures that motivate, we find ourselves aimlessly looking for some outside factors that will motivate us. Instead of asking: “What motivates me?” We should be asking, what am I doing to remain motivated? The answer to this question lies in the doing, not motivation itself.
In the lines that follow I will share three simple techniques to increase motivation. Knowing that one cannot always be motivated, I will share a technique with you that I know you already know to help you get things even when you don’t feel like lifting a feather. However, before I start, two misconceptions need to be kicked out of the way right upfront.
First, we see motivation as a finite goal to be achieved. A lot of us falsely believe our life will be worry-free once we have achieved that goal. Motivation is a dynamic process, not an end-goal. The process of motivation is analogous to eating, sleeping, or drinking water. We don’t become healthy or strong by reaching a state where we needn’t eat, sleep, or drink water.
Second, amotivation is seen as something negative that needs to be avoided at all costs. Trying to resist those moments when we feel like doing nothing will drag us further down the abyss we’re trying to avoid in the first place. We need to remind ourselves that those moments of amotivation are a part of the human experience. As much as there would be no light without darkness, there would be no period of activity without downtime.
Here are the four actions you can take starting from today to increase your motivation:
1. Know thyself
The first step in helping you build motivation is to know yourself. It’s for a reason that the Temple of Apollo at Delphi carries the inscription “know thyself.” We are all different, the truth of the matter is that motivation varies within and across individuals. For example, to get myself worked up for my writing activities by being alone with music.
Knowing what motivates and distracts me makes it easy for me to get my juices flowing. Study your pattern, learn the time of the day, the day of the week, where, and how long you are likely to be the most productive. It’s highly impractical to lay out all the different scenarios here, but a deep self-reflection, trial-and-error, and constant journaling will help you understand your pattern.
“Where there is a will, there is a way. If there is a chance in a million that you can do something, anything, to keep what you want from ending, do it. Pry the door open or, if need be, wedge your foot in that door and keep it open.” – Pauline Kael
2. Take Responsibility
The second best way I’ve found to help increase motivation is to take personal responsibility for the outcomes of one’s actions. When you know you will be held responsible for the success or failure of a particular project, you are more likely to get motivated, do your best, and get things done. Working with children, I am always amazed at how much they comply to order when they are treated as responsible individuals.
For example, you will realize that when you know it is your responsibility to pick your kids up from school, you will do everything in your power to reach them on time. This concept is very relevant to the workplace. Managers, employees, and the organization at large may benefit from employees who are taught to take responsibility for their actions.
By creating structures where people are responsible for the outcome of their actions, they will require less control thereby giving managers more time to do what really matters.
3. Spend time with energy givers
They say birds of a feather flock together. If you’re serious about getting things done, spend more time with like-minded people. Research shows we are likely to consciously or unconsciously pick up the habits of people we spend time with. Spending time with people who procrastinate or complain constantly will take a toll on your personal productivity.
Psychologist Emma Seppälä, PhD noted, “we are wired for empathy.” Equipped with that knowledge, your next action is to make a list of at least five friends you will spend time with.
“Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.” – Theodore Roosevelt
4. Just do it!
Going back from the second misconception, even with the above principles, I don’t rule out moments of amotivation. Remember, I said these are part of a healthy human cycle. You may still manage to get things done even when you don’t feel like it.
The best way I found to help me get things done whenever I don’t feel motivated is to do a task completely different than the one I am aiming for. Say, for example, you are trying to finish a report that is due tomorrow. You have tried for 2 hours with no avail. The best thing to do is to get up behind the desk and try something entirely different. It could be walking, running, or watching a video on social media.
Try to stay away from the main task for at least 30 minutes. You’ll be amazed to realize that all you needed to find your spark was time away from your main task. Remember the best way to motivate yourself is through action. Instead of giving in or resisting procrastination, you walk around it so you get things done.
Remember the old adage: “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” Well, this is exactly the same with motivation, a speech can get your adrenaline pumping but they can’t make you take action unless you decide so. So, stop aiming for outside factors to motivate you, get up right now, and do what you have to do! No-one will do it for you!
How do you motivate yourself? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!
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8 Things You Can Do Right Now to Get Your Motivation Back
Welcome to our new normal. A time in our lives that a year ago we certainly didn’t see coming that most of us probably wouldn’t have chosen for ourselves; but here we are. As the days away from each other carry on and more and more bad news comes our way, it’s easy to lose your motivation and waste energy doing things that aren’t helpful like worrying and fighting with people on the internet instead.
Nearly half of Americans report the coronavirus crisis is harming their mental health, according to the Washington Post. While many of us had routines set up to deal with stress in the past, the stress we are facing during this time is unlike anything we’ve experienced before. It’s easy to find yourself in a downward spiral, and that’s the most challenging time to stop the momentum and turn things around. If that’s the case, keep it simple and start to reach for little things to help you feel better and climb your way out.
Here’s a reminder of a few simple things you can do right now to start getting positive momentum going your way:
1. Find someone who was in a similar place and made it to the other side
Whether you’ve been unmotivated to workout, eat healthy, make sales calls or simply do anything, you can find someone who has been there and made it to the other side. Look up some great TED talks, go on YouTube and look up people that motivate you, google them to find their websites. There are short speeches and much longer talks all over the internet, you just need to find someone who you relate to that speaks to you.
2. Do something that you love
When we’re unmotivated, it’s easy to get out of the habit of doing what we love. Sometimes just getting out of bed or away from the tv feels like a chore. Think back to a time in your life when you felt great – what were you doing? What do you absolutely love to do that if you had the time, you would do all day and not realize any time had passed at all?
Figure out a way to do whatever that is, or a modified version of it if it is something that you aren’t able to do at the present time. Spending time doing what you love will get your mind off of anything that is wrong and allow you to find inspiration.
3. Don’t overcomplicate it
Keep it simple. When we’re stuck in a rut, we’ll give ourselves every excuse to not do something. Say you’ve gained some weight; you might tell yourself you need to find the perfect trainer and wait until you have time to cook your meals from scratch each night before you do anything else. Stop trying to overcomplicate it and keep it simple by finding one thing you can do right now, however small that may be. You don’t have to wait until the timing is perfect and the stars align for you to start moving in the direction you want to go.
4. Get up and get moving
This is probably the last thing you want to do right now, but once you are up and moving, your blood will start flowing. The hardest part is getting started. Day one, get up and do anything to get moving. This is the hardest day if you haven’t in a while because getting up is really the hardest part. Day two, do a little more. Once you start, you’ll build momentum and get back in the habit.
5. Reset your focus
It’s so easy for worry to set in and for our minds to wander to places of what we can’t control. This is not motivating or helpful and we always have a choice to redirect our attention. There is always something we can do right where we are, so bring your focus to the solution instead of the problem and figure out the next step of what you can do.
One step at a time. Step one, take your attention away from what you can’t control and what you can’t do. Step two, ask yourself questions like “What can I do?” and see what comes to mind. Follow through with the answers you find.
6. Listen to your favorite music
Not much can lift our spirits and put us into a positive vibration more than our favorite music. Feel free to sing along. Find a song that pumps you up and make that your theme song. Put it on anytime you feel down or unmotivated.
7. Expand your knowledge
“In times of change, the learners will inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” Quote by Eric Hoffer. In times of change, there is great loss but also great opportunity. Continually learning opens you to new opportunities and leads you to paths you may not have otherwise found.
If you’re already a meditator and got away from it, take some time to come back to it. If you’ve never tried, it can be as easy as setting a timer for five minutes (or less, feel free to start with one or two minutes) and focusing on your breath. Listen to the inhalations and exhalations. Silently say to yourself “in” as you inhale and “out” as you exhale. Even taking a few minutes to do this can help you to calm down and allow your mind to refocus.
When we’re unmotivated, our momentum starts moving in the other direction. Slow down that momentum by trying one of the ideas above. Once you’ve slowed down the momentum, get it moving in the right direction and you’ll be well on your way.
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