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Motivation is a powerful force in our lives. Sometimes it is easy to get motivated. When that happens you’re mind is excited and its easy to be engaged in the things you need to do and you feel incredibly focused and engaged in life.
And at other times, when motivation is low, it’s really difficult to figure out how to motivate yourself. And then you find yourself procrastinating. Or not feeling engaged. And then you end up not getting anything done and feeling badly about yourself. Usually this is when the negative self talk kicks in – for example “I’m a loser” or “Why can’t I get anything done?” and then it all spirals down from there and becomes a negative cycle of events.
Can you relate? We have all been there.
It’s important to realize that motivation occurs when you have a consistent daily routine of certain thoughts and behaviors. Consistent motivation results from taking care of these foundational building blocks. If you don’t take care of these things on a regular basis, you won’t be able to have consistent motivation. The good news is this is easy to start fixing.
So, let’s review the simple tricks you can start using today to get your motivation back.
Tip 1 – Fake it till you make it
This is something you have probably heard from motivational speakers before. Or self-help “gurus.” The thing is, it actually works. If you try to fake it it can force your mind to adopt a more positive, successful focus. Take a moment and reflect on what you would be doing right now if you were more motivated to accomplish the task you’re trying to do. What would you need to be thinking and saying to yourself? What is the self-talk that you would be saying to yourself. Write down 3-5 things
Tip 2 – Break Things into Smaller Pieces
If you feel stressed because you have way too many things on your do to list, try to break things up into manageable pieces. Start now and write down the next 3 things you need to do. Start with something super simple you can achieve in the next hour. Concentrate on accomplishing the next task and don’t worry about the “big picture” for right now. This will help you get back to focusing on the small tasks. And by doing that you will get them done. You will feel better, and you will be making progress toward the larger goal.
Tip 3 – Create Accountability
Create some accountability for your actions and your motivation. Tell your friends, family or a trusted colleague about your goal and ask them to check in with you to measure your progress. If you have the money you can hire an accountability coach too. For many of us, having someone else that is going to check creates a different form of motivation and it helps us commit to getting things done when we are accountable to someone else. Its harder to disappoint others than ourselves so this strategy usually works for most people and can be surprisingly effective!
Tip 4 – Avoid Negative People and “Energy Vampires”
We all have people who are negative in our lives. They are the first to tell you why you can’t do something you’re trying to do. They will tell you all the reasons why you can’t accomplish your task. Maybe they are negative in general or envious of your success. Who knows. And for today it doesn’t really matter, the trick here is to minimize or avoid interactions with these people when you are struggling with motivation. They will only bring you down and take you in the wrong direction. The term “energy vampires” is for the people who suck your energy out of you, just like a vampire sucks blood out of people! These people need your emotional blood to live on and they will take up your energy and drain your enthusiasm. So don’t waste your time or energy on people that will drag you down, especially if you’re having low motivation. You still start improving your motivation immediately by reducing all of the negative energy surrounding you.
Tip 5 – Seek out Motivating People
This tip is the opposite of the one above. In the tip above you’re avoiding or reducing contact with the negative people. Seek out motivating people that can inspire and uplift you. This is really a one-two punch of sorts! By eliminating the negative and increasing the positive, you will suddenly feel completely different!
If you don’t have a network of friends and family to reach out to that will inspire you, you can find free mentors and role models in the form of podcasts or even on YouTube. There are tons of motivational people you can find that will inspire you. Find them, and learn from their inspiration and motivation. This is powerful stuff!
Tip 6 – Use Music to Lift Your Mood
Music is a powerful, quick and free way to change your mood quickly. Music can uplift your mind and have a really strong impact on your mood. Instrumental music can help reduce your stress if you are doing work that requires your full attention. Or upbeat, happy music can be helpful if you don’t need to pay full attention. During the work day music with lyrics is often distracting as it requires your attention. Anyway, take action right now and put on some music you enjoy and note the immediate lift in your mood.
Tip 7 – STOP the Negative Self-Talk
It’s easy to beat up on yourself when you make mistakes. That is normal but when you’re having issues with motivation, it just makes things even worse.
Are you talking negatively to yourself? take a moment and pause and write down on paper some of the things you are saying to yourself. If you wouldn’t say those things to someone else, you should not say them to yourself.
Tip 8 – Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
This one is a really common habit, especially if you spend a lot of time on Instagram or Facebook looking enviously at what other people are doing. And then usually judging yourself negatively (which ties this in with the last tip). Usually people are presenting an exaggerated or fake version of themselves online. They are sharing highlights which are likely exaggerated. If you are having an unmotivated, boring day, this can kill your motivation by making you feel badly about yourself. That feeds into negative self talk (“I will never by like ____”) and it leads to a very predictable outcome, right? You end feeling hopeless and negative about yourself and that saps your motivation.
The solution is easy, limit your time on social media. And if you use an iPhone, set limits for yourself using Screen Time to set limits for yourself. You can do this in literally less than 1 minute!
Tip 9 – Express Gratitude
When we’re in a bad or negative mood or overwhelmed, it becomes easy to automatically focus on what we don’t have. Then everything becomes negative and you’re not evaluating things objectively.
What are 3 things you have that you’re grateful for? Think of the things you constantly overlook and ignore. For example is there a roof over your head? Do you have clean clothes? Do you have clean water? Do you have food in the fridge?
Instead take a moment and express gratitude for things you have that you are taking for granted. Don’t wait, do this right now!
Tip 10 – Take a Break
If you are super stressed and unmotivated, it may sound completely nuts to you to take a break. But, the thing is it works! Working non stop will sap your emotional energy. Right now go take a 10 or 15 minute break. Take a walk, try a new cup of coffee, go talk to a friend who is uplifting.
This one is super easy and you’ll feel better right away.
Tip 11 – Recognize a Success
One big killer of motivation is never taking time to savor your successes. Give yourself praise, recognize little victories as you experience them, and give yourself small rewards as you go. Don’t wait!
So take a moment to celebrate your success that you are probably overlooking. And then the important thing is to say it out loud and then give yourself a reward.
Recognizing small accomplishments and rewarding yourself is key to increasing your motivation! Give yourself little rewards as you go and celebrate your successes.
For example, if you finish a task give yourself a break and try something from this tip list. Rewards are the difference between a sense of accomplishment and feeling like you are making progress and just feeling demotivated. Let yourself know that you have accomplished something. This is really important because you are probably used to receiving rewards for a job well done. And starting to recognize your little victories and rewarding yourself helps you motivate yourself toward larger goals, and it’s a key to increasing your motivation!
Tip 12 – Go Outside and Experience Nature
Going out to a natural environment is one of the best things you can do when you are not feeling motivated. Research shows that being in nature reduces stress. If you are in a city, find a local park Getting back into nature will help you reboot your mind. Fresh and clean air and getting outside has immense healing properties. And a walk in a park is free, so there’s no excuse not to do this. Make a commitment to yourself to get outside in nature in the next 24 hours!
Tip 13 – Tidy Up Your Environment
It’s hard to find motivation if everything is dirty or disorganized. It’s easy to lose your motivation. And the clutter distracts you from what’s important because it actually distracts you from focusing.
So take a minute right now and clean one or two things up. Is there something in the kitchen you can clean up? Or your desk? Just do a very quick 2 minute tidying up. An organized desk will help your mind focus and it will keep the motivation fresh and let your energy flowing.
Tip 14 – Try Optimism
One of the biggest things that kills our motivation is constant pessimism. If your brain tends toward focusing on the negative you are constantly draining your motivation and enthusiasm. The time to start changing that is right now!
Optimism will help create energy, enthusiasm, and momentum. It’s not always easy to find a bright spot of optimism though. And if you’re used to being pessimistic this will take extra time so be patient with yourself.
There are 2 easy things to try here: 1. Check in with an optimistic friend and ask him/her how to see the situation more optimistically. 2. Ask yourself – “What is the bright spot here that I might be overlooking?”
This tip might sound a bit cheesy, but try it – it will go a long way toward retraining your autopilot thinking and help keep your motivation consistent.
Tip 15 – Reduce the Distractions
With smartphones and the constant distractions in modern life, it’s easy to sap your motivation. Things that are not work related, like games or videos can be much more “fun” than work but at the end of the day they are big distractions that will have a really negative impact on your motivation. So pay careful attention to how you are distracting yourself during the day. Do you need to set limits for yourself (See #8 above)? Do you need to turn off the TV? Take a minute and write out the top 3 distractions and write out how you will reduce these distractions to increase your motivation.
In summary, try these 15 tips to improve your motivation. These are quick changes you can make right now and you will start to notice a subtle shift in your energy right away.
Let me know in the comments below which suggestions help keep your motivation flowing and what works best for you!