You all have big dreams and high goals that you want to achieve. But you often find yourself feeling unmotivated.
Motivation is something that comes and goes.
This experience teaches the need to find ways to motivate yourself proactively. Instead of helplessly waiting for motivation to come. Because if we depend on our motivation, we are heading for a long ride.
Achieving our goals is like a marathon, but we tend to treat it like a sprint. In the beginning, we are oh so motivated and full of drive soon to realize that motivation doesn’t naturally last – especially not when we encounter setbacks. Or when progress is slow or non-existent. To achieve big goals, we have to be prepared for the long-run. And motivation is a key ingredient.
Why We Lack Motivation?
You see motivation is something we all struggle with from time to time.
The reasons why we experience demotivation is often linked with:
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Being afraid of not being good enough
- Fear of failure
- Lack of clarity about what you want
To tackle these motivation-killers, here are some ways that effectively motivate you.
This post describes 16 Effective ways to motivate yourself.
1. Make Small Goals
You must have a huge and bold goal. But be sure to divide that goal into consumable bite-size goals. In this way, you will feel that you are progressing on your journey and you will also have a sense of achievement when you complete the smaller objectives.
Completing a large project is difficult when you don’t know where to start. How can you end if you don’t even know where to start? So, instead of focusing on one big and terrifying goal, Divide your big goal into smaller tasks that you can complete one at a time.
2. Start with Why
Get clear on the why behind your goal. Most people know what they want to achieve but pay little attention to the real reasons and the purpose behind their goals. It can seem like knowing what we want to achieve is enough, but the key to motivation is having a powerful “why” behind the goals that you deeply resonate with.
If you chase goals with a weak why you will struggle to get motivated, but how come we sometimes end up pursuing goals that are not truly meaningful to us?
Martha Becks has the answer: She explains that we all have an Essential Self and a Social Self within us. The Social Self wants to fit in and is therefore focused on pleasing others. Your Social Self thinks in logic and makes decisions from a place of fear.
Your Essential Self, however, is that part of you that knows who you are and what’s most important to you. Being constantly influenced by the world around us makes it easy to fall into the trap of chasing goals to please others. If your goal is fueled by the Social Self’s desire to fit in but goes against your Essential Self, demotivation kicks in.
Starting a project or getting fit because society tells you to is just not a strong enough motivator to keep you pushing past the many hurdles of life. So take time to discover the real why behind your goal: is it the Essential Self or the Social Self that drives the chase?
Dig past artificial reasons and get real on your true why. To discover the real way, notice how you feel when you think about your goals. Do you feel tightness and constriction? If so, you are likely chasing goals to fit in merely.
So what are the real reasons behind your goal?
3. Get Clear on The Next Steps to Take
Often motivation goes when we feel lost and unsure about what the next steps are. Write down a list of 10 actions that take you closer to your desired goal.
This works best if the actions can be done immediately without you having to do anything else first. If you have to call someone but need to get that person’s number first, then asking for the number is the next action and not making the phone call. David Allen, the author of “Getting things done,“ calls this an actionable item, something you can do straight away without any pre-steps.
Whenever your motivation drops because you’re overwhelmed, get back to your list and choose an action to focus on.
4. Visualize How You will Feel
Connecting your goals with desirable emotions is excellent to boost motivation. Zig Ziglar, the great motivational speaker, once said
“People don’t buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons.”Zig Ziglar
The same is right for buying into your goals and getting motivated to accomplish them. Connect your goals with emotions that fuel you. Fill in the sentence: I want to achieve my goal because I want to feel ……Then keep reminding yourself.
So what do you want your goal to make you feel?
5. Find Inspiration
Find someone that is where you want to be to inspire you. Inspiration reminds you that pursuing your desired goals is worth the effort. Get an amazing quote, a video, an image or anything else that gets you fired up.
You might need to experiment a little to find the right thing. If you are looking for a person for inspiration, make sure you are inspired by both their success and their path/story.
Whenever I look at these 18-year-old billionaires that build amazing businesses, I can only resonate with their success, but their path and story leave me even more demotivated than I was before.
What inspires you today to take action?
6. Create Momentum
Focus on activities that will provide quick rewards. You need to see results to keep your motivation high. Whenever I feel like I am making no progress, self-doubt, and fear of failure start kicking in. When you look at your efforts are being rewarded, you are so much more motivated to keep going.
Often you see a lot of progress when you do a specific activity daily. For example, in the last 20 days of my daily fitness workout, I have made more progress than in the past year of going to the gym once/twice a week. I noticed how I got stronger and more toned. This momentum keeps me going even though it’s much harder to exercise daily instead of weekly.
If you had only 30 min today to work towards your goals, what action would have the most significant impact? What activities create measurable results fast?
7. Create Time Pressure
Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.
This saying is also known as the Parkinson’s Law which dates back to 1955 and was said by the famous British historian and author Cyril Northcote Parkinson. You might also be stumbled upon it in Tim Ferris’ book “The 4-hour workweek” book.
Making use of time pressure makes you so much more productive because you know time is running out. Being more productive leads to faster progress and more motivation.
You can make use of the Parkinson’s Law by creating deadlines by which a task have to be done by or by scheduling fixed activity blocks.
I often schedule appointments with myself or others to ensure I have a defined end to my working blocks. If I only have 3 hours to work towards my goals, I feel more motivated to get things done than if I have all day to do it.
How can you create time pressure?
8. Take Time Off
When you are overworked, your family and friends complain that they haven’t seen you in weeks and your fridge is empty; you know you need to take a break. When you had a rest, you will feel a lot more motivated to get back to your work.
I realized I often worked too long in one sitting without taking any breaks – so I usually ended up being super unproductive, feeling demotivated and drained. Scheduling regular breaks and also take real time off works wonders.
The key here is awareness: as soon as you become aware that you get demotivated or unproductive, take a step back and have a short break.
9. Create Routines & Habits
Routines and habits automate your behavior, so your mind comes up with fewer reasons to get demotivated. Once you established a method for working towards your goals, you will be less dependent on motivation, because taking the right action comes more natural to you.
This month, I exercised every day before eating lunch. This routine makes it far less likely to skip a workout due to demotivation. The key was finding a trigger (I am hungry) and a reward (tick off the countdown of my 30-day plan) to keep the routine going.
Watch this video below to see how we form and break habits.
(Tip: The Power of Habit is an excellent book by Charles Duhigg and worth a read)
10. Partner Up
It’s incredible how partnering up can boost motivation. Find someone that wants to achieve the same or a similar goal and hold each other accountable.
Partnering up can mean keeping your partner updated on your problems, questions, and progress. Or even better it can mean working together on your goals.
I am lucky to have Amy, a close friend of mine, who lifts my spirit when I feel low and who I can bounce ideas off.
If you don’t know anyone personally, search online for like-minded people and connect with others. Soon enough you will find someone that ticks the boxes.
Who could you partner up with?
11. Place a Bet
This one is one of my favorite motivation tips. Whenever I want to achieve something, I try to place a bet or create a challenge to hold myself accountable to my goal.
Find a friend or your partner and make a bet: when you achieve your goals, you win something you care about, if you lose, the other party wins something even more significant.
This works particularly well when it comes to establishing new routines. It doesn’t have to be someone that wants to achieve the same as you. Just find a friend and offer him/her a fun deal. Of course, the stakes need to be high enough, so it hurts if you lose.
Last time when I did a fitness challenge, the deal was me getting a nice meal out in my favorite restaurant if I win, or if I lose, I would have had to do another 30 days of daily workout straight after. The thought of doing additional workouts for another whole month got me moving!
With whom could you make a bet with?
12. Tear Your Excuses Apart
Often demotivation comes from the fear of failure. Your mind comes up with tons of reasons and excuses why you will never reach your goals. To stop these excuses taking you down, unmask them beforehand: What has hindered you from achieving your goals in the past? What rubbish did you mind tell you?
I bet it says things like: You are not good enough. You don’t have enough resources or not enough help to make it. You don’t know how to do it and so on.
Write down all your petty excuses that have stopped you in the past and prove them wrong with real-life examples. Whenever I think I’m not good enough, I think about my past achievements that show I am good enough to achieve my goals.
Try to answer your excuses: My mind thinks I can’t succeed because …….. This excuse is false because Whenever you notice these excuses entering your mind, say “Thanks, but I choose not to believe it because of ….. (your reason).
13. Forget About Motivation and Focus on Fun
Motivation comes and goes. Let’s not beat ourselves up for feeling demotivated. Instead of hoping for motivation, why not focus on bringing fun to your work. What we focus on expands. This old wisdom is also true for motivation. If you focus on your demotivation, it will grow until you can’t tackle it anymore.
What can you do to your to-do list to make it more enjoyable?
14. Reduce Daily Distractions
It is difficult to focus when you have lots of distractions around you. So close the door of your office. Place your mobile in silent mode and put it on the other end of your workspace or at home until you get your work completed.
Always try to focus on one work until you complete it. Try to avoid multitasking.
What can you do to reduce your daily distractions?
15. Listen to Music That Gives You Energy
One of the simplest things you can do when you feel low on energy or motivation is to listen to music that inspires you in some way. Take breaks and hear some inspirational songs or music when you feel stressed. It will help to recover your mood and feel better.
Which songs or music you listen to?
16. Be Optimistic.
Pessimism can exhaust both your motivation and energy. But a positive and constructive way of looking at things can energize and recharge your motivation.
When you find yourself in a negative situation, ask yourself questions like What’s right about this? What can hidden opportunity be found here? What can I learn from this?
What are your ways to be optimistic?
Have you got another tip to share with us? How do you motivate yourself? Let us know in the comments below; We would love to learn more!