For many of us, we don’t have to keep on eye on motivating ourselves to reach the goals we want. However, as time ticks on and we sit at home; working, living, and just being it can be hard to feel motivated to do much else.
With life taking every twist and turn reminiscent of a box office hit film, you may ask yourself, ‘how can I keep doing this?’ Self-motivation may come in waves, in turn, inevitably you may feel less productive, but you don’t have to drown. Here are five ways you can remind yourself of who’s the boss. I’ll help you find the motivation you need to tackle the most mundane to what seems overwhelming.
1. Identify the block within
Lack of motivation can be identified externally, but internally is where the answers lie. Self-talk is one of many factors on what could be zapping your will to ‘do’. Science shows us that motivation causes intense emotional responses such as short breaths, tightened muscles, and racing hearts. This is very similar to what you feel when you’re excited. When you feel motivated to do something, there’s a level of excitement that is stirring within, pushing you forward.
Tune into your self-awareness to figure out what exactly motivates you personally. For some it’s money, recognition, thrill, a sense of accomplishment, or even competition. Has the thing you need to do lost excitement? Has your mindset on the outcome changed? Did someone say something that had you second guessing yourself? Once you can pinpoint what motivates you, that power can be harnessed to fuel your internal motivation motor.
2. Plan big, step small
I’m sure you’ve heard this a hundred times. Whatever you need to be self-motivated for, make a plan for the end result but don’t forget the small steps along the way. It’s very easy to hyper-focus on the goal while forgetting the successes it will take on the way there.
Take an example of a woman who goes to work day in and day out to help pay her bills and save for continuing education. To enroll she must have $3,000. She started with zero and now has $1700 saved. She may find herself demotivated because she isn’t enrolled in classes yet, the jobs she wants are being filled, and she feels she is getting too old for school. In turn she is cutting back on her hours because she thinks ‘what’s the point?’. A better way for her to view this is to appreciate the smaller steps is to relish that she is more than halfway to her larger goal. Maybe realizing she is halfway to her goal will help her re-plan the last half of her savings so it doesn’t take the same amount of time.
Setting micro-goals along the way to larger goals is certain to keep you on track and feeling fulfilled. Not only should you plan realistic goals but don’t forget all the effort it takes to make it there and reward yourself when you hit those milestones.
3. Motivation by proxy
A simple trick I have found when I’m lacking self motivation is to find others who motivate me. Looking for career change? Find a teacher for a hobby or class that will sharpen skills needed for that career. Need to lose weight? Read some books about others who have successfully traveled a similar journey. Fighting wellness on your own? There are endless books, movies, TED Talks, music, and more written and created by people who are just like you.
Witnessing others around us reach their goals and overcome adversity triggers something within. This is when you start to question your own motivations and use their success as inspiration. Success isn’t contagious but that doesn’t mean with you can’t feed off it. Look at the people you surround yourself with? Are they accomplishing their goals? If not, they could holding you back.
Spend time and absorb all that ambitious, driven, and successful people have to offer. Before long you will be in a similar boat. Don’t be afraid to incorporate traits, tricks, and mentalities that have worked for others.
4. Hold yourself accountable
Personally, when I know I have a large goal ahead of me, I do everything I can to be sure that I will be accountable for it. This can look like sharing my lofty goal with friends and family, joining a new group or club relating to that goal, enlisting a trusted person to check-in on my progress, or even using apps to steer clear of getting complacent.
As a means of staying committed once you have a goal in mind, tie it to a way to be accountable. We are great at holding others accountable but lack that same conviction when it comes to ourselves. Regularly review what you are doing and why you are doing it. When you feel yourself backsliding on a goal look for support but be honest with yourself. Are you spending too much time on social media? Do you still want your goal? Will you continue to work hard for it, even when it seems like it’s out of reach? Take responsibility for your actions.
Some of the most successful people in history will tout holding themselves accountable as a key component to their success. If you are struggling sit down and figure out why before giving up all together. The great thing about creating a plan for yourself, is that you can re-work it as needed. No great success was ever achieved without great challenge so don’t give up.
3. See it in your mind’s eye
Using imagery to visualize your goal is a big boon according to experts. If the recent uptick in ‘vision board’ searches is any indication, visualizing your accomplishment is part of the process. Your brain and nervous system actually can’t tell the difference between a real experience and one that is very vividly imagined. Visualizing goals is a free mind hack that effectively helps you on your way to success by saying ‘I got this.’
I love using creative visualization as a way to picture how the outcome of certain goals I have look like to me. This helps flip the switch to the creative subconscious part of the mind while positively influencing your thoughts about a goal. Have you ever thought you were going to have a bad day and then you did have a bad day? This is the same concept, once you make your mind up that something ‘will’ be a certain way, you may find yourself subconsciously creating that reality.
Visualizing a goal increases motivation and inspiration to consciously act – because you want to achieve what your subconscious has “seen”. When you vividly trick your mind into believing what it’s seeing, you begin to work on shifting your self image, aligning your values, actions, and behaviors all toward your goal. Check out this video by Ashanti Johnson explaining the power of visualization.
Now that you have some new techniques to try out, remember all goals require a level of genuine interest, reward versus risk, breaking mental barriers, emotional fortitude, and old fashioned elbow grease. Don’t make the mistake of dwelling on past pitfalls. The power to reach your goal is within you and while you can’t change yesterday, you can change today!