Motivation is an elusive force. Some people bounce off to the gym each morning, while others battle themselves to show up once a week. Some people run several successful businesses, while others quit their first business in the development stages.
The internet is flooded with motivation tips and “tricks,” but they fail to have a uniform impact on everyone who reads them. The fact is, there are no tricks to motivating yourself – only straightforward and honest ways. But wait! Don’t stop reading. If you can get through these factors and determine that you have them all neatly in place, your motivation is going to be on point.
Caring about the Pursuit
It should go without saying that the level of care and interest you have in something determines how motivated you’ll feel. The problem is that people often try to trick themselves into motivation toward things they don’t actually enjoy. Again, the gym is a perfect example. For those who actually enjoy the gym, it’s no problem getting motivated. But for the rest of the miserable gym-goers, it would make more sense for them to find a sport or physical activity they enjoy (e.g. biking, skating, etc.) An enjoyable activity would yield motivated more easily than a tedious, repetitive one (like running on a treadmill. yawn.)
Reframing the Negatives
If you’re trying to work up the motivation to quit smoking, for example, it’s difficult to get any momentum going since quitting will not be fun. The best thing to do in situations where you need motivation for a difficult task, is reframe. Reframe your focus and hold it there for as long as possible. In the case of smoking, you’d want to direct your focus to all the positive things that come from not smoking – clear lungs, health, congratulations from friends and family, etc. These are motivating factors, as opposed to demotivating factors – like comparing your progress to others who are doing better, or thinking about how far you still have to go.
Believing the Positives
What you believe impacts your level of motivation pretty drastically. For example, how many of us wake up each day feeling highly motivated to work toward becoming a millionaire? A select few. And those few are the ones who are most likely to reach the goal. The reason is that their outlook prevents them from becoming as discouraged as most of us would. They believe it’s possible for them to do, which prevents them from losing motivation.
Beliefs can slip through our psyche unnoticed a lot of the time. We don’t always see the connection between the things we tell ourselves and the outcome of our goals. But before even attempting a goal, it’s important to be clear on what you truly believe about that goal. Do you really think you are capable? Do you truly believe you have all the resources you need? If several negative or limiting beliefs are active in your mind, it’s going to effect your motivation for sure. After all, who would aspire toward something they don’t actually think is possible?
So if beliefs are your problem, work on opening your mind to more possibilities, or adopting new beliefs to take the place of the old ones.
A lot of people say starting is the hardest part, and while it’s a bummer, they’re right. The reason starting is the hardest is because you have no momentum built yet, and thus little motivation. Momentum towards a goal gives you not only confidence in yourself and the goal, but also a sense of pleasure in the pursuit.
If you’ve just started working towards a goal, focus on the small successes at the beginning. Keep track of them, talk about them with others, and do whatever you feel will help build momentum. In just a week or so, you can have a bundle of mini-accomplishments towards your goal, and voila! Momentum. The important thing is to not gloss over your early accomplishments. Don’t say, “it’s no big deal,” or “it still won’t work.” These are momentum busters. In reality, building momentum is as easy and you allow it to be.
Distracting from the Task
This one is definitely a little counterintuitive. The best way to get motivated is to distract yourself from the task? Huh? But when you’re losing motivation, and a project isn’t going as planned, it’s a good idea to alleviate some of your focus from it. As mentioned earlier, it’s easiest to be motivated when a task is enjoyable, so once things go wrong, motivation begins to wane.
So instead of completely abandoning a project prematurely, distract yourself with other projects or activities that are going well. The positivity from those endeavors will then transfer over to the area you’re stuck in, providing a new well of motivation. Distractions also allow you to return to a project later on with a fresh set of eyes, and likely a fresh set of ideas.
And of course, relax. Motivation shouldn’t be a grueling struggle, and if it is, you’re doing it wrong! The lighter and calmer your mindset is, the more likely motivation is to come naturally.