So, there you are – a fine morning, at your desk, a lot of tasks at hand, and your schedule for the day is full. Unfortunately, your motivation has left you and your mind seems to be hovering over planet Mars while your body is there in the office – you are disconnected. You lack initiavites, your thinking is inefficient. You dread to take the right action.
Time passes slowly in snail’s speed – you wait, five ten, sixty minutes – nothing happens. You feel like you are stuck in eternity. You are still there, drowned and demotivated, praying for a miracle to happen and flip that switch in your mind to a productive mode so you could get things done quickly. You count hours. Too bad, there’s no miracle, nothing seems to come to rescue the situation – you realize that you are doomed.
Well, relax, today is your lucky day. I might happen to have just the right way to flip that switch in your mind. It might happen as you read this article.
This article gives you the most practical and useful tips on how to motivate yourself and take action when it feels like your mind has taken a long nap and it’s only your body that seem to wonder around without any direction.
These ideas you are about to read will save a lot of time in the future by driving you to action when all you were supposed to do was loose time in indolence and stay unproductive when your motivation drowns.
In the previous post I blogged about tips on goal settings. In fact, for your goals to see the light of day, you need these tips on how awake your motivation when all hopes seem to have vanished into thin air. Motivation is the powerhouse behind achieving goals. You need to take constant action, if you relax and procrastinate, you’re likely to give up on your goals.
However, it’s important to note that motivation is crucial to achieve goals, but it shouldn’t be the only factor towards achieving your goals, in fact you need more than motivation to get things done. If you rely entirely on motivation, then I have bad news for you – you’ll hardly achieve anything worthwhile in life. If you happen to consistently take action and stick with your goal long enough, you’ll eventually see it coming to life – and there’s nothing as breathtaking as that in life – it’s simply euphoric.
Motivation is like a drug, whenever it’s there, it takes you to the peak, and when it goes away, you drown into the worst state possible that you can’t even get anything done. You have to understand that motivation has everything to do with how you think in the mind – it’s a state of mind. But if you are disciplined enough, you won’t always need motivation to accomplish your goals. You must take action consistently. Discipline must drive you to action regardless of your moods or emotional state. This is how you get things done with certainty.
This article aims at providing some useful hints necessary to bring your motivation to desirable scales whenever it drowns.
“Of course motivation is not permanent. But then, neither is bathing; but it is something you should do on a regular basis.” ― Zig Ziglar
The best thing about motivation is that, it’s always at its best in the beginning of the goal, then in two or three weeks down the road, you are suffering the pain and crave for the old ways of life – but it’s helps to overcome the inertia and keep you on track towards your goals. Nevertheless, if your level of self-disciplined isn’t good enough, you are likely to give up on your goals.
What Motivates Us?
Before going any further, let’s analyze the factors behind our motivations. These are:
- The will to accomplish a goal
- The passion behind our goals
- The satisfaction of knowing we contribute towards our own developments and those of others
- The feeling of doing something useful that makes us improve
- The idea of growth when we do what we do
- The fear of failure or grave repercussion when we can’t get our goals done
- Nearing the deadline for submission or our goals
- Need to feel worthy and accomplished before others
Two Kinds of Motivations
There are two kinds of motivations that drive us towards achieving our goals:
- Positive motivating Factors
These are motivations fueled with passion, willpower, love, and enthusiasm behind the goal. They are internally generated emotions and powerful enough to let you stick to your goal regardless of the external pressures the challenges and environment exerts on you.
- Negative motivating Factors
These emotions are external factors that drive you to take action even when your internal emotional state doesn’t feel like it, eventually you get to accomplish what is necessary, which is what matters the most. Negative motivating factors may be for instance, pressure of completing work on the deadline, the feeling of being fired when a goal won’t be fully met, the feeling of failure when the goal won’t be achieved.
These two kind of motivations are equally important to getting goals done. Through experience I have seen them play big role in making my goals come to life. In my opinion, we need both of them. If your internal motivation drowns, your external factors may come to rescue when the time comes. The combinations of both are what I call self-discipline – that is, taking the necessary action regardless of your internal emotional state.
How To Motivate Yourself
Now, here we are, and the big question is still goes unaswered, what to do when you aren’t motivated to take the necessary actions towards your goals?
There are several things you can do to rescue yourself from the trap of inaction. But the most important thing is to understand why you are in such a trap in the first place. I can’t list all the factors that may lead to lack of motivation, even though there are several of them and many of which will be discussed along with the following solutions to awaken your motivation.
1. Don’t think, just take action
Thinking is important and I love it because it leads to a lot of positive outcomes, but some people simply overdo it. The results – they procrastinate. They lose motivation. If you are one of those people, I suggest you stop thinking and take action.
When you think too much, the process seems painful and boring. To avoid that, just take action and think while you are in the process. When you push yourself to take action, you break the ice and find yourself fully engaged into what you do.
If you feel are a bit lousy and don’t feel like working out, or writing, planning your day, or completing a report. Stop thinking and simply act. Once you take action, everything flows naturally from there. Set a rule, no matter what happens, you must take action, no matter how small it might be.
2. Have Multiple Goals
In the previous post on goal setting, I insisted on the idea of multitasking. Well, this is exactly why I multitask – to give me motivation. Sometimes some of the tasks, even though crucial and must be done, are really drowning your motivation because they don’t bring the sense of fun and enthusiasm no matter how you look at them. This is the right time to switch to more fun and engaging tasks – do another task that is more fun. When you’re fully engaged and feel like you are on top of the world, switch back to the initial task. It works. Your mind is now ready to face challenges. This works for me, most of the times.
3. Practice Gratitude
What gratitude does to your mind is that, it replaces the negative thoughts of wants, lack, and greed with those positive thoughts of fulfillment, hope, empowerment, and satisfaction. This change of mindset, no matter how subtle, has tremendous effects in shifting your motivation towards how you approach your day.
Gratitude brings your being into alignment with your desires and you feel complete, whole, and thankful – that’s powerful. If you are grateful for your life – you feel balanced and fulfilled. Your mind works to keep you in check and no negative thoughts or emotions is powerful enough to distract you from being active and achieving your daily goals. The idea here is to be grateful for what you have, what you are, and what you are capable of doing. In turn, you let go of all the negative feelings that will diminish your morale towards taking appropriate actions.
The best part of gratitude is that, it is empowering. If you practice it long enough, it empower you with the positive emotions and thoughts, this locks you in a circle of gratitude that provides contant motivation and it’s hard to break once you see the benefits.
4. Don’t be over ambitious
Being ambitious is good but at times it works against your will. If you are ambitious and take small steps towards improving to your target, then you are on the right track. The problem arises when you are overambitious and want to start with a lot of things at once. With time, the reality slaps you in the face – you aren’t capable of maintaining what you do. You get discouraged and finally lose motivation.
The best thing is, think big and take small steps towards your goals. If you want to work out and run for 30 minutes, then cut it back to 5 minutes for the first couple of days or a week. You can slowly increase an eventually get to 30 minutes or even an hour in the future. Don’t do too much at first, hold yourself back, the right time will come. Struggle for an increasing and not a decreasing performance curve.
5. Work out
Do you regularly practice physical exercises? If you do, I hope you have found that great feeling after finishing it. It simply boosts your morale and put you to work – you are simply energized.
Science proved that exercising has a therapeutic value to the body but also makes you happier and active by releasing endorphin – the nature’s happy drug. Once you work out, you are fired up and can stay active and motivated over longer periods of time. So, the benefit is not only limited to being physically fit and having an active brain due to increased blood circulation, you also get to be more motivated with the exercise. This is a killer way to boosting your motivation – it simply work wonders.
I suggest you work out every morning, for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Anything physical – pushups, sit-ups, weight lifting, aerobics or anything that you see fit, simply work that body out. Let those muscles move. This has a very powerful effect on how happy and active you’ll stay in your day.
This method always makes me stay alert and active the whole day through. I wonder, who needs constant motivation when this is enough?
6. Get Enough Sleep
Have you tried to deprive yourself of sleep and see how it inefficient you become the following day? Well, I have. I know exactly how it does to me. In fact, it renders me practically inefficient.
Sometimes what makes us lose motivation towards taking appropriate actions is the lack of enough rest – we are too stressed up with work and deprive ourselves the time to rest. In order for you to work efficiently, you must let your body rejuvenate long enough to be in the best possible shape. Enough rest improves your productivity.
I have also experienced something useful connected to this. Over time, I have noticed that whenever I feel demotivated and take a short nap, my motivation returns when I wake up. I don’t know how it works but I feel like sleep has a therapeutic value in determining how the body works. A 30 to 45 minutes sleep during the day can double your productivity.
7. Share your goal with people.
In the previous post about goal setting I insisted on keeping your goals private. But that really depends on how you respond to other people’s opinions. If you are easily swayed, then this might not be the best thing for you. If not, then be open, declare it public.
Putting your intentions public brings you some sense of accountability. It’s a fact that no one likes to look like a failure or wimp when after declaring they will achieve a goal publically. Even if you can’t reach your target, at least you took action. So don’t hold up, declare it publically and take action. This will boost your motivation because you’ll be getting a lot of queries and that’ll put you in check.
I recall the time when I was writing my book, I put this principle at work. At first, I was skeptical to share my work, then I decided to share it with a few friends around me. That did wonders – friends kept inquiring on the progress and if I could share some ideas. That enthusiasm from friends boosted my motivation. I was forced into taking action towards finishing it. It probably could have taken much longer without this trick. It served as a great reminder whenever I was around friends. It also helped me get connections to places and people who have experiences, so it was worth a shot.
I also got negative feedback, some people said I couldn’t do it. Some said I wasn’t qualified, some were quiet and others simply laughed and ridiculed. If you think you can handle both positive and negative reactions from people, then go with this. I can’t guarantee how people will react, but it also comes down to which people you share your ideas with.
8. Focus On The Outcomes, Not The Process
Do you want to stay motivated into taking the necessary action? Then don’t sweat about the process, instead focus on the outcome of what you gonna do. For instance, if you want to be more productive by waking up early and exercise, then don’t think of the process of waking up at 5am. That will drown your motivation. Instead, visualize on how wonderful it will be when your day is productive. Think of the free time you’ll gain as a result of this change. Thing of the freedom you’ll have in the end. It’s amazing huh? That should do the trick. There’s a benefit in thinking of the outcomes because they are making us feel good, but the process is rather boring. Our minds are resist boring and painful actions and procedures, and the mind loves relaxing and doing nothing. In fact, if you envision something as painful, the mind’s first reaction is to fight it, and guess what, it always wins.
9. Relax Your Brain With The Soothing Music
Music has therapeutic value. I don’t know how to explain it. Any kind of music that has a calming effect in your mind can relax it and instantly change your emotion. There’s no specific music in this case. I found it like any music that can entertain you can work to boost your motivation. I personally love classic and instrumental music, especially when I am engaged in a mind involving activity – there are no distractions. The rythms simply calms me down. I get to work longer hours without being tired and I am less tired compared to when I don’t have the music on. I use this method when I write and when I read stuff, and the results are impeccable.
10. Practice Productive Procrastination
Wonder why I suggest procrastination? Well, this is a productive way to do something useful when all that you do is gone. In other way you could say, calming or relaxing your brain.
Relaxing isn’t necessarily staying idle and do nothing. For the mind, relaxing can mean shifting from one activity to another. A simply action of changing which areas of your brain works can let your mind enjoy the activity, which is useful. Take an example, if you are so busy thinking of something difficult but can’t figure it out, then you decide to play a game. Your mind simply changes and you are now involved in another activity. In the middle of the game, you might find yourself getting the solution to your problem. Isn’t that amazing? Well, it happens to me more often than not, and I simply love it.
Sometimes we lose motivation because we overwork ourselves. We don’t take time to breath and get some fresh air. We don’t give our brains some time to digest and arrange ideas. This may result to stress and that leads to lack of motivation.