How To Get Motivated
Motivation is our desire to do things. It is an extremely powerful but elusive part of our human tool kit! Sometimes it is really easy to get motivated; you find yourself wrapped up in your chosen activity or goal and find it difficult to let go. You storm through what needs to be done. Other times you just can’t seem to get started and don’t understand why.
The good news is research has shown that you can influence your own levels of motivation. Making changes to your mental and physical environments can increase your motivation. Sometimes small changes can make a big difference, and are much easier to follow through on. They can make things different enough that they give you a little excitement, but not so big they overwhelm you.
Below are some suggestions on how you can increase your motivation and get things moving in the right direction.
1. Understand Your WhyTake a step back to reflect on what makes this activity or goal important to you. What are the reasons for wanting to achieve it? What inspired you in the first place? Reminding yourself of what mattered to you when you set the goal can help you tap back into your motivation. Once you have identified your why, write it down. Then visualise yourself achieving this goal. Spend a few minutes each day visualising your success.
2. Prioritise Your GoalsFocus on your top two or three goals. Ask yourself what small steps do I need to take to move closer to those goals? Get into the habit of writing down your three most important priorities for the day either at the start of each day or the evening before. These priorities should be relatively difficult but achievable. They should be aligned with your key goals, and important for your long-term success. Set specific time aside in your day to complete these tasks. If possible make them the first things you do. Don’t let yourself get distracted with other minor tasks that will bring you less benefit in the long term. Breaking your goals into smaller manageable steps can help you to stay focused and boost your motivation with each task you achieve.
3. Change Your EnvironmentCreating new habits and thought patterns can help you to break free from old habits. Identifying what new habits you could create to support your goals could help you to accelerate your progress. For example, take time to tidy your work-space and your home environment. Clear out the clutter, organise your books, throw out pens that don’t work, and do the filing. You will feel refreshed - and ready for action! Take a moment to see if everything you use regularly is easily accessible and within reach. Surround yourself with things that will inspire you e.g. quotes, pictures, flowers or plants. Consider your daily routine and shift things around a little e.g. do things at different times or change what you do or have. Maybe have a new hot drink or something different for breakfast or lunch. Mix things up; move things around to make your life easier, and send a signal to your brain that things are different around here!
4. Understand What Is Holding You BackAsk yourself what reduces your motivation? What obstacles or barriers might you face that could negatively impact your motivation? Building awareness around what slows down your motivation can give you clarity around what you need to change or what barriers are in your way and therefore what actions you can take to move forward more positively. Tackle two or three initially; remember small steps. A good example could be; I have recently changed my routine so I don’t look at my e-mails first thing. I found I lost half the morning doing a low value task. Instead I now set aside three specific slots in the day to look and respond to e-mails e.g. 11:30; 4:30 & evening for personal ones. This allows me to focus on the important things and because I see tangible achievement earlier in the day I am more motivated.
5. What Support Do You NeedEnlist the support of your family, friends and co-workers. Tell people about your goals and you'll be surprised how supportive most people will be. When you set your goal agree on a reward you will enjoy, that way you have something to look forward to once you have achieved your goal. It will help maintain your motivation. Ask yourself who can help you achieve your goal? What support do you need to achieve your goal? What resources do you have at your disposal to help you? Do you need a holiday or a break to re-energise yourself? What can you do to help yourself? Hiring a coach could really help. You feel more accountable for your actions when you have a coach, and having someone to share your successes, ideas or concerns with can help you to build your enthusiasm and motivation.
Everyone has different motivation factors so I have deliberately provided a lot of options and thought-provoking ideas above. Please don’t feel you need to make massive big changes. If you can make one or two changes in each of the five categories above, you will see your motivation increase. Small steps!