Heart, Soul and Mind

Staying Motivated

September 17, 2012

Ever felt like a week was taking forever? It feels like Friday, but it’s only Tuesday? Staying motivated is sometimes difficult. Week after week, we may be performing the same mundane tasks and it may be difficult to get excited about anything that we are doing. We have put together some ways to kick up your motivation levels.  If all else fails, sometimes you just need to take a bit of a break or make some changes in what you are doing. Change, after all, is as good as a holiday…right?

Look at the reasons behind what you do, the “whys”.

Anything you do, no matter how simple, has a number of good reasons behind it. Not all the tasks have the good reasons to do them seen at first sight, but if you take just a few moments to analyse them, you will easily spot something good. They may not be obvious, but stay at it until you see some, as this will bring your motivation back and will help you finish the task.

Some ideas for what a good reason can be:

  • a material reward – quite often, you will get paid for doing something you normally don’t like doing at all
  • personal gain – you will learn something new or will perhaps improve yourself in a certain way
  • a feeling of accomplishment – at least you’ll be able to walk away feeling great about finding the motivation and courage to complete such a tedious task
  • a step closer to your bigger goal – even the biggest accomplishments in history have started small and relied on simple and far less pleasant tasks than you might be working on. Every task you complete brings you closer to the ultimate goal, and acknowledging this always feels good.

Make it fun

When it comes to motivation, attitude is everything. Different people may have completely opposite feelings towards the same task: some will hate it, others will love it. Why do you think this happens? It’s simple: some of us find ways to make any task interesting and fun to do! Depending on how you look at it, you can have fun doing just about anything! Just look for ways of having fun, and you’ll find them!

A simple approach is to start working on any task from asking yourself a few questions:

  • How can I enjoy this task?
  • What can I do to make this task fun for myself and possibly for others?
  • How can I make this work the best part of my day?

Some of you will probably think of a thing or two which are valid exceptions from this statement, like something you always hate doing no matter how hard you try making it fun. However, most tasks have a great potential of being enjoyable and so looking for ways to have fun while working is definitely a good habit to acquire.

Adopt a positive vocabulary

The words that you use—both what you speak aloud and your internal dialogue—have a vast influence in how you perceive what’s happening in the world. For instance, the words “despise,” “hate,” and “dislike” mean essentially the same thing, but carry very different emotional baggage. If you “dislike” something, but tell yourself that you “hate it” over and over and over, it will intensify the original emotion.

To keep a positive attitude, use weak words for negative feelings and strong words for positive ones. This thwarts the downward spiral of negative feelings and words, and accelerates the upward spiral of positive feelings and words.

Recognize your progress

Everything you may be working on can be easily split into smaller parts and stages.  For most goals, it is quite natural to split the process of accomplishing them into smaller tasks and milestones. There are a few reasons behind doing this, and one of them is tracking your progress.

We track our progress automatically with most activities. But to stay motivated, you need to recognise your progress, not merely track it. Somehow, it is in a human nature to always want things to happen at once. Even though we split complex tasks into simpler actions, we don’t quite feel the satisfaction until all is done and the task is fully complete. For many scenarios though, the task is so vast that such an approach will drain all the motivation out of you long before you have a chance to reach your goal. That’s why it is important to always take small steps and recognise the progress made. This can apply to many things:

  • Saving for that holiday
  • Moving and unpacking
  • Getting out of debt
  • Finishing a project
  • Spring Cleaning
  • Completing tasks at work

…and the list goes on.

Reward Yourself

This is a trick everyone likes: rewarding yourself is always pleasant. I’m happy to confirm that this is also one of the easiest and at the same time most powerful ways to stay motivated!

Feeling down about doing something? Dread the idea of working on some task? Hate the whole idea of working? You’re not alone in that, I’m telling you! Right from the beginning, agree on some deliverables which will justify yourself getting rewarded. As soon as you get one of the agreed results, take time to reward yourself in some way.

For some tasks, just taking a break and relaxing for a few minutes will do. For others, you may want to get a fresh cup of tea and even treat yourself to a dessert. For even bigger and more demanding tasks, you may want to reward yourself by doing something even more enjoyable, like going to a cinema or taking a trip to some place nice, or even buying yourself something.

Your progress may not seem to others like anything worth celebrating – but take time and do it anyway! It is your task and your reward. The more you reward yourself for the honestly made progress, the more motivated you will feel about reaching new milestones, thus finally accomplishing your goal.

Don’t give up!

Sometimes you simply have to keep pushing through. Yes, bad times suck and they can wear you down, but if you really want to achieve something, you have to persist. If you have tried our other suggestions and you still feel like giving up, don’t. Just keep going. Take one step at a time, but never lose sight of your ultimate goal.

References: http://www.lifehack.org | http://www.inc.com

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