Some people see their motivation as being like the weather – the best they can do is hope for favourable conditions. But here are 6 ways to actively get motivated.
I’m going to assume that the three fundamentals are already in place. They are of course
- a healthy diet
- regular physical activity
- enough sleep
These aren’t just the fundamentals of getting motivated – they’re also the fundamentals of good mental and emotional health. You might be able to get motivated without them, and it might even stick – but what is certain is that it will be much harder work.
1 – Have a plan
Your plan needs to have two sides to it. One is your long term goal, and any milestones along the way. The second side is what you need to do to achieve these, and converts your goals to relevant processes.
2 – Keep the momentum going
The reason for processes is that they are straightforward to turn into action. They key idea here is to take action every day, no matter how small that might be. This helps to build and maintain momentum and engagement. For more on this specific idea have a look at my blog post on “No Zero Days”. It’s seeing progress that will help you to get motivated again.
3 – Stop being overwhelmed
For most people having a plan or set of processes can help them to stop feeling overwhelmed. It allows them to stop trying to hold everything in their mind at once, and to see the true extent of what they need to achieve. A concrete list is also much easier to see progress against, rather than worrying about incomplete or forgotten tasks.
4 – Adjust your expectations
There’s a phrase “perfection is the enemy of the good”. Striving for perfection can stifle progress and kill pride in what has been achieved. It’s not about thinking “that’ll do”, it’s about setting more realistic standards based on a more realistic idea of the standards actually required.
5 – Be autonomous and creative
If you have a job with a degree of autonomy then make use of it, and if it allows you to be creative then take advantage of that. If your work doesn’t give you those opportunities then it’s important to find them outside of work – in your own pastimes, and in any volunteering that you do. Even if it’s outside of work it can still help you to get motivated in work.
6 – Use your natural discomfort with unfinished tasks
It’s called the ‘Ovsiankina effect’, and it’s our natural mental discomfort with uncompleted tasks. I use it with my blog writing. Rather than sit and look at a blank page on the screen every time I now start with a half finished draft from the previous time. When I’ve finished that I write the first half of my next blog post and then leave that to complete until next time. Because I always leave the latest unfinished I am naturally more motivated to go back to the task and complete it.
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