You know you need to be productive, but no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to get yourself to do the work. Maybe you’re unmotivated because you don’t feel your work makes any kind of difference. Maybe you just don’t feel like doing what needs to be done at the moment and would rather be doing something else. Whatever the case may be, this guide on how to find motivation will help you tap into your inner drive in order to accomplish more and better focus your goals.
1) Keep track of everything you do
Research has found that simply writing down your accomplishments can increase your self-esteem and sense of achievement, whether you write in a physical or digital journal. The effects are even stronger if you post what you've written online—so go ahead and keep tabs on your day's achievements using a service like Evernote or Pinterest. You'll quickly start to feel more motivated by all you're able to accomplish. We tend to overestimate how difficult something will be before we do it, but once we've crossed it off our list (and gotten positive feedback for it) we underestimate how easy it was. By keeping track of everything that goes right, you'll soon discover that it actually is easy—and become more inclined to tackle new projects.
2) Set goals
Goals help you channel your motivation into something tangible. In other words, if you’re striving to meet a specific number, that goal gives your motivation purpose. But setting goals isn’t as simple as writing down what you want; it takes time and effort to identify goals that are important and measurable, then break them down into smaller steps so it’s easier to tackle them one at a time. It also helps to set intermediate milestones on your way toward long-term goals; with these benchmarks in place, you can better measure your progress—and keep yourself motivated—as you work toward bigger achievements.
3) Use positive self-talk
Self-talk is an incredibly powerful tool. Think of a time when you were close to failing at something. Do you remember what went through your head? Most likely, it was something like, This is too hard, or I'm not good enough. Sometimes self-doubt creeps in during everyday life—it’s not just limited to big moments like giving a presentation at work or asking someone out on a date. Even saying I love you can produce negative self-talk: What if they don’t feel the same way? What if I look stupid? Negative self-talk will derail even your best efforts and prevent you from moving forward.
4) Change your environment
Remind yourself why you're working out by listening to music that makes you feel energized or going for a walk in nature. If possible, try exercising with friends or coworkers – not only does exercise create endorphins, but socializing creates motivation, too. You'll be more likely to go if you know someone is waiting for you at your gym than if it's just another day of being cooped up inside. Exercise can be a chore; while it won't necessarily become fun, it will seem less like one. Workout together! Your dog loves walks and so do your kids - grab everyone and go outside today!
5) Have someone else hold you accountable
You’re doing yourself a disservice if you wait until something’s on your to-do list or calendar before you do it. Instead, look for ways that someone else can help you track your progress. For example, have a friend or loved one hold you accountable by asking about your goals every time they see you or by having them give you a gentle nudge when it’s time to follow through. You can also set up an automated reminder in a productivity app like Asana, Trello, or Todoist.
6) Adjust your attitude
Sometimes, it’s easy to get discouraged when you don’t see immediate results. One of the biggest hurdles that gets in your way is simply not feeling motivated enough. To stay positive and motivated, try seeing things through a different lens. When you start seeing things with a more positive outlook, you’ll find it easier to be motivated and push yourself further than ever before. As Ernest Hemingway said, "The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places." Start looking for all of your strengths and attributes in life – you may be surprised by how much there really is!