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!
7) Get outside your comfort zone
When you are in your comfort zone, you feel like it’s safe and that you can do anything you want without any real risks. It is so comfortable that it can sometimes be dangerous, because there is no motivation or real reason to make yourself better, grow or develop yourself further. Always challenge yourself by trying new things, even if they seem a little scary at first; what if something doesn’t work out how you expected? You will find out that your fear was really just a symptom of your own willingness and ability to think outside of what is normally considered realistic or comfortable.
8) Ask questions that make you think deeply
When you dig into a question, you’re forced to find real answers. Whether that’s for your business or your life, asking better questions allows you to understand your situation more deeply and move past problems faster. And when something goes wrong in life or at work, it can feel like there is no answer (or worse: the answer). But if you ask yourself why?, you will quickly be able to get a hold of reality and start moving forward again. There are few things more motivating than taking action toward progress and understanding what is standing in your way. So ask tough questions and then find those answers—you’ll be rewarded with new motivation every time.
9) Find a personal inspiration
Maybe you want to lose weight, build muscle or raise money for charity. Maybe you just want to learn a new skill so that you can spend more time with your family or work more efficiently. Whatever it is, find someone who's already achieved what you're trying for and use them as inspiration. They'll help keep your eye on the prize and if they've been through what you're going through, they'll probably have some great advice for avoiding common pitfalls too.
10) Break it down into manageable pieces
Successful people are great at setting goals and achieving them. How? By breaking down their goal into smaller, more manageable pieces. Start by asking yourself: What is one small thing I can do in order to move closer toward my goal? For example, if you want to lose 10 pounds, your next step could be trying out a new gym class for beginners. Then ask yourself: How will it make me feel when I complete my task? If you answer that question with things like happy or accomplished, then you have motivation! You see where you want to go and how taking that first step will make you feel—that's motivation.
There are many factors that affect our levels of motivation. But there are also things we can do on a daily basis that will improve both our overall sense of well-being and performance, as well as provide greater sustainability in whatever we choose to accomplish. If you’re looking for ways to find motivation in order to achieve your professional or personal goals, try implementing one or more of these strategies. You may find your search for motivation coming up short.