What does it take to motivate yourself? You set goals, make plans, get excited, but then procrastinate when it comes time to do something. Many of us are cursed with the ability to feel good about the planning process, but awful about acting on those plans. There’s a disconnect that few people understand how to address.
Master this ability and you can do anything. However, if your ability to tie your planning and action phases together is poor, you’ll struggle immensely.
Enhance your motivation and your results in life:
1. Give your attention to those things under your control. You can’t control much, but there’s no reason to focus on anything else. Doing so will only lead to feeling overwhelmed. For example, receiving a promotion isn’t under your control. The behaviors that improve your odds are under your control.
- Put your time, energy, and attention on the things you can manipulate. Avoid wasting your resources on anything you can’t influence.
2. Find a purpose that inspires you. Going into work on Saturday to complete a report might sound like the least enjoyable way to spend part of your weekend, but if excelling at your job could lead to the promotion you’ve been dreaming of, it’s easier to be motivated.
- Most people don’t like to work out, but the prospect of being healthier and more attractive is motivating to many people.
- Avoid judging the task or activity in the short-term. Think about what you’ll get out of it down the road. Find a way to take inspired action.
- Your inspiration might be a product of what you’re doing for others. How does your goal benefit others?
3. Focus on small wins. If your goal is to lose 50 pounds over the next year, it’s easy to become burned out. After two hard weeks of hitting the gym, avoiding late night snacks, and drinking only water, you’ve lost a total of two pounds. You’re right on schedule, but you realize that you have 48 weeks and 48 pounds to go. It seems like too much to bear.
- Break the goal up into smaller pieces. Depending on your ability to focus, it might be necessary to break up the goal into segments that last anywhere from one week to 12 weeks. This way your brain can experience success and logically see a positive long-term outcome. You’ll procrastinate if the path looks too challenging.
4. Act first. It’s a mistake to wait for motivation to strike. You might find yourself waiting for a long time. Avoid thinking too much about the work to be done. If you wait too long to get started, procrastination becomes more likely. Before you can stop yourself, get started. You’ll find that motivation is easier to experience after you’ve acted.
- Every minute you wait under the guise of “planning” or “strategizing” saps what little motivation you may already have. Jump up and get busy!
5. Enhance your mood. It’s much harder to be motivated when you’re in a bad mood. Studies have shown that a negative mood increases procrastination behaviors.
- Procrastination enhances your mood in the short-term, but at the expense of the future. Put yourself into a better mental state and procrastination becomes less likely to occur.
- Happiness increases productivity and success. Monitor your progress. Research suggests that nothing is more motivating than progress in a meaningful endeavor.
Without motivation, you can make spectacular goals and plans and still come up short. Learning to manage your motivation is a key component of accomplishing great things. Motivate yourself and you can do anything.
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