Why motivating yourself isn’t easy
No matter how badly you want to lose weight, quit smoking, learn to play the guitar, or save money for traveling. Just a desire isn’t enough. Making a change in your life requires persistence. However, many of us find it hard to stay motivated over time.
For example, some people are perfectionists, and it’s not easy for them to start doing something because of the fear that they won’t complete a task flawlessly.
Others choose the goals that don’t belong to them. For instance, a mother who wants her son to become a doctor will always try to make him learn stuff related to medicine. But the son who is fond of music and foreign languages simply can’t be good at biology or chemistry because he loses concentration very quickly. He makes it out of his mother’s pressure, not his own will.
And finally, people often fear complicated tasks; they don’t believe in themselves. However, finding self-motivation isn’t impossible for them.
So let’s talk about the ways to give yourself a boost when you need it and learn how not to give up when everything goes wrong.
1. Just start doing something
You don’t always need to overthink and rationalize why you need to do something. As the well-known American writer Mark Twain once said: “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” You can try a 10-minute rule which will help you get started. Give yourself permission to have some rest or quit a task after 10 minutes. As soon as you reach the 10-minute mark, ask yourself if you want to quit or keep going. Chances are you’ll realize that you have enough motivation to continue.
In order to keep yourself motivated, use checklists and to-do lists. These can be daily, weekly, monthly to-do lists, habit trackers, must-read books, resolutions, challenges, etc. Check your items off as you complete them. That brings the feeling of satisfaction and provokes even higher motivation.
Here is our free checklist maker tool with a set of templates you can customize to your needs.
2. Set goals that excite you
Your emotions play a key role in your motivation level. If you’re going to do something you don’t want, you’ll most likely have no motivation to start, or you’ll quit soon. So don’t choose the goals that paralyze you. Instead, listen to yourself and choose the goals that excite you.
If, for some reason, you need to do something you don’t like, try to pair a boring task with something you enjoy. For example, listen to your favorite podcast while you run or create a pleasant atmosphere around you while working on your computer.
3. Break down tasks into small ones
Sometimes, we are frightened not by the work itself but the large amount of the work that never seems to end. Try to divide it into smaller tasks and have a short break after each task.
If you need to lose 20 pounds, try to understand that you can’t do it in one day. Praise yourself even for a tiny achievement. First, notice that you have become lighter by 2 pounds, 5, then 10, and so on.
Or, for example, If your goal is to visit a distant country, which you dreamt of seeing as a child, try to break the task into simpler steps. Gather information about the country, decide how much money you need to save each month to afford the trip, and so on.
4. Don’t forget about planning your days, weeks, months
Planning is essential to stay motivated because it helps you use your time in the most efficient way. Make a plan for the next day, week, and month so that you don’t have to think every time: what can I do today to achieve my goal. Try to create several checklists and to-do lists with the help of our checklist tool to get closer to the goal.
5. Don’t forget to cut your plans
Did you notice a spike in motivation at night? You may feel excited and full of power to move mountains. You write down dozens of plans. Then, in the morning, you can’t get out of bed, escape into a Netflix-binge, feel frustrated and guilty for being so lazy and weak. You realize that you can’t do even half of the planned tasks. This is a familiar situation for many. Perhaps, you just need to review your plans. Be realistic and don’t choose more than 3 big tasks for a day. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Otherwise, you’ll end up procrastinating even more.
6. Be kind and careful to yourself
It’s common for most people to blame themselves when something goes wrong. You may think that you don’t do enough, and there are more successful people around you. But how often do you pause and appreciate how much you’ve done, how far you’ve come? Do it regularly to stay motivated. Praise yourself for every victory, even the smallest one.
7. Imagine your future self if you don’t do what you’re aiming at
This tip isn’t meant to scare but to inspire you. Try to imagine what could happen in the future if you’ll stay unmotivated and won’t do the important steps. What will your life be like in 1, 3, 5, 10 years? Is that what you always wanted? Then look at your best possible self in a general way in the future. Think about what you can do today, tomorrow, during the next week, month, year to make this happen. Create a plan and follow it.
A lack of motivation can be a major obstacle to reaching your goals. When you have no motivation to complete a task (or even start one), try to find out the possible reasons why you’re struggling. Perhaps, you bite off more than you can chew, your goals aren’t yours, or you never tried planning your days, weeks, and months. Try to develop a plan using our checklist tool and templates to motivate yourself to get going. Take little steps and praise yourself for every victory!