Reading Length: 8 minutes
- “A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word to paper.” – E.B. White
- “Motivation does not precede action, action precedes motivation.”
There are days when we just don’t seem to have any motivation to do anything. So we’re tempted to skip out on what we planned and wait until we do feel in the mood. But the truth is, we need to change the misconception that we need to wait for motivation to do something. It is actually the reverse. By doing something, we get motivation. The key is to keep taking consistent action by intentionally scheduling, planning, clarifying, and simply showing up everyday. Here are 20 tips to get started:
- Motivation: The Scientific Guide on How to Get and Stay Motivated by James Clear
- 1) Eliminate misconceptions about motivation.
Motivation usually comes after starting a new behavior rather than before. In other words, motivation is the result of action, not the cause of it. Refer to Newton’s First Law: Objects in motion tend to stay in motion. The key is getting started and it will be easier to keep going.
- 2) Schedule your motivation.
Without a schedule, you’re likely to skip out. Set up a schedule for your behavior so you can eliminate decision making fatigue. Set the schedule and stick to it with a set time and place.
- 3) Have a pre-game routine or ritual.
The routine serves as a reminder to engage in something. Make the pre-routine very easy to the point you don’t need motivation for it. An example is filling up the water before exercise as a routine. When you don’t feel like working out, saying “just fill up the water” can give you a head start. The routine should get you moving towards your goal. Align your actions towards the goal. An example is rather than being slumped over on a couch, physically move your body to feel more energetic. Follow the same pattern every single time. Use the sentence: “This is what happens before I do ___.”
- 4) Use the Goldilocks Rule.
The task you are doing needs to be the optimal level of difficulty. The rule is that the task needs to be not too hard and not too easy. It is just right within your current abilities. This is key to maintaining long term-consistency.
- 5) Acknowledge your mind as a suggestion tool.
Understand that your thoughts are only suggestions, not an order. Your mind may be telling you to give up. But pause for a moment to discover more suggestions within your mind. Another suggestion could be that you will feel more accomplished for completing the work. Consider the options and understand you have the power to choose. Remember that you will never regret good work once it is done.
8 THINGS THAT CAUSE YOUR LACK OF MOTIVATION (AND HOW TO FIX THEM) by Dean Bokhari
- 6) Get clear on what you want.
Most people cannot answer the questions “what do you want?” and “what’s the outcome you are after?” It’s hard to go after something when you don’t even know what you want. Identify and write down some exciting goals for yourself in each of the major areas of your life which includes physical, financial, emotional, spiritual and etc. Make what you want specific and measurable. Don’t just vaguely say “I want to wake up earlier, eat healthier, or exercise more.”
- 7) Learn to control your physiological state.
Consider the body posture and motion of a motivated person versus an unmotivated person. How do they walk, sit, stand, and speak? Mimick the images of the motivated person. You can even do something silly such as jump in the air, clap your hands or yell out “WHOOOOOO!” at the top of your lungs.
- 8) Remove your identity as an unmotivated person.
If you keep repeating things like “I need to get motivated” or “I don’t have the motivation to do it,” then it can stick with you. Reverse this pattern by identifying as someone who is always motivated. This can be difficult but try to make it into a daily habit to take on the mindset of a motivated person.
- 9) Use the 10X Rule.
The rule is: you must set targets that are 10 times what you think you want and then do 10 times what you think it will take to accomplish those targets. In contrast to Goldilocks Rule, this encourages you to work harder and demand more from yourself rather than simply achieving small and uninspiring goals. The key is setting massive goals and taking massive action.
- 10) Chunk down things to an immediate and doable action.
Rather than thinking of everything you need to do, ask yourself: “what is the one thing I can do right now to make progress on this goal?” Create an outline by chunking down everything and starting doing it.
- 11) Seek habits, not motivation.
A cue is something in the environment which sets the habit. A routine is the response. A reward is the feeling after executing the habit. Identify your cue, routine and reward.
Complete the following sentence: When ________,cue I will ________routine because it provides me with ________reward .
An example of this is: When my alarm clock goes off at 6 am, cue I will jump out of bed and drive straight to the gym to exercise for 60 minutes routine because it provides me with a healthy lifestyle, a fit physique, and an energetic start to my day reward.
The Progress Principle: What to do when you’re feeling unmotivated and uninspired at work by Jory Mackay
- 12) Give someone else advice on how to feel motivated.
In an article in the MIT Sloan Management Review, they conducted an experiment where people were struggling to get motivation and to advise others about getting motivation. As a result, 68–77% more motivated to act on their issues after giving advice versus when receiving it.
- 13) Ride the motivation wave.
It is possible there are certain times of the day when you are motivated. Take advantage of those times by doing your most important tasks or something you have been putting off. For example, after coming back from a vacation, you feel motivated to take on work. Instead of tackling your to-do list, you could time-block your important work.
- 14) Allow yourself to take on a hobby or project you enjoy.
You could be facing burnout if you neglect your work-life balance. Try to engage in a hobby, have deliberate rest, reflect on past successes or go for a walk.
The Science Behind Motivation by Sujan Patel
- 15) Say “I want to,” not “I have to.”
Sometimes you don’t enjoy something because you feel like you “have to” do it. Realize that nothing is a “have to” and start saying “I want to.” That way, you’ll be less likely to face resistance.
Get Off Your Butt: 16 Ways to Get Motivated When You’re in a Slump by Leo Babauta
- 16) Start small and easy.
Don’t take on too much all at once. It can sap energy and motivation. Focus on 1-2 goals at once. Start off the goal in baby steps. For example, do 2 minutes of exercise and keep increasing from there.
- 17) Find inspiration and excitement.
Read books, blogs or magazines on success stories or about your goals. Build excitement by visualizing yourself in that success position. You can also set a date in the future to mark it as the Start Date. Make that an important date in your life.
- 18) Commit publicly.
Let your friends, family and co-worker know about your goal. No one wants to look bad to others. By committing, you hold yourself accountable and are more likely to stick with the goal. You can also reach out to them for help or join an online group.
- 19) Set visual reminders of your goal.
Post your goal in big words on your wall, fridge, or computer desktop. Have a big picture of your goals too. Set daily reminders for yourself and think about the goal daily.
- 20) Think benefits, not difficulties.
Remind yourself what you will be getting out of this. For example, rather than thinking exercise is too hard, think of how much slimmer and healthier you will feel. Replace the negative self-talk with a corresponding positive thought. Squash the “this is too hard!” thought with “I can do this!” Just keep thinking about the long-term and keep going!
Once I came to the realization that it was by taking action, I can acquire more motivation, momentum and confidence, it completely changed how I planned my days. I started to intentionally schedule a certain time, day and location I would commit to my goals. My morning routine because an essential ritual to get motivation and started. I would eat a energy-boosting breakfast, do visualizations with my vision board, do yoga and take a walk outside first. Afterwards, I would feel refreshed and energized to take on my most important tasks. Whenever my mind had negative thoughts such as “you can’t get anywhere with this” or “this is a waste of time,” I would simply acknowledge those thoughts and humorously say “thanks for the input, mind.” I also definitely found inspiration from podcasts, YouTube videos and blogs by listening to motivating content while I ran errands.
During my evening routine, I would journal thoughts of gratitude by using the statement “I got to do…” rather than “I had to.” It promoted more gratitude, clarity and inner peace for myself. Even during days when I just completely did not feel like doing anything, I told myself just start for 15-30 minutes. Before I knew it, I found it easier to continue even after those 15-30 minutes had passed. Overall, some of these tips have helped me recapture that motivation I needed to keep progressing towards my goals one step at a time.
What tips or actions help you get motivation?
Check out this video I made on motivation. Please like and subscribe!
- Motivation: The Scientific Guide on How to Get and Stay Motivated by James Clear
- 8 THINGS THAT CAUSE YOUR LACK OF MOTIVATION (AND HOW TO FIX THEM) by Dean Bokhari
- The Progress Principle: What to do when you’re feeling unmotivated and uninspired at work by Jory Mackay
- The Science Behind Motivation by Sujan Patel
- Get Off Your Butt: 16 Ways to Get Motivated When You’re in a Slump by Leo Babauta