10 Ways to Motivate Yourself
These are 10 of my most tried methods for self motivation.
The best part?
If you are in need of some self motivation, you don’t need to do all 10. You can just pick and choose which ones resonate with you and try them to see what will work for you.
I didn’t arrive at these 10 lightly. These are all things I have tried over the years, having had to pull myself back up by my bootstraps at times when I have lost enthusiasm. I’ve wrestled through major failures and set backs, one after another, feeling hopeless but determined to find my way back. These are actions that re-energize me when I find myself in a slump.
10 Ways to Motivate Yourself out of a Slump
1. Identify the cause
Take out pen and paper, yeah the old fashion tools, and get out of your head for a moment. Have an honest conversation with yourself and do your best to diagnose why you are where you are. If you are a techie and not a fan of old fashion tools, you can use mind mapping tools (I use SimpleMind, which is Free but there are many other great tools out there) to help you think through why you are feeling the way you do.
As a budget entrepreneur, getting into a slump is inevitable. Some reasons are as follows:
- Goals and objectives are not clearly defined
- There is no clear plan or strategy to execute so next actions are unclear
- Lack of support and encouragement
and the list goes on.
Knowing why you are in a situation is a good first step to understanding how to address it.
2. Go to battle with your mind.
Your mind is the single most important area you have to tackle to get out of a slump. If you don’t work to program it to take the right kind of action, you might stay in a slump for a very long time. Some ways to go to battle with your mind are:
- Read positive quotes
- Do some Exercise
- Watch Motivational videos
- Listen to Uplifting audio tapes
- Listen to Motivating songs
I have playlists I have compiled with songs and videos with the sole purpose of keeping me motivated. I also turn to my audio book library when doing other chores to remind myself of my power. I couple that with a little exercise to free much needed endorphins and my blood starts pumping again with excitement and a healthy dose of motivation.
3. Get Positive Reinforcement
Pursuing goals is a journey that can get quite lonely. I know this from first hand experience. Sometimes those around you may not understand your passion well enough to give you the kind of support and encouragement you need to keep moving forward. What you need to do is find a mentor, a friend or a group that can fuel, guide and encourage you when you are least motivated.
You can go to Meetup.com to find a group or search social media sites like Facebook for groups with people that support and encourage each other in your related area of interest.
4. Have a strategy and a plan:
I have noticed that one of the main reasons that puts me in a state of limbo is when I am not quite clear on what the next steps are for a project I am working on. When this happens, I take a step back and brainstorm on a plan and strategy that will help clarify my next steps.
I have found it helpful to attempt to answer the following questions:
- Why is this project or initiative important to me?
- What is my goal?
- What is my desired outcome after one year of working on my goal?
- What will I like to accomplish in the next 30 days?
- What do I think my strategy needs to be for me to meet my 1 year and 30 day targets?
- What weekly milestones will I shoot for?
- What are 3 most immediate next actions (no matter how small) that I can start taking right now to move things forward?
5. Take Action with Daily Tasks:
Love them or hate them, daily tasks do work.
I have to admit I sometimes skip doing my daily tasks and find myself entertaining distractions from activities that will not take me closer to my goal. Daily tasks are a tried and true tactic to stay focused and accountable. The key is to specify tasks in ‘bite size’ chunks.
If you find yourself moving a task from day to day without making any progress on it, attempt to break up the task further into the smallest next action you can think of that will progress the task. This helps restart momentum. What’s best is that as tasks are completed and checked off your list, the more motivated you will feel to keep going.
6. Stay Focused. Forget about Multitasking
There really isn’t such a thing as multi tasking when it comes to how your cognitive brain functions. Don’t take it from me, you can read a number of human psychology studies that have arrived at this very conclusion. Early on in my career and even up to this day, when I interview candidates for a position, I often hear them say they are good at multi tasking 😲. It is typically considered a plus.
I am guilty too. I used to think that ‘multi tasking’ was a ‘super power’ that led to success.
However, what I have come to learn is that multitasking is really task switching and can negatively impact productivity. Yeah not the obvious conclusion to be expected but science backs this. So what does this tell us about motivation? It says, when you allow distractions into your day or attempt to juggle too many things, you actually get less done which can be demotivating. Instead, try this little thing that I picked up from Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind (The 99U Book Series), a quick read with some really great ideas.
Work in time blocks and focus on the task at hand during the time you have blocked for that task. Do not redirect your focus to some activity other than what is in front of you until the time is up. Some people block out time in 15 minute chunks, but it really is up to you. You set your timer, focus on an activity and when times up, you can reset the timer and continue or move on to another activity for the next 15 minutes.
7. Prioritize your tasks
Knowing what to prioritize sometimes gives me a headache.
It can become quite distracting or discouraging when you have an important task pending and it gnaws at you, always in the background reminding you of unfinished business. You may not even feel like getting it done but you know it has to be done. Perhaps it is a phone call you are reluctant to make or an email you have to send or some other activity.
Put it on your to do list, prioritize it, set aside time to tackle it and take a stab at it. One way to prioritize is to use the matrix below, more popularly known as the Eisenhower Matrix. You can get some good insight on how to do this best from Stephen Covey’s book, First Things First.
You want to operate primarily on tasks in your Important but not urgent tasks. These are typically tasks that if not addressed will become important and urgent. This will give you focus.
8. Have an Anchor Activity
Commit to a daily task that is small and easy to do each day. This task will serve as an anchor to help you continue accomplishing throughout the day. It should be something you know is good for you that you don’t typically do. It should not require lots of time to accomplish. It could be as simple as starting off your day with a cup of water.
Anchor activity is just something that is good for you and not necessarily related to your project but something that you can do daily to remind you that you can overcome any situation.
For me, the activity that anchors me is exercise – and I an not talking about going to the gym or working out for an hour or so. Nothing intense at all. I simply have routines I commit to for 30 day time blocks. The routines take no more than 15 minutes and I end my routine with a 5 minute meditation. Giving myself 20-30 minutes each morning for this gives me the motivation to continue accomplishing through out the day. Why this is important to me is because I am not an early riser nor am I an exercise fan so I have to push myself to do this everyday once I commit to it. When I start my day off with this accomplishment, I am encouraged and motivated to continue to accomplish throughout the day.
9. Get adequate Rest
You may have all your ducks in a row, good and ready to go but without adequate rest, you will not be at your best. Make sure you get enough rest and that you use your most productive time to tackle the things that are planned and important.
10. Reward your successes
Don’t wait for major accomplishments to reward yourself. Reward your milestones as you progress in this journey.