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How to Improve Motivation

Four Methods:

People like Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Mt. Everest climber Sir Edmund Hillary, and poet/author Maya Angelou may seem like superhumans, but they’re just like us. The only difference is that they stayed motivated until they achieved their goals. We all have goals we want to achieve, but it’s easy to lose your motivation. However, you can achieve your dreams if you’re persistent. You can improve your motivation by creating the right mindset. You can also change how you work toward your goals and beat procrastination.


Help with Finding Motivation

Creating the Right Mindset

  1. Choose a mantra or set of mantras that motivate you.You can create a mantra yourself or use a quote. Make a habit of saying your mantra aloud at scheduled times during the day, such as when you wake up, at lunch, or right before bed. It’s also helpful to post your mantras.
    • Examples of great mantras include “Every day is a new beginning and a chance for change,” “I’m strong, powerful, and can achieve my goals,” and “If I believe it, I can achieve it.”
    • If you want to post your mantras, you can use something basic like post-it notes, or you can opt for art prints that incorporate the quote. Post them on your refrigerator, near your bathroom mirror, or on the walls of your home. Choose a place where you'll see them every day.
  2. Use positive self-talk.Everyone has an internal voice, and it’s not always friendly. Turning that voice toward the positive, however, can change your life for the better. You can do this by catching negative thoughts and reframing them in a positive way. Additionally, consciously tell yourself positive things about yourself, your life, and your goals.
    • For example, your mind may say to you, “You’re not good enough.” You can switch this around and say, “I am good enough, but sometimes I get overwhelmed when faced with challenges. Tomorrow things will look different.”
    • In general, tell yourself things like, “I’m proud of myself for working hard every day,” “I’ve accomplished a lot, and the best is yet to come,” and “I know I can do this if I keep working hard.”
  3. Boost your confidence via an accomplishment.This is especially helpful for people with long-term goals. Complete a mini-goal that’s related to your long-term goal, or try something that’s always intimidated you. Keep in mind that accomplishing something can mean just giving it a try.
    • For example, if your goal is to perform your own music, you could boost your confidence by participating in an open mic night.
    • If you’re feeling like you’re in a life rut, you could accomplish something bold from your bucket list, such as skydiving. This will give you a sense of control over what you’re doing with your life, which helps your motivation.
  4. Reframe activities that you don’t enjoy.It’s normal to not enjoy parts of your journey toward your goal. You may love your job but hate parts of your workday, or you might want to run a cross-country marathon but hate running hills. You can alter your perception of something by imagining it getting dimmer and then inserting new emotions about it. For example, imagine that your stress about deadlines is fading away, then imagine how good you feel when you finish a project.
    • Focus on the aspects of these activities that you enjoy or that benefit you. For example, running up hills may be difficult, but it also gives you a better view of the landscape.
    • One way to do this is to focus on what you are actually doing and feeling while you do the activities you don’t enjoy. For example, you may hate work meetings, but you could focus on the change of scenery, the opportunity to chat with your coworkers, or the chance to make a good impression on your boss.
  5. Compare yourself to past you, not others.It’s so tempting to compare yourself to other people, but this is always a mistake. No matter how well you are doing, you will always rank yourself second. It’s better to compare yourself to you! Consider where you were in the past and where you are now. Try to be better than past you was.
    • When you catch yourself comparing yourself to others, remind yourself that you’re likely seeing their highlight reel -- not the nitty gritty of every day. The only fair comparison is between you and yourself.
    • Make a list of your positive traits and accomplishments to remind yourself of how far you’ve already come!
  6. Make a gratitude list.By acknowledging everything you have to be grateful for, you can create the positive mindset you need to stay motivated. Write down everything good in your life, especially the things you’ve worked hard to get. Post your list somewhere you can see it, such as on your refrigerator or on your phone’s lockscreen.
    • It’s best to make gratitude lists often. You might even write down 3-5 things you’re grateful for every day.
    • Over time, your gratitude list will make you feel more positive about your life, which helps improve your motivation to keep working toward what’s important to you.

Working Towards Goals

  1. Keep your goals small and measurable.It’s great to have big goals for yourself, but you need to shrink them down in order to make them easier to accomplish. Break your larger goals down into small goals. Then identify criteria to help you measure them.
    • For example, your big goal might be to publish a novel. You could set yourself a small goal of creating an outline or finishing a chapter. This goal is easy to measure because it’ll be complete when the outline or chapter is finished.
    • Similarity, your big goal might be to run a marathon. You might set a small goal of running a 5K. You could measure this goal by tracking how far you run everyday or by signing up for a race.
  2. Create an action plan for your goals.You can create an overall plan to reach your big goal, or you can narrow it down to your small goals. Include what you want to achieve, the steps you will take to achieve it, and how you will measure success.
    • For example, your big goal could be to run a marathon, and your small goals could consist of running a mile, running a 5K, running a 10K, and running a half marathon.
    • Don’t get bogged down in the details. Write out a basic framework for your action plan, then get started working toward your goals. You can always change or add to the plan later.
    • Keep it basic with a brief outline. You don’t need to plan every detail. For example, you could start your marathon action plan by just focusing on the steps you need to take to run a complete mile, such as buy new shoes, download a running app, and run 3 times a week.
  3. Display your action plan where you can see it every day.You can post them in your home, place them in your planner, or make them your digital wallpaper. Refer to it daily to see if you’re on track. It’s okay to get behind sometimes, but your action plan can get you back on track.
    • Try posting your plan on your refrigerator.
    • If you have a workspace, post your plan there.
    • Choose a place that’s easy for you to reference.
  4. Connect hard tasks and obstacles back to their purpose.This helps you push through and keep going when things are tough. Every goal comes with hard work and obstacles, and it’s normal for motivation to decrease. You can stay motivated by giving these difficult times more purpose.
    • For example, running bleachers at your local track may not be fun, but they can improve your physical condition to help your athletic performance.
    • Similarly, getting a lot of criticism on a poem you wrote may make you feel discouraged, but it can help you improve the poem and grow as a writer.
  5. Track your progress.Seeing how far you’ve come can be a huge motivator! Keep track of all of your accomplishments, both great and small. Even a single step toward your goal is progress, so give yourself that credit!
    • Write down all of your achievements so that you can read over them when you feel discouraged.
    • You could also create a visual reminder of your progress. If your goal is to run a marathon, you might put up a poster with a trail on it. Divide the trail into 26.2 separate sections. Each time you increase your running distance, color in another section.
  6. Reward yourself for hard work and persistence.Rewards encourage you to stay on track toward your goal. Choose a reward that appeals to you. If possible, choose something that helps you work toward your goals. Here are some great ideas:
    • You could reward sticking to a goal of writing every day by treating yourself to a new notebook.
    • Get a massage to reward yourself for meeting your running goals.
    • Enjoy a special meal with friends after turning down plans so that you can work on your goal.
    • Take a bubble bath.
    • Buy a set of weight gloves to celebrate your kickboxing progress.
    • Treat yourself to a yoga session.
    • Enjoy a good book.
  7. Do something you enjoy every day.Even working toward something you love can feel overwhelming, so take time for yourself. Spend at least a few minutes everyday treating yourself to something you love, whether it’s an episode of your favorite TV show, a favorite treat, or coffee with a friend. This will help you stay motivated when times get tough.
  8. Prepare yourself for setbacks.Setbacks are part of life, and they happen to everyone. They don’t mean that you’re a failure! Make a brief plan for how you’ll overcome any obstacles that arrive, and remind yourself that you can do it.
    • For example, your plan may be to talk to a friend that motivates you, take a day to brainstorm solutions, and then complete a small task that can help you complete your goal.
    • Say to yourself, “This is all part of the journey. I can overcome this obstacle just like I’ve overcome them in the past.”

Beating Procrastination

  1. Spend time working on your goal every day.When you’re actively working toward your goal, your body releases dopamine, which is the hormone that helps you take action. Luckily, you can increase your dopamine with even a small amount of progress. Even if you can only spend 15 minutes working toward your goal on a given day, you’ll see results.
  2. Avoid overthinking about your work and goals.Thinking too much can actually be counterproductive for two reasons. First, it keeps you in your head, preventing you from taking action. Second, it results in you thinking up possible problems that will likely never come to pass. When you catch yourself getting buried in your thoughts, take action, starting with a small task. Checking off that task will get you back on track.
    • When you start to overthink, write down what’s on your mind, then try to create a to-do list so that you can get to work. You may not be able to address all of your concerns today, but you can make some progress.
  3. Build your routines around your goals.Whether you’re working on personal or professional goals, it’s important to have routines. Get into the habit of setting aside blocks of time to accomplish the tasks you need to do.
    • For example, get up early everyday to work on your goal, such as going for an early morning run or spending an hour working on your manuscript.
    • Start your workday the same way each day. For example, you might check off the easiest things on your to-do list that day, respond to emails, or create a daily action plan.
    • Develop a post-lunch habit that helps you get back on track. For example, you could schedule all of your meetings for right after lunch to help you immediately get back on task.
  4. Take control over your own schedule.People and other responsibilities will demand parts of your time. It’s up to you to balance your schedule to ensure that you have time for everything. That means that sometimes you will need to say “no” to some things to make time for others. Don’t live your life according to what others want -- spend your time doing what’s important to you.
    • Schedule appointments with yourself so that you can pursue personal goals. You can also use this time to do things that make you happy.
  5. Learn to say "no" to things you don’t want to do.When someone asks for your time and it conflicts with working toward your goal, it’s okay to say no without guilt. Set boundaries to protect your time, and practice saying “no” to people. When the time comes, give the person a compliment and then gently turn them down.
    • Say, “Your Halloween party sounds so fun, but I’ve already committed to something that day.”
    • You don’t have to explain why you aren’t going, so don’t feel pressured to justify your decision.
  6. Ask for help if you need it.Sometimes you might find yourself procrastinating because you’ve encountered a difficulty, such as a hard task or a lack of resources. When this happens, ask for help! Everyone needs help sometimes.
    • For example, you may need the person you live with to cut you some slack around the house so that you can meet a deadline.
    • You might ask your running friends for help staying hydrated during long runs.
    • You could borrow a piece of equipment that you need.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    What are ways to improve individual motivation?
    Jennifer Wappler
    Community Answer
    Dream Big. Learn More. Find Fun things to do and think about. Be kind to yourself and others. Apply the methods in the article to your own life.
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Quick Summary

To improve motivation, start by breaking down a large goal you might have, like getting a new job, into smaller, measurable goals, like developing your resume and finding likely companies. Then, create an action plan with the steps you’ll need to take to achieve your goal and make sure to track all your progress. Additionally, consider choosing a mantra to repeat throughout the day such as “I am strong, powerful, and can achieve my goals” and put the mantra where you will see it often, like on your phone’s lockscreen. Mantras will help you to keep a positive mindset and boost your confidence.

Did this summary help you?
  • Working toward a goal and celebrating the small achievements along the way may help sustain your motivation.
  • Steady progress can lead to the desire to create new and more challenging goals.
  • As you enjoy success, your motivation will increase and you may not only meet but exceed your goals.
  • Your goals might also change slightly as you complete steps towards your main goal.

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Video: The psychology of self-motivation | Scott Geller | TEDxVirginiaTech

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Date: 05.12.2018, 02:25 / Views: 82274