We’ve discussed the research around motivation. It’s always good to know what has been tested and is reproducible. However, when it comes to motivation, I will do whatever works! Here are some tips and tricks to keep yourself going.
Necessity and Fear. Necessity is the mother of invention, and it’s also a parent to motivation. If it’s mixed with a touch of fear, it’s even more motivating. The car breaking down, a poor lab result on cholesterol, and a visiting relative can all be very motivating in the short-term. We don’t want to live life under threats; it isn’t sustainable. However, necessity and fear can get us unstuck and moving.
Mindset. Too much necessity and fear can be overwhelming. That’s when we need a shift in mindset. Let’s say that we are facing a divorce or a layoff. Fear can be paralyzing. Keep in mind that the only time that we can do something about the situation is now. We only have the current moment to take action. We can ask ourselves, “What one thing could I do right now that would help this situation?” Then do that one thing. Action feels good and can help us get started when taking on huge challenges. It definitely beats sitting and worrying, which don’t help one bit.
Music. When faced with cleaning toilets or dusting, I put on some peppy, upbeat music. I have a playlist called “Putter” for when I’m puttering around the house doing mundane tasks. I dance as I go and get in a little aerobic exercise.
Audiobooks. When my children were young, I cooked a lot of dinners. I truly detest cooking. Seriously, I had to force myself into the kitchen at dinner time. Audiobooks saved my sanity. Maybe listening to books was more of a distraction than a motivation, but it got me in the kitchen and cooking without using every one of the day’s Emotional Pennies.
Podcasts. I am late in joining the podcast party. I am not sure why, but it makes me feel old! There are a bunch of motivational podcasts. I wanted to write that I was going to try one, but none of them resonated with me. Hmmm. Maybe it’s time to start a podcast. I will let you know if I find or create one. Let me know if you find one!
Apps. There are quite a few motivational apps for your phone. One, called Motivation Quotes – Daily Quote, will send you one a day. I use an app called Due. It’s free. I use it to schedule reminders to pop up on my phone throughout the day. Here is my list:
9:03am Engage! This one is to encourage me to stay present and work toward my current goals.
10:10am Accept healing. This is a reminder to slow down, take a breath, and remember that all types of healing are hindered by stress.
2:00pm Have faith. You can do this! So 2:00pm is often when my energy flags. During all-day training sessions, 2:00pm is the lowest point. This is just the encouragement I need because it reminds me of all the times I’ve succeeded before.
5:15pm Looking forward to tomorrow? I read an article about an old woman who was talking about the keys to her longevity. She said she made sure that she had a good reason to get up the next morning every day. This reminds me to question the structure of my life. Have I included things that make me look forward to the next day?
8:08pm Time to count your blessings and accomplishments for today. My intent is to write down three things that I am grateful for each day. This reminder gets me to at least pause and think about them.
It’s easy to schedule the daily reminders. Feel free to use some or all of mine, or create your own.
Ego. We can pull in our egos when it will help us achieve our goals. Let’s say there is a person who does what I do who is not as talented or smart, but who is wildly successful. Her success is due to luck and connections. When I start to slow down on my career goals, I pull her image into my mind and think, “I am better than her, and I am ready to prove it.” Now, this is not a shining example of my love for mankind, but I don’t wish her ill. I just want to do better than she does. Her success is an affront to my sense of fairness. I let my ego out to play when I need a serious kick in the tail. Keep in mind that playing to our ego is different that going out for revenge. Revenge is a poisonous motivator.
Rewards. We know that rewards work. They aren’t ideal long-term strategies, but they can be useful. I tell myself that I can play Plants v. Zombies for 15 minutes if I will work for 45 minutes. It’s a reward that works for me. I have also rewarded myself with flowers and boots when I achieved a goal. I’m even motivated by the reward of stickers on a calendar. Fortunately for me, my reaction to even minor rewards is positive.
I want to mention one ineffective motivator that I see clients using all the time – negative self-talk. Telling ourselves that we are fat slobs who need to go for a walk isn’t effective. We might get up and moving every now and then, but we are breaking our own spirits! Give yourself a pep talk instead and remind yourself of your Big Whys.
If something gets you moving toward a goal and doesn’t make you feel like a loser or a monster, it’s a good motivator. I am all about finding what works and using it to help me achieve my goals. For you, it might be posting a picture by your computer of what you want to achieve or listening to gospel music. Or you can talk to yourself in the mirror like this little girl whom I adore: https://youtu.be/qR3rK0kZFkg
All that matters is that it works for you!
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