Do you know how often I see in the media questions like: “How can I motivate myself to work hard?”, How do I motivate myself to exercise?”, “How do I get myself to become motivated and just study all the time?”, “How can I stop being lazy and motivate myself?”? Surely you also noticed a lot of such questions on the Internet. Each of them has one goal, they try to make you feel motivated.
How to stay motivated?
Well, you won’t feel great motivation all the time. Sometimes we feel influx of motivation, sometimes we feel it less intensively. The same as we feel or care about bond with spouse or friends. For some time we spend much time with them and at times we feel and care less, focusing on other aspect of life.
Take a look on how long you’re feeling satisfaction, joy, sadness or astonishment. As you noticed, it all passes quite quickly. I mean that feeling motivation also has its own end (and after some time this feeling is starting again).
Hmm, but what happen when you’re not feeling willingness to going to work? Hmm, happens nothing? Most people get up and go, anyway. We don’t feel emotional readiness, but we know that work provide us livelihood, so we just get dressed, eat breakfast, wash teeth and comb hair (of course, there are some people who skip such preparation) and we go. The boss rather doesn’t ask us about level of willingness ;P
So even when we don’t have optimal mood, we’re capable to do productive stuff, anyway, so it means that we don’t have to feel motivated to do something.
It would be well to mention that feeling motivation can be good start (but it doesn’t have to). It can help on our ways and support us, so of course feeling this drive has certain role.
But although, you can’t stay motivated all the time…
You can build motivation which isn’t based only on emotions. The motivation I’m writing about is something inner. This is an attitude, an orientation, focusing, obstinacy, strength. You can build it day by day. How?
How can you motivate yourself?
“Motivate” means: “present and explain motives of action”; “encourage to action”.
So you can motivate yourself by acting in accordance with above definition. That means that you can say to yourself words which support you and repeat to yourself why you take action with gym, studying, losing weight, quitting sweets or anything else. You can remind it often.
Reach for your motive. Motive and motivation, similar words 😉 Wonder what is purpose of your studying, exercising or other working. What this effort will bring you? What it can change in your life? And do you really want this change? Do you really want to achieve it? Is it your goal or maybe someone else press you to go for it? Perhaps you only want to prove something to others or you want people admire you? You do for yourself or for show? Just consider what is behind it.
Pay attention how and what you speak when you try to motivate yourself. Must you do something or do you want to do something? Take a look how you feel when you say “I have to do it”, “I should do it”, “I must do it”. And do you feel the same when you say “I want to do this”, “I can do this” (it comes here to possible and real goals), “It’s worth to do”, “I decide to do this”. Do you sense any difference?
Get rid of stuff which demotivate you. Take out the things which tempt you, for example sweets from your cupboards and from other cubbies. Get rid of pack of cigarettes. Just don’t buy it. You can’t smoke if you don’t have cigarettes. If you keep buying them or sweets, you make obstacle for yourself, for your challenge. It’s nothing magical but when I don’t buy sweets, I don’t eat them. If I had them in my locker, they wouldn’t stay there for long. Supposedly not buying is simple solution, but personally I must admit that not buying sweets is psychically hard for me sometimes. And don’t confide in people who cut your wings and don’t believe in you.
This is meaning point: build good relation with yourself. Whatever you want to work out, more encourage yourself than force yourself. Be with yourself, and not against yourself. Be support for yourself. Don’t forget that it’s about your welfare, not about being better than everybody.
If you exercise, use take advantage of gym. Seeing that everybody practices, it will be easier for you to do the same. That’s the place, where you can focus more than in house. Because in home is often something else to do, we’re more distracted of frequent checking messages, and it’s just much harder to exercise by alone. I don’t think that exercising at home is something wrong. If you handle physical education well at home, good for you 🙂 But if it’s hard for you to organize time by alone, you can always sign up for fitness class. When you’re at the gym (or similar places), it’s worth to put your phone away in locker. But before you hop at the equipment, get to know how to exercise properly in order you won’t harm yourself. And don’t push much, otherwise it’s easily about discouragement.
Appreciate what you have achieved by now. Appreciate and praise yourself. But tell yourself more than only: “good girl” or “nice job”. Appreciate yourself more precisely, say what you feel, sort of: “I’m very glad that you put your effort in the newest project. I know that was difficult for you”. It’s like we have tendency to skipping good and forgetting about hitherto our smaller or bigger achievements and what a pity about it because expressing acknowledge builds us well. It’s worth to practice appreciating. Praise for effort, don’t skip tiny successes because those every small thing contributes to big achievement. Do you think that once upon a time Edison approached to a desk, and he just invented light bulb in one moment? Do you think that one day Nicolaus Copernicus looked through a telescope and exclaimed “Eureka! I developed heliocentric theory”. That all of a sudden many inventions just appeared?
The fact is that those inventions exist mainly thanks to many days in which scientists have been working. Those savants were reading many books, were doing many experiments. It required a lot of time, persistence, hard work, studying and if scientists had given up, today we wouldn’t have washing machines, planes, cameras, hearing aid and many other things which we use every day. Such inventions show us that success requires a lot of perseverance, time and labour input from us. That’s why better when we do something what is our passion.
Next important thing: put effort to NOT believe your thoughts when they blame you for failures or procrastination. There’s no good ways without falls. Stand in defense for yourself, thinking rather: “I put effort and that’s what counts. There’s no people who don’t fall, even if I don’t see how they fall and how many times”. Type of thinking “I failed again! I suck and I can’t succeed. No one loves me and I’m worthless” is hurting, completely unhelpful, simplistic, untrue, spoiling your relation with yourself. Such thinking won’t make you productive and full of willingness, quite the opposite. So be careful what you say to yourself in mind.
Oh, and don’t blame you that you blame you. It’s certain habit. Change of habit isn’t instantaneous. So when you blamed yourself, just apologize yourself and go on.
And don’t deny that you don’t fancy doing. You can complain about five minutes and hug your bed, and next do at least small move. Don’t require that you’ll do big things in one day.
Besides, don’t give up despite downs. Keep on going to your goal. You gotta dig your heels in way of developing something. That way will be hard and demanding. Sometimes you won’t feel motivation. And something what lets you go is keep on moving your way. Stick, but don’t go at all costs, don’t walk over the corpses. Remember what you want, but don’t gain it by at the cost of other. And don’t follow this way if you discover that it doesn’t serve your good. It’s good to be flexible and search different methods. Not every way is good. Not every is good for you.
Don’t forget that we people have worse moments sometimes and even when we reach for motivation then, all day just passes during we just can’t bring ourselves to do something productive. And it’s worth to accept it and go on again. When you want to be productive, care about healthy and relaxing rest.
Decide on effort which will contributes to your weal. I know that saying “try this thing because it’s good for you” doesn’t sound exciting. It isn’t firework which suddenly propels you to act. If you seek half-true, short-term slogans kind of “You can everything!”, “Get to work!”, “To become great men, you have to achieve success” etc., you won’t find them in this post. If you want make the effort to do something, I’m sure you’ll find here something helpful. When own (or somebody’s) weal is motive, developmental way is still difficult. Sometimes you manage and at times you don’t. However, “for own good” has own power if you decide to fight for yourself and for something what’s good. This is way on which you move slowly at times, but still forward.
If you use above points longer than at least month, you’re healthy and you still don’t have any motivation and you can’t move to action, pay attention to fourth section about no motivation.
What lets me to do important things?
Generally, I try to use tips that I mentioned in previous section, but here I also present several words.
Help for me is when I talk with myself. I let myself to admit that I don’t fancy doing anything. Because it’s truth that I don’t fancy, there’s no need to disown it. We feel what we feel. And I try to acknowledge it.
I know why I do what I do, because I’m used to repeating myself about it. And awareness of this motivates me. I wrote down consequences that I have to face if I don’t do something what I work on. And in second column I wrote pluses of my future life which will appear if I keep on doing my main task regularly.
Fact is that rational part of mind has to control all functioning. Good for us and for the world when it does. Rational mind of healthy human has the final and decisive power. Of course, we’re not perfect and it’s not about the perfection. When from time to time we ignore rationality in not key stuffs, it’s not bad. But if somebody puts urgent matter off for later and reaches for gratification permanently, they don’t build anything valuable. Immediate gratification and procrastination aren’t good habits, as we know.
Pay attention to following paragraph especially if you’re HSP 😉 Something what also helps me work longer than a couple of hours is taking a frequent breaks. This is important. During break I grab a bite carrot or yogurt or I do my laundry. I also have a greater break for dinner, usually. I can’t omit fact that I made a habit to sit with my main task at a certain time, when I have my best energy. No doubt the thing which get worse my focusing and power is deficient of sleep (so if you feel weakly, first make sure that you sleep enough). Not helpful for me was when I tried to do tasks by force without taking into account my fettle and lack of comfort. This made me feel even worse. And our sensitive organisms need to care about basis. Quite good thing is preparation to task, I write more about it in my e-book How to solve problems with your to-do list?: Short guide.
Why do you have no motivation to do anything?
It’s up what you mean.
When you just don’t feel motivation permanently, it’s mean that you’re human. Sometimes we sheer don’t fancy taking action. There’s such a thing as whim and lack of willingness and it’s okay to feel it. And no feeling motivated can persist longer or shorter time in life, same as other feelings. We feel, but we don’t have to do something what our feeling wants. It’s not about case when we are sick, we feel faint and we need to lie down. Besides, it’s good to learn to distinguish need from whim. Need is something what we need and when we don’t satisfy it, we miss something to normal functioning and we feel worse then. And whim is something what we can live well without. Should also mention that I write about natural needs, like: eating, using toilet, being loved, need for security (and the rest which I’ll write in a separate post). Here’s not about artificial ‘needs’ like keeping addiction to eating sweets, smoking, drinking alcohol, technology etc. Coming back to no motivation by long time, just in case it wouldn’t hurt to pay attention to eight points below:
Do you sleep and eat well?
- How you feel after night sleep? Maybe you already have listened a billion times, but may you haven’t. So just in case I repeat: Sleeping HAS meaning how you feel during the day. And when you sleep less than you need, your organism reacts by decline of mood and weakness of willingness to do anything, because you don’t have your own natural energy which charges during sleeping. Psychical condition is up to physical condition and you won’t conjure up motivation from lack of energy.
- What you eat? How much? Aren’t you hungry? It’s all over the healthy food and regular eating, but people still go on unhealthy diets, some of them starve themselves. Some of us still eat too much and it’s hard to find a balance. I remember days when I used to eat bag of candy almost every day! “It was horrible!” I think after those couple years. It was like killing myself. I didn’t realize what I was doing towards myself by eating carelessly. Frequent devouring sugar-products was making me slower and it was taking away my strength to do anything.
Why else no motivation?
- Don’t you put too much pressure to be productive? Big pressure leads to burnout. Life it’s not about only being productive. Life is to live. I experienced that striving for use every minute very well contributes to being frustrated and it takes my energy away, and as a matter of fact we all have limited amount of human energy. In hindsight, I can notice that my attempts to fill up the time very best weren’t anything natural. And I see that I feel better and I do more effectively when I focus mainly on one or two things which I want to improve. Being over-productive doesn’t pay to by a long shot.
- Pay attention to what way you usually motivate yourself.
- What are you thinking before you’re going to begin your task and how you’re feeling under the influence of your thoughts?
- Do you subdivide big task? Our lives look differently than in picture below. To move safety, better firstly build strong gangway, and it takes time. All project requires several steps. First is considering which tools and materials will be needed to build platform, next get them, following move is building footbridge, later we should put it safety and only now we can cross it carefully. Take care about every step one by one, separately.
- Perhaps your assignment isn’t so important for you rationally nor emotionally. Maybe you don’t have strong enough motive to take action, maybe you’re not after this one task or goal. It’s okay if you don’t really want to care more about something only because everybody does that.
- You don’t do things which I mentioned in second section about ways to motivate yourself.
- Like many of us, you prefer complain instead of doing something to change adverse state of affairs.
- Probably you don’t have motivation because you take action only when you feel power. Or because that you wait till your dream will come true by itself, without your involvement.
It’s your choice to play in fireworks or care about own (or someone’s) good.
Oh, there’s one more thing: reading this article won’t help if you won’t implement mentioned things day by day, week by week..