Listen, we’ve all been there. There are those days that roll around where Netflix and camping out on your couch just sounds much more interesting than being even remotely productive. Or perhaps you’re in a bit of a funk and you’ve strung together several days like this, maybe even weeks. It’s times like this when motivation is in shorter supply than water during a California drought.
So what’s a well intentioned albeit less than motivated individual to do to get their butt in gear? Well we’ve got several methods that might just provide the spark you need.
Clearly define your goal, and more importantly, your WHY.
This is a simple task, but it will provide the foundation for your long term motivation. What’s your goal in life right now? What are you trying to accomplish? More importantly, WHY is it important to you? WHY will reaching this goal positively impact your life?
Clearly defining your goal and WHY it is important to you will cause you to take a deep dive introspectively as to what makes you tick and what truly drives you. For example…
Goal: I want to lose weight.
WHY: because I’m fat.
WHY is ‘being fat’ bad for you: because it’s negatively affecting my health and emotional state
WHY is bettering your health important: I’ll live a more fulfilling life
WHY is having a more fulfilling life important: because I want to spend more quality time with loved ones and friends, enjoy more extravagant life experiences, and not be limited by my weight or (insert health concerns negatively impacted by excess weight)
So you see how “I want to lose weight” can potentially have a much deeper meaning? That deeper meaning will have a tremendously larger impact on your motivation than your superficial goal EVER will, guaranteed.
It might take a little soul searching, but the benefits are well worth it. Find your WHY.
Write out your (clearly defined) goals.
This one is so simple that many people just skip right over it. Putting pen to paper and physically writing down your goals is similar to making your goals concrete and set in stone. When you clearly define your goals, you know exactly what you’re working towards and what it will take to get there.
To enhance this method, after writing your goals, put them somewhere where they’ll be seen every single day. Your bathroom mirror, inside your refrigerator… doesn’t matter. When you see your goals written out every day, it’ll serve as a powerful reminder to keep up the hard work.
Give yourself a pep talk.
Positive self talk, while potentially awkward to some, actually does carry some merit behind it in terms of effectiveness. Talking yourself up and saying, out loud mind you, a couple daily affirmations has actually been proven to have positive effects on mood, optimism, motivation, and self efficacy.
There are no set rules on the frequency of these sayings, but a couple times per week to start is a good idea with the ideal goal being once every day. And the type of affirmations you say can vary too depending on your goal. Some examples are…
I am a quick, capable learner.
I believe in myself as a person and all my capabilities.
I am unique and beautiful.
If a few others don’t accept me, I’m fine with that.
I forgive others for sometimes doing the wrong thing, and I forgive myself when I do the same.
I deserve to see myself as amazing.
Whatever difficulties come my way, I have the power to overcome them.
I was born strong, and I grow stronger every day.
Today, I am going to trust myself and my instincts.
I treat others with respect, and they treat me the same.
I choose to rise above the hurtful things that might come my way.
I am working every day on the best me that I can be.
Or maybe you need something more intense, in which case you can go with…
I KICK ASS AND TAKE NAMES
I AM THE ONE WHO KNOCKS
But, you know, whatever floats your motivation boat.
Surround yourself with like minded people.
Nothing boosts motivation and keeps it high quite like surrounding yourself with people who are striving to achieve similar goals. This is why many people trying to diet more often than not fail when family members or spouses aren’t on board with the same goal. Not only will they have to work to overcome their own barriers to success, but they’ll also have to maneuver around family members (friends, roommates, etc) whose actions might directly oppose their goals.
So this might mean joining a fitness class, avoiding certain restaurants, or simply skipping out on a couple social outings because it will feed into bad behaviors or be detrimental to what you’re working towards. Different goals might require different actions in this regard, but the point is still the same.
Remember, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
If your goal is to save more money, hanging out with friends who are addicted to shopping is a good way to ensure you fail. Surround yourself with success!
‘Hire’ an accountability coach.
There’s nothing wrong with needing a kick in the behind to make sure we stay on track. Even those individuals at the top of their respective fields have mentors and coaches. You think Tiger Woods just naturally perfected his swing? It might have been easier for him than most, but he still had guidance and help along the way.
It’s advisable to reach out to someone you trust and can count on to help hold you accountable when keeping motivation high by yourself is proving to be a struggle. This can be a close friend, family member, or even a paid professional. And it doesn’t even have to take much to help hold you accountable.
Perhaps a daily text message from your coach is all you need. Or maybe you need to deliver a full on status report at week’s end, who knows. This is largely dependent on the person, but having that little ‘insurance policy’ in the form of an accountability coach might just be the thing you need to help stay on track, or get on track in the first place.
Create real and unavoidable consequences.
Nothing, and we mean nothing, will motivate you more than creating consequences to your actions if a goal is not met. However, the consequences have to be real and significant. The threat of failing won’t hold any water if you don’t uphold whatever consequence you set for yourself. The threat of failure, and subsequent repercussions, should borderline scare you, or at least motivate you enough to really want to succeed.
Here are a few examples:
Set aside a sizable chunk of money ($500+…. remember, consequences have to be significant!). Give someone close to you strict instructions to donate that money to a charity you absolutely despise if your goal is not met by an agreed upon time.
Agree (in a legally binding contract) to be filmed eating a can of wet cat food. Post the video to social media if the goal is not met.
See where this is headed? If these examples seem extreme… it’s because they are! Avoiding a huge financial loss motivates much better than a self induced slap on the wrist. Real consequences create real motivation which creates real results.
Try one or several of these methods out, and let us know if they worked for you!