Have you ever been around a person who’s really, really motivated? It’s inspiring. People who are highly motivated seem to have this special air of confidence that surrounds them. They’re the ones who are realizing their dreams and pleased with the lives they’re living.
Needless to say, most of us could use a boost in the motivation department. It’s not that we don’t have good intentions, it’s just that staying motivated can be hard. As humans, we gravitate toward what’s easiest and staying motivated is much easier said than done.
Here’s the thing, though. You can train yourself to become more motivated. It just takes a bit of commitment and a drive to succeed. No matter what your goals might be, increasing your motivation is a huge factor in helping you achieve them.
Looking for help in boosting your motivation? Following are 10 tips that can help ensure that you get done whatever it is you want to do. Whether you want to run a marathon or learn how to play the piano, keep reading to learn 10 ways for boosting your motivation to help you get there.
10 Tips for Boosting Your Motivation
1. Create a Routine that Works for You
Not having a routine can kill motivation quicker than anything. It’s hard to stay motivated when you don’t have a schedule to follow. Understand that routine is different for everyone — a routine that works for you isn’t necessarily going to work for your best friend or significant other. We’re highly unique individuals and all have different needs, as well as different schedules.
Here’s a secret. The most successful individuals don’t just set schedules, but they also create routine rituals that allow them to realize their deepest dreams.
These rituals will be different for everyone. Maybe you need motivation to write that book that’s been brewing in your mind for months. Maya Angelou used to rent a local hotel room where she would go to write. She arrived at the hotel at 6:30 a.m. and wrote until 2 p.m. She’d then go home and edit, but she never actually slept in the hotel room.
Ask yourself what kind of routine might work best for you. Maybe it’s creating a mindful morning routine can help you tackle the rest of your day with ease. Maybe it’s scheduling an hour before bed each night to devote to learning a new language. It could be getting up 30 minutes earlier to get in a 20 minute run each morning to help you train for that upcoming 5K.
Pick a time that works for you and commit to meeting yourself to work toward your goals. Whether this is scheduling your workouts for 9 a.m. before you go to work or practicing the piano for an hour at 7 p.m., five days a week, simply make it work. Scheduling time for your routine rituals is vital in realizing your goals.
Regardless of the routine you create, make sure it’s one that works for you. Once you start a routine that feels right, you likely won’t need much motivation to keep it going. Getting started is the hardest part.
2. Set Reasonable Goals
When activating your motivation, it’s important to dream big, but set reasonable goals. No matter how motivated you are to lose weight, save money, write that book or run a marathon, setting small, reasonable goals is the ticket to success.
Did you know that most people don’t achieve their goals? We’re not here to crush your dreams, only to make you better realize them. By setting small reasonable goals, you’re more likely to achieve them.
Say you want to write that book. Rather than setting a goal of completing it in the next six months, set small goals that will help you get there. Set a goal of completing the outline first. Once that’s done, make another goal. Maybe it’s writing the first chapter in the next two weeks. This goal can be broken down even further by making a goal to write the first chapter for two hours a day for two weeks until it’s completed. Go back to tip #1 and pick a time that works for you to do this and commit to getting it done.
When we set reasonable goals, we’re much more likely to have the motivation to follow through on them. Big goals are great, but it’s by accomplishing little goals along the way that we achieve these big goals and realize our deepest dreams.
3. Embrace a Positive Mindset
The power of positivity is real, and it’s mandatory for maximizing your motivation. No one is positive 24/7. Life happens and some circumstances can negatively affect your attitude and motivation to succeed. We have the power to choose our thoughts, though. We can’t control what happens to us, but we can control our reaction to these things.
Let’s say you want to lose 20 pounds. Instead of listening to your inner critic that tells you how hard it is to lose weight or how unsatisfied you are with your present appearance, do your best to embrace a positive mindset instead. Keep the self-talk positive by reaffirming things like, “I am one day closer to my ideal weight” or “I love myself and am confident I will lose 20 pounds.”
Remember these words of Mahatma Gandhi:
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
Keeping these timeless words of wisdom in mind can make embracing a positive mindset much easier to accomplish on the road to reaching your dreams.
4. Get Regular Exercise
Staying active is an excellent way to boost your motivation. Regular exercise has shown to increase productivity, which in turn can increase your motivation. When you exercise, you increase blood flow to the brain, which increases awareness and motivation to succeed in crushing your goals.
Regular exercise isn’t just good for your physical health. It’s also awesome for your brain. Getting regular exercise can help ease stress, which is known to kill motivation before it even begins. When you exercise, more serotonin, the “feel-good” chemical, is released, which can improve your state of mind and get you motivated to succeed in whatever it is you want to accomplish.
Whether it’s a gentle yoga routine, a low-impact workout to kickstart your day, joining your local gym or hitting the hiking trail, your body was made to move. Get the regular exercise your body needs, and you’ll naturally find yourself becoming more motivated.
5. Keep Distractions to a Minimum
If you really want to achieve your goals, you have to keep yourself from getting distracted. This means being clear about what you want to do without letting other things get in your way.
Let’s return to the example of writing a book. You’re not going to get very far in the two hours you’ve carved out of your day if you’re distracted by your phone. Calls, text messages and social media notifications can wait. Turn your phone off for the two hours you’ve dedicated to working on that first chapter and you’ll find yourself working on that second chapter a lot sooner than you think.
Keeping distractions to a minimum might mean getting up an hour or two earlier than you normally would to fit in time for yourself before the rest of the house wakes up. This is especially true for people with children who demand a great deal of time and attention.
Remember, the most successful people in the world get one thing done at a time. If you find yourself constantly distracted by other things going on around you, you’re bound to waste your energy on things that don’t matter. Ditch the distractions and you’ll see your motivation multiply.
6. Tackle Your To-Do List
A to-do list can either hold you back or help you stay motivated to reach your goals. The key is to make your to-do list actually doable. When you make a to-do list, make sure you’re keeping tip #2 in mind by writing down reasonable goals to accomplish each day.
Did you know that checking things off a list releases small amounts of dopamine? That’s right. Crossing off something on your to-do list releases the feel-good chemical responsible for feelings of learning, pleasure and motivation.
Whether you make a to-do list for an upcoming move, vacation or simply what you need to get done each day, crossing off those reasonable goals you’ve set out for yourself on your list can give you a serious sense of satisfaction. This sense of accomplishment can help you check off the rest of your items on that list with motivation and ease.
7. Visualize a Positive Outcome
There’s big power in visualization. Think about your goals. What do they look like? Feel like? Can you clearly see yourself achieving these goals? Visualization is simply creating a mental picture of a future event in your mind. Whatever your goal might be, visualizing it can help increase your motivation to attain it.
While visualization has become the biggest buzzword in the self-help movement, there’s real science behind it. For example, studies show that when athletes visualize a successful outcome, it helps improve performance through increasing concentration, coordination and motivation. Visualizing a positive outcome can reduce fear and stress as well.
It all comes down to how visualization works in the brain. Neurons, responsible for transmitting information, decode achievement imagery the same as it does with real-life achievement. When you visualize something, your brain produces an electrical impulse that instructs neurons to perform that action, which in turn creates new neural pathways. These neural pathways are what generate learned behavior and new memories.
The next time you need a boost of motivation, visualize whatever your goal might be. When you keep your desired outcome in mind, you increase your chances of achieving it.
8. Surround Yourself with Motivated People
You’ve probably heard before that you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. The people you surround yourself matter, and they have a significant influence on your life.
It’s pretty difficult to stay motivated when the people you spend the most time with aren’t doing anything to increase their own motivation. Associating with the wrong people can be a motivation killer. You’re probably well aware that not everyone has a positive outlook on life. If you’re hanging out with people who have little drive to accomplish their goals or people who don’t have any goals at all, it could seriously affect your own motivation and drive.
Want to really boost your motivation? Surround yourself with motivated people! If you want to be financially successful, stop hanging around that friend who’s always complaining about being broke! If you want to increase your motivation to be successful in your chosen field, surround yourself with others who have realized success in whatever it is you want to do.
By surrounding yourself with motivated people intent on reaching their goals and living their best lives, it encourages you to do the same.
9. Reward Yourself
Remember when we mentioned that crossing something off your to-do list releases a small amount of dopamine? The same thing happens when you reward yourself. Giving yourself a treat can be a big motivation booster, simply because it makes you feel good.
Word of advice. If you’re trying to increase your motivation to lose weight, rewarding yourself with a piece of cake probably isn’t the best idea. Give yourself the right reward when you complete a task, however, and it can be a huge incentive towards continuing to reach for your goals. When you give yourself a treat, you train your brain to desire to continue to take action.
10. Know What to Do When Motivation Decreases
No matter how motivated you are, there will be times when your drive to succeed takes a nosedive. When motivation begins to decrease, it can be really easy to give up on your goals. Knowing what to do when this happens can be what ultimately helps you succeed.
Understand this: you are the only one responsible for making your dreams come true. Don’t have the motivation to go to the gym? No one else is going to go for you. Don’t have the motivation to meet yourself on your yoga mat a few days a week? You’re the only one that can deepen your practice. Don’t have the motivation to work on that book one hour a day? Someone else is going to end up writing it before you.
Life is not a dress rehearsal. Yes, there will be moments when you struggle. But there will also be moments when you shine. You choose. Pushing through the discomfort that tends to come with decreased motivation will only make you feel better in the end.
What are some of the ways you have for boosting your motivation? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below.
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Hannah Smith is Joy Organics Director of Communications. She is driven by her passion for providing clear and accessible wellness and CBD education. In 2015, she received her BA in Media, Culture and the Arts from The King’s College in New York City and before Joy Organics, worked as writer and photographer in the Middle East and North Africa. Her work has been featured on Forbes, Vice, Vox, Denver Post, and the Coloradoan.