Gosh I have read so much on motivation it is a minefield of do’s and don’ts and existential questions. I just want a simple answer so I can get cracking. The question being; how can I get motivated to do the things I don’t want or feel like doing? The answer isn’t as straightforward but it’s definitely not as difficult as the internet makes it sound. So there are a couple of key things when we talk about motivation. Being a motivated person isn’t the same as having motivation to do things. For example, I might be a motivated person in my career but I am not so motivated to work out and lose weight even though I may want to. The harsh reality of motivation comes down to that wise old saying, if you want to do something you will find a way, otherwise you will find an excuse. If you are finding excuses more than doing, here are a few considerations to think about.
Mood Management and Mind-set
It is widely acknowledged that those of us who struggle with our mental health will have days where we have zero motivation and that is because the mind is a powerful tool. Your mood and mind-set directly affect how engaged you feel with a task and ultimately whether or not you are motivated to get on and do it.
So check in with yourself for this one, if you have a negative mind-set (perhaps for good reason) you will find motivation hard to come by. An example of this could be work, you might not enjoy your job and feel negative towards it. As a result you may find that you struggle to remain motivated throughout your day and this could tip into your home life. I personally struggle with motivation because I find myself taking a negative view of the task, feeling that it’s pointless or a waste of my time. These feelings aren’t helping me and I am actually wasting my own time here just thinking about it. What I find is helpful when negative thoughts pop up is to try and think about what I can take away from the task, if there is something to be gained or simply just a lesson in patience. Finding a positive can help you feel more engaged, even if the positive is just ticking it off your list!
Be clear on what you need to do
Clarity is everything, if you know exactly what you need to do its going to be easier to figure out the motivation to get it done. No matter how big the job, being clear on what you need to achieve makes the doing simple. If you are clear on the job but it is a big one, then just break it down into smaller sections, a list, easy parts – these can all help with motivation and don’t forget to list out a few quick wins too!
Often, say at work, our motivation comes from the fact that we get paid to do these tasks we might usually not want to do, or that we fear we will lose your jobs if we fail to complete our work. These factors fall under accountability, this is a powerful tool when practising self-motivation.
If you can hold yourself to account and maintain a disciplined approach this will not only help you to feel motivated, but it is key to maintaining that motivation and not just a quick fix.
Take the small victories
So you found some motivation and you did one thing off your list, well GO TEAM! You need to make sure you celebrate the small wins because however many steps you take, you are moving forward. Motivation breeds motivation that is why some days you find you will be extremely productive – once you start on that list, the motivation just comes, it’s a process and what I like to call a flow, go with it.
Remember, whatever your reasons we all struggle getting motivated and even when we are, it’s hard to maintain. Hopefully you will find some of those pointers helpful and if not then at least take away that you aren’t alone.