How to Motivate Yourself

I recently returned from a relaxing vacation. It was so nice to wake up each day and have someone else do the cooking, cleaning, and planning for the day. That’s why it is called a vacation. We get to rest from our daily responsibilities and just enjoy someone else taking care of us.

For the past week, I have had a hard time motivating myself to get back into my work routine. I feel like my feet are dragging behind me and my heart is just not in it. (I am also out of my non-dairy creamer for my coffee!)

So, I had to ask myself, “Why am I not motivated?” I love what I do. I am excited about the products I am working on right now. Many doors are open so what is wrong with me?

This took me to my desk where I pulled out my paper and marker. (I love writing with color!) I wrote at the top, “What Motivates Me?” And of course, here comes the list of things that motive me to get up in the morning and approach the day with excitement.

  • Give yourself a deadline. The week before my trip was a super productive week. I had a limited amount of time to get an enormous to-do list finished. There was no room for excuses. I just had to get it done before leaving on my trip. So, guess what?! I just did it. I couldn’t talk myself into procrastinating or telling myself I didn’t feel like doing something. I just had to get it done and so I did. The motivating factor here is that I had a deadline that could not be moved.
  • Eat your frog. This phrase comes from the book called, Eat That Frog, written by Brian Tracy. Here is a link to a blog post explaining the concept in more detail: Blog: Eat Your Frog Basically, this means to do the thing that you really don’t want to do, first. Get it over with! Do it first so the rest of your day will be more productive.
  • Make a plan. When I am overwhelmed with what I need to get done, I make a plan or a list (you know by now that I LOVE a list!) Taking all the to-do’s out of my head and putting them onto paper helps me to move through the tasks with a clear mind. I often use this weekly planning sheet that you can print from my freebies section: Weekly Planning Sheet After one week, I am back on track!
  • Stop overthinking. When I am unmotivated, there are usually emotions involved. I start thinking too much and talking myself into or out of doing what I need to do. Fear sets in. Blah, blah, blah. Just yesterday I was journaling about going to the gym, that I hadn’t been in a few weeks, that I really needed to get back in my routine, etc. As I was complaining about going to the gym, I just got up and went. It felt so good to just do it and stop thinking about it.
  • Reward the victories. It is important that we associate our victories with a positive response. Sometimes we get the response from external sources such as getting positive reviews for a creative work or receiving an award for something. Other times our victories go unnoticed, so we need to reward ourselves. We may step on the scale and finally see the number we want, or we finished that project from last year around the house. Before beginning a task that you are dreading, decide up front how you will reward yourself for your accomplishment.
  • Search out the why. An important part of goal setting is knowing “why” you want to reach this goal. The “why” is what keeps us striving for this goal even when it feels difficult. Write it out and keep this visible. It will remind you and motivate you to keep going.
  • How will you feel when “it” is done? When I do not feel like going to the gym, (ie: it is cold and rainy outside), I remind myself of how I feel when I am leaving the gym. I feel strong and proud of myself. When you are facing a task or project and you just don’t have the juice to get started, ask yourself, “How will I feel when it is done?”
  • Take your first step. A Harvard psychologist, Jerome Bruner, said, “You’re more likely to act yourself into feeling than feel yourself into action.” So often, people wait to begin something until they “feel” like doing it. I was one of those people. I thought my emotions needed to line up for me to be ready. I was wrong. Now, I take a baby step and suddenly, my feelings rise to the challenge!

Motivation is a tricky thing! It is all about feelings. When we take our feelings out of the equation and just begin, we allow ourselves the space to accomplish great things. Nike had it right! “Just do it!!”

I hope you are motivated or at least found one tip to help you move forward. If you have found something to add to this list, please share it with us!

Featured photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash.