The personal development field is filled with tips and tricks to increase your motivation. Most of these “tips and tricks” can also be called self- motivation techniques. I consider myself a self-motivated person. I am happier when I am up and doing something or when I have a project. It gives my mind something to focus on. When I am finished it gives me a sense of accomplishment.
Ultimately, it will be up to you to become a self-motivated person. However, these self-motivation techniques have helped me, and I believe they will help you as well if you apply them.
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10 Powerful Self-Motivation Techniques to Stop Thinking and Start Doing!
Self-Motivation Technique #1: Make it into a Goal
It’s no secret that goals have power. In fact, setting goals is one of the major secrets to achieving your dreams. Writing your goals down and breaking them into smaller chunks makes them much more manageable. Your goals should be SMART goals. SMART is an acronym for…
I like to have one big goal, and then break it down into smaller sub-goals. I also reward myself when I accomplish each of the smaller steps. If you need some tips on exactly how to set goals, then Nadalie at itsallyouboo.com is a master goal slayer and has some great articles on goals.
Small Goals are Good Goals Too!
Not all goals have to be huge. Many times, mine are not. I focus more on the smaller bite-sized bits. For example, today I have to finish a blog post, go to the bank, grocery store, several other errands. These are not big tasks that I have to get accomplished. However, this blog post is important. Why? Because YOU are important to me and I want to help you become a self-motivated person and give you the tools that you need to improve your life. I do that by writing blog posts.
There are short-range and long-range goals, and most people have both. I do. One of the most effective techniques for setting and achieving goals is breaking them down. I want to post 1 blog post a week, in order to grow my blog, and so on. In order to do that, I take it one post at a time. I would go nuts if I tried to type all the posts for this month today! Some people can do that, but for me, it’s just not practical. I stay much more motivated if I set SMART short-range goals. Don’t forget the time frame. 🙂
Self-Motivation Technique #2: Schedule It
I have tried not keeping a “to-do” list and flying by the seat of my pants. That’s usually when I forget or don’t get around to half the things I need to do. From my own experience, I am much more efficient if I keep a “to-do” list. I pick 3-5 major tasks that I want/need to accomplish each day and write them down. In a separate column, I write down the little things too. All the other little stuff gets done between the gaps in the big tasks.
To-Do List Hack
I also put a TIME on my to-do list. For example, this morning, I wanted to walk for 20 minutes before 8 am this morning. Because I had it scheduled, I kept it and I was finishing my walk at about 7:45 this morning. You don’t miss appointments with other people, like the doctor’s office or a big company executive. You are important, and so are the tasks and things that you need to get done. Schedule it in, and keep the appointment with yourself.
I have an appointment with myself later today to read for 30 minutes before 3 pm. I intend on keeping it, and I am looking FORWARD to keeping it. Reading is one of those things that I usually mean to do but does not actually happen. When I schedule it, I make it happen.
*Tip* Try not to overschedule yourself either. When I do that, it stresses me more than helps me.
Self-Motivation Technique #3: Remember Your Why
Even the most enjoyable tasks can sometimes seem like they drag on and on and on. Does something that you once found joy in seems to have lost its spark? Remember why you are doing it in the first place. I love writing these blog posts. I love blogging, but most of all, I love my readers.
When I remember why I am writing, to help and inspire others, the words come much more easily. I think it makes for much more interesting posts too. I LOVE reading comments on some of my work. It’s encouraging. Though I will still write without it, it makes me feel good to know that my posts have helped someone.
It took me a while to find my why. If you notice my categories on the sidebar are a bit scattered, but I have the most posts in 2 areas. That’s because it took me several months to decide what I really enjoyed writing about and to find my focus. When you are trying to accomplish a task, remember your why. Often times, that’s the inspiration that you need to carry it through.
Self-Motivation Technique #4: Eliminate Distractions
You will be much more efficient at a task when you eliminate distractions. I can type fairly rapidly when I am focused on what I am writing. The words seem to fly off my fingers and on to the screen. However, if I have the TV going in the background, or if I have people constantly interrupting me (For example: well-intentioned “What are you writing about, Mom?” Let me try to read it over your shoulder!) I am much less effective. It’s hard to keep my thoughts straight and hard to focus on the task. When you make more progress, you are more motivated to continue that progress and see it through to the end.
If the kids are around, sometimes I will put on a headset and put classical music on. That seems to help me improve my focus. I just search “music for concentration” and find something that I like. I have tried music with lyrics, but what happens to me when I try that is I end up singing along and thinking more about the lyrics than what I am typing. Sometimes I even wind up typing the lyrics. Ha!
When you are trying to work on and accomplish a task that you need to be motivated to finish, try to eliminate all the distractions and focus solely on the task at hand. Some people work more effectively in a quiet area/space, others work better with some background noise. The important thing is to eliminate distractions and help yourself focus on what needs to be done.
Self-Motivation Technique #5: Learn More About it
If I do not know what I am doing, I find it hard to motivate myself to start or see it through. The lack of knowledge is a serious hindrance to motivation and progress. How can you do what needs to be done if you don’t know what to do in the first place? This is where life-long learning comes in. As a former teacher, I LOVE lifelong learning. In fact, that one of the things that I enjoy about blogging is that I am constantly learning new things.
In this day and age information is much easier to seek out than in generations past. If you have lost your motivation because you don’t know what to do, then start learning more about it! Don’t be scared to ask questions. Everyone starts from somewhere and no one knows everything about everything. Most people are happy to help or give advice!
Self-Motivation Technique #6: Approach the Task With Enthusiasm
I know, not all tasks are fun. I have a hard time getting up enthusiasm about cleaning the toilet bowl. You might feel equally un-enthused about the task that awaits you. The trick is to visualize something for you that generates enthusiasm. While I might loathe cleaning the toilet, I do feel quite the sense of accomplishment when I look in and see a clean bathroom. I love seeing everything shining and maybe a candle lit for a bit to make everything smell nice. That’s what I think about while I am cleaning. While I do not like the process, the thought of the end result motivates me. Then I can approach the task with enthusiasm and it gets done more quickly!
Have you heard the expression “Bad attitudes are like flat tires; you can’t go anywhere until you change it.”? What is one of the symptoms of a bad attitude? Apathy. I have never seen anyone that has a bad attitude about something be enthusiastic. Usually, it’s the opposite. They display a lack of enthusiasm and motivation. You may have to fake it a bit at first, but the “fake it till you make it” actually does work. Attitudes and enthusiasm are contagious.
High School Chemistry- Example 101!
When I taught chemistry, one of the hardest things for the students to get through was stoichiometry. It was a beast and it usually left them confused and frustrated. (Stoichiometry involves calculations of reactants and products and limiting reactants) Needless to say, there was a lot of math in that particular chapter, and not just math, but applied math. Just from the description above, you may be thinking “ick! Not fun!”
The first time I taught it, we all struggled through it. However, when I introduced the chapter during my 2nd year, I walked up to the front of the class and said,
“Good morning, my wonderful ones! (Positive start) Today we start one of my favorite chapters in the whole book: Stoichiometry! (Enthusiasm) I know it’s a big word, but it allows us to tell how much product we will get, what happens in a reaction, and what the limiting reactants are! It is vital to help us make our calculations when we go to the lab. (What it does and how we will USE it. This was the “why”) There is a lot of math, but it’s really fun and I know you all can do it. (More enthusiasm and motivation) Now, let’s get started! (Immediate progress)”
Want to guess which group was more motivated, which one had a better attitude, and learned the material more easily? It was the 2nd group of course. The material didn’t change. Only my attitude and enthusiasm, which in turn affected those of my students. You know what was really amazing? By the time we were done, stoichiometry really was one of my favorite chapters in the whole book.
Self-Motivation Technique #7: Visualize it
Our brains think in pictures. When I read, I visualize the story in my head, as if it were a movie. When you visualize accomplishing a task and what it will feel like when you are finished, it motivates us to continue working towards that goal. Visualizing is a powerful self-motivation technique. Our brains are like a supercomputer and what we feed it is the program that it runs. Visualize success and you are much more likely to achieve it.
Self-Motivation Technique #8: Reward Yourself
Everyone likes rewards. However, when you are a self-motivated person, you do not seek it from outside sources. You reward yourself as a means to motivate yourself. For example, I set a goal yesterday to type 1000 words on this post. I accomplished that. Today, I set a goal to finish the post. I also have plans for what I’m going to do afterward. When I get everything done today that I need to do, I’m going to take at least an hour and decompress by doing something I love!
Planning time to decompress is my reward to myself for accomplishing my task. Notice though, that it’s AFTER I get this post completed and everything else that I need to do today. Do you think I’m motivated to finish? You bet I am! Do you think I’m more likely to accomplish my goal now that I know that I have a reward waiting for me? I sure am! I feel very self-motivated!
When you are trying to accomplish a task, make plans to reward yourself in some way after you finish. ? It doesn’t have to be huge or expensive, only something that you look forward to.
Self-Motivation Technique # 9: Positive Self-Talk
As Jim Kwik (Memory expert and brain guy) says “Your brain is a supercomputer, and your self-talk is the program that it runs.” Self-talk is your internal dialogue. I actually read an entire book on it and wrote another post dedicated to it. Basically, it’s what you tell yourself. It forms the basis for your beliefs and your beliefs form the basis of your actions.
If this is true and you are constantly telling yourself “I can’t” then you will lose all motivation. Who wants to try when they believe in their heart that they will fail? I don’t think anyone does. None of us like to fail and I don’t think anyone sets out trying to. If you are struggling with self-motivation, then stop and examine what you are telling yourself. Are you saying “I can’t” over and over? Is that the program that you want your brain to run? When you tell yourself that over and over, that’s what your brain starts believing and making true. Yikes!!
What Program Are You Running?
We need to fix that “I can’t” program. It’s more like a virus than a program when you tell yourself “I can’t” over and over! We don’t want to sabotage our efforts. Like a computer virus, the “I can’t” virus has negative impacts on system performance. It saps our motivation, flattens our attitudes, slows our inspiration, and if left unchecked can eventually shut down the whole system into depression without the motivation to do anything!
We need anti-virus fast! It’s not called “Norton” or “McAfee” it’s called “Positive Self-Talk” or “Affirmations.” (I am not suggesting that this alone will fix depression. Depression is a serious medical issue that you need to consult your doctor on. I am not a medical expert, however, it is my personal belief that running this positive self-talk “antivirus” will certainly not hurt.) You see, we need positive programming to combat the negative one! So how do we do that?
Squash Those ANTs!
Over time, negative self-talk becomes a habit. We think “What about if I did such and such?” and then this little inner critic says “You could never do that! Don’t even try!” Jim Kwik calls those ANTs: Automatic Negative Thoughts. If you are just starting your journey with self-motivation techniques, you most likely have an infestation of ANTs and will be squashing a lot of them at first. You combat them with the opposite thoughts of “Yes, I can. I am smart enough. I am capable enough.” When you tell yourself good things like this very day, especially at the start of the day, we call those affirmations. They are good input that your brain needs to hear to rewire the programming. I have another post on how to cultivate positive thoughts if you are interested in learning more.
Self-Motivation Technique #10: Take Care of Yourself
If I have a headache, then I find it very hard to focus and motivate myself. I can but it’s much harder. Similarly, if I am upset about something, it’s hard to self-motivate. You have to take care of you in order to operate at your most motivated and most efficient. I described in my self-care post how that when you take care of yourself your “bucket” is full and you have more to give. This applies to giving of yourself, your time, your effort and your love.
If you have a headache, take something for it. If you are upset about something and are able to resolve it, then go take care of it. Then come back to the task you are trying to accomplish. (I do realize this one is highly situation dependent and this is not always possible.) When you feel better, you will be more motivated, more enthusiastic and more efficient.
Self-motivation does not just happen. Self-motivation techniques are actual actionable things that you can start practicing in order to motivate yourself. If you only acquire one or two skills, they will still help. However, if you start applying all 10 self-motivation techniques, watch your productivity SOAR! I think you will surprise even yourself! The rush of accomplishment can get almost addictive, in a good way.
In summary, the 10 self-motivation techniques that we discussed are:
What are your favorite self-motivation techniques? Leave me a comment below. Let’s help motivate each other! Happy Questing!