How to Motivate Yourself: Eight Things to Try
We can all become experts at setting goals – whether they’re long term or short term. Maybe there are big things that you would like to accomplish in the future, or perhaps you wake up every morning determined to get things done. But the truth is, it’s much easier to set goals than it is to actually reach them. Anyone can decide that they are going to do something in the moment, but finding the motivation to actually get started can be difficult – whether it’s something small, like cleaning up the kitchen, or big like getting a new degree or saving a large amount of money. If you struggle with motivating yourself, then you’re not alone; it’s so much easier to sit back and think about the things that you’re going to do eventually, compared to actually getting started with doing them – and then keeping at it.
The good news is that staying motivated isn’t impossible – and when you know how, it’s often easier than you expected. There are many ways that you can motivate yourself, but when that doesn’t seem to be working, don’t be afraid to ask for a push from an outside source, whether it’s your partner, a trusted friend or a relative who wants to see you succeed and believes in you. No matter what you’re struggling to get motivated to do, there’s always going to be someone out there willing to tell you that you can do it and give you the boost you need to get started.
Finding the motivation to make big changes in your life may not come easy, and it certainly may not happen overnight, but it’ll definitely be worth it. If you want to know how to motivate yourself when you’re really not feeling something, read on!
#1. Figure Out Your Reason Why:
Have you noticed that finding the motivation to do something is always easier when you’ve got a solid reason why, especially if it’s something that you are passionate about? If you don’t know why you’re doing something, then it can be a lot more difficult to give yourself the push you need to get started. And even if you do know, it can be easy to forget when you get caught up with the everyday tasks and work that goes into reaching your goal.
So, if it helps, you might want to create something that reminds you exactly why you’re doing this – this could be something physical, or it could be something that you visualize when needed. For example, if you’re studying for something like these FNP programs online because you want to boost your career as a nurse and have always dreamed of becoming a family nurse practitioner, visualize yourself working in that job and how you’re going to feel when you finally get there. If you’re working towards starting your own business to provide a better life for your kids, have a picture of them on your desk that you can look at when you need that little reminder.
#2. Keep a Gratitude List:
When you’re grateful for what you have, everything can often seem so much easier. So, try to make a conscious effort to actually notice the small things that you are grateful for every day, especially if they are things that you normally take for granted. In the morning when you wake up, take a moment to be grateful of the fact that you’ve woken up in a comfortable bed, and when you’re having dinner, take the time to really appreciate it.
When you begin to appreciate the little things, and it becomes easier to see things that you can be grateful for in everything, you’ll probably notice that things don’t always seem that bad. There’s always going to be a silver lining that you can find, and that can be the push that you need to work hard towards your goal. If you’re working hard to lose a lot of weight, for example, simply being grateful for the fact that you’re able to exercise and have access to healthy food can change your entire mindset about the situation, and stop you thinking as many negative thoughts about the process – instead, you’ll begin to enjoy the process a whole lot more.
Keep a running list of things that make you smile – use the notes app on your phone, and when something makes you smile or you find something to be grateful for during the day, no matter how small, note it down. When you’re feeling overwhelmed and demotivated, reading through the list can help you get back into the right headspace.
#3. Be Honest with Yourself:
Everybody makes excuses – and that’s OK, but it’s important to be honest with yourself about your excuses and determine whether or not they are really worth holding yourself back for. This doesn’t mean that you should beat yourself up – your feelings are valid – but be painfully honest with yourself and face your excuses head on. Maybe you don’t want to start something because you feel like you have no time – but be honest, could you have the time if you really wanted to make it? What’s stopping you from making that time?
Many people find that their excuses are coming from a place of fear. When you’re honest and open with yourself, you may find that actually, it’s not really about the time – it’s more that you’re scared of getting started because you’re worried about failing, or being judged. And while it’s totally valid to feel that way, it helps you decide what you’re going to do next. Are you ready to face whatever fears and excuses you have head on, or do you need to do more work on yourself? Being honest with yourself isn’t easy, especially if you’re not used to it – so take it one step at a time and be patient with yourself. If you feel it will help, you may benefit from speaking about things with somebody you trust. A different perspective, or simply having somebody listen can make things easier to face.
#4. Reward Yourself:
Although we can’t get away from doing things that we don’t really like in life sometimes, like cleaning the toilet or taking the trash out, don’t force yourself to do something that you’re not actually enjoying or even wanting to achieve if it’s going to take a lot of hard work, motivation and dedication to get there. For example, don’t force yourself through the hard work of majoring in a college degree subject that you don’t really enjoy simply because your family think you should do it – you’ll be miserable, and you’ll find it pretty much impossible to work into your lifestyle over the long term.
But even if you do find something that you really want to do and it’s easier to motivate yourself to do it, after a while, putting in all that hard work and dedication to a long-term goal can become draining – it’s normal. So, make sure that you are still rewarding yourself; don’t be hard on yourself and remember to focus just as hard on the positive as you do on the negatives, if not even more. If something doesn’t go to plan, then remember it’s not a failure – you’re just being hit with a learning curve, and now you know what not to do next time. Reward yourself for trying your best, figure out what went wrong, and start again with fresh knowledge.
#5. Check in With Yourself:
Scheduling weekly check-ins with yourself can feel weirdly formal at first, but it can be a great way to keep yourself motivated, keep yourself accountable and practice being completely honest with yourself. Every week, sit down and go through what you’ve done that week, talk about what you’ve done well, and what needs improving. Taking just an hour or so every week gives you a chance to breathe, reflect, and evaluate what you are doing to help you reach your goals.
When it comes to sticking with your goals, reflection is absolutely crucial. So, if your ultimate goal is to save a certain amount of money, but you’re still spending as much as you were before, this time can help you determine why that’s the case, and if there’s anything that you can do to make a change and help you get that one step further towards achieving what you want.
#6. Accept Help and Support:
When it comes to staying motivated, even the most determined and hard-working of people can find it difficult to do everything on their own. Sometimes, all you need is a partner, relative or a good friend to cheer you on and remind you that you can do this. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that – in fact, getting support and advice from others can be one of the best things that you can do to keep yourself motivated.
Take some time to meet up with a friend or relative for coffee and fill them in on your goals and what you’ve been working towards. Choose a friend who you know always roots for you and you can rely on to always be honest with you when you need them to be, while encouraging you at the same time. When you have people in your life who want you to be happy, don’t lose them – allow them to be there for you, offer support and motivate you when you’re struggling to do it yourself, because after all you’d probably do the exact same for them.
#7. Keep a Diary:
Sometimes, it takes looking back to remind ourselves of just how far we have come. Whenever you’re feeling down and like everything is getting too much for you, looking back at where you were a year ago, a month ago, or even a few days ago can be quite eye-opening when you realize that actually, you’re a lot further along now than you were back then, and you’ve managed that fine.
Keeping a diary is a great way to do this – not only do you have something to look back on when you need a gentle reminder of how far you’ve come and how hard you’ve worked, but it can also be a good way to get your thoughts and feelings out on a regular basis. When you’re having a particularly good day, write it down in the diary – in the future when your day isn’t going so great, you can turn to that and remember the feeling and what got you to that point. Write about your bad days, too – getting it all out on paper can make your feelings, emotions and struggles much easier to deal with and in the future, it can serve as a reminder that you successfully managed to get yourself past that point, and there’s nothing that you can’t tackle when it comes to meeting your goal.
#8. Blast Some Inspirational Music:
It might seem counterintuitive, but sitting back and listening to some of your favorite inspirational tunes can be a great way to muster up some motivation to get going when you’re not feeling it. Find your favorite playlist on YouTube, Spotify, Pandora, or other streaming service, and crank up the volume or put your headphones on – you might even find a ready curated playlist of inspirational jams if you’re not sure what to search for. Music is a very strong invoker of emotions, and it can certainly get you going!
In fact, there’s plenty of research that shows music motivates us, and this is especially true if your goal is fitness related. But no matter what your goals are, listening to songs that make you feel strong, empowered, and ready to take on the world is a great way to get started and continue to motivate yourself as you work towards getting what you want.
Deciding to do something is the easy part – motivating yourself to get started and keep on going isn’t always easy. What do you usually do when you need some motivation? We’d love to hear from you!