Want to know one of the most popular buzz words of this day-and-age?
“Hmm good question Ella. Is it ‘entrepreneur’?”
Well I’d say that is definitely a buzz word, BUT the word I’m thinking about can be generalized amongst all types of people. …Still nothing? Well here’s your answer:
Now a days, that word is slapped next to quotes, YouTube videos, Instagram captions, and more! And the aim of those “motivational” peices of media is to get you off your ass and start working hard.
Now before I continue, let me be clear and say, if a buzzword is being used in the proper context, I have NO PROBLEM with using it. Especially the buzzword “motivation” since motivational tools are aimed at helping YOU commit to your goals.
My question is… WHY has it become a buzzword? Is it because people have become less self-disciplined? Maybe we’ve grown accustomed to needing external motivation to drive us. Or maybe it’s just a great way for people to make money.
Whatever the reason, I think your ultimate goal should NOT be to rely on motivational videos/quotes to get your ass in gear, but rather to learn the best personal development tools so that you can motivate yourself.
But here’s the problem: being a motivated self-starter isn’t easy. It takes practice, self-discipline, will-power, and desire.
And not all of us have that…yet.
So that’s why I’m here! To teach you the tools to be a self-motivated self-starter 🙂
That said, here are 3 things you need to do, when you need to motivate yourself.
1) Get Granular
This is by far one of the most effective ways to gain momentum doing ANYTHING.
Break down your goals into the smallest possible actions. Now you might be thinking, “ok, so instead of striving to run 5 km, I should strive to run 1 km…again, and again, and again.” Or maybe you’re thinking something like “instead of focussing on writing 20 pages, I’ll focus on writing just 1 single page.”
Nope! Contrary to what you might believe, those mini-goals still aren’t granular enough!
Think about it like this: your granular goals are to your main goal like puzzle peices are to a puzzle. So if you want to run 5 km, here is an example of granular goal setting:
Main goal: Run 5 km
A. Put shirt over my head.
B. Put right arm through arm hole of shirt.
C. Put left arm through arm hole of shirt.
D. Put right leg through leg hole of running shorts.
E. Put left leg through leg hole of running shorts.
…Do you get the idea here? We don’t even have our shoes on yet, never mind actually running!
I know it seems silly, but I want you to create goals so small it will be impossible for you to fail. This type of granular goal setting is called making micro-committments.
And yes this process may seem long and drawn out, but it sure as hell works. In the case of the 5 km run, you might be standing there with only one arm in your shirt and figure, “i might as well put my other arm through.” Or you might be standing there with your shoes on, and figure, well I might as well take one step forward…then since you’re standing there, you figure you take a second step. Then those steps slowly turn into a walk then a light jog then then a run.
You have momentum. See! It’s easier than you think 🙂
2) Remind Yourself that YOU ARE THE AUTHORITY
Often times we don’t want to do something because we think we’ll fail. Other times, we think we think we won’t do something well…so why bother trying?
I’ve fallen into that trap many times before (ex. playing soccer, writing blogs, creating content, writing my research paper, etc.).
Let’s use the example of writing a 20 page essay. Say you aren’t motivated to write it because you think it will suck. And because of that, you think you’ll be judged and called stupid, and because of THAT, you lose your motivation to actually sit-down and write.
Even after after attempting to make micro-committments, you can’t get it out of your head that your paper will suck…
So what do you do?
Remind yourself that you know what you’re talking about. SERIOUSLY! You are the authority of the essay. These are your points that you want to prove. You know exactly what to do and how to go about doing it. Don’t let YOU sike yourself out.
And if you still don’t feel like an expert, maybe that’s a sign you need to do some more research. Maybe you need to ask a question or do some reading. Because at the end of the day, you either (1) know what to do, or (2) don’t know what to do. If you fall into the former category, you’re golden. But if you fall into the latter category, do what is necessary to put yourself into the former category.
PLEASE REMEMBER: You are a human being…which means you are 100% capable of mapping out different ways to achieve a goal! You will get there. You just have to accept that you know you can.
3) Phase-out to Zone-in
Once you’ve done the first 2 steps, you should have gained momentum. However, momentum can be stopped and you can get distracted easily by something more interesting.
So if you want to ensure to keep momentum, turn whatever you’re doing into the most interesting thing at that moment. Make whatever you’re doing something you want to do.
“How do I do that Ella...?”
Two ways: (1) phase-out other more interesting things (2) implement some type of immediate gratification / reward
Lets start with (1) get rid of distractions:
Turn off your phone, delete your social media accounts,use app blockers, and don’t have any junk food on hand! I want you to essentially put yourself in a space where you have no option but to get down to work. Phase-out the distractions to zone-in on the job!
But at the same time, make your work as enjoyable as you can. You can do that by working in a comfortable space, doing your work with a friend, or even wearing your favourite outfit while you work. And to hit my point home, here’s a relevent example from my life:
Both my undergraduate degree and grad school called for a lot of writing. I’ve probably writen over 100 short and long essays in my academic career. And guess what… I HATED WRITING. I just never cared to buckle down and talk about something for pages and pages (funny how things change …). Lot’s of my friends would go to the library to ensure they were not distracted by things at their homes…and that worked for them. However it did NOT work for me.
When I went to the library, I found myself thinking about all the things I could be doing at home. My mind was so bored with the space it was in, I couldn’t stimulate it to do the work I went to the library to do! So long story short, I removed myself from the boring space and started doing my work in a place that was actually comfortable and enjoyable: my home. So for all 7 years of post secondary school, I did all my writing sitting on my couch. I still made sure to remove all distractions, but being in a place I was comfortable in allowed me focus on the task at hand.
So if you’re more comfortable working out at a certain gym, go to that gym. And if you feel happier studying at your house instead of at the library, stay home! If the task at hand isn’t enjoyable, you are going to lose momentum really fast.
That said, remember to (2) implement some type of reward.
If you’re just starting out, immediate gratification may work better than delayed. So treat yourself after completing a period of work. Even if that means working for 25 minutes and resting for 5 minutes. Or satisfying your carb craving post working by having 1 spoonful of peanut butter. Make sure your reward is strong enough to keep you working but not so strong that it sets you a step back.
Another example from my life is reading while doing cardio. You see, I hate cardio…but I love reading! So I decided to use reading as a reward for working out.
What I do now is open up a book while using the stationary bike, and some days I find myself on the bike for longer than I intended!
So in conclusion…
If you want to get something done, but you seriously don’t want to do it, try getting granular, remind yourself that you are the authority, and phase-out your distractions.
External motivation is great, but it is even better when motivation comes from YOU. So practice motivation and watch your self-discipline muscle grow!
Want to learn more about using rewards to create good habits? Then enroll in my free 5 day course by clicking here.
Happy Monday all ❤✌
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*Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional advice.