I’m sure I’m not alone in having felt completely demotivated before. Sometimes making choices can feel overwhelming and can leave us unsure on where to even start. This can lead to a lack of action and results in a cycle of procrastination and guilt.
So, following an inspiring chat with a friend about how we support ourselves to feel motivated I thought I would share what I’ve learnt so far:
1. Set a timer
For those tasks that feel huge and you just don’t know where to start, set a ten minute timer and do as much as you can during that time. Sometimes just getting started is all you need.
2. Start a ‘Success Spiral’
In his book ‘The Procrastination Equation’ Piers Steel PhD, encourages us to create success spirals which involve taking one small positive step towards our goal e.g. getting your workout clothes ready the night before. By setting ourselves an ongoing series of challenging but ultimately achievable goals, we can help to increase our motivation over time.
3. Tell yourself a white lie
My friend shared an interesting tip for when she feels like she can’t make herself do something like go to work, for whatever reason. She shared that she will tell herself a white lie such as “okay, I’ll just walk round town, that’s all I’m doing” which can then lead to her feeling “well I’m part way to my studio now anyway, might as well get a few more steps in”.
4. Do something meaningful first
It can be tempting to reward ourselves with a “treat” of some sort after we do the thing that we need to do. But I honestly think that sometimes it’s best to treat yourself first as you’re more likely to feel positive and ready for your task.
For example, after dropping my daughter at nursery and before I turn my work laptop on for the day I set a timer for ten minutes and do something for me. Depending on how I feel, this could be reading, meditating, listening to a podcast or even having a dance to shake up my energy. I know it doesn’t sound like a lot but it does make a difference.
5. Make it fun
Do you have a task or an errand that you’re completely dreading? One way to help motivate ourselves to do this can be to try and lighten the situation. Can you take a friend with you and go for coffee afterwards? Can you listen to your favourite podcast when you’re doing your food shop? Can you sing your favorite songs full blast on your commute? You get the gist…
6. Non-judgement and compassion
My final tip, and possibly the most important of all is to try not to judge yourself (harder than it sounds sometimes, I know!). Motivation is not a constant feeling. There are ways to kick start motivation as I’ve shared above, but sometimes, what we really need is to let ourselves off the hook for a bit.
Being mindful of our critical thoughts, especially thoughts that start with “I really should do x” and treating ourselves with compassion rather than judgement is key. Sometimes the best thing we can do is rest. Trust that you will get what you need to get done, done!
Dr Nicole LePera states that one way to build trust in yourself is to make one small daily promise to yourself that takes under ten minutes to complete such as “I promise I will drink a glass of water a day”. This helps us to trust that even if we put something off temporarily, we can trust ourselves to get things done when it’s right for us.
So there we have it, I hope these tips are useful. I’d love to hear how you find motivation and if you have any tips to share with me and the community.
As always, thanks for reading!