Who on earth wants to self-motivate? Self-motivating can be draining — we know we need to get it together and keep moving forward, but sometimes, procrastinating just seems easier…but it only seems that way
The world has been through a lot these last few years and feeling lackluster, de-motivated and even burnt out is fairly common. It seems a lot harder to accomplish our goal, these days, but like it or not, vegetating on the sofa is not a wise or healthy long-term life choice. Unfortunately, if we don’t self-motivate, who’s going to do it for us?
What Does Self-Motivation Actually Mean?
Being self-motivated can mean making a “to-do list” and checking off each item that you complete, but its really much more than that. Having the desire and ability to motivate one’s self means realizing that we can’t depend on others to do it for us, and it means relying on our own passion and determination to keep moving forward. In essence, self-motivation is that internal drive that propels us into action to take the next step, move forward and persevere, even if part of us doesn’t want to.
“Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.” – George Herbert
How Do We Do It?
The key word in this is “self.” Just as ultimately we all need to be self-motivated, no one can really tell us how to do it, because people are so unique, what motivates you to be self-driven may not be what does it for me. But fortunately, there are many proven tips and techniques to help self-motivate, such as:
Take the first step and let the rest flow: We can lay on the sofa bemoaning how much we need to get done and fall into a state of total inertia — doing this will only cause us to put it off for days, maybe even months. Self-motivation can be just taking the first small step… then the next and so on, until we’re in the groove. Get up, do one thing and keep the flow going until you’re pumped and psyched and then use that to maintain the motivation.
Think small if you need to: One sure way to stymie self-motivation with certain people is to think too big and feel overwhelmed. Like taking the first step, think on a smaller scale to defeat procrastination — you need to take the first step, but what will that first step be? Maybe, the small first step is drafting out a workable plan.
“Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” – Harriet Beecher Stowe
Limit distractions: Turn off the TV, put down the tablet and as the saying goes, get into the zone. There are so many distractions that can keep us off course and as any accomplished self-motivator will attest, getting rid of them is key. Identify what is distracting you and either remove them, or, yourself from their temptation.
Let others inspire you: There are almost countless resources out there to help us to motivate and while self-motivation isn’t a cookie-cutter fix, the words and success stories of other people are a great way to start. Read books or quotes or speak to people who have overcome procrastination and gone on to accomplish their goals. Find people who have done something you admire and find out how they stayed focused and motivated and let those insights inspire you too.
Ditch negativity: Most people feel de-motivated and limited if they’re held back by negativity, which means limiting our exposure to it as best we can. Sometimes, that negative friend that does nothing but complain is the problem. Sometimes, we’re immersing ourselves in negativity by the media we consume or the music we listen to — find out what negative influences are holding you back and find a way to limit the impact its having on your creative and practical inspiration.
Focus on your ultimate goal: When we lose our motivation, its easy to become frustrated and let that initial feeling of failure/procrastination cloud everything. Self-motivating means regularly examining our goals and dreams and how we can get there — writing them down is an excellent way to focus in on your end game plans.
Energize yourself: Personally, I find a sad movie or melancholy music to be a great de-motivator — after all, who can feel energized when you’re feeling blue? There is a reason why people who work out or jog listen to upbeat music and that’s because it can be a great way to jazz things up (pun intended).
Change your routine: Our routines can become ruts and those typically hinder inspiration and motivation. What ever we need the motivation to accomplish, sometimes its a good idea to change our routine and try something different to get the motivation flowing.
Don’t seek motivation from others: Yes, we can and should use the examples and work done by others to inspire us and help us to self-motivate, but we shouldn’t task someone else to inspire and motivate us. Saying to our best friend “okay, I’ll hang out tonight, but tomorrow, you have to be at my place by the crack of dawn and help me….” That approach to motivation almost never works. The word “self” motivation says it all.
Be reasonable: If your to do list just keeps growing, that could be a major source of de-motivation. We’re all just human, so we need to be reasonable and have a workable goals/to-do list. Review your objectives and to-do goals regularly and see what can be taken off or at least reduced a bit. Trying to do too much can easily deflate our energy and mentally hinder us.
“Expect change. Analyze the landscape. Take the opportunities. Stop being the chess piece; become the player. It’s your move.”– Tony Robbins