We all have days when we just can’t be bothered. Some days even waking up feels like a little too much effort, we aren’t machines and it’s something that happens to all of us. Unless you’re one of the very few who can lie in bed all day and forget the world exists with no consequences, we have to find ways to motivate ourselves to get up and keep going, even when we want to do the opposite. Instead of beating yourself up for being human or crawling back under the covers, we’ve put together 10 tricks that you can try the next time you need a little motivational pick me up.
Why do we lack motivation?
Even the most motivated people will experience days when they just don’t want to do something. We’re sure even Dwayne Johnson has days when his insane workout plan feels a little harder than others! There can be a few triggers that lead to a dip in motivation, including stress, overwhelm, burnout, self-doubt, or simply just not feeling it that day.
Stress and overwhelm are two of the key contributors to a lack of motivation. If you’ve got a lot on your plate, or you aren’t quite sure where to start, it can prevent you from wanting to get started on the task at all. This is a self-preservation tactic, you know it’s going to be a stressful or difficult task so you put off starting for a little while longer. The fact of the matter is that quite often, starting is the hardest part! Once you’re underway the ball will start rolling and the task will start to become a whole lot easier.
If you’ve been working your fingers to the bone recently, and slacking on your self care then burnout is likely the reason you’re struggling with low motivation. You can’t drive a car with an empty tank, and your body is exactly the same. When you’re working with little to no energy, a loss of motivation is probably your body telling you to take a step back and relax, you’re doing too much. When you do feel unmotivated, it’s important to listen to what your body is saying.
People struggling with self doubt or low self esteem are much more likely to struggle with a lack of motivation. The fear of failure can stop us from even getting started, and low motivation will manifest as procrastination. How many times have you had a project for work to start, or a subject to start revising, but have found a hundred other odd jobs to do instead? We thought so!
10 ways to motivate yourself
- Go back to the start
Focusing just on the task at hand isn’t going to make it seem any more appealing or fun. Instead, take a step back and remind yourself of the bigger picture. Think about where this task fits into the ultimate goal and use that to motivate yourself instead. Keeping the finish line in your sights will help to take the task seem more relevant and less like a chore. For example, if you’re trying to motivate yourself to exercise that day, keep your target in mind and use that to spur you on.
- Use a study strategy
This one doesn’t just apply for those of you looking to motivate yourself to revise, but can be applied to work projects, learning languages, and even cleaning the house. Instead of treating the task like a marathon, which can seem overwhelming and exhausting, break it up into manageable sprints. Work for a set, short period of time and then reward yourself with a short break or doing something else for a little bit. For example, you could sit down and study for 20 minutes and reward yourself with a snack and a 10 minute scroll on social media, then back to work (just like the pomodoro technique!).
- Break it up into bitesize pieces
Particularly if you’re someone who is fighting stress and overwhelm, a huge job looming over you isn’t going to get the cogs whirring like it usually does. When task seems too big it becomes difficult to know where to even begin. By breaking it up into manageable tasks and working through those one at a time, it will motivate you to get going as you now have more direction. Instead of putting the whole task on your to-do list, put two or three steps down, and tick them off as you go through them so you can look back and see how much progress you’re making.
- Find the root cause
Like we said before, there could be many reasons you’re feeling unmotivated. Before you can keep yourself happy and motivated, it’s important to unpack WHY you’re feeling uninspired about starting the job. Think honestly about what it could be, and then find some tactics to combat them. If you’re battling low self esteem and self confidence then use some affirmations to get your mindset on track, if you’re fighting burnout then taking some time for yourself and prioritising self care is a must to keep your mental and physical health in good nick.
- Get a partner
If you’re wondering how to motivate yourself to exercise, then this is a good one for you. Find a friend that will motivate you when you’re just not feeling it, they will be able to help you keep going when you want to give up, remind you to stay focused, and push you a little outside of your comfort zone. This also applies to studying and work, just make sure you spend enough time actually working rather than chatting away to one another!
- Make sure everything is working properly
The last thing that anybody wants when they’re lacking motivation is for something to go wrong. The WIFI not working, a laptop crashing, unorganised paperwork are all examples of things that can send you over the edge when you’re feeling fragile and cause you to throw the towel in all together. Building and maintaining motivation is just as much an external activity as it is internal. Make sure all your tech, appliances, or resources are in working order, so they don’t derail your attempts to keep motivated.
- Don’t let it snowball
A bit like the above, when you’re feeling stressed or sketchy and wanting to give up, a small hiccup can feel like the end of the world. Don’t let those little problems snowball and turn into bigger ones. Reframe how you perceive and how you deal with them, so they don’t kill the drive you’re trying to create. A positive mental attitude is the best way to maintain resilience and motivation in the face of adversity.
- Celebrate little wins
Success breeds success. Think about it, when you’ve just had a win, maybe your football team wiped the floor with your opponents or you just received a promotion, you feel like you can do anything- you’re flying high. Unfortunately, those big wins only crop up from time to time, but you can harness that feeling in your everyday life. By setting yourself manageable goals and targets you will get the feeling of empowerment and elation each time you tick one off the list, so you’re continuously motivating yourself to keep going.
- Get rid of distractions
When the average person is interrupted by their phone once every 8 minutes it’s no wonder that you struggle to stay focused on the task at hand. Did you know that the typical user will check their phone a whopping 221 times PER DAY! Before you sit down to get that essay written or make that presentation, put the phone away out of reach so you aren’t tempted to pick it up. We’re all guilty of this, you instinctively pick up our phones, scroll through messages, and the next thing you know you’ve spent an hour looking at totally random and usually pointless videos on the internet. Once your concentration is broken it’s a lot harder to refocus and motivate yourself to keep going. By getting rid of distractions you’re more likely to power through. You can always reward yourself with a social media break after you’ve made some progress- just use the study techniques we mentioned earlier!
- Write down your ideas
Have you ever been in a completely random location, say the supermarket or waiting for a bus, and a totally brilliant and inspired idea pops into your head? But by the time you sit down to do something about it, the idea has gone, and you’re left grasping at straws trying to remember what it was. Each time something like this happens, write it down. Now we know you may not always have your notebook to hand, but even just pulling up the notes app on your phone or texting it to a friend (with context preferably) will give you something concrete to refer back to. A lack of inspiration can kill your motivation, so when you get excited about an idea make sure it sticks so you can keep the motivation flowing.
Just a spoonful of motivation makes the medicine go down! Now that you’ve got all the tools you need to keep yourself happy and motivated, you’re ready to start smashing your goals. You’ll be flying through your to-do list, acing an exam, nailing that presentation, getting busy in the gym, or literally just winning at life in no time. Keep in mind, it’s totally normal to have an off day and feel a little ‘meh’ about it. Listen to your body and be kind to yourself, you’ll be back to business as usual by tomorrow.
Now with the help of Morale in your pocket, you can help those in your network feel as positive and motivated as you! Send out an anonymous affirmation each morning and help them along their way to a successful and productive day. A few unsolicited words of support can go a long way and give them the motivation and self confidence to tackle a task they’ve be putting off. No need to procrastinate, downloading our app is easy! Find us on Google Play or Apple’s App Store and hit the download button today.
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We’ve got lots of big ideas over here at Morale and we’re always looking for feedback. If you’ve got something to say or want to learn more just drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can chat some more.