Losing motivation. It happens to all of us. You know you need to do something. Finish something. But that pesky motivation, just when you need it…slips away.
When motivation disappears, its friends PROCRASTINATION + AVOIDANCE suddenly pop in for a visit, like two guests – uninvited.
The longer you find yourself hanging out with Procrastination and Avoidance – the worse you will feel. They think it’s a party and invite their rude mates, GUILT, SHAME and SELF-LOATHING.
Here’s my tips on helping motivation stick around:
1. Identify WHAT you need and want to do
Notice I haven’t used the word ‘SHOULD’ here. Should is icky. Should implies it is someone else’s goal or dream, not yours.
2. Consider WHY you need and want to do it
Ask: WHY is this important to me?
What does doing this or not doing this say about me? About my priorities? About my values? About my big vision for my life?
Is this task truly important to me? If not, can I outsource it? Change it? Dismiss it?
If it is, get really clear on this…connect the task to your big vision! Remind yourself.
Eg. You are avoiding doing a difficult university assignment. Perhaps you feel you don’t understand the question, or your inner critic is chattering away at you saying you aren’t clever enough to do it well.
Ask yourself: Why is it important to me to do my best?
Obviously, each person’s answer would be unique. But, let’s say, you want to do well on your assignment because it is an interesting topic, the subject is a prerequisite for passing your degree and you want to move into this career field feeling though you took up every opportunity to learn while you were able. This suggests that your values are about valuing opportunity, participating fully in life and being an active learner.
3. Consider how you want to feel when the task is complete
Relieved? Exhilirated? Excited? Proud? Capable? Confident? Optimistic? Energised?
Connecting to your preferred emotional state and imagine what it feel like at the end. Motivation likes emotion and likes a preview of it too! What will you be doing differently when you feel like this? What will you not be doing once you have this feeling? What will people notice about you when you are feeling like this?
4. Break it up into bite sized pieces
Make a list of every small action that comprises the whole task you want to achieve.
It can be overwhelming to consider the task as an unwieldy whole.
Small actions can be less daunting and can be done in shorter periods of time, but still generate progress toward your success.
Eg. That big assignment? Start by checking out what journal articles are required. Begin the reference list. Make a bullet note plan for your paragraphs and content.
5. Get accountable.
Tell a supportive person, a friend, relative or coach – your plans to achieve this task and the timeline in which you are working toward. Often we are more spurred on to complete tasks when someone else is aware and checking in with us about how we are going and feeling.
6. Don’t forget to speak nicely to yourself
Motivation likes a pep talk. Motivation hides when you grumble, moan and complain. Start telling yourself “I can do this, even if it feels difficult/boring/time-consuming. I can and I will” – ooh your motivation is going to lap up that sweet talk!
7. Reward yourself.
Don’t make yourself wait until the end to pat yourself on the back. Encourage yourself! Spent 30 minutes researching for your assignment? You started, well done! Enjoy a nice coffee or herbal tea before your next action. And when you’re all done? Really do something to celebrate pushing past the barriers to success!
What steps can you take toward boosting your own motivation today?
©Naomi Morrow, 2016.