3 Ways To Motivate Yourself

Simple Tips to Help Get You Achieving Your Goals Today

If you’re like most people, you have goals and projects you just can’t seem to get yourself to begin much less finish. I wanted to be an author since I was ten years old. I loved the idea so much that I even took a creative writing class every year I was in high school. Once I left high school and entered college, however, I began to find it tough to sit down and just write.

I told myself all kinds of excuses for why I couldn’t do it.

  • I don’t have the time
  • I’ll do it Later
  • Is not that important to me
  • What is the point, no one will want to read it anyway
  • I have nothing new or relevant to say

No matter what I told myself, I still came back to the fact that I wanted to write but wasn’t. I lived the illusion of excuses I hallucinated until I was 45 years old. Then one day I started to write. I didn’t have to create the habit of writing, I was driven to do it. I instantly loved it again and began to seek out times where I could do it.

So, what changed? How did this miraculous transformation come about in my life?

  1. Develop a growth mindset.

Carol Zweck, the author of Mindset – The New Psychology of Success, writes about the difference between having a fixed mindset vs. a growth mindset. She says that people with a fixed mindset believe that when they are struggling to learn something new, they quickly conclude that because it is difficult for them at first, it will always be difficult. When effort is required, they stop trying.

People with a growth mindset believe that if they aren’t good at something initially, all that means is they just haven’t mastered that skill yet. They value effort and believe that with enough persistence they can figure anything out. For them success comes as a result of learning from their failures and struggle is a natural part of the process.

I definitely had a fixed mindset to writing. When I found myself struggling with writer’s block, I erroneously concluded that I just wasn’t meant to be a writer. When I switched to the growth mindset and figured out that writing is a practiced skill, my writer’s block just became part of the process. An obstacle I would have to overcome. And if I wanted to be a writer, I just needed to start writing.

To develop the growth mindset don’t focus on getting great results right away. Instead, direct your attention to the effort you’re are putting into your goal.

I used to focus on the quality of my writing and conclude without any evidence that no one would want to read it. Now I ask myself, “What am I learning? And what else do I still need to learn in order to one day succeed.” Asking this question keeps me focused on how I am growing and learning and not worrying about what other people will think.

  1. Concentrate on achieving small goals, not big ones.

Another reason I couldn’t get myself to write was I was looking at the monumental task of writing a book. The thought of writing 15 pages much less 150 was overwhelming and kept me from even starting.

Once I changed my goal from writing a whole book to just writing a certain amount of time each day, the task began to feel doable. At first, I started with the goal of just writing for 15 minutes a day. As I began to produce words, 15 easily grew into 30 minutes and then an hour. I now find myself writing every chance I get.

Break your goal down into small actions that you can easily achieve. Make it so easy that it will be almost impossible to fail. Ask yourself, “What is one small step that I can easily accomplish today?” If you have wanted to organize your office, begin today by just organizing one corner of your desk. The point is that it shouldn’t feel overwhelming. It should feel comfortable and doable.

  1. Reward your effort.

The two forces of pain and pleasure are what drive human behavior. We are either driven to move away from what we perceive as painful or to move toward what we believe will be pleasurable. If you are criticizing your effort, your results, or your talent then you are punishing your attempts at success and training yourself to quit. After all, why would you want to do something that causes you pain?

On the other hand, we move towards things that give us pleasure. A good coach knows that if he is going to keep his team motivated and wanting to practice hard, he must end practice on a positive note. The same goes for you and your goals. You are your own best coach, and if you are intent on accomplishing your goals, then you must reward your effort.

Rewards can range from a simple pat on the back for showing up and trying to your favorite snack after working for 15 minutes. Most of the time smiling at what I have accomplished for the day no matter how insubstantial it may seem and telling myself good job is enough to keep me progressing forward. Find the reward that works for you and stick with it. Without rewards, the effort will begin to fade, and without effort, there are no results. 

Question: What are some ways you have motivated yourself in the past when you didn’t initially feel motivated? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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