Motivation, something that I’m sure we all struggle with from time to time, at least I hope it’s not just me. I make a goal, but then I procrastinate. Why though? Why can I not just wake up and feel motivated to accomplish everything I think I should be doing.
Turns out, our feelings have a lot to do with motivation. We need to think to plan, but we need to feel to act. The harder we try to ignore or fight our feelings, the stronger they become. Just like when you were a teenager, if your parents told you not to do something, it usually ended up making you want to do it even more. It is actually how our brains our wired, so when thoughts and feelings are competing, feelings almost always win.
Usually we have the thinking part down pat. We make to do lists, but never cross anything off it. How do we get our emotions in line with our thoughts to get motivated? Try these ideas and see if they help.
1. Acknowledge your feelings and try to stay positive.
I don’t know about you, but I tend to procrastinate the most when I’m in a poor mood. The best way for me to get out of that mood is to acknowledge it, accept it, and try to move on. Give yourself a break, you can’t be happy all the time, it’s just human nature to have other feelings. Go for a walk, dance it out, cry it out, do what you need to in order to feel your feelings and move on.
Once you’ve done this and are feeling positive and hopefully a bit optimistic, monitor the progress you are making towards your goal and celebrate it. Use those small wins to keep you going. So, what if you only crossed one item off your list, it’s one more than yesterday. Focus on the positives over the negatives.
2. Try rewarding yourself.
Yes, we use the reward system to help train animals, but it can work on us too. Set steps or small goals and when you reach it, treat yourself to something that will help you stay positive. If your goal is to lose weight, I wouldn’t make it a food reward but perhaps you get to binge watch a couple more episodes of your favorite show. Feeling good about what you’ve already accomplished can help you stay on track and motivated.
3. Surround yourself with a bit of peer pressure.
As terrifying and slightly negative as peer pressure sounds, in the right environment it can actually help motivate you to hold yourself to a higher standard. Surround yourself with motivated people or people you look up to. You can join a Facebook group or community where change seems possible and it helps us see that it really can happen if we work towards it.
However, remember #1, stay positive. If everyone around you is succeeding at their goal, don’t just compare yourself to them, remain optimistic and take a close look at the effort you’ve been putting in. You get out what you put in. Remind yourself that you can do whatever you set your mind too, and when you can’t remind yourself of this, look to those around you for advice, or a self-esteem boost.