*This is a guest post. The opinions expressed are that of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect my own.*
We all lose motivation sometimes. Getting stuck in a rut, losing momentum with a project or allowing ourselves to stagnate is easy, and when the world is fast changing, we can become overwhelmed. Yet it’s never as hopeless as it seems, and often rediscovering motivation starts with the smallest changes to our routines and habits. These seven tips for rebuilding your habits, reinforcing positive behavior and rediscovering healthy attitudes will boost your motivation and let you take charge of projects, goals, and ultimately your own life.
1) Simplify Your Life
One of the main causes of a lack of motivation is feeling overwhelmed by your duties and obligations in daily life. Having a long to-do list can lead to a cluttered mind, increased stress and ultimately a sense of hopelessness. When there’s so much to do, it’s hard to know where to begin.
That’s why simplification is one of the first steps to discovering a rejuvenated motivation. Take steps to clarify the tasks that are really essential, and put anything that creates additional pressure to one side. This might entail a conceptual reshuffling too: explore letting go of things you have attached meaning to, when they might actually be doing nothing more than complicating your life and sapping you of motivation.
Another tip for simplifying your to-do list and decluttering your mind, allowing motivation to flourish once more, is to try combining small tasks. Often it’s the small, bitty and disjointed tasks which begin to add up, and just the thought of these tasks exhausts you. That’s because it’s so hard to undertake a brief but essential task when we have other pressing concerns.
Combine tasks in the following way: write out a to-do list of all the small, easy to achieve tasks you have to catch up on. Then set aside a whole day for these and work through the list one after another. Utilize momentum from one task to the next to clear the list, and you’ll have blitzed through your list in no time, clearing space for motivation to bloom in the absence of these added pressures.
2) Focus On Things You Have Achieved
One thing that consistently saps motivation is the lack of a sense of achievement. Even if we’re working through long term projects or tasks, with no end in sight it can be difficult to visualize the progress we have made, and in the absence of little successes it’s natural to lose faith in yourself, and that spark of motivation will die.
To combat this we can try to make some conceptual shifts about how we perceive our objectives. Taking a small amount of time each day to vocalize, and in this process actualize, your successes will have a huge impact on your motivation. Either speak out loud, with a friend or colleague, your successes of the day – no matter how minor – or write them down. This process of physicalizing what you have achieved will help you start each day refreshed, knowing that you’re working towards something bigger.
Celebrate Your Successes
When you’re working towards a long-term goal, motivation will wax and wane, yet staying motivated for the whole process is essential if you’re going to make it all the way. Rather than fixating on the end point – often distant and vague – make sure you celebrate your successes along the way. This brings us to our next point, about planning and targeting.
3) Break Projects Down Into Bite Size Portions
Setting measurable goals will allow you to see the progress you’re making on a daily basis, rather than losing sight of these details in pursuit of a bigger picture. By having manageable goals that lead you towards your end point, you’ll be able to stay motivated within the task and not lose hope of ever completing it.
When you’re setting goals it’s essential to make sure that these have quantifiable outcomes: you need to be able to witness and measure your successes to fully appreciate them. Nebulous and vague goals are easy to lose in a fog of stress and apathy. By setting measurable goals, you’ll see the truth of your progress in black and white.
90 Day Goals
If you’re feeling really low, setting a goal for the next 90 days can give you a manageable period for changing habits and routines and rediscovering motivation. This is the perfect time period to make real change in your life without losing sight of what you’re working towards. Write down your goals and, crucially, the reasons why you’re setting them. You can refer back to this document as you work towards making the changes you want to see in your life and rediscover motivation through the clarity of your aims.
4) Create A Positive Habit
Sometimes motivation can arise from small shifts to your lifestyle. And by repeating a positive behavior over and over, it becomes hardwired into your brain, leading to long term changes and renewed motivation and energy.
Repetition is the secret ingredient to the success of a new habit. If you want to improve your sleep pattern, go from the couch to 5k or reconfigure your morning routine to spark productivity throughout your day, you’re going to need to build a habit of it. Routine can become a crucial ally in the quest for good habits. For example, go to bed at the same time each evening and follow the same routine to get there – read a book in your favorite chair, drink a herbal tea, relax your mind. What’s essential here is that by repeating this pattern of behavior over several days or weeks, you’re retraining your mind to believe in your new habits.
If it’s a big project you’re working on and you feel like it’s getting out of hand, your new routine can be around achieving a small task each day. Set ten minutes aside each morning to concentrate on your project. Utilize repetition to reinforce this behavior, and soon you’ll be progressing on your project with a new-found motivation.
5) Shift Your Mindset From Getting To Giving
This powerful change you can make to your mindset can ultimately lead to more motivation and a new, creative approach to projects and relationships. Often in our modern world we become fixated on what we can get – we become oriented towards material results and outcomes that benefit us. This reductive way of viewing the world neglects relationships and ultimately fosters an unhealthy mindset. With this outlook, motivation ebbs away.
By reorienting your mindset towards what you can give, you’ll start looking at the world in a different way. Approaching relationships, projects and goals in an open, giving way will give the mental space to be creative and focus on what really matters. This mindset can have a profound effect on motivation as you become invested in relationships as well as outcomes.
6) Boost Your Energy
Energy and motivation are essentially linked: it’s almost impossible to be motivated if we aren’t energized by the activities we’re doing. Often, energy peaks when we achieve success – did you hit your weight goal or complete a big project? In these cases, you were probably enthusiastic about launching back into the next big thing! That’s because when you achieve something, you get a surge in energy.
Tapping into this energy midway through a project can be challenging, but it’s a fantastic way to rediscover the fire of motivation. Setting a mini-goal or re-conceptualizing your outlook can often lead to a boost of energy, and have big implications on your motivation.
7) Focus On Gratitude
With unhealthy mindsets, where dissatisfaction is rife, you can easily begin comparing yourself to other people. Losing sight of our own goals by engaging with this competitive spirit is often incredibly sapping for our motivation, and changing this mindset can be an essential way for letting motivation flourish and bringing projects to completion. Introducing the idea of gratitude and focusing more on this concept can help shift your mind from negative thought patterns that leave you drained of motivation and energy.
Considering what you have to be grateful for, and voicing this gratitude, will change the way you perceive your environment and relationships. This deepening relationship with the world around you will encourage you to be creative, productive and ultimately motivated.
A quick way to focus on gratitude is to make the time and space for sitting and writing five things you’re grateful for in that moment. These can be as small as a cup of coffee or as large as your significant other – what matters is that you’re taking the time to recognize these elements as important, and focusing on gratitude for them. This inward perspective will let you slow down and rediscover motivation for the things that are important in your life.
Losing motivation can be a draining experience in itself and it’s hard to make changes without motivation and energy. However, small steps to change your mindset and your routines can snowball into big changes, leading to re-energized relationships, healthy perspectives, creative thought processes and ultimately newfound motivation for your projects. Don’t lose hope – motivation is just around the corner.
About the author:
Katherine Rundell, a blogger at UKWritings.com, is a psychologist specializing in professional fatigue. She recharges by spending time in nature with her family and friends.