I’ll be honest; there are days when I lack motivation to do the things that need doing - whether it be self care, work, or things around the house. To jump-start my motivation on those days, I’ve come up with some life hacks to help me “fake it ‘til I make it”.
Creating your own personal life hacks toolkit will help you build the resilience to move forward and find motivation when you need it most.
Here are 17 tips I use to tap into my motivation when I’m feeling less than inspired:
1. Practice gratitude – before I go to sleep, before I get out of bed and throughout the day, I give thanks for the many blessings in my life. I find that by doing so, I can tackle my to-do’s in a more positive frame of mind. If I find my motivation lagging, I pause and mindfully give thanks for the opportunities surrounding me. Expressing thankfulness for a healthy body can oftentimes spur me on to go on my morning walk. Giving thanks for a warm meal can serve as a reminder that my job provides for myself and my family – motivating me to do the best that I can in order to keep providing for the ones I love.
2. Check your heart (and mind). Monitor your inner thoughts. If your internal dialogue is full of negativity (i.e. how much you hate doing a certain task), change the conversation to describe how good you’ll feel once it’s done. Dread at beginning, or the positivity and a sense of accomplishment you'll have when the chore is completed – which would YOU rather focus on?
3. Just show up – when I log into my online yoga session, the yoga instructor says that I’ve already been successful – just by showing up. Taking it one step further, she prompts me and other virtual attendees to pat ourselves on the back and celebrate that success. We start each session feeling accomplished and like winners. That positive affirmation goes a long way towards motivating me to complete the current session and show up again the next day.
4. Figure out your “why”. Why are you enrolled in class? Is it to improve your changes of promotion? Why is that important? Perhaps it’s to be better able to support your family. Why do I practice mindfulness and meditation? Because I want to bring more focus to my day, and because I want to begin each day in a peaceful and positive state of mind. Make a list of your “why’s” and pull that out when you are needing motivation. Look to it for “WIN-spiration”.
5. Focus on one goal at a time and set SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. You’ll have more success if you stay focused on one goal at a time, rather than spreading yourself too thin trying to attain many. Spreading your focus too wide can sap both energy and motivation.
6. Break tasks into manageable steps – remember, each large task is often just a bunch of small tasks strung together. Break the large things apart and check those smaller tasks off one by one.
7. Post your goal where you can see it daily (and where others can notice it as well). That visual reminder can act as positive reinforcement, and letting others in on your goal can help motivate you to succeed.
8. Let go of the fear of failure. Sometimes our fears paralyze us and prevent us from starting. Let go of that fear, get started and see what happens. If you stumble? As the old adage goes, “make it part of the dance”. Get up, dust yourself off and try again.
9. Focus on the “wins”. Did you manage to work uninterrupted for 15-minutes? How did that make you feel? Tap into that feeling the next time you are lacking motivation. Remind yourself how good it feels to accomplish something. You’ll begin to crave that feeling of success.
10. Take control of your time. Silence your phone, the TV, clear notifications. I cannot stress how important this is. Set boundaries and regain focus.
11. Practice the 15-minute technique. If there are tasks that I am dreading, or that I am having difficulty starting, I set my alarm for 15-minutes. 15-minutes is a manageable amount of time, and, let’s face it, we can all do something for 15-minutes! Once I get started, if I find my groove, I reset the clock for another 15-minutes and so on. For me, it’s the “getting started” that is often the biggest hurdle.
12. Ask for help. Talk to a friend, coworker, family member. Let them know that you need help finding your motivation. Ask them for advice. People love to help one another and you will benefit from reaching out to others; it’s a win-win situation!
13. Find externals sources of inspiration. Find inspiration from reading a good book, participating in an uplifting webinar, viewing videos or TedTalks and learning from others who have reached goals similar to the ones you have set for yourself.
14. Work to your strengths. We all have certain times of day when we are at our best; for me, the mornings are my "heavy thinking" times and I save lighter tasks for the afternoon wheenver possible. Others in my circle are night owls, and prefer to work once the sun goes down. Make note of when you feel most capable of handling certain types of tasks and try to work your schedule around that.
15. Surround yourself with positivity. We all can use cheerleaders to help us on our way. If you are surrounded by people who empower you, rather than drain you, you'll be more apt to get things done! And you don’t need actual people - having a desk full of positive quotes can be motivating and serve a reminder of why you are doing what you are doing.
16. Reward yourself. Reward yourself frequently. This thing called life is tough at times. Stopping to acknowledge that you are doing the best you can and celebrating successes, no matter how small they may seem, is so important.
17. Don’t give up. Sometimes you just need to take a break. Go outside for a brisk walk, take a cat nap. But then get back to it as soon as you can!
Training yourself to get started and to stay the task are skills that will benefit you throughout your life. Finding your motivation won’t be easy, but it will certainly be worth it.
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