Motivation is something we all struggle with at times; we’re human after all. But when you lose motivation for something, how on earth do you go about trying to motivate your motivation?
According to Psychology Today, motivation is the desire to act in service of a goal; a driving factor for actions, willingness and goals. Your motivation could be inspired by outside forces (culture, society, lifestyle) or by yourself.
However, finding the motivation to do things can be a great challenge. Plus, with so many things going on in our lives, it is all too easy to let some things slip. Just a single slip – skipping working out for a day, smoking just one cigarette or eating junk food for just one day – leads to a broken routine and lost motivation. Know that there are ways in which you can get back on track with the key being structure and consistency. Here are some things you can do to build your routine.
Break your goal into micro goals
Achieving even one or two small goals is infinitely more rewarding than not completing one big goal. We are destined to fail if we take on more than we can realistically handle. Instead, focus on taking small, baby steps towards mini-goals, which in time will help achieve a bigger end goal.
If your fitness goal is to walk 10,000 steps in a day, you need to start small and build a routine for it. Start with just 3,000 steps per day for a week. In the second week, gradually increase your steps to 5,000 and so on.
If you want to start waking up earlier (5 am) than your usual routine (8 am), start by waking up just 10 minutes earlier than 8 am. This way, you can slowly push back till you eventually start waking up bright and early at 5 am.
Focus on one goal at a time
A part of starting small also includes attempting one mini goal at a time. Taking on too much can be exhausting both physically and mentally. Instead of multi-tasking, streamline your motivation and focus your time and energy on completing a single project at any given time.
When you have too much on your plate, pick the one that’s priority number one. If you want to wake up early and start working out, you might want to first get yourself in the habit of waking up early. Once you have that sorted, you can work towards building an early morning workout routine.
Lists are your best friend
Making lists of your mini goals is a fantastic way to stay on track and organised. When goals undefined it becomes difficult to achieve, as you can easily forget them.
Start by listing down all your goals. It’s motivating to see your goals written down in ink rather than just as ideas in your head. Once you have a list, set a priority for each goal. You can do this by,
- Organising them according to those that are most important to you.
- Having a natural order in which one can only be started if another has been completed.
- Starting with the easiest and work towards the hardest.
Here are some examples:
Set an alarm for 6 am.
Get fresh and drink water.
Start with 10 minutes of meditation in a day.
Make sure you check each of these items every day.
Plan to the last detail
Once you have a list of goals in front of you, break down each goal on the list into a list of action items. Anchoring them this way helps you understand how exactly you would achieve each goal. The key is to specify the time, place, process and method.
If you wish to meditate daily, plan your goal as – “I will meditate for 10 minutes before I open my laptop”. If you wish to do yoga daily, plan your goal as – “I will do yoga for 20 minutes at 7 am every day”.
You can also make such detailed plans for other goals, for example, start the day with a workout
- Set the time and place
- Plan the kind of workout you would do
- Leave your clothes and shoes ready the previous night
By planning and prepping in advance, you eliminate the multiple steps that may come in the way of you accomplishing your goal.
Track your habits
Each time you complete a task, make a big deal of crossing it off so that you can see the success you have had. Watching how well you’ve been doing for the past days or weeks motivates you to keep going and ensures that you don’t lose motivation even for a day. The longer the streak the more you will be motivated to stick to your habit.
Keep a tracker/chart/calendar in front of you, stuck on a wall. All you have to do is mark the goal completion days and see how you’ve been progressing.You can also use a bullet journal or even apps to track your progress.
Get yourself an accountability buddy
It can be tough to accomplish something alone; a strong support network of family, friends or even from online forums can be helpful. If you have a friend who has the same goals as you, both of you can join forces and motivate each other as well.
Ask a trusted friend or family member to regularly check up on your progress. If you are joining forces with a buddy who has the same goals as yours, you may even thrive on a certain amount of friendly competition between you both.
Still stuck in a slump?
Ok, so you started well, with all the best intentions and things have been pretty plain sailing. But you’ve now started to fall off the wagon and any hint of motivation is slowly wasting away. What now?
- Look for inspiration in magazines, blogs, books, newspapers etc. Everyone loves a success story and it is a great way to motivate yourself towards your success.
- Seek positivity. Practise positive self-talk (“I’ll try again tomorrow” or “I can and I will”), go for a walk or listen to a playlist that cheers you up.
- Eliminate and overcome distractions. No phones, TV shows or social media until you finish the task. Once you accomplish what you set out to, reward yourself with half an hour episode of your favorite TV series or whatever else you choose to do.
- Reignite your passion by reminding yourself of how you felt at the beginning. You can do this by maintaining a diary or a blog of your journey.
And Lastly, don’t be so hard on yourself
Nobody’s perfect and it’s time to start believing in this. It’s near impossible to be motivated all the time. Understand that even if motivation goes, it will come back again. Plus, failure is a positive thing, as success often requires many failed attempts.
Don’t let one cheat meal or a failed attempt from not smoking become many. Slip-ups are normal but the key here is to not linger on the mistake for more than a day and to get back to your goal promptly.
So there you go – our Complete Guide To Motivation and advice on how to re-motivate your motivation when all you want to do is give up.
Credits – Rekha Prabhu – Lead Nutritionist at cure.fit
Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones. by James Clear
Motivate your motivation by Becky Stafferton, The Art of Healthy Living