If you are anything like me (and I think you might be) you struggle to get stuff done. Am I wrong when I say that you want to be productive, you truly want it more than anything but your brain would argue that… oh that YouTube video looks quite nice, the Reddit front page seems interesting tonight and I wonder if Facebook has any notifications for me? Sounds familiar? Next thing you know it’s time to sleep and you have done nothing productive.
A lot of people struggle to build motivation in all areas of their lives. Hell I was even struggling to get the motivation to write this article but because of some of the things I’m writing about, I ended up finishing it. We all need motivation, we all have goals that need to be completed and I’m going out on a limb and saying that most of our goals won’t be achieved by sitting around doing nothing. I bet we have similar goals, me and you; get fit/healthy, complete that essay, study for that thing, make a start on that project, make some money etc. Throw in some confidence/relationship aspects in and that basically sums up our goals.
These “ways of getting motivated” are my gift to you but this is the kind of gift that is like a book from the series “For Dummies”: It will help you a lot but you have to build on it and see what works for you. Its some advice and tricks that I’ve collected from a lot of places and come up with myself. It should work.
1- Internal Tug of War (Logical Reasoning)
You are a smart person am I right? I mean maybe not a genius but you most definitely know that if you don’t hand in that assessment piece or you don’t study for that exam, it is going to bend you over and have its way with you in the future. You know this. You are going to fail the course, lose money, prolong your degree, feel bad and move one step away from your goals. You are 100% aware of this, however you are still willing to play games or party for another week before you even think about studying, that is of course assuming the exam isn’t the next day.
The Internal Tug of War is basically realising this. I know you know this already, you are already aware of all of this stuff that I just said but your brain hasn’t realised it fully. We are intelligent creatures yet we can’t seem to see what’s in front of us. In your mind you have to drag that lazy ass-hole over the line. How? That lazy half of you is also smart, he/she understands that it’s bad to be lazy but he/she is looking in the other direction. Get their attention, talk to yourself. It’s not crazy to set up a dialogue with yourself and yes a dialogue, not a monologue. Talk to yourself like you are talking to someone else, try to sway them. You have become so good at persuading yourself not to do something productive that if you try to use those persuading skills on yourself in a positive way, you may just be able to get that project done. Lay down the negatives (logical reasoning) and concentrate on these things. Think about freedom and the good feeling you are going to get, that sense of satisfaction after you have done whatever it is you need to do. The key is to realise these points and acknowledge them.
2- The 3 Second Rule
This rule is one of the best, especially straight after playing that tug of war game internally. I can say I use this one everyday but there is a catch to this rule. If you fail using this rule even once, you will most likely never use it again. So make sure you always go along with it. Here it is:
If you have something to do and you know you need to do it but you aren’t motivated, you count to 3 and you do it. Yeah that’s it. You literally count to 3 and then you do it. However you HAVE to do it. After you count to 3, its done. Don’t try to talk yourself out of it, don’t try to re think it. You get your ass in there and do whatever it was. This technique puts you in panic mode. Imagine you are in the jungle and some vicious baboon drops in front of you screaming… you run. You don’t think about it, hell it probably takes you less than 3 seconds to start running. Pretty much the same thing. You need to work out but can’t be bothered you literally count to 3 and now you have to do it or this rule will never work for you again. You avoid any other thought and you go pump some iron. You see the girl of your dreams, count to 3 and go ask her out, don’t think about it just do it. Trust me when I say this, it works. After you’ve done this a few times you’ll see.
3- Environment Alteration
The last 2 tricks were about the mentality of motivation but this one is physically altering your workspace for the better. So I want you to do a little exercise with me now, think about what these places make you feel like doing; you are in a library with students studying around you, you are in your room with your Xbox and computer, you are at the gym with people working out around you, you have Microsoft Word open in front of you, you have Facebook open in front of you. In each of these environments or situations you are swayed to do whatever the function of the location is. You can use this to your advantage.
If you need to study you will be much more productive if you go to the library, if you need to eat healthier your environment shouldn’t contain unhealthy food, if you want to talk to more people (confidence aside) leave the damn room and go out in public. You can also alter your workplace at home. If you have space, dedicate a portion to productivity, this means no distractions. When you enter the room your brain has to say to itself “work time”. If you don’t have space you can remove some distractions, close some tabs on your computer and you are good to go. Once you start using the environment like this, you will become motivated.
4- Remember your Goals
What is one of your major goals? It doesn’t have to be your life goal but it has to be a major goal. For example, when I work out and I think of stopping half way because of some bullshit excuse I always remind my self of why I’m doing this. I talk to myself while I’m beat and ready to give up. I say something along the lines of “I bet that guy you saw at the beach talking to that cute girl didn’t stop half way”. Or when I stop a series of coding tutorials because they are “too hard”, I remind myself again; “Do I want to develop apps, because I can’t if I skip this”. Reminding yourself of your goals really challenges you to achieve them. It forces you to become motivated.
5- Group Mentality
We live in a society where we all follow a group (sheep) mentality. This is kind of bad in the sense of peer pressure, buying material things we don’t need, using another social platform because everyone else is using it or saying meaningless phrases because its the new “thing”. Our brains are wired this way for survival and we can take advantage of this for motivational purposes. How do we do this? Don’t be alarmed I’ll tell you.
It’s simple really and I’m sure you’ve already figured it out. You do the things you need to do with a group; work out with a group, study with a group, practice piano playing with a group etc. This will pressure you into doing whatever it is and not only that, it will come easier to do it with other people as this also alters environment and gets you in that mind set. The con for this would be making sure those people aren’t the distractions. So be careful with this one.