środa, 1 października 2014

10 great ways to motivate yourself and get things done | Part I

I think all of us (or at least the vast majority) would like to achieve success in life, so we try to pursue it. Unfortunately there are often many obstacles in our way that we have to overcome and we also have bad days or moments of doubt… At such moments we need a big dose of motivation which will give us a kick to get us moving into taking action. We are all different and some stimuli will not necessarily motivate us as much, as they motivate others. That’s why I'd like to share my favourite methods for overcoming moments of laziness and show you how to get back on the right track. So, here we go! :)

1.    Think positive

Photo: mediamore.com
Positive attitude is where you should start! You have to learn to think more positively most of the time, because this is what will increase your productivity. I think you will agree with me that you postpone the task more often when you are not in a good mood, right? That’s because we are more efficient and successful when we are happy and we are also more willing to undertake certain tasks, even those less pleasant. Remember to be optimistic and try to eliminate negative thoughts  before they get you.
“I can’t do this”, “I don’t know how…”, “It’s not a good time...” – you know those excuses, don’t you? But they do not bring us closer to our goal, and what’s even worse this way we demotivate ourselves! We tell ourselves from the beginning that we are doomed to fail and we start to believe it, which decreases our performance – it’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy. So don’t let those negative thoughts and events affect your action! And what’s also very important, not only what we think, but also what we say affects our perception of the situation. Instead of thinking in terms of fear (which keeps us unmotivated) you should adopt a positive vocabulary and believe in yourself. If we can convince ourselves that we will fail, we might as well start repeating to ourselves that WE CAN do it – this way we can focus our thinking on achieving success and it will help increase our motivation for action. I know it’s not possible to be positive all the time, but if you really try to do this, you will improve it!

2.    Start with WHY and set your goal (WHAT)

Photo: networlding.com

Figure out WHY you are doing something. If you know the purpose of your work it will direct your thinking on the goal you want to achieve and it will be much easier for you to initiate the action. It’s good to focus on those activities for which you can find a really strong reasons to do. However if you don’t know the reason or you haven’t specified a particular one, it will be much harder to achieve your goal... and that’s not what you want to happen to you.

Once you know WHY you want to take action, you should define your goals. Think: WHAT do I want to achieve?”. Knowing the result of your actions, it will be easier to be motivated. But how to define those goals? What I would recommend, is to write them down and describe them using SMART method. Your goal should be:

Specific State exactly what you want accomplish and what you’re going to do (Who? What? Which? Why? Where? When?)
Measurable – You need to be able to track your progress and measure the outcome (How much? How many?)
Achievable  – Outline the steps that you need to take, say what are you going to do - you shouldn’t commit to goals you know you won’t achieve ;)
Realistic/Relevant – State what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources (Are you able and willing to work?)  
Time-bound – Set your goal within time frame (By when do you want to achieve your goal?)

And what’s also very important, when you think about achieving your goal, never say: „I’ll try to do this…” – instead say „I will”, „I must” – because you can!

3.    Make a list of benefits

Photo: mmagospel.com

„But what will I get from this?” – it’s natural to ask this question, if we have to take an effort. We want to calculate whether this effort will pay off. Think about all the benefits that you’ll get when you achieve your goal and write them down. Don’t limit yourself, write all the ideas that come to your mind, as many as possible (even if they are funny) which are associated with performing a specific task. Probably after making that list you will get a motivational kick – maybe you won’t be motivated only by three benefits, but once you have the whole list of them, there will be more reasons to act! It’s good to keep that list with you (e.g. on the phone) and refer to it whenever you need a motivational kick.

And if you would like to go one step further, try to visualize the benefits (short-term and long-term) of achieving your goals – focus on the positive feelings and thoughts which are related to them and soon they will bring you closer to your goal. Imagine what emotions will be accompanying you after you complete the task and when you get your benefits – the more detailed you can imagine that, the better.

4.    Define a plan to achieve your goal

Photo: shontejtaylor.com

When you have your goal defined (knowing „WHAT” and „WHY”) it is easier to start planning how to achieve it, which is focusing on “HOW”. If you already know what you want to achieve, think about what steps will bring you closer to this. Visualisation of the final result is not always sufficient, therefore a good plan is essential to succeed!

Initially the whole process of planning and implementation may seem difficult to go through, so it’s good to create a „To Do List” and write down specific tasks, which we also can chunk up  (every task is made up of smaller ones) – this way the whole list will seem less scary and less mysterious. Having those smaller tasks specified, it will be easier for you to take action and completing every single one of them will only bring you closer to the end result.

However it can turn out that you made your „To Do List” in a very ambitious way, so the enormity of those items scares you... and thoughts like “I will never be able to complete all of those tasks!” make your motivation decrease. Instead of focusing on individual tasks, you distract yourself and you see that good plan as something stressful or unreal. So what should you do then? It’s simple: limit your To-Do list. But I don’t mean you should delete some of the items, oh no! Just change your list to focus on the urgent tasks with the highest priority first. Once they are all accomplished, go to the next items from highest to lowest priority and perform one after the other.

The hardest part is to start and make the first step – that’s what holds us back and we just don’t know how to get on with that. So when you don’t know, don’t be embarrassed to ask for an advice your friends who have struggled with the similar problem… or simply ask Mr. Google. ;) When you start doing your research and soaking up some advice you will slowly begin to understand how such a plan should look like and how to perform it. 

5.    Monitor your progress

Photo: keytokorean.com

Crossing off the tasks from the „To-Do list” can give us a huge pleasure and satisfaction, but what makes us even more motivated is observing how far we have already come, that is paying attention to the tasks that we have already finished. Monitor your progress by returning to the list of completed tasks, so you will not only be happy and proud of yourself, but also more motivated to take further action. If you want to find out more about how huge role progress makes in motivational process you should watch this video.
Tracking what you have done, how much you have accomplished and how much you have moved closer to your goal can be very motivating. That’s why this method is often used by people who are struggling with weight loss – they take photos of themselves before and during the process and they compare one picture with another, which gives them strength to continue this struggle for a better body. And when they set together photos "before" and "after" they achieve their goal, they can be a great motivation for other people with similar problem.
So, why not write up a “done list” with tasks that you managed to finish, if it only might help you? At the end of this list write down only one task that you have to do and cross it off after you accomplish it… and then add the next task.  You’ll always be seeking to cross off the last item, so you will be motivated to take action, rather than distracted by other “to-do” tasks on the list.
Ok, we are halfway there… let me stop at this point, because this post would be way too long if I wrote about all the 10 methods. I’ll present you the second part in the next post… this Friday, so I hope you will wait for that. :)

Can you guess what other methods I will write about? ;)

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