Finding motivation seems impossible sometimes, like you’re at the base of Mount Everest, haven’t even begun the climb, and you’re already tired. Everyone has those dry spells where they just lay around and think about what you want to do, but actually getting up and doing it is a whole different animal. I’m here to change that, and give you some strategies in finding motivation and using it to reach your personal goals faster and easier.
Why are your goals so unreachable? And why do you not have any motivation? According to Forbes, it’s one of four reasons:
- You don’t have the resources or means to complete your goal
- The perceived cost is too high
- You don’t really want it
One of the biggest problems people have with achieving their goals is getting started. Climbing over that first hump seems to take so much energy that we’d rather just forget about it, or exclaim “Bah! I’ll start it tomorrow”. Newton’s First Law of Motion couldn’t say it better: Bodies at rest tend to stay at rest.
Sometimes your motivation derived from an outside source and completely out of your control. Maybe your boss tells you that if you don’t complete this amount of work by this date, you’re fired. For most people, this will obviously get them working. But it’s not a great long-term strategy. Once the threat is through, the motivation dissipates. The motivation needs to come from within; it needs to be the internal engine driving the external energy.
What’s the best way to get started? Forbes says you need to figure out what you want and what you can do to reach your goal within your own means. In other words, it’s taking action within your acceptable level of loss or failure. This will make the costs a bare minimum if you fail and minimize the level of grief experienced.
Reducing the cost and risk to acceptable levels so that you’re less intimidated by your goals requires a strategy. One solution is to use people that are close to you to evaluate and figure out how and what you want to achieve. to talk to a friend about the challenge you’re facing, come together with a list of possibilities that are extremely specific, and evaluating what’s reachable.
Once this is complete, you start to compile potential outlets that can be used for the goal to be reached. Say your goal is to find a new job, you and your friend would build a list of potential firms to contact. You could also find people who have this job already and try to contact them for a brief interview.
Finally, you complete the list of places that might hire you and set a deadline when you’ll report back to your friend. At the meeting, you either explain why you didn’t do anything or inform them of what ways you followed up i.e. email, phone call, company visits or social media posts.
This style of motivation lights the fire under yourself, and also makes you commit publicly, which has been proven to work well. Although it is along the same lines as your boss lighting a fire under you, you are the one who is creating motivation, therefore, it is being manifested from the inside, which is a completely different kind of fire.
Another helpful tip is to figure out just one single goal and find inspiration to achieve it.
Having too much going on in your life will deplete your energy and motivation, and when you try to do too much and accomplish too many goals, maintaining energy and focus (two of the most important factors in completing your goal) is virtually impossible.
Inspiration comes from within and outside. Constantly thinking about your goal will help keep you focused, but also doing pro-active things, like Googling it or reading books, blogs and magazines pertaining to it, have proven to significantly increase motivation. Regular exercise, such as going on a long walk or a short job, also helps to increase energy and stimulate brain activity.
Another factor that can drastically affect your motivation is your psychological state.
Awareness of your inner feelings and psychological forces that affect your motivation is key in understanding what drives you. If you find yourself constantly unmotivated, you may want to consider possible biological reasons for it, such as attention deficit disorder or learning disabilities that could hinder academics, time management or getting started.
Brown University’s Psychological Services states that things such as adaptive coping mechanisms could be the root of no motivation and laziness. For instance, a child who constantly works to please their parents may always strive to achieve the bare minimum to meet requirements. Once this child leaves the home, the motivation to please vanishes with their parents absence and they struggle to find motivation from within to complete the tasks themselves. There’s nobody there to please anymore.
Although this could be the case for some people, most of the time, psychological reasons for a lifetime of “low motivation” are often not obvious at first and require intensive investigation to discover the true cause. This can be a turnoff for some people who don’t immediately figure out what’s causing their lazy behavior, but it’s important to remember that your inner-motivation is just as complicated as you are.
This doesn’t give anyone justification for throwing in the towel and waving the white flag. Popular reasons for giving up include perfectionism, fear and setbacks that are out of one’s control. These can be counter-acted by reassessing your values, asking why is the task so important, creating a list of top ten reasons to achieve the goal, taking baby steps and staying positive. All of these things are psychological tricks to spark your brain and body’s motivation, and jumping that “rested body” into a “body in motion”.
Trevor Micklow is a business writer and content curator based out of Chicago, IL. US. He specializes in digital strategies, social media, psychology, executive education and business school related topics. He has been working and coordinating the general content of IntelligentHQ’s business school directory, which gives key information and programme details on the top business schools in the world. He has a BS, Psychology from Central Michigan University.