Motivation is a curious thing. Some people have it naturally and always seem to be bubbling with energy and looking for new ways to excel at what they do, improve themselves, overcome the challenges of life and progress beyond them. Others do just enough to scrape through and avoid any extra effort.

In the end, it is no wonder that the former achieve new successes while the latter are left behind – and it is no wonder that motivation is instrumental in getting anything done. So, if you don’t have it built in, how are you supposed to boost it? Here are some tips.

1. Understand That Nobody’s Coming

Many people go through their lives waiting to be saved by something or someone. They expect something to happen that will miraculously set right everything that is wrong with their lives. Of course, most people don’t do it consciously – logically we seem to understand that this notion is ridiculous. This, however, doesn’t prevent us from repeating the same routine day after day, year after year, believing that things are going to improve on their own. Somehow. The first step to creating motivation is understanding that it is your own responsibility. It is either self-motivation or nothing – either you drag yourself upwards, or nobody does.

2. Set up Achievable Goals

People without a strong innate tendency towards self-motivation are often strongly discouraged by setbacks. Their weak motivation in and of itself may stem from the fact that they too often experienced failure and lack of recognition in the past, and are subconsciously too afraid of failing again to attempt anything new. In order to make victory (however small) a real and distinct possibility once again, you have to start with setting small goals that can be achieved within a reasonable amount of time, so that you can get used to the feeling of success and of worth accompanying this process.

3. Establish Rewards

Logically you may understand that, for example, a few years’ worth of hard work is likely to get you a raise, but human brains are not wired to value long-term rewards. As we all run on habits, you should rewire them, associating hard work with pleasant rewards in the short term. In practice, it means that you should slice your work into smaller chunks and reward yourself with something after completing each of them, in whatever small way that seems to be appropriate. It may sound silly, but it is just how human nature works – you cannot take over it by logic alone, you have to rework the habits you already have.

4. Undertake a Commitment

If you want to do something, mention this commitment to somebody. We are often afraid to tell other people about our aspirations, plans or intentions, presumably not to jinx them. In reality, we are simply afraid to look silly, or weak, or irresponsible in case we are incapable of achieving what we’ve planned. So use this fear against your own sense of inertia – if you intend to do something, tell as many people as possible about it. This way it will be much harder to back out of it than if you were the only person who knows anything about it. It creates social pressure that will keep your afloat. Your friends are going to ask you how this thing you’ve been talking about is moving on, and you will have to tell them something, anything.

Motivation is indeed a curious thing. We all understand that we need it, yet so few people actually manage to create it inside themselves on their own. We hope that these tips will help you become such an individual.

Featured photo credit: Man Celebrating Freedom In nature With Glacier/Dan Cooper via stokpic.com

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