Advertising
Advertising

5 Simple Steps to Get Motivated When You’re in A Rut

5 Simple Steps to Get Motivated When You’re in A Rut

Even the most motivated people in the world can lack motivation at times. And sometimes we can get into such a rut that even thinking about positive changes is too much to ask. But what if I told you it’s not hopeless? What if I told you there were proven steps, backed up by science that could help you overcome procrastination and make positive progress in your life. Well, in this post I will do exactly that.

What most people don’t understand about motivation is that it is a process. Just like learning the guitar, it takes time, repetition and discipline. The good news is that anybody… Even people with crippling self-doubt and laziness, can stop procrastinating and overcome their lack of motivation to reach their goals. To quote Rocky:

The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!

Many of us feel overwhelmed, apathetic, or just plain lazy at times. The good news is that many of the most successful people in the world have found themselves in a similar situation and bounced back. Did you know that there was a time when even the great Tony Robbins was 30 pounds overweight and spending his days watching soap operas continuously?

Advertising

Exactly… It’s never too late to become the person you could of been.

I’m going to help you make these positive changes in your life by showing you how to harness your own motivation to get things done. By the end of these 5 simple steps you will have the tools to overcome any barrier to motivation.

1. Get Clear On One Goal

Whenever I’ve found myself in a slump I’ve realized it’s because I am overwhelmed; I’m trying to do too much at once. This not only drains my focus and willpower but creates procrastination urges. It’s critical that you focus on one goal, the one action the you’ve been putting off; but if you followed through with, would change your quality of life drastically.

Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to read more? Do you want to wake up earlier?

Advertising

Step 1 Action – Get your goal clear, in writing, and as specific as possible. For example: I will lose 20 pounds by August 10th 2016.

2. Get Leverage

Leverage is quite simply the fuel behind your motivation, it’s your “why”. Humans are wired to avoid pain and move towards pleasure. This is why you can have dozens of delicious gin and tonics and then as soon as you drink too many and become sick, you never drink it again. Whenever we are trying to get motivated for change, we are experiencing short term pain in order to gain long term change that increases our quality of life.

In order to overcome the short term pain, there must be no other option but change, it should be emotional and stubborn. Only when we manufacture the necessary leverage in our minds for change is when it sticks. Get angry, get upset, think about what eating unhealthy food is costing you long term, say “never again”… There should be tremendous pain to not taking action now.

Step 2 Action – Find out your leverage points of pain and pleasure and connect them to your goal in writing.

Advertising

3. Set Up Your Routine To Success

Whenever setting goals it’s important to realize that there are forces other than motivation at work. Below is the habit cycle, by breaking down your daily actions into this loop you will be able to make the cycle work in your favor, rather than it trapping you to your current habits. It’s important to note that routines in the loop don’t have to be big to reinforce it, start small. Once the habit is formed it’s much easier to increase the action.

For example: wake up 10 minutes earlier every week or do 2 minutes of exercise every day at a specific time, which leads to even greater action once the habit is formed.

Untitled-1

    Step 3 action – Input your chosen goal into the habit cycle and break down the behaviour into Reminder, Routine & Reward. Then create small things you can do every day to create the habit, as well as reminders and rewards.

    Advertising

    4. Create Accountability

    In Cialdini’s classic book, Influence, he talks about how humans are wired to be consistent with their actions and how this is used in advertising and marketing to get more sales. The good news is that you can use this irrational human trigger to help you reach your goals. A great example is Marathons. My friend ran the London marathon. He wasn’t a seasoned athlete and probably hadn’t undergone anything as physically intense as a marathon in his life. Now, if he hadn’t told anyone he was doing it, or didn’t use any methods of accountability, I’m not sure he would have completed it. But he did a lot of things which made it almost impossible not to follow through. Firstly, he ran for a charity and asked friends to donate. He posted a lot on Facebook about his progress and training. He got an app which scheduled training for him. He found himself a training buddy. All this accountability helped him complete the marathon.

    Step 4 Action – Tell people about your goal, tell them I will give you £20 if I don’t lose X weight by X date and sign it, post it on Facebook. Find online / offline communities to join.

    5. Remember Why You Started

    It’s so easy to fall off the bandwagon of your initial motivation, that’s why it’s so important to remember why you started. Use a couple of “reminding phrases” (Healthy food, Happy Mind) or Mantras to repeat, and put them in places where you can see them late at night and early in the morning. You can go a step further and record a video of yourself talking to your future self about your motivations for changing and why you should keep going when things get tough.

    Step 5 Action – Write down your mantras and record a video to help remind you why you started.

    More by this author

    5 Books You Must Read if You Want to Be a Millionaire in Your 20’s 100 Motivational Quotes That Will Guide You To Massive Success 5 Simple Steps to Get Motivated When You’re in A Rut

    Trending in Productivity

    1 How to Motivate Employees and Boost Team Productivity 2 How SMART Goal Setting Makes Lasting Changes in Your Life 3 7 Clever Goal Tracker Apps to Make the Most of Your Business in 2019 4 The Surefire Method to Set Long Term Goals and Reach Success 5 17 Smart Tips on Setting Goals to Accomplish More in Life

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on February 18, 2019

    How to Motivate Employees and Boost Team Productivity

    How to Motivate Employees and Boost Team Productivity

    These days, in a world with cognitive, AI, and extraordinary advances, we have failed at the most basic stimulus: motivation. Why do I say so? Just take a look at these statistics:

    58 percent of managers said they didn’t receive any management training as per a CareerBuilder.com survey. Only 12% of employees leave their jobs because of more money. Research indicates that around 80% of employees leave their jobs due to “lack of appreciation”. Due to fear of failing, more than half of American workers don’t take their paid vacations. 53% of Americans are unhappy at work (not engaged). And 1 in 3 are working in a field they don’t like.[1]

    Archaic people management and HR structures are the root cause.

    “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    So how to motivate employees and boost team productivity?

    Here are 3 key things that you can do to motivate your employees and boost team productivity:

    1. Run Your Team/Group/Company like a Lean Startup

    The Lean Startup phenomena by Eric Ries has been socialized across millions all over the globe. In a nutshell, it is a methodology for developing businesses and products, which aims to shorten product development cycles and rapidly discover if a proposed business model is viable; this is achieved by adopting a combination of business-hypothesis-driven experimentation, iterative product releases, and validated learning.[2]

    Advertising

    Encourage Your Employees

    When you empower your employees (or family members) to do what they deem to be best for a particular roadblock, idea, or improvement, you create magic. You create genuine trust. You enable innovation. The result is happy, inspired employees who feel they have a say in the grand cosmic stage at work.

    Note that increasing the competency level of employees and coaching and mentoring them along the way is key. You yourself, need to do the same. Nourish your brain – and get a mentor that will keep you at the edge of your game.

    Offer Rewards

    Motivation is also intrinsic. The startups I have worked at offered instant rewards — not just fat checks or equity increments, but Oscar-style nominations.

    The non-monetary rewards were actually more coveted, and grandiose: lunch with the CEO, tickets to an Obama fund-raiser, horse-back riding with a world-class equestrian.

    Compare this to a dodgy, corporate, white-cubicle dinosaur that had a “yearly performance review” where both parties dread the conversation. In a world of instant WhatsApp messages, having a conversation about performance, likes and dislikes cannot just happen annually in 60 minutes. Employees need to be rooted in the belief that their manager genuinely cares about them.

    Give Autonomy

    Another key attribute is autonomy. Most employees start brushing their resumes and cruising LinkedIn when their hands are tied in their current positions: approval forms, long meetings, escalations, and more meetings. In the world of agile and scrum masters, deliberating for the sake of deliberating is poison. You will choke the very employees that giddily accepted the job initially to “change the world”.

    Within a reasonable realm of assessment and deep-dives, trust your employees to do the heavy lifting. Give them access to the knowledge, people and resources that help them directly make the choices that will shape the future of your team, and your company.

    Advertising

    Eliminate yourself as the bottleneck – and interject yourself as a benevolent, servant leader that is the symbol of high-performing organizations.

    2. Apply the 90/90/1 Rule

    I recently saw a video by Deepak Sharma (a leadership adviser) about productivity and this principle stuck with me. Here’s what it’s about:

    Devote the First 90 Minutes of Your Day to Important Project

    For the next 90 days, devote the first 90 minutes of your day to your most important project—nothing else. Do this for yourself and your employees.

    We usually get sucked into the most wasteful, operational activities in the morning which robs our focus, and steers us into an unwanted rabbit hole. So mute your notifications, avoid the temptation to check your exploding inbox, and scroll your Instagram feed later. Instead, focus on that ONE thing that will provide real value to you, your team, or your business/company/home.

    Apply this rule to yourself – and your team. Your team will thank you. Note: If you’re feeling really stretched for time, you can always hack the rule by testing out a “45/45/1” version.

    A To Do Scheduling System

    Another version of this is to use the Kanban concept, developed by Taiichi Ohno, an industrial engineer at Toyota. Kanban is a scheduling system employing boards and cards.

    The most basic version is a canvas with “To-do”, “Doing”, and “Done” boards (or columns). Each activity or task is a “card” that moves from one column to the other. I use Trello (a Kanban-inspired app) that is a key system for my personal and professional life. It allows me to understand my workload, their priority, and due dates.

    Advertising

    I use importance and effort metrics (scores) for each task to understand what is truly necessary in my life to work on. It negates the FIFO (first-in, first out) paradox that has plagued millions of people. Instead, it allows me to take stock of what is on my plate, and then bite on what truly will move the needle for me, my team, my life, and my company.

    With a limited appetite (at least for some), would you eat the veggies, fries, mashed potatoes and leave the sizzling steak? No, you wouldn’t (unless you are a vegan and ended up in the wrong restaurant).

    Approach your work with a weighted vengeance – and encourage your team to do the same.

    3. Align Passion and Skills to Purpose

    The heart of human excellence often begins to beat when you discover a pursuit that absorbs you, frees you, challenges you, and gives you a sense of meaning, joy and passion.

    “The most fortunate people on earth are those who have found a calling that’s bigger than they are—that moves them and fills their lives with constant passion, aliveness, and growth.” — Richard Leider

    An ace team-member once told me that while she enjoys working for the company we both used to work at, she really hated anything to do with technology. She was more of a “people” person, and did not want to sit behind a desk sifting through lines of code.

    What struck me was that she was in that role for more than a decade and had just spoken up. The good thing is she spoke up. She expressed her desire and interests. And it allowed her to get into a role of her liking within 30 days.

    Advertising

    Ask If They like What They’re Doing

    If you, or a team member is frustrated, demotivated, or not performing at their best – one of the questions you should ask is whether they like what they are doing. Then genuinely try to help them get to the role they should be in (whether in the same team/company or not).

    There’s a reason why 53% of Americans (and perhaps more or same across the globe) are unhappy at work. A butcher cannot be an ace salad maker. Pursue your passion – and help pave the way for your team. Unlock your potential and theirs. You will command and lead a supercharged team.

    “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

    The Bottom Line

    Sometimes, passion has to be ignited. It is dormant, clouded by busy-ness, buried by wrong career choices, and plagued by non-supportive eco-systems. Some will climb out of it, but we as society — and in the case of business teams — incumbent upon the manager/CEO/leader to foster, grow, and nurture the employee.

    Teach her the ropes. Show her the path. Advise him as you would yourself. Let them lead, and make mistakes. Do not fear them, rather make them the leader you would want to become.

    For your not-so-great team members, understand that it is not personal, it is just not a good fit. Help them move on to the pastures they would be fit to graze on. Hence, hire slow (and fire fast).

    Your team is a reflection of you. Boosting their confidence and helping them achieve the impossible is motivation. Focus on that, and you will have a productive team that you and your company will be proud of.

    More Resources About Team Management

    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next