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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?

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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?

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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.

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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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    Last Updated on August 16, 2018

    16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

    16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

    The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

    How about a unique spin on things?

    These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

    1. Empty your mind.

    It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

    Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

    Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

    Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

    How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

    2. Keep certain days clear.

    Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

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    This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

    3. Prioritize your work.

    Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

    Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

    Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

    How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    4. Chop up your time.

    Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

    5. Have a thinking position.

    Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

    What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

    6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

    To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

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    Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

    7. Don’t try to do too much.

    OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

    8. Have a daily action plan.

    Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

    Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

    9. Do your most dreaded project first.

    Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

    10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

    The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

    11. Have a place devoted to work.

    If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

    But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

    Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

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    Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

    12. Find your golden hour.

    You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

    Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

    Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

    Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

    13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

    It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

    By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

    Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

    14. Never stop.

    Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

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    Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

    There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

    15. Be in tune with your body.

    Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

    16. Try different methods.

    Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

    It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

    Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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