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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 October 23, 2018

    How to Eliminate Work Stress When You’re Stressed to the Max

    How to Eliminate Work Stress When You’re Stressed to the Max

    Workplace stress is a modern epidemic. More than one-third of American workers experience chronic work stress. This is estimated to cost American businesses up to $300 billion a year in lost work hours and medical bills.[1]

    Clearly, if you’re suffering from work stress – you’re far from alone. But, work stress isn’t inevitable.

    In this article, I’m going to help you identify the root cause of your stress and suggest the most suitable ways to cope with job stress so you can become a happy and productive worker again.

    Where Work Stress Comes From

    Certain factors tend to go hand-in-hand with work-related stress. The causes of stress include:

    • Too much work – you feel overwhelmed by your work and find yourself saying: “There are not enough hours in the day!”
    • The job is too easy, not challenging or inspiring – this is where boredom (which is stressful) sets in.
    • Pressure from co-workers or lack of social support – colleagues are not helpful or only care about their own tasks.
    • Little praise and lots of criticism – this is where a lousy manager uses constant criticism to ‘try’ to motivate you.
    • Very demanding or competitive working culture – sales departments often fit this category.
    • Not having enough control over job-related decisions – this is when people try to micro-manage you.
    • High expectations on yourself or seeking perfection – while it’s good to do your best, being a perfectionist can be a powerful stress generator.
    • Low salary – if you work hard but receive slim financial rewards, you may start to feel downhearted, frustrated and stressed.

    The Negative Effects of Stress on Your Mind and Body

    Chronic stress is bad news for your mental health and physical health. These are some health symptoms of stress:[2]

      If stress hormones are triggered in your body for extended periods, they can lead to increased physical aging. This is because stress makes your cells look and act older – and this is reflected in your physical appearance.[3]

      In addition to the negative effects on your body, stress also has a significant influence on your brain – negatively impacting your daily performance.

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      I recommend you watch the 4-minute video below to see just how stress can wreak havoc on your brain and your performance:

      How to Cope with Work Stress (A Step-By-Step Guide)

      You don’t need to be a victim of work stress. Here’s how to manage stress in the workplace:

      1. Set aside some time for planning

      If work has become too much for you, and you’re constantly falling behind… stop! Instead of trying and failing to catch up, you’d be much better off spending some time thinking about your goals and how your prioritize your tasks.

      Learn how to set clear goals with this step-by-step guide.

      For instance, if your initial goal is just to get on top of your work (probably for the first time in months), then take 10 minutes to think clearly and deeply about how you can achieve this. Most likely, you’ll be able to come up with tasks that you need to complete to reach your goal. And once your goal and tasks are clear in your mind, you’ll be ready for the second step.

      2. Align your tasks with your goal

      Just knowing your goal and associated tasks is not enough. Many people reach this stage but still fall behind with their work and fail to achieve their goals.

      The secret is to understand which of your tasks should be high priority and which ones can be done when you have spare time.

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      For example, checking your inbox every 20 minutes may seem to be a productive task for you, but in reality it acts as a constant distraction and productivity killer. Instead, you’d be better off setting aside 30 minutes in the morning to check your emails and 30 minutes in the afternoon to do the same.

      By doing this, you’ll free up the bulk of your day for tasks that can help you reach your goal. These tasks are likely to be things like: writing a business proposal, creating a PowerPoint presentation, and finishing an important project.

      These tips on how to prioritize will help you align your tasks with your goals and work 10X more efficiently.

      3. Remove, change or accept the stressors

      How to tackle specific work stressors? I recommend the following method that WellCast introduced:[4]

      Take a piece of paper and divide it into three columns. At the top, write remove in the first column, change in the second and accept in the third.

        Next, think of the stressors that are getting to you the most. Perhaps it’s your paycheck; it might be way smaller than you’d like or feel that you deserve. Don’t worry, this is your chance to break free from the stress surrounding your low pay.

        Think for a few moments, which would you prefer:

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        • To remove yourself from the company
        • To try to change your salary by asking for a pay rise
        • To accept that your salary is okay for you

        You may be surprised at what thoughts come into your mind. Don’t reject them, but allow yourself time to be clear on how you’d like to proceed.

        If the status quo feels good to you, then write “paycheck” in the accept column. If you decide you want to increase your salary but stay in the same company, write “paycheck” in the change column. And finally, if you decide the time is right to seek a new opportunity at a different organization, then write “paycheck” in the remove column.

        By being decisive in this way, you’ll immediately feel freer and in control of your destiny. And your stress levels will begin to trend downwards. All that remains is to set yourself a clear goal of what you want to achieve and how you’re going to do this.(Luckily, steps #1 and #2 above will help you out!)

        Of course, if you have multiple work stressors, then use your remove, change or accept sheet to work through all of them. It will be time VERY well spent.

        4. Create positive relationships at work

        One key to improving your ability to manage stress is being able to accept help from others. Not only does it alleviate negative circumstances by simply distracting you and creating a buffer between daily tasks and their negative connection, it will provide a sense of support and relief.

        Make an effort to create friendships with your colleagues. Go to the after-work happy hour or just ask a colleague out for coffee at lunchtime. Not only will you have someone to confide in, but you will start to associate positive feelings to work.

        Forming a healthy relationship with your manager or supervisor is also a good way to alleviate stress. Positive, two-way conversations about where you stand in your job, being honest about how you feel, and working together to make a plan of action in terms of improved work conditions and expectations are paramount. This will lead to opening up and receiving the necessary resources you need to support or help you.

        5. Take time out for yourself

        Anyone can get overwhelmed when stress occurs at work, and this can spill into other areas of your life. This is why it’s important to clock out mentally from your job from time to time.

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        Take time off to relax and unwind in order to regain your energy and come back to work invigorated. Make sure you actually do something you enjoy like spending time with your kids or partner, or visit that country you’ve always wanted to explore.

        If taking time off work isn’t possible in the midst of your stress, take scheduled breaks throughout your day. Sit quietly somewhere or do some stretches to get your blood flowing like in the example below:

        6. Take mindful action towards your health

        The irony of stress is that your healthy habits can take a backseat. Maintaining and even improving your health will keep your stress under control. Here are some ways to keep you physically fit:

        • Eat healthy foods. Make sure your diet is full of foods that provide your body with sufficient nutrients. Eat more fruits and green vegetables, whole foods, omega-3 rich fish, and seeds such as flax, chia and hemp. These types of food ensure your body is working optimally to cope with its stress mechanisms.
        • Avoid unhealthy foods. This is obvious, but it’s these kinds of food you reach for in times of stress and negativity. High fat foods such as cheese and red meat cause sluggishness and tiredness. Foods high in refined sugars like biscuits, chocolate bars, and bread can be convenient snacks, but they cause you to crash and burn. Same with caffeinated drinks such as coffee and sodas – these are just ‘band aid’ habits that interfere with your ability to sleep.
        • Exercise regularly. Endorphins are the best for counteracting stress, and what better way to release them than doing physical exercise. Exercise creates a distraction and helps you get your thoughts back together in an orderly way. Start a new exercise regime – whether it’s running, swimming, cycling or walking to work. Getting your blood and endorphins flowing will make you feel happier.
        • Get enough sleep. Make getting 8 hours sleep a priority. When we’re stressed it can sometimes feel hard to get to sleep but sleep deprivation only exaggerates our current stress. A well-rested mind is able to find solutions to problems more easily and reacts better to daily stressors.

        Final Thoughts

        Everyone encounters stress at work. It’s a natural and normal human reaction. The difference between letting the stress overcome you and coping with it is getting a head start by creating a positive environment and lifestyle.

        Counteracting stress is both an inside and outside job. Focusing on improving your health will create a positive mind able to react better. Forming positive relationships with certain people around you will give you emotional support.

        Beat stress with the right mindset!

        Featured photo credit: whoislimos via unsplash.com

        Reference

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