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Last Updated on June 11, 2020

15 Simple Things You Can Do to Boost Your Daily Motivation

15 Simple Things You Can Do to Boost Your Daily Motivation

More often than not, we as humans look to create positive momentum in our lives by identifying one massive item that we can adjust to create change and generate motivation. The realistic approach is to take a bite sized strategy to achieve newfound motivation.

With that in mind, I’ve come up with a list of 15 simple things you can do to boost your daily motivation.

1. Identify and Establish a Long Term Goal

Motivation can feel as fickle as the weather man’s daily predictions. But there are numerous ways to boost your daily motivation and ensure that you are on a track of success in your pursuits in life.

When working to achieve that required boost in your pursuit, the first step has to be for you to create a long term, over-arching goal that you will start to work towards.

Rome may have not been built in a day but the idea of what it was to be had to exist before the end result ever materialized.

In the same way, you have to be strategic in creating a long term goal and then working to pursue relentlessly.

The hard part is figuring out the goal: The Surefire Way to Set Long Term Goals and Reach Success

The easy part? Activating that boost in your daily motivation (with the help of the rest of this list, of course!)

2. Target Milestones in Your Daily Pursuit

Keeping your long term goal in mind, the next step in this journey of keeping your motivation levels sky high is to create bite sized goals within the larger goal for you to pursue.

The simple but effective quote comes to mind:

“How does one eat an Elephant? One bite at a time.”

It may be cheesy but the general point remains true. You won’t have any luck losing 50 pounds if you are trying to do so in the span of a week. But if you create target milestones within the long term pursuit of being more fit, then you will experience the joys of the smaller victories that will lead you down the path of achieving that larger goal.

Those small victories will give you a powerful feeling of accomplishment and continue to transform your daily motivational levels for the better.

In time, those victories will compound and your motivation will only continue to grow as you continue to check off more of the boxes towards your overall goal!

3. From Checking Boxes to Cashing Checks

In creating target milestones within your over-arching goal, it is even more important to setup checkpoints within those milestones where you reward yourself for your efforts thus far.

As a parent, it can sometimes be much easier to get my child to comply with a request if I include a small prize for said compliance. We often encourage our daughter to brush her teeth after which we give her a tasty vitamin gummy, and this has helped establish a positive habit in her morning ritual.

If you have identified your target milestones, pick a few of those and add some kind of reward as a pairing with accomplishing that milestone. Much like pairing a delicious cut of cheese with a fine wine!

It really can be anything that you actually believe. It will help incentivize yourself to continue down your path of self-betterment as long as it helps to maintain your motivation, and doesn’t interfere with your long-term goal.

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Keep in mind the reward shouldn’t in itself be a negating factor towards your long term pursuit.

4. Firm Up Your Foundation

Considering the first few steps in boosting your daily motivation levels, have you really spent much time considering the purpose behind your pursuit?

Having a true understanding into the foundation of why you are pursuing a goal will help you to keep after it in the long term.

Do you know why you are trying to pursue that goal?

Spending thought and time defining your purpose behind the pursuit of a long-term goal, will allow for a more successful path and an extended duration of that journey towards the goal.

That strong foundation will serve as a friendly reminder that allows you to keep those motivational levels boosted, and in a place that will lead to continued success as you move forward towards your target milestones.

5. Publicly Commit

I’ve found that when I’m willing to make a more public facing commitment to accomplish something, I have a stronger tendency to push through and maintain my daily motivation in that pursuit.

When more people are aware of your pursuit, the pressure to not fail starts to accumulate on the brain. While pressure at times can be detrimental to a pursuit, I think that a little social pressure can be a healthy thing to keep you focused on the task at hand.

When I know that my parents, significant other, friends, or co-workers are aware of my pursuit, I am more likely to strive towards my end goal with more sincerity.

Similarly, it was much easier for me to workout, exercise, and eat properly in high school when I had a basketball coach that reminded me each day why I was actively pursuing being better.

Now that I’m an adult and don’t have that built-in coach in my life, I find it more challenging to maintain those pushes to be better.

While it is a simple gesture, opening yourself up to the “public” and making a pronouncement of your intentions can serve as a strong motivating tool for you to keep on keeping on.

6. Meet Motivated People

Too often, we make attempts to increase our motivational levels on a day to day basis without examining the people who are influencing our life’s direction.

If you are supposed to be the average of the 5 people that you spend the most time with, where does that leave you?

You should strive to seek out people both in your professional career and in your personal life that are more successful than you are.

If you are lacking motivation in life, try to be in regular contact with friends of yours or peers in the workplace who have the levels of motivation that you desire. Do what you can to learn from them! What empowers them day in and day out to maintain high levels of motivation and accomplish their goals?

7. Develop an Accountability Team

We all have the best intentions when we set out towards any specific goal in our life but, life has that pesky mannerism of getting in our way from time to time which leads to those inevitable collapses in our motivational levels.

This is the time in your journey when a team of friends, family, your significant other (anyone who you’d put in your corner if you were a boxer), need to jump in on your behalf and remind you of what you set out to do originally.

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Sometimes, your accountability team may be a group of strangers that all share a common cause (weight loss groups, group therapy, basketball teammates) and sometimes, they are people with whom you are very intimate.

Whatever it looks like for you, this team to help you maintain your promise to YOU, is so vital to your success when you start coming up on roadblocks to your daily motivational levels.

Keeping this team on speed dial will be a life saver when you have those Monday blues and begin considering the abandonment of a goal. They will be the ones who you can “trust fall” back on and can help pick you back up, inject you with confidence and restore that motivation that you started with!

8. Consider Future Impasses

The prospect of boosting our motivational levels on a day to day basis and maintaining them over the long term is well and good but, you must remember that the road won’t always be silky smooth.

A key aspect of journeying to a better place in your own life and in pursuit of your goals and dreams is considering the direction that you are headed and plan for future successes AND failures.

What obstacles lay ahead of you that you believe you will need to be prepared to face?

Without considering what challenges are to come as you pursue stronger motivation to push forward towards a better life, you will smash into some road blocks that stop you in your tracks.

If you take the time to consider the trajectory of your path through life and mentally set aside the energy and time to consider what pitfalls may come along the way, then when those challenges materialize, you will be more prepared and able to handle them.

Take the time in your pursuits to consider where in your pathway you might come across the flashing hazards signs and know what your game plan to address them will be ahead of time.

The knowing itself is such a huge element that can help you to defeat your proverbial enemies and will allow for your motivation to stay strong!

9. Fuel Your Success

Consider too, not just your mental health a moment to evaluate the fuel you use on a daily basis to give you energy for the day. Are you slamming pizzas in the evening and donuts for breakfast?

Your physical body and how you care for it has a direct and immense impact on your mental state, motivational levels, and energy to get after life in a positive way!

My family has taken steps to discontinue our eating of processed, frozen foods and opted for more whole foods, vegetables, fruits, and grains to fuel our success throughout the week. Instead of snacking on a bag of chips for an afternoon snack, I try to incorporate a cheese stick and some grapes!

Take a look at what it is that you eat on a daily basis and ask yourself if you should make some subtle changes in what you consume to better maintain those energy levels and keep your motivation boosted.

10. Energize Your Pursuit

I’ve got a confession to make and it might sound a bit crazy but here it goes: I love coffee.

Each and every morning, I allow myself a cup to get the day going and on the really tough days when my motivation to get moving for the work day is low, I might even sneak in a second.

I’m amazed at the people who have gone entire lifetimes without utilizing a cup of joe to get their day fired up. I actually question those people’s sanity because who the heck doesn’t like coffee?!

No matter, coffee and/or tea is such a fantastic way to get your body in a routine of fully waking up, activating your awareness and starting the day off on the right foot.

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What better way to boost your daily motivation than to wake up with a fresh injection of caffeine to clear the fog out of the attic? Research from the American Heart Association shows that:[1]

“[Drinking coffee] gives you energy and may help you lose weight and sharpen your mental focus, thanks to the magic of caffeine. Studies have shown that caffeine may improve your mood, help your brain work better and improve performance during exercise.”

That same study did go on to warn readers that while drinking coffee has clear health benefits, the manner in which you take your coffee will play a part in whether it is good for you or not as “fancier drinks” or sugar loaded coffees will end up hurting you more than they help you.

Over consumption of caffeine can be just as bad as well especially if it interrupts your normal sleep cycle.

11. Catch Some Z’s!

According to the National Herat, Lung, and Blood Institute,[2]

“Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. […] The damage from sleep deficiency can occur in an instant, or it can harm you over time. [Sleep deficiency] can affect how well you think, react, work, learn, and get along with others.”

When I find myself with a strong lack of motivation at work, I often look to examine my most recent week of sleep habits as that can often play a contributing role into my inability to stay on task and motivated.

Sleep gives our body and mind the time to reset, recharge, and repair the damage that we do in our day to day movements through life, which is why it is so crucial to take the time to get proper rest.

The NHLBI recommends 7-8 hours of sleep for Adults aged 18 years or older which is difficult to achieve at times but, so relevant to your quest to boost those daily motivational levels.

Simply put, if you aren’t sleeping enough, you’ll find little success in your pursuit to have more energy for the areas that you really care about being productive in within your life.

12. Making Moves to Materialize Motivation!

Some of the greatest tools for building up your motivation levels are simple yet superbly effective. Exercise is a huge part of contributing towards a healthy mind and body. If you can get out and exercise on a regular basis, your motivation to continue and exercise will actually increase.

According to a study referenced in the Men’s Journal by the University of Copenhagen,[3]

“moderate exercise could increase your motivation to work out and lead to an all-around healthier lifestyle.”

So just by working out 30 minutes a day, research shows that your desire to continue with that positive behavior will increase. Even if you are just walking for 30 minutes each day as your form of exercise, that can be a great way to take strides towards a healthier mind and body.

The better off you are mentally and physically, the stronger your daily motivation to be better overall and pursue a long-term goal, will be.

13. Know Yourself

You know yourself best and you will be most aware of your internal weaknesses, patterns of behaviors, and path to having a decrease in motivation levels towards a specific goal.

Exercise your self-awareness and plan ahead for potential areas of failure that you have encountered in the past. If you work to navigate away from your previous areas of failure that may have led to a decrease in daily motivational levels, then you will obviously have stronger potential for success.

Maintaining a real grasp on our own bad habits and areas of weakness, and ensuring that we disallow those bad habits to kick back in, or weaknesses to re-materialize are so key to maintaining high motivation levels on a day to day basis.

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Changing habits is hard and is a daily pursuit. But if you can first control your thoughts and responses to a situation, then those conditioned responses will eventually convert into new positive habits, which in turn will eventually recondition your personality and behavior.

All of this work and effort will go far in increasing your day to day motivational levels!

14. Overcome Your Fears

The retreat of motivational levels in my opinion is often related to self-doubt or internal fears creeping into your mind.

So often when we are near the peak of a success, we revert to a previous version of ourselves in our mind and allow fear to dictate our ability to continue on instead of reality.

The truth is that internal fear is a mental block that we often allow to enter the equation, and we allow it to bully us out of a pursuit or aspiration.

However I must emphasize that fear is something that you can overcome!

If you work to face your fears, then you will begin to realize that they don’t have any power unless that power is given to those fears by the individual.

Fear is merely an idea and if you overcome it, you will find that there isn’t much of anything holding you back from success!

Motivation levels will continue to grow as you’ve removed yet another obstacle from your internal thought process and allowed more space in your head to build yourself up, implement positive self-talk, and continue to grow in your confidence.

Take a look at this guide written by Mandie Holgate on how to overcome your fears: How to Overcome Your Irrational Fears (That Stop You from Succeeding)

15. Pool Your Victories

When you’ve been working at a goal for a long time and painstakingly maintained a strong foundation of motivation throughout the pursuit, it’s just as important that you take the appropriate time to marinate in that victory.

Success doesn’t come easy and it never happens over-night.

Your strive to increase your motivation and do so on a day after day basis is not without pitfalls. But in the end, when you work so hard to keep that effort up and see it through, you will experience the benefits of that journey.

Victory never comes easy, so make sure you give yourself some credit and take the time to appreciate your growth through that journey to be more motivated and reach your long term goals!

Revel in your victory! Count your chickens because after all of that time, patience, hunger and internal doubt, you have finally accomplished your goal.

Even if it is a small victory, with each one that you rack up in your life you will grow your confidence in what you are doing and your motivational levels will benefit because of this.

After you get that initial taste of a win, it builds up your desire to see future success and as a direct result, you will see your motivation grow even stronger and more resilient than it has ever been!

More to Boost Your Motivation

Featured photo credit: Carli Jeen via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] American Heart Association: Is coffee good for you or not?
[2] National Herat, Lung, and Blood Institute: Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency
[3] Men’s Journal: Moderate Exercise Increases Motivation

More by this author

Colton Black

Motivational Coach, Self-Help Blogger, Recording Engineer, Professional Dad

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Last Updated on July 3, 2020

Positive and Negative Reinforcement: Which Is More Effective?

Positive and Negative Reinforcement: Which Is More Effective?

It has been said that rarely am I short of words, and yet I’ve rewritten this article on positive and negative reinforcement five times. Why?

It’s not as if I have a lack of thoughts on this subject. It’s not as if I don’t spend my days enabling people to communicate powerfully and get what they want in life. So why the rewrites?

I’ve found myself thinking about the diversity of people I’ve coached and how different we all can be. Usually when I write for Lifehack, I’m able to see instant commonality in the subject that means I could share some ideas that would resonate wherever you are in life, whoever you are, regardless of what you were looking to achieve or what adversity you may be facing.

However, with this, it’s a “How long’s a piece of string?” answer, i.e. I could probably write a whole book’s worth of words and still have ideas to share.

Let’s look at some key points:

  • You will have times in your life where you need to get someone to do something.
  • You will have times when someone needs you to do something.

Let’s look at how positive and negative reinforcement would work. In both of these situations, you can face some big obstacles:

  • Someone may resist your desire for them to change.
  • Someone may challenge your authority or leadership.
  • Someone may be at risk of getting hurt.

The important thing to remember is that, in life, we all have to be influenced and influence those around us, and some ways will help us get the result we want, and others won’t. However, that may differ on where you are, who you are talking to, and what you want to see happen!

So, how do we know when positive reinforcement is effective[1], and can there ever be a time when negative reinforcement is good?

Worryingly, if you get positive and negative reinforcement wrong, you can risk your career, your business, your relationships, your reputation, and your brand.

Positive and negative reinforcement each have their merits, so it’s imperative to know when to employ them. Interestingly, despite a ton of evidence to the contrary, we still rely on the wrongs ones in society, business, and even in parenting.

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The 4 examples below showcase the use of positive and negative reinforcement, and whether they personally apply to you right now or not, they will resonate and be very useful to you personally in every area of your life.

For each we will look at:

  1. What’s the problem?
  2. What have you tried?
  3. Now what?
  4. The results!

The Boss

Okay, you may not be a boss, but everyone will have times in their life where they need to get people organized and working together to get the best result. Often, leaders say things like this to me:

  • “I’ve told them until I’m blue in the face not to do that!”
  • “They constantly refuse to use the new system.”
  • “They just don’t listen.”
  • “They don’t respect me.”

What Did the Boss Try?

Often, I hear “We’ve tried everything!” No matter who is reading this, trust me, you’ve not tried everything. (That’s the first thing to accept.) When you accept that, you then need to look at what you have tried to move forward.

The boss has tried:

  • Giving the person training.
  • Spending time with them and showing them how to do it.
  • Telling them it wasn’t good enough.
  • Telling them we aren’t doing that any more.

Now What?

The above situations create tension between the two as you constantly battle to maintain your position on the situation. If you are looking to get someone to do something, and they constantly resist, you need to stop and ask yourself some questions:

  1. What have we tried? This helps you to understand what they are good at, so you can utilize that in the conversation.
  2. From their viewpoint, what could prevent them from doing what I’ve asked? What could they fear, and how will we allay those fears?
  3. What do they want? Seeing their viewpoint enables you to use their terminology and language so they feel listened to.
  4. What do they believe? Do their beliefs prevent them from seeing the benefits? Beliefs can be changed but not by force—coaching is very powerful for this.
  5. How do these answers differ from my beliefs and views? Bridging the gap helps you to see both views and communicate more powerfully.

In my experience, rarely does a boss or leader need to say the word “No.” If someone is not doing what you want them to, the quickest way to see results is to ask questions and listen. Often, when you really listen, you discover a big gap between what you think you are saying and what the other person is hearing.

The reasons why someone is not doing what you want can include:

  • They don’t know how to do what you’ve asked them to do.
  • They are scared to get it wrong.
  • They fear what people will think of them.
  • They don’t have the confidence to come and tell you they need help.
  • They are scared that someone will tell them off.
  • They don’t understand where the boundaries are.

People tell me, “But I said that to them!” If you are too close to the situation, then how likely are they to take notice from you? Here’s what you can do:

  • Get out of your usual environment – Neutral environments make difficult conversations easier. They can take you both off your guard, which can be good.
  • Start by making that person feel safe to say anything. Start with ground rules like “This is a confidential conversation” and “I won’t make any judgement on what you say, I just want to understand.”
  • Be prepared to say “I’m sorry” or “I didn’t realize.” When you do this, positive and negative reinforcement can be used.

Learning how to coach people instead of tell people is key. Enabling the other person to see the benefits of what you want for them (and not you) is quicker than trying to dictate action.

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  • Lay out expected outcomes.
  • Create boundaries.
  • Explain what support and help you will provide.

The Results

This style of reinforcement is about utilizing both positive and negative reinforcement. It enables someone to feel safe to explain why they’ve not been taking action and helps them to overcome the limitations they feel while safe in the knowledge that they will get the support to change with the positive results explained in a way that matters to them.

The Young Child

If you’ve ever found yourself on the wrong end of a relentless tantrum of a small child, you will know it can feel impossible to get through to them. While many elements of The Boss scenario could work, there are times where you may need some negative reinforcement.

What’s the Problem?

My children are now 15 and 18. I can honestly say that, while we have had some challenging behaviors, our parenting means I have two children I’m very proud of–great communicators, great work ethic, kind, funny, considerate. The point is that, for my children, this stuff works. And, to be honest, when I’m with other people’s children, they often say “How did you get them to do that!”

Young children are amazing. It’s like they’ve just woken up in a new body and have been told to go touch, feel, experience everything–every emotion, every taste, smell, experience, texture, the lot! They are curious and keen to know more. They sap up everything, and a lot of that we don’t want them sapping up!

When they go to put a pencil in an electric socket, or let go of your hand as you cross the road, it’s imperative they get the learning and knowledge they need fast. I once was talking to a parent that said I was wrong to say no to my children. I asked, “At what age would you like me to introduce them to that word?” to which they had no answer.

While I agree that there are usually a lot more words than just no for children, “no” is a word that kept you and I safe when we were small.

What Have You Tried?

While young children are incredibly intelligent, explaining the merits of your preferred course of action is not going to keep them safe. Tying them to your waist isn’t working. Punishing them and telling them there’s no more park time until you walk next to me doesn’t work either. So how do you say no and keep them safe?

Now What?

Sometimes negative reinforcement is essential[2]. For instance, my son (who adored Bob the Builder when he was little) was playing with his plastic tool kit and discovered an electric socket…I didn’t stop to explain the merits of how that could be dangerous. I said calmly, “No, that’s dangerous!”

Here’s the important point: It’s not just about your words. With young children, it’s important that your body language clearly says the same.

The Results

I did feel like the luckiest parent on the planet to have two children sleeping through the night, but that didn’t tell the full story. I can remember spending a few weeks calmly picking my daughter up with no eye contact, no overly big hug, no conversation, just saying, “Sorry darling but now’s bedtime, so back we go.” And yes, being the strong-willed girl that she is, there was sometimes a good hour of that until she got the message that Mum really isn’t going to play, turn into a dinosaur, sing, or read a story.

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The thing with positive and negative reinforcement is that you need to have faith it will work, and you are doing the right thing.

Of course, when I went in to get her from her cot the next morning, I had a big grin on my face that said, “Wow, what a grown up girl you are staying in your bed all night!” I used positive reinforcement to get the day started.

The Teenager

What’s the Problem?

If I’m honest, I don’t have problems with my teenagers. However, I think that is in no small part to my style of communication. Having respect for them is key, and appreciating how much change is happening in their lives really helps–as someone who helps large teams of people deal with change, I know how hard it can be.

However, when I wrote the article How to Enjoy Parenting Teens and Help Your Kids Thrive, I was inundated with stories of hellish behavior from other parent’s teenagers, tales of staying out all night and not phoning home, abusive behavior towards parents and teens–I really felt for all involved.

What Have You Tried?

The problem with teens is they know exactly how to wind you up like a little clock-work toy. And if you’ve had a tough day, the last thing you want is to have to deal with someone who can’t even communicate with words, let alone put their dishes in the dishwasher.

Losing it is never the option, but it can easily happen. Shouting, bribery, and doing it yourself because it’s just easier really don’t work in the long run.

Now What?

If you consider everything we’ve covered, you can see that you need to communicate using positive and negative reinforcement. In life, there are consequences to all actions, and teens have a ton of stuff to learn to become effective, successful, happy adults.

Before you embark on any course of action, consider how the other person perceives the world. What are they going through?

You may have loved being a teen, but that doesn’t ensure your children will. Likewise, in life, there are things you love that others will loathe–seeing the world through other people’s eyes really helps you to understand the best way to communicate.

The only big difference for teenagers is to use emotion with caution. I personally let my children see all emotions–I’ve not hidden my tears when I’ve lost a loved one as it’s a perfectly normal thing to do. However, if a teenager in a foul mood can spot a weakness, they may just take advantage of it.

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The Results

My kids love to tell everyone I’m a scary mom. I’m not, I just have high standards, and I’m not prepared to drop them.

We shy away from telling people what we expect and then wonder why we are getting as stressed as the other party because no one knows where they stand.

I’m happy for my children to take over the TV room and eat far too much sweet stuff and binge on a box set. Just don’t put cups on the carpet, we have places for drinks. It’s having the confidence to say this is the rule.

People think negative reinforcement is a bad thing. However, how can someone change if they don’t know what they are doing wrong? And that’s the issue: so many of us are fearful of saying “Stop doing that!” If you lack confidence, find your voice because people aren’t mind-readers.

Final Thoughts

Before you start considering whether positive or negative reinforcement is best for others, ask yourself what you respond better to.

Personally, I respond far better to negative reinforcement–I can improve and be more successful and happier if I know what I’m doing wrong. Furthermore, I know that sometimes negative reinforcement works better with some clients who really don’t want to look at the issue–but it’s always done with respect and love.

Coaching people is also a great representation of when positive and negative reinforcement is best. We are looking to find ways to increase the positive action with positive reinforcement and ways to reduce the negative results with negative reinforcement–and usually my clients keep those changes for the rest of their lives.

More on Positive and Negative Reinforcement

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

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