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Last Updated on January 14, 2021

13 Things to Remember When You Need More Motivation

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13 Things to Remember When You Need More Motivation

I am naturally an optimistic person and I like to think of myself as a motivated person – but not all of the time. There have been many times in my life where I have struggled with motivation. It takes a lot of energy to be motivated and some days, I just can’t be bothered. I just want to hide away and do nothing.

Having these feelings where you just want to do nothing is actually an okay thing to do because there are times when you need to rest and recover. The danger is when you let this occasional feeling of laziness and procrastination take over your life. When this happens and trust me, it can happen very quickly, you will find yourself making excuses as to why you can’t get off the couch and start exercising, or start the new project, or finish off the old project. This is a dangerous place to be and one to avoid at all costs.

So, when you are at the point of low energy and need motivation, consider using these 13 motivation tips to help you get your mojo and your life back on track.

1. Take Time to Quieten Down Your Mind

Having no motivation is energy-draining and one consequence of having low energy is that your mind starts to get very noisy and very cluttered.

Practising mindfulness on a regular basis is a great way to quieten down the noise in your mind. There are many mindfulness activities that you can choose – meditation, exercise, listening to classical music, going for long walks. Choose any activity that gives your mind breathing space and some peace.

2. Use Your Power of Choice

Your power of choice is the only thing that you have that enables you to control how you react to events and experiences in your life. You can choose to live your life languishing, or you can live a flourishing life.

Nobody else has that power over you and so if you want to become more motivated about life, then use your power of choice to make the change.

3. Remove Negative People from Your Life

Surrounding yourself with negative people drains your energy and with no energy, the chances of you living a motivated and active life is pretty close to zilch.

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Choose instead to surround yourself with positive people and when you do, you will find that your energy for life starts to flow.

4. Choose to Take Small Steps First to Get Your Energy Flowing

Going from feeling low energy and no motivation to where you have lots of energy and motivation can seem impossible to achieve. In fact, so overwhelming we don’t know where to start and we end up giving up or not even starting.

The key to moving forward and achieving any goal that you set is to focus on taking one step at a time until you reach your goal.

Jenny Blake in her book Pivot – said that to change your life:

“The only move that matters is your next one.”

If you want to get your mojo back in your life, figure what the first few actions or steps are for you to start moving forward, and then stick to the plan – one step at a time.

5. Let Go of the Things in Your Life You Can’t Change

When we are feeling low in energy, we tend to dwell on the events in our life that have not gone so well for us. These difficult and challenging events belong in the past and we can’t change the outcome.

Focusing on these events drains our energy and therefore, makes it even harder to start taking action to change our lives. Focus on the events in life that went well for you, and use those positive feelings to help you move forward.

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6. Practice Gratitude and Show Appreciation on a Daily Basis

Commit to showing gratitude and appreciation to strangers and people you know every day for a month. Once the month is up, don’t stop, keep going for the rest of your life.

Practicing gratitude and appreciation on a daily basis brings joy to your life and with joy comes hope and high energy – which is what leads you to live a motivated life.

Here’re 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude.

7. Focus on Doing Activities That Bring You Joy

Eliminate the activities in life that drag you down. When we are feeling low, we tend to focus on the tasks that use a lot of negative energy.

To get motivation back into your life, focus on activities that are helping you to move forward not drag you down. Use your power of choice to help you decide those activities, which will support you to live a more motivated life.

8. Embrace Patience into Your Life

This may seem a bit of a strange action to consider if you want to live a more motivated life; however, embracing patience into your life is not about you “sitting back and waiting” – it is about you taking the time to consider and reflect on what you need to do to keep moving forward.

Changing your life does not happen overnight, it is a personal journey that takes time. Patience helps you keep on track and helps you to have a more positive perspective on your life.

Learn How to Be Patient and Take Charge of Your Life.

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9. Take The Time to Figure Out Who You Are And What You Want

To change one’s life takes commitment and purpose. You need to know what it is you want and why you want it. These two things are important drivers for you wanting to change your life.

If you know what you want and why you want it, then you have a clear purpose to focus on. If you have no direction or vision as to how you want to live your life, then your journey of change can become directionless and the chances are very high that you will give up.

If you don’t know what living a motivated and positive life is like, then how will you know what to aim for?

Figure out what you truly want and regain motivation with this guide: How to Get Motivated Every Day When You Wake Up

10. Keep Learning

Highly motivated people love to learn new things. It is learning that brings energy into their lives. Learning opens up your mind and challenges you to think about different perspectives.

Take every opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and learn new things on a regular basis. Living a comfortable life with no challenges will only drain your energy and leave you very demotivated about your life.

Try these 10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Overcome Your Fear.

11. Help Others

Helping others, especially those in need is one of the best ways for you to bring energy and motivation into your life. The more you help people in need, the more joy you will find in your life.

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An act of kindness is powerful and can change your life when you make a positive impact on someone else’s life.

12. Exercise Regularly

Staying active improves the energy levels in your body, soul and mind. Exercise maintains positivity, optimism and hope at levels where you experience high energy and motivation on a regular basis.

Regular exercise is key to you staying motivated and positive about your life – even in the tough times. Exercise helps to release the negative energy that builds up within you. When you are feeling really down, going for a walk in the bush, at the beach, in the park or even around your neighbourhood is the best medicine ever.

13. Work Hard at Maintaining a Positive and Hopeful Attitude

There is nothing worse than giving in to all the bad things that are happening in your life. If you focus on the negative things in your life, your energy and motivation will reduce dramatically.

Sure things in life can get very tough and there are times when you will make mistakes. However, the tough times are in the past.

Stop thinking about the negative and focus on the positives in your life such as what is going well? What is working well? What great things have you to look forward to? These are the questions that you should focus on – the ones that build up your belief, your positivity and hope for the future. From here comes the motivation and energy to live a joyful life.

Applying any one or all of these 13 practical tips will help you to live a more energetic and motivated life. Take a deep breath right now and choose one and start your journey now!

More Motivational Tips

Featured photo credit: Holly Mandarich via unsplash.com

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More by this author

Kathryn Sandford

Career Resilience Coach passionate about supporting others to grow and thrive in a complex world.

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Published on September 27, 2021

What Is Incentive Motivation And Does It Work?

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What Is Incentive Motivation And Does It Work?

We’ve all needed a bit of inspiration at some time in our lives. In the past year or two, that need most likely has grown. Who hasn’t been trying to shed those extra pounds we put on during the pandemic? Who hasn’t felt the need to fake a little enthusiasm at joining yet another Zoom call? Who hasn’t been trying to get excited about trekking back into the office for a 9 to 5 (longer if you add in the commute)? Feeling “meh” is a sign of our times. So, too, is incentive motivation, a way to get back our spark, our drive, and our pursuit of the things we say we want most.

In this article, I’ll talk about what incentive motivation is and how it works.

What Is Incentive Motivation?

Incentive motivation is an area of study in psychology focused on human motivation. What is it that gets us to go from couch potato to running a marathon? What spurs us to get the Covid vaccine—or to forgo it? What is it that influences us to think or act in a certain way? Incentive motivation is concerned with the way goals influence behavior.[1] By all accounts, it works if the incentive being used holds significance for the person.

The Roots of Incentive Motivation

Incentive motivation’s roots can be traced back to when we were children. I’m sure many of us have similar memories of being told to “eat all our veggies” so that we would “grow up to be big and strong,” and if we did eat those veggies, we would be rewarded with a weekend trip to a carnival or amusement park or playground of choice. The incentive of that outing was something we wanted enough to have it influence our behavior.

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Growing up, incentive motivation continues to play a major role in what we choose to do. For example, while we may not have relished the idea of spending years studying, getting good grades, pursuing advanced degrees, and graduating with sizeable debt from student loans, a great many of us decided to do just that. Why? Because the end goal of a career, a coveted title, and the associated incentives of financial reward and joy in doing something we love were powerful motivators.

One researcher who believes in the power of incentive motivation is weight management expert, co-author of the book State of Slim, and co-founder of the transformational weight loss program of the same name, Dr. Holly Wyatt. Her work with her clients has proven time and again that when motivation fizzles, incentives can reignite those motivational fires.

“Eat more veggies, exercise, keep track of my weight: These things and more DO work, but bottom line, you gotta keep doing them. Setting up rituals and routines to put your efforts on auto-pilot is one way. And along the way, the use of both external and internal motivators helps keep people on track. External motivation sources are those things outside of ourselves that help to motivate us. They’re powerful, like pouring gasoline on a fire. But they may not last very long. Internal motivators are more tied into the reasons WHY we want to reach our goals. In my State of Slim weight loss program, we spend a lot of time on what I call ‘peeling back the onion’ to find the WHY. I think the internal motivators are more powerful, especially for the long-term, but they may take longer to build. They’re the hot coals that keep our motivational fires burning.”

Examples of Incentive Motivation

In the way of incentive motivation, specific to the external motivators, Dr. Wyatt challenges her clients to commit to changing just one behavior that will help them reach their weight loss goals. Clients must then agree to a “carrot” or a “stick” as either their reward for accomplishing what they say they will do or as their punishment for falling short. Those incentives might be something like enjoying a spa day if they do the thing they said they would do or sweating it out while running up and down the stairwell of their apartment building a certain number of times as punishment for not following through.

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Whatever they choose, the goal must be something they really want, and the incentive must be something that matters to them enough to influence their behaviors in reaching those goals. Some people are more motivated by some sort of meaningful reward (a carrot) whereas, other people are more motivated by some sort of negative consequence or the taking away of a privilege (the stick).

Another example of incentive motivation is playing out currently with companies and government entities offering perks to people who get the Covid vaccine. Nationwide, offers are being made in the way of lottery tickets, cash prizes, concert seats, free admission to events and discounts for food, and even free drink at local restaurants and bars. The list of incentives being offered to the public to increase vaccination rates is pretty extensive and quite creative.[2]  These incentives are financial, social, and even hit on moral sensibilities. But is this particular incentive motivation working?

Remember that a key to incentive motivation working is if the individual puts importance on the reward being received on the ultimate goal. So, not all incentives will motivate people in the same way. According to Stephen L. Franzoi, “The value of an incentive can change over time and in different situations.”[3]

How Does Incentive Motivation Differ from Other Types of Motivators?

Incentive motivation is just one type of motivating force that relies on external factors. While rewards are powerful tools in influencing behaviors, a few other options may be more aligned with who you are and what gets you moving toward your goals.

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Fear Motivation

In many ways, being motivated by fear is the very opposite of being motivated by incentives. Rather than pursuing some reward, it’s the avoidance of some consequence or painful punishment that sparks someone into action. For example, married couples may “forsake all others” not out of love or commitment but out of a fear that they may be “taken to the cleaners” by their spouses if their infidelities are revealed.

Another example wherein fear becomes the great motivator is one we’re hearing about more and more as we’re coming out of this pandemic—the fear of being poor. The fear of being poor has kept many people in jobs they hate. It’s only now that we see a reversal as headlines are shining a light on just how many workers are quitting and refusing to go back to the way things were.

Social Motivation

Human beings are social creatures. The desire to belong is a powerful motivator. This type of social motivation sparks one’s behavior in ways that, hopefully, result in an individual being accepted by a certain group or other individuals.

The rise of the Internet and the explosion of social media engagement has been both positive and negative in its power to motivate us to be included among what during our school days would be called “the cool kids” or “cliques” (jocks, nerds, artsy, gamers, etc.). We probably all have experienced at one time or another the feelings associated with “not being chosen”—whether to be on a team to play some game or as the winning candidate for some job or competition. Social rejection can make or break us.

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Before You Get Up and Go…

Know that, especially during these challenging times, it’s “normal” and very much “okay” to feel a lack of motivation. Know, too, that external motivators, such as those we’ve talked about in this article, can be great tools to get your spark back. We’ve only touched on a few here. There are many more—both external and internal.

Remember that these external motivators, such as incentive motivations, are only as powerful as the importance placed on the reward by the individual. It’s also important to note that if there isn’t an aligned internal motivation, the results will more than likely be short-lived.

For example, losing a certain amount of weight because you want to fit into some outfit you intend to wear at some public event may get you to where you want to be. But will it hold up after your party? Or will those pounds find their way back to you? If you want to be rewarded at work with that trip to the islands because you’ve topped the charts in sales and hustle to make your numbers, will you be motivated again and again for that same incentive? Or will you need more and more to stay motivated?

Viktor Frankl, the 20th-century psychiatrist, Holocaust survivor, and author of the best-selling book, Man’s Search for Meaning, is quoted as having said, “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.” As important as external motivators like incentives may be in influencing behaviors, the key is always to align them with one’s internal “why”—only then will the results be long-lived.

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So, how might incentive motivation influence you and your behavior toward goals? Knowing your answer might keep you energized no matter what your journey and help to further your successes.

Featured photo credit: Atharva Tulsi via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Britannica: Incentive motivation
[2] National Governors Association: COVID-19 Vaccine Incentives
[3] verywellmind: The Incentive Theory of Motivation

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