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Last Updated on December 1, 2020

What Is Motivation And How It Can Change Your Life

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What Is Motivation And How It Can Change Your Life

You’ve been thinking about learning to drive since you were a teenager. You believe having a car would give you freedom, choice, and adventure—as well as enhancing your career prospects.

But despite these beliefs and the encouragement of your friends and family, you’ve never gotten around to learning to drive.

What has stopped you?

Well, you might blame it on a lack of time or a lack of money. But in reality, it’s probably due to a lack of motivation. And this lack of motivation could well be holding you back in all areas of your life.

Now, imagine if you had zest and boundless motivation. You would not only learn to drive and get yourself a car, but you’d be excited to take on other big goals too. And with lots to aim for—you’d be passionate and alive.

The Motive Behind Motivation

Firstly, have you ever stopped to ask yourself, “what is motivation?”

Well, while I could give you a long, detailed answer, I prefer to share with you this simple definition:

Motivation is the driving force behind your actions.

Take eating, for instance. When you wake up in the morning, you’re probably motivated to grab a bite to eat. And even if you usually skip breakfast, I’m sure that by lunchtime you’re super-motivated to eat some food!

In this case, hunger motivates you to find and eat something. So, are you hungry in other areas of your life?

If you want to be successful, then you’ll need to be.

Wealthy people are hungry for money, fit people are hungry for health, and wise people are hungry for knowledge.

It’s their hunger that pushes them to succeed. Without this, they would probably just be daydreamers who never achieved anything major in life.

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The good news is that it’s never too late to learn how to become motivated and to inject that power into all areas of your life.

Let’s look now at exactly how to do that.

Making Motivation Work for You

There are five elements of becoming motivated that you’ll need to learn and adopt if you’re serious about changing your life. Each element will help boost your motivation, but all five together will super-charge it!

I’ll talk about these five elements and give you examples so you can see each element in action.

1. Finding Inspiration

The number one cause of feeling unmotivated is having nothing to be inspired by. If nothing excites you, then nothing will motivate you.

Is there a way to find inspiration? You bet there is!

The trick is to go back in your life to the times when fun, adventure, and enthusiasm ruled the day. This could be last year, five years ago, or even back to when you were a child.

One thing is certain: there were days when your life was exciting and purposeful.

It may have been your first kiss, your first holiday with friends, or the thrill of getting your first job. Think back to how you felt at that time—probably on top of the world. That’s the emotion that you need to rekindle in your life.

Another reason to look back in your life is that you may have given up following dreams that other people (possibly your parents) told you were a waste of time. These might be things like becoming a professional musician, actor, or sports star.

We all had ambitious dreams like these when we were young. But more often than not, these dreams were crushed by adults who told us to be ‘realistic’ about our lives.

If you want to be excited about life again, then allow yourself to dream once more.

This could lead you, for example, to join a drama class to train as an actor. Even if this remains as a hobby, you’ll start to taste enthusiasm in your life again. And you’ll be able to take this inspiration and use it in different areas of your life.

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2. Goal Setting

American football coach Vince Lombardi once said:

“Success demands singleness of purpose.”

In other words, you must know what you want before you have any chance of getting it.

When you start to set goals for yourself, you’ll quickly find that you have purpose and motivation. It’s the difference between sailing to a specific destination or just letting your boat drift upon the ocean.

The secret to goal setting is to start off small. Choose some easy to achieve goals like giving up caffeine for one day a week or waking up every day 30 minutes earlier than you normally do.

Once you’ve achieved your small goals, you’ll notice that you’ll have grown in self-confidence and belief. That’s when you’ll be ready to set some bigger goals. These might be things such as finding a new job, clearing your debts, or even traveling the world!

Bigger goals may seem hard to achieve. But you’ll make them more palatable by breaking them down into bite-sized chunks.

For example, if your goal is to find a new job, then you could break this down into the following steps:

  • Decide what job you really want to do.
  • Tailor your resume to match this job.
  • Practice your interview skills.
  • Register with recruitment agencies.
  • Take on any advice they recommend (such as boosting your qualifications).
  • Go along to interviews.
  • Celebrate when you’re offered the role you want!

Goal setting is fundamental to being motivated. It costs nothing to do, yet it will reward you abundantly.

3. Persistence

The third element that you must have to be motivated is persistence. This trait will keep you going when the going inevitably gets tough.

Just think of a runner in a marathon. If they reach halfway but feel half-dead (most runners say this happens to them), then without the element of persistence, they’ll probably call it quits.

The winners are the people who keep running until the finish life—however arduous that may be for them.

It’s the same story when it comes to your hobbies, relationships, or career. If you quit when things aren’t going so well, you’ll never find the happiness and satisfaction that come from staying the course.

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Life is always a mixture of ups and downs. This is why you must be persistent if you want to achieve big things in your life.

4. Getting Support

If you try to do everything yourself, you’ll set yourself up for failure.

The reality is that to achieve any big goal you will need the help and support of other people. It’s just not possible (or desirable) to do everything yourself.

To give you an example of this, let me tell you a short story from the early days of Lifehack.

Back in 2005, the website was just starting to take off, and I was getting lots of new subscribers. Some companies were even asking to advertise on the site.

This was at the time when I was writing the content, marketing the content, answering subscriber queries, maintaining the website, etc. Lifehack really was a one-man band at the start.

But as its popularity soared, I found myself becoming too busy to handle everything that needed doing. That’s when I decided to hire some people to help me!

Initially, I hired someone to look after the finances, someone to look after the marketing, and someone to help me out with creating new content.

It was amazing the difference this made. Instead of being stressed out and working all the hours under the sun (and moon!), I was able to find time to plan the way forward for Lifehack and to create a strategy for success.

And it worked. Lifehack is now one of the most visited self-improvement sites in the world.

So how about you? Do you try to do everything yourself?

If yes, then you MUST break out of this habit if you want to achieve big things.

I’d also recommend you consider getting support from a mentor. Read our article How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed for how to get started with this.

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5. Rewarding Yourself

The final essential element for boosting your motivation is to reward yourself as you achieve your goals — whether these are big or small.

For instance, imagine that you set a goal to redecorate your home. This would probably include purchasing and fitting items, such as new carpets and curtains. But it would likely also include repainting most of the rooms in your home.

Now, it would be unrealistic to expect to redecorate your whole place in a day. Instead, you’d probably want to do a little at a time. Maybe something like this:

  • Choosing new carpets
  • Choosing new curtains and blinds
  • Choosing paint for each room
  • Purchasing the items
  • Arranging a carpet fitter
  • Painting the walls and ceilings (you might choose to do this yourself)
  • Fitting the curtains
  • Inviting your friends and family around to see your new-look home!

Each of these steps may take you a few hours or a few days. But to keep you motivated, my recommendation is to reward yourself when you complete each step.

A small reward for the steps listed above could be going out to get a coffee and cake at your local café. A big reward for having completed your redecoration goal could be to go out for a meal with your friends or partner.

By rewarding yourself as you go along—and at the end—you’ll keep yourself focused on completing your goal, and you’ll be excited to set the next one!

Start the Motor!

Have you noticed that the pronunciation of motivation sounds like MOTORvation?

While I’m not encouraging you to use the incorrect spelling, I would like you to think of motivation as a motor—one that you can switch on to help drive you forward in all areas of your life.

When motivated, you’ll be unstoppable. You’ll no longer procrastinate and look for excuses for not doing stuff. Instead, you’ll be a super-powered success story!

So turn the key and get started!

Featured photo credit: Tegan Mierle via unsplash.com

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Published on September 3, 2021

6 Friday Motivation Tips to Help You Stay Motivated

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6 Friday Motivation Tips to Help You Stay Motivated

You know the feeling—that “I still have another whole work day to get through” feeling? It sucks. The worst part is knowing that you have to get up, get to work, and be productive when you feel checked out, unmotivated, and would rather go back to bed. The trickiest part about it is that even though you may know intellectually that you’re not the only person who has ever felt that way, at the moment, it can feel very lonely.

If you feel the Friday funk and want to shake it off, try these six tips to lift your Friday motivation.

1. Eat a Solid Breakfast and Plan to Eat Lunch

The first thing you can do to lift your Friday motivation is to eat a solid breakfast. We have all heard the phrase, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” It turns out that it wasn’t just something our parents were telling us to get us to eat before school. Studies have shown that eating breakfast can help with improved memory, recall, mood, and visual-motor functions.[1]

However, researchers have found evidence that the benefits of the micronutrient boost provided by breakfast do wear off after a while. Just like a car with a full tank of gas that runs out after a long journey, the body needs to be refueled. Therefore, planning to eat breakfast and lunch on a day when you are not feeling your best could give you that extra boost you need to get through the day. Skipping meals can lead to low blood sugar, which can leave you feeling weak and tired.[2] If you are already struggling with feeling motivated, not eating is only going to make you feel more sluggish and less inspired to get anything done.

2. Prioritize What’s Urgent

I have always been a fan of the cheat sheet. No, I’m not a cheater, but I love knowing what needs to be done. No one wants to waste any precious energy trying to figure out what should be done when you are already feeling unmotivated.

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No matter who you are, there is a high probability that by Friday, on any given week, you have at least one or two items that were supposed to be completed earlier in the week but just didn’t get done. Here is my quick trick for figuring out what’s urgent.

Just ask yourself these three questions:

  • Are there any projects with deadlines that have passed already but are still due?
  • Which of those projects is the most overdue?
  • Of the overdue projects, which will take the least time to make significant progress or complete?

This should help you to easily identify at least one task that you can spend time working on diligently, knowing that you are getting something important done.

3. Tackle the Low-Hanging Fruit

Another way to refresh your Friday motivation is to tackle the low-hanging fruit. There is nothing wrong with doing the easy stuff first. Maybe you are so burned out and the urgent tasks will take too much energy. There is nothing wrong with knocking out the obvious easy things. Emails, filing, data entry, document reconciliation, follow-up calls, editing or revising written work, and research are all low-hanging fruits—these are all straightforward tasks.

Getting these easier tasks done will give you a sense of accomplishment. You can leverage this sense of accomplishment to help you tackle some harder tasks or get all the easy tasks done so the following week, you can dedicate your time to the harder projects.

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4. Give Yourself at Least Two Scheduled Breaks

Give yourself at least two scheduled breaks during the workday. Life is stressful. Feeling like you have to work when you don’t feel up to it is stressful. Let’s not compound it by forcing yourself to sit in front of the computer all day with no breaks. The days of believing that “lunch is for punks and working 80 hours a week is what you should be doing” are fading away—if not already a distant memory for some.

In fact, scientists discovered that, although “taking short breaks throughout the working day may not have as obvious an impact as taking a holiday, research has found significant benefits. Studies have found that breaks can reduce or prevent stress, help to maintain performance throughout the day and reduce the need for a long recovery at the end of the day.”[3]

Before you sit down in front of your desk for the workday, set three alarms—two 20-minute breaks and one lunch break. You aren’t proving anything to anyone by forcing yourself to be miserable in front of your computer. You deserve flexibility and compassion. Let these breaks be a radical act of self-care.

5. Listen to Some Upbeat Tunes

Another way to improve your Friday motivation is to listen to some upbeat tunes. Music is medicine. It is not a mystery that the vibrations of sound can affect our mood. Ancient communities knew this and embraced it through practices like chanting, the use of singing bowls, chimes, bells, and other sound instruments as tools for healing. Practices like Kirtan and Bhakti yoga use chanting to heal and shift energy. The Hindu and Buddhist religions use bells and chimes in many of their spiritual healing rituals. Throughout the modern world, we have adopted the use of signing bowls for energetic healing.

Most people could recall at least one moment in their lives when music or sound has helped shift their mood. Music has been shown to have a direct effect on the listener. Studies show that listening to music while you work can lead to an “increase in both mood and quality of work”.[4]

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If you are feeling super unmotivated, the solution to your problem may be throwing on your favorite album in the background while you try to get a few things done. If you can’t work while listening to music with words and you do not like classical music or traditional jazz, explore genres like Trip hop, house, ambient, Beach House, JamBand. You may also enjoy artists like Bonobo, Thievery Corporation, and Grammatik.

6. Give Yourself Something to Look Forward To

As a yogi, I’m all about being present in the moment. But sometimes, the present is a little too intense, and being super present is not going to help to improve your mood. In those moments, tapping into the power of positive anticipation can be your secret weapon because “knowing that something good is coming your way pushes you to accomplish those tasks you may not necessarily want to do.”[5]

We all love to be rewarded, especially when we are doing something we don’t want to do. Giving yourself something to look forward to is the way to guarantee that you will be rewarded for the hard work of getting through the day.

The reward doesn’t have to be immense. It can be something small like getting ice cream, going for a walk, spending time with friends, or vegging out with your phone on do not disturb for a few hours. I used to employ this trick a lot when I was in boarding school. The time between semesters in new England would feel so long especially in the winter that my friends and I would let ourselves get excited about little things like drinking lime rickeys at Brigham’s. Believe it or not, it worked.

Try it the next time you get the hit with the Friday funk. Think about something you can look forward to no matter how small, and notice how it shifts your energy.

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Final Thoughts

As the adage says, “this too shall pass.”

Friday is just a day like every other day before it will end. One thing you can count on is that time waits for no one, so despite how difficult it may feel to get through, know that the time is on your side.

No matter what, Friday will wind on. The best thing you can do to improve your Friday motivation is to make sure that your body has the micronutrients it needs to power through the day, identify what’s urgent, tackle low hanging fruit, give yourself time away from the desk, throw on your favorite tunes, and think about the fact that you have the entire weekend to look forward to.

You got this!

More Tips on How to Improve Your Friday Motivation

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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Reference

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