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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

How to Crush Your Lack of Motivation and Always Stay Motivated

How to Crush Your Lack of Motivation and Always Stay Motivated
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How many times have you not achieved your goals and let yourself down due to your lack of motivation? When you’re not wallowing in sadness and self-pity, you are too busy procrastinating until you can’t anymore, and before you know it, you are part of a vicious cycle of anxiety and stress that culminates in a loss of motivation.

Whether it’s losing weight or bringing your business to fruition, motivation is essential for growth and success in every sphere of our lives.

That said, it is not easy to stay motivated. In order to do so, you need to take ownership of your life and consciously make efforts in that direction.

It’s never too late to take matters in your hands and change the course of your life. Here are 11 effective ways to crush your lack of motivation and always stay motivated.

1. Write Your Goals

The power of writing goals down has always been underestimated when it comes to a loss of motivation. Why write when you can remember, right? Wrong.

Our thoughts are all over the place, and the first step to achieve your goals and increase personal development is to organize your thoughts[1]. So, write your goals down, however big or small they might be. Make them as specific as possible, and assign deadlines to each of them.

As you write them down and revisit them regularly, they get further drilled into your head, taking you closer to your goals. Doing this small exercise helps you to remain focused, motivated, and lets you track your progress with ease.

2. Beat Procrastination

Your motivation loss and procrastination go hand in hand. Every time you procrastinate, your motivation levels take a greater hit. The only way to bring an end to this loop is to stop procrastinating.

Next time you find yourself putting off something for “later,” stop and assess the reasons behind it. Get to the root of the cause and eliminate it in order to overcome this poor habit of procrastinating, which is sabotaging your life and mental health.

Take a look at this guide to learn how to beat procrastination and start aiming higher.

When you finally overcome procrastination, you will realize the positive impact it has on your mood and motivation levels.

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3. Celebrate Small Wins

In the quest to achieve the bigger goals in life and overcome a lack of motivation, we often forget to celebrate the small wins along the way. An achievement is an achievement—be it big or small, it deserves to be acknowledged and celebrated.

Did you finish a project on time? Reward yourself. Did you manage to run on the treadmill for an hour? Pat yourself on the back.

It is these small achievements that reinstate that we are on the right path and take us one step closer to the bigger goals.

So, get into the habit of recognizing and appreciating small wins. You will be surprised to see how this practice helps you stay motivated.

4. Practice Gratitude

It’s easier to whine about what we don’t have rather than counting our blessings, isn’t it? This ultimately leads to a loss of motivation.

Making gratitude a part of your life is a very important step to retain high motivation levels. It revitalizes our spirits and renews our enthusiasm for life.

One recent study acknowledged that “new evidence suggests that positive emotions—particularly gratitude—may also play a role in motivating individuals to engage in positive behaviors leading to self-improvement”[2].

So, how do you practice gratitude? For starters, keep a gratitude journal to jot down what you are grateful for, express your gratitude to people you love, and spread positivity wherever you go. You can also try filling out a page like the one below if you need more direction.

Overcome a lack of motivation with a gratitude journal

     

    By doing so, you begin to focus more on what you have rather than what you don’t, and that is a great start to stay motivated.

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    5. Be Optimistic

    Life is not always hunky dory. There will be bad days when things aren’t going in your favor, when you feel lost, and when all you want to do is give up.

    At such times, instead of letting negativity take over your life, adopt an optimistic approach to life. Quit overthinking, ask the right questions, and focus on finding solutions.

    Yes, there will be hurdles along the way, but if you hang on to positive affirmations and hopes, the journey will be a lot smoother.

    6. Don’t Dwell on the Past

    Our lack of motivation often stems from the habit of dwelling on the past. This gives rise to fear and regrets, preventing us from making progress in the present day.

    Dwelling on the past is nothing but a waste of time. Understand that the past is long gone, and you cannot do anything to change that.

    What you can do is make your present day worthwhile. Instead of looking back and having regrets, learn from your mistakes, forgive yourself and move on.

    The next time you find your mind wandering off to the past, be determined to change the way you think and consciously concentrate on living in the present. This guide can help you get started.

    7. Face Your Fears

    It’s difficult to overcome a loss of motivation where there is fear. Identify the fear that is pulling you back and tackle it.

    If you don’t face your fear head on, you cannot expect to conquer it and renew your motivation.

    Ask yourself: What is stopping you? What are you scared of?

    Once you accept your fear, you can work on an action plan and think of solutions to overcome it. Seek help from a mental health professional if required, but don’t choose to turn a blind eye to your fears.

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    8. Visualize Your Success

    You must have heard the famous quote, “See it to believe it.” That is exactly what visualization is about.

    One of the most effective techniques to overcome a lack of motivation is visualizing the process to your desired outcome. This helps you move in a positive direction and achieve your goal.

    Close your eyes and focus all your energies on the minutest of details that will take you where you want to go. For example, if your goal is to write a novel, visualize yourself sitting at a book signing, talking with fans of your most recent novel. Try to bring to mind how you’ll feel, what you’ll see, where you’ll be, etc.

    Doing this exercise every day inspires you to keep going and increase your motivation. The vision of attaining success will drive you to do better while instilling belief and confidence.

    9. Find Inspiration

    Can’t seem to find inspiration inwards? Feel overwhelmed? Don’t panic. There are plenty of external sources to gain inspiration from when you feel a loss of motivation.

    From motivational books and quotes to speeches, films and apps, it’s a good idea to take help from motivational material to rekindle your spirits and regain your motivation.

    Everyone is wired differently. For instance, a self-help book might work for your friend, but it might do nothing to move you.

    If you like crafts, try putting together a vision board. If you are a visual learner, write down a positive quote and tape it to your desk. Find what inspires you, and turn to it when you are in desperate need of motivation.

    10. Enjoy Downtime

    You are clearly exhausted with all the running around you’re doing in life. You don’t even have time to stop and think about what’s causing you so much unhappiness. All you know is that you are lacking motivation, and every day seems to have become a struggle.

    Now, that’s certainly not how you should live the rest of your life.

    You need to schedule downtime for yourself, relax, and give your mind and body some rest. Try one of the following to help take advantage of free time:

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    • Take a vacation or day trip
    • Indulge in hobbies
    • Meet up with some friends
    • Listen to a podcast
    • Exercise or do yoga

    It is important to do things that make you happy in order to think clearly and stay motivated.

    11. Meditate Regularly

    Meditation lets you take control of your mind. It improves focus and concentration while helping you relax.

    Whenever you have had a tough day or find your thoughts going places, the best way to calm yourself down is by closing your eyes and meditating. It helps you to remove all the unnecessary frills in life, feel good, and stay on the right track.

    One 2020 study found that meditation reduces “anxiety, depression and pain scores,” which is key in helping us overcome a loss of motivation. If we’re anxious or depressed, we’re much less likely to do what we need to do[3].

    Include meditation in your daily schedule and you are sure to see an improvement in your productivity and motivation.

    The Bottom Line

    Practicing these simple exercises isn’t the tough part; what’s tough is religiously doing them every day.

    However,  if you’re struggling with motivation to work, don’t expect things to change overnight. There will still be days when you will be low on energy, but by making these conscious efforts to stay motivated, you are sure to see a vast change in your perspective and your response to bad days.

    Start today and be committed to making a positive change in your life.

    More Tips to Overcome a Lack of Motivation

    Featured photo credit: Sonnie Hiles via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Adela Belin

    Writes about motivation, mental health, personal development and shares stories inspired by her personal journey.

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    Last Updated on July 20, 2021

    How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

    How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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    You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

    Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

    Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

    Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

    1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

    According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

    “Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

    Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

    Warming up

    If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

    If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

    Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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    1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
    2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
    3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

    Stay hydrated

    Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

    To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

    Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

    Meditate

    Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

    Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

    Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

    Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

    2. Focus on your goal

    One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

    Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

    Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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    Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

    If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

    3. Convert negativity to positivity

    There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

    ‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

    It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

    Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

    Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

    Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

    4. Understand your content

    Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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    However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

    “No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

    Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

    Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

    One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

    5. Practice makes perfect

    Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

    In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

    Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

    6. Be authentic

    There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

    Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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    Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

    To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

    With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

    Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

    7. Post speech evaluation

    Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

    Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

    We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

    You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

    Improve your next speech

    As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

    Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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    • How did I do?
    • Are there any areas for improvement?
    • Did I sound or look stressed?
    • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
    • Was I saying “um” too often?
    • How was the flow of the speech?

    Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

    If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

    Reference

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