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Last Updated on March 22, 2022

How to Motivate Yourself: 25 Ways to Increase Motivation

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How to Motivate Yourself: 25 Ways to Increase Motivation

Who needs Tony Robbins when you can motivate yourself? Overcoming the emotional hurdle to get stuff done when you’d rather sit on the couch isn’t always easy. But unless calling in sick and waking up at noon have no consequences for you, it’s often a must.

For those of you who never procrastinate, distract yourself or drag your feet when you should be doing something important, well done so far! But for the rest of you, it’s good to have a library of motivational boosters to move along.

Despite your best efforts, passion, habits and a flow-producing environment can fail. In that case, it’s time to find whatever emotional pump-up you can use to get started.

Whether you’re starting a business, trying to los weight or breaking a bad habit, you’ll learn how to motivate yourself with different techniques here:

1. Go Back to “Why”

Focusing on a dull task doesn’t make it any more attractive. Zooming out and asking yourself why you are bothering in the first place will make it more appealing.

If you can’t figure out why, then there’s a good chance you shouldn’t bother with it in the first place.

2. Go for Five

Start working for five minutes. Often that little push will be enough to get you going.

3. Move Around

Exercise brings levels of mental clarity like nothing else. If you can’t go to the gym, follow home workout videos on YouTube or stream fitness classes on apps like Peloton. If you prefer doing cardio outdoors, go for a run. 

If you want to build muscle, buy a pull-up bar or kettle-bells and get to work. If you have bad joints, go for a swim in your nearest lake or ocean.

The bottom line is that there are so many fun ways to stay in shape[1] and get endorphins flowing, and it can help you as you learn how to increase motivation.

Get your body moving as you would if you were extremely motivated to do something. This ‘faking it’ approach to motivation may seem silly or crude but it works.

4. Find the Next Step

If it seems impossible to work on a project for you, you can try to focus on the next immediate step.

Fighting an amorphous blob of work will only cause procrastination. Chunk it up so that it becomes manageable. Learn how to stop procrastinating in this guide.

5. Find Your Itch

What is keeping you from working? Don’t let the itch continue without isolating it and removing the problem.

Are you unmotivated because you feel overwhelmed, tired, afraid, bored, restless or angry? Maybe it is because you aren’t sure you have time or delegated tasks haven’t been finished yet?

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6. Deconstruct Your Fears

I’m sure you don’t have a phobia about getting stuff done. But at the same time, hidden fears or anxieties can keep you from getting real work completed.

Isolate the unknowns and make yourself confident, you can handle the worst case scenario.

7. Reframe Your Questions

Let’s say that you are demotivated by a problem that seems impossible to solve. What you can do is invest a lot of time upfront framing the right questions.

In the Tribe of Mentors, author Timothy Ferriss encourages his readers to ask, “How would it look if this [endeavor, goal, etc.] were easy?”

In The One Thing, author Gary Keller suggests you ask yourself, “What is one thing I can do that would make everything else less important or unnecessary?”

Think about the problem you want to solve, and ensure you ask the right questions. Also, consider if you have assumptions baked into your line of thinking. Remember: it’s always better to ask (the right) questions than to assume. These methods can turn a frustrating problem into an inspiring solution.

8. Get a Partner

Find someone who will motivate you when you’re feeling lazy. I have a friend I go to the gym with. Besides spotting weight, having a friend can help motivate you to work hard when you’d normally quit.

9. Kickstart Your Day

Plan out tomorrow. Get up early and place all the important things early in the morning. Building momentum early in the day can usually carry you forward far later.

Having a morning routine is a good idea for you to stay motivated!

10. Read Books

Read not just self-help or motivational books but any book that has new ideas. New ideas get your mental gears turning and can build motivation. Here’re more reasons to read every day.

Learning new ideas puts your brain in motion so it requires less time to speed up to your tasks.

11. Get the Right Tools

Your environment can have a profound effect on your enthusiasm. Computers that are too slow, inefficient applications or a vehicle that breaks down constantly can kill your motivation.

Building motivation is almost as important as avoiding the traps that can stop it. The free Worksheet For Instant Motivation Boost is a useful tool to help you clear your mind and regain motivation. Grabs yours now!

12. Be Careful with the Small Problems

The worst killer of motivation is facing a seemingly small problem that creates endless frustration.

Reframe little problems that must be fixed as bigger ones or they will kill any drive you have.

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13. Develop a Mantra

Find a few statements that focus your mind and motivate you. It doesn’t matter whether they are pulled from a tacky motivational poster or just a few words to tell you what to do.

If you aren’t sure where to start, a good personal mantra is “Do it now!” You can find more here too: 7 Empowering Affirmations That Will Help You Be Mentally Strong

14. Build on Success

Success creates success. When you’ve just won, it is easy to feel motivated about almost anything. Emotions tend not to be situation specific, so a small win, whether it is a compliment from a colleague or finishing two thirds of your tasks before noon can turn you into a juggernaut.

There are many ways you can place small successes earlier on to spur motivation later. Structuring your to-do lists, placing straightforward tasks such as exercising early in the day or giving yourself an affirmation can do the trick.

15. Put Some Motivation in Your Ear

If you’re stuck in a slump, I’ve found that all it takes is one rousing speech to change your mindset. Changing your mindset is a great way to learn how to increase motivation.

The right motivational content at the right time can transform your attitude. Pop in your headphones, and do a Google search for “motivation.” There are thousands of speeches on YouTube, even mega-mixes of motivational speakers like Joel Osteen, Wayne Dyer, Les Brown, etc. TED has inspiring speeches by Dan Pink, Angela Duckworth, Tony Robbins, and more.

16. Give Back to Others

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” –Mahatma Gandhi

When you’re hurting, the best thing you can do for yourself is to help others. It’s counterintuitive, but it’s true.

When you focus externally on making a difference in the lives of others, it provides you immense satisfaction, which can also improve motivation. These acts of service make your problems look and feel smaller. Most importantly, you feel more empowered to overcome any challenges you face.

Try this: Go to volunteermatch.org and find a charitable opportunity that is meaningful to you. I promise that giving back will lessen the weight of your problems.

17. Call Your Most Positive Friend

We’ve all heard the adage, “You are the sum of your five closest friends.” It’s true because what our peers say affects us.

If you suffer from negative family members or peers, their cynicism will slowly infect you. Instead, drown them out. If your mother is pessimist-in-chief, tell her you to love her, and then draw some boundaries. Spend more time with people that are always searching for the silver lining.

It doesn’t matter if it’s your best friend or that acquaintance you haven’t spoken to since high school. If you don’t have anyone like that in your community, join Facebook or LinkedIn Groups for positive thinkers. Attend a virtual Meetup of like-minded individuals. Don’t overlook the importance of your inner circle as you’re learning how to increase motivation.

18. Find Your Creative Side

Creativity is an essential skill and will gain more importance in the future. It’s one of the few things that can’t be automated, outsourced, or offshored.

One unseen benefit of the lockdowns was that many people finally had time for creative projects. By invoking our imagination, we can often break through mental blocks at work. This can help us increase our motivation to do things.

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Have you ever wanted to write poetry, play an instrument, or paint? Stop talking about it and start doing it. Pull out a piece of paper or buy a starter kit online, and unleash your artistic side to break through your slump.

19. Listen to Music That Moves You

There’s never been a better time to go deeper into your favorite genres of music or to branch out and explore something new. Start with a “Best of” list, like the Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Use websites like Soundcloud and Spotify’s Discover feature for finding new artists. Genres like classical music help people focus and inspire their creativity. Most importantly, they can help you get out of a funk and back to being productive as you learn how to increase motivation. Achieving your goal will feel a lot easier with some inspirational music in the background.

20. Start a Gratitude Journal

“The struggle ends when gratitude begins.” -Neale Donald Walsch

Let’s take some lessons from this horrible pandemic—a simple but profound one: just appreciate everything that we have.

This isn’t our first crisis, and it won’t be the last, so let’s take heart in gratitude for the simple pleasures in life. Appreciate that satisfying meal, the roof over your head, loving friends, and family. It’s easy to fall into the cycle of wanting more. Instead, build the habit of writing down three things you’re grateful for in your journal every day.

You don’t need to list a million items. Instead, go deep into why you cherish a few people and things that mean the most to you.

21. Cherish Past Victories

Most people don’t chase their dreams because of fear. They don’t think that they have what it takes—talent, resources, connections—to accomplish their goals. The best antidote is to relive your own victory story.

Think back to a time where you did something that you previously hadn’t thought possible. Maybe you earned a promotion, got an A in a class, or traveled solo. If it’s been a while since you stepped out of your comfort zone, go back to your childhood.

Remember how you learned to ride a bike when you were scared, made a new friend, or asked someone out even though you were shy. We’ve all overcome fear in the past, so keep it at the forefront of your mind as you learn how to increase motivation each day.

22. Jot Great Ideas Down

You likely have dozens of great ideas each day, but life is a constant stream of distractions. We often forget about these ideas before we can give them a second thought or use them to create measurable goals.

Many comedians and artists get their best ideas in random moments—on the bus or waiting in line at the store. When a motivating idea or thought enters your mind or when you hear it outside, write it down immediately. This way you can refer and build on them later, rather than let them fall into the quicksand of time.

23. Disable the Distractions

The average person gets interrupted once every 8 minutes. It’s no wonder that people struggle to stay focused.

Put your phone on do-not-disturb, or shut it off completely. Do the same for your desktop apps like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or email. If you’re in a noisy environment, get noise-canceling headphones or earplugs. Follow the Pomodoro Method and set a timer for 25 minutes.

By reducing distractions and scheduling regular breaks, you will find yourself getting more done and going deeper into your work. You’ll thus get better results, creating a virtuous cycle of motivation.

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24. Learn From History

If you’re not sure how to become the best version of yourself, follow those who inspire you. Maybe your idol is a parent or mentor—ask them about their past and find out how they grew to be the person they are today. Investigate the lives of famous people and find where their success left clues. Start with biographies or autobiographies.

Finding inspiration will help you learn how to increase motivation in the long run.

25. Just Breathe

The most important part of my morning routine is meditation. You’re probably familiar with some of the benefits of mindfulness, such as feeling calmer and better able to handle stress by reducing negative thoughts. Through consistent practice, I found that my mental clarity and focus improved, too.

We all have a “monkey mind” that’s always on the move, like a monkey swinging from branch to branch. All of life’s distractions consume our thoughts, even when it’s unproductive. By meditating, we can consciously choose which thoughts to interact with. Through this practice, you also gain the mental space to operate at peak motivation and inspiration.

Bonus: Staying Motivated Forever

The best way to motivate yourself is to organize your life so you don’t have to. If work is a constant battle for you, perhaps it is time to start thinking about a new job. The idea is that explicit motivational techniques should be a backup, not your regular routine.

Here are some other things to consider making work flow more naturally:

Passion

Do things you have a passion for. We all have to do things we don’t want to. But if life has become a chronic source of dull chores, you’ve got a big problem that needs fixing.

Not sure what your passion is to get you motivated? This will help you: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

Habits

You can’t put everything on autopilot. I’ve found putting a few core habits in place creates a structure for the day.

Waking up at the same time, working at the same times and having a similar productive routine makes it easier to do the next day.

This guide will be useful for you if you’re looking to build good habits: Understand Your Habits to Control Them 100%

Flow

Flow is the state where your mind is completely focused on the task at hand. While there are many factors that go into producing this state, having the right challenge level is a big part.

Find ways to tweak your tasks so they hover in that sweet spot between boredom and maddening frustration.

Easily distracted and hard to focus? Here’s your solution.

Final Thoughts

With all these tips I’ve shared with you, now you know what to do when you’re feeling unmotivated.

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Find your passion and develop a positive mantra so when the next time negativity hits you again, you know how to stay positive and motivated!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

[1] Herbalife Nutrition: 5 Best Workouts to Try at Home

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Scott H Young

Scott is obsessed with personal development. For the last ten years, he's been experimenting to find out how to learn and think better.

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