Advertising
Advertising

11 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Complete any Task in New Year

11 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Complete any Task in New Year

Motivation

    Motivation is the mental push from you to accomplish an action. People have motives to do many things. Maslow’s Theory, one of the widely discussed theories of motivation debates that physiological needs (such as food, water, sleep etc) are the most basic and fundamental.

    Advertising

    On the basic needs level, we could visualize how getting fired may lose our ability to buy food and get a good night sleep. However, some of us are capable enough to not worry about these needs. We lose motivation with our projects and tasks. We fail to see how the current task maps to a bigger picture. We need more defined ways to motivate us everyday. Here are some ways to help you in the new year.

    Advertising

    1. Start with the small bits. Procrastination occurs when the task is too big. Break the project down to smaller chunks that suit your attention span. If you can concentrate for only 40 minutes, break up your task to allow you to complete it within 40 minutes.
    2. Look forward the success after completion. Getting started is good, but completion of the task is the outcome you need. Visualize how completing your current task at hand will satisfy yourself and contribute to your success.
    3. Rewards. Reward yourself after each task is completed. It’s okay to reward yourself by watching 10 minutes of television after the completed 40 minutes of work. You’ve done a good job. It’s okay to cut yourself some slack.
    4. Find your motivational switch. Everyone has a way to switch on their own motivation mode. Some people may be motivated by praising their efforts, others may be motivated by participating into a group discussion. Whatever it is, find out what’s your switch and exploit it. Look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to get some ideas.
      Maslow's hierarchy of needs
      • Map the task into long-term goals. How can your task at hand contribute to your long term goals? Is your long-term goal achieving financial freedom, or social significance? Will working now directly help your long-term goals?
      • Think about how procrastination eats away at your success. If thinking positively does not work for you, then think about what will happen if you do not complete the tasks on time? Thinking negatively gives you stress, and stress may help you get through tough times. It’s depends on the situation and your personality. Pressure may work for you.
      • Give yourself a punishment or consequences. Can competitors overtake you if you are not working right now? Promise yourself not to go golfing before you’ve completed your task. Similar to stress, punishment may work for you to eliminate your lack of motivation.
      • Ask yourself a question: Why work? When you’ve fulfill all your basic needs – you are wealthy and healthy. Why brother to work? You keep working because there is something deep inside that makes you want to continue. Find what it is, so you can remind yourself and motivate yourself on the task level.
      • Looks for bits that you really love to do, and do it. To motivate by passion is my favorite. Find what you love to do and do that part first. When you have started and is in the flow, other tasks in the same project will become easier.
      • Join with other people who are working hard. Has it ever occur to you when you are surrounded by people who work hard, you will be energized and will work hard as well? People motivates each others. If you have friends/colleagues who are working on a similar project, join them, discuss and talk about the project. Participation will motivate you.
      • Kill the repetitions and schedule. Are you being too organized and work on the same schedule for projects and tasks? You may reduce your own motivation by the Hawthorne effect. Work around the clock. Complete the task at another time. Walk away. Do something else for now.

      If you suffer by your lack of motivation this year, try one or more of these tips in 2007. Once you’re motivated, nothing can stop you being successful.

      Advertising

      Advertising

      More by this author

      Leon Ho

      Founder of Lifehack

      Book summary: A Technique for Producing Ideas Finding Your Inside Time 10 Ways to Extend Laptop Battery Life Bob Parsons on His 16 Rules for Survival Free note taking templates and techniques

      Trending in Featured

      1 The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain) 2 How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life 3 How to Take Notes Effectively: Powerful Note-Taking Techniques 4 How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators 5 50 Businesses You Can Start In Your Spare Time

      Read Next

      Advertising
      Advertising
      Advertising

      Last Updated on July 17, 2019

      The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

      The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

      What happens in our heads when we set goals?

      Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

      Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

      According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

      Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

      Advertising

      Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

      Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

      The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

      Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

      So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

      Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

      Advertising

      One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

      Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

      Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

      The Neurology of Ownership

      Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

      In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

      Advertising

      But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

      This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

      Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

      The Upshot for Goal-Setters

      So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

      On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

      Advertising

      It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

      On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

      But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

      More About Goals Setting

      Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

      Reference

      Read Next