If you struggle with getting motivated to accomplish your goals, I’ve got 10 tips that will help you boost your motivation to new levels so you can crush your goals and accomplish your dreams!
As a life coach, I get a lot of questions from clients on how to find the motivation to make their dreams happen. It’s as if motivation is a hidden treasure and everybody wants the map to where it resides.
I’m here to tell you there is no treasure. Motivation is not something you’re missing and need to try to find.
Motivation is something you have the power to create.
Today I want to share ten tips on how to generate your own motivation and increase your ability to crush big goals.
// 1 // Know yourself
The first step in leveraging your motivation to boost your productivity is understanding your personal peak performance times and low performance times.
We are all different, and a one size fits all cookie cutter approach will not work to make you more motivated.
I am a morning person. I get my best work done between 6-10am, every day. After that, my brain slowly melts. I can hardly string two thoughts together by 8pm.
Side note: I’ve been experimenting with BulletProof coffee since writing this post, and it has dramatically increased my cognitive function, to the point where I am still going strong by 5pm! I highly recommend.
My husband is the complete opposite. He can’t even think until 10am, and is on fire by 8pm.
Knowing your peak performance time allows you to schedule the hard tasks at the right times.
Otherwise, you will end up struggling through them when your brain is a pile of mush. This will deteriorate the quality of your work, it will increase how long it takes to complete it, and you will generally feel more crappy the entire time you’re doing it.
Pay attention to when you produce your best work and schedule it accordingly. Then you’ll need to rely less on willpower because you’ll be leveraging your natural motivation levels.
// 2 // Create a strong WHY
There’s a reason you’re trying to accomplish that thing on your list, and there are many reasons you aren’t getting to it.
Procrastination will kick in as soon as motivation wanes.
If you clearly understand the WHY behind your goal, you will have an easier time working on it when things get tough.
I know I want to exercise every morning, not for the sake of exercising, but so that I can have more energy to show up for my kids, I can be a better mountain bike racer, and I can kick more butt at work.
I can wake up in the morning and put in 30 minutes of weight training because I know it’s not about the weights, it’s about my life.
I also know I need to write a blog post every week, not for the sake of spending 2 hours at my computer, but because I live to inspire women to chase their dreams and give them actionable strategies for crushing all their goals. That gets me typing faster.
What’s your WHY?
You should understand your WHY for your life
- What’s the reason you’re on this planet?
- What difference do you want to make?
- What is your ultimate goal?
Related post: 10 Questions To Find Your Purpose
You should also have a small WHY (a more specific, precise understanding) for every massive action you need to take
- Why do you need to get that work assignment done?
- What impact is it going to make?
- What is the benefit?
PS – If you’re in the middle of a ‘quarter life crisis,’ and have no sweet clue what you want to do with your life, let’s turn that around! I specialize in purpose coaching and can help you overcome indecision and procrastination so that you can build a life exploding with joy! Work with me, and you’ll walk out with a crystal clear understanding of what YOUR version of success and happiness looks like, and you’ll know the exact steps to get there. I am super motivated to help you create your dream.
// 3 // Push your physical limits
Fear often trumps motivation.
We feel resistance to doing things because we are so afraid to fail. If you’re worried about failing, you won’t be motivated to keep trying.
Pushing my body every morning with weight training, and taking up long distance running, has taught me that I am capable of more than I ever thought was possible.
Whenever I feel like I can’t get something done, I realize I didn’t think I could do those last 10 squats, but I did! Or I didn’t think I could run that last mile, but I did!
Breaking through physical limitations we’ve imposed on ourselves teaches our minds to break through the limiting beliefs we are holding on to.
Push past your body’s limits every day and you will crush your mind’s limits.ANA MCRAE
// 4 // Get crystal clear on the next few steps
If we are foggy on what we need to do next, we will procrastinate until the end of time.
If I want to get in shape, and I know my next steps are to run 1 mile every day this week, and 2 miles every day next week, I’m going to do it.
If I want to get in shape and I think I should probably go for a run sometime, but maybe I should lift some weights, or I could just stop eating bagels… I’m going to debate what the right next step is for a very long time and eventually avoid doing anything altogether.
“If you want to achieve big things, your path will be unclear and hazy. The emotional need for clarity and fear of the unknown leads people to abandon their dreams for more straightforward pursuits in less demanding environments. Having goal clarity is essential to high motivation. Clarity does not mean you have it all figured out. It means you’re clear on the next step or two.”BENJAMIN HARDY
So, take out a piece of paper and a pen and get crystal clear on your next steps are, what obstacles you might run into, and how you’re going to tackle this great big goal.
// 5 // Do something
Action creates motivation. Not the other way around.
We often fool ourselves into thinking that when we feel motivated, we will go do the thing. Ironically, it’s once we start to do the thing, then we feel more motivated to keep going and to do the next thing.
Just take one tiny step in the right direction, and you will feel the power to keep on stepping.
My favorite way to do this is to set a timer for 10 minutes.
If there’s a task I’ve been putting off, I’ll tell myself “you just need to work on it for 10 minutes, and then you’re off the hook for today.” I set my timer and make myself start.
After all, you can do anything for 10 minutes. And that’s where the magic happens.
Once you’ve started, you’ve done the hardest part, and you will keep on going long after the timer beeps.
“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.”BENJAMIN DISRAEL
Generating that initial ‘activation energy’ can be difficult, but if you take 10 minutes and just START, you’ll be well on your way.
// 6 // Obsess over the tiniest achievements
If you’re shooting for a great big dream, you must realize that happiness won’t be waiting for you at the end.
We buy into the ‘arrival fallacy.’ The notion that we will be so much happier once we hit our goal. After all, that’s why we’re chasing it, right?
The arrival fallacy is a fallacy because, though you may anticipate great happiness in arrival, arriving rarely makes you as happy as you anticipate. First of all, by the time you’ve arrived at your destination, you’re expecting to reach it, so it has already been incorporated into your happiness. Also, arrival often brings more work and responsibility. It’s rare to achieve something (other than winning an award) that brings unadulterated pleasure without added concerns. Having a baby. Getting a promotion. Buying a house. You look forward to reaching these destinations, but once you’ve reached them, they bring emotions other than sheer happiness. And of course, arriving at one goal usually reveals another, yet more challenging goal… The challenge, therefore, is to make pleasure in the “atmosphere of growth,” in the gradual progress made toward a goal, in the present.”GRETCHEN RUBIN
You heard it right.
The key to being motivated and productive is learning to love the journey.
Don’t be so focused on the end result.
Obsess over the tiniest achievements.
If you want to lose 80 pounds, do a victory dance when you lose the first pound. Or when you don’t lose any pounds, but you exercised every morning for a week. Or when you said no to the cake at a birthday party.
It’s the little things in life guys.
Be so happy over the little things, and you will be motivated to keep on trying for the big thing.
// 7 // Manage your mind
Our mind is a beautiful thing.
It is also THE WORST.
The amount of times I’ve sabotaged my own efforts is ridiculous. I’d set a goal, start to finally see success, and talk my way out of continuing because of limiting beliefs I hadn’t worked through yet (like I don’t deserve this, money is bad, I am selfish, etc.)
Then I learned to manage my thoughts because I realized what a direct correlation they had over my reality.
- My thoughts affect how I feel.
- How I feel affects how I act.
- How I act affects how I live.
Don’t you see? Our thoughts affect our entire lives!! But we let them run wild, and we don’t manage them, nor hold them accountable for the trouble they cause.
How can you do this?
I started with Boho Beautiful’s youtube videos. I still can’t do more than 15 minutes, but even 15 minutes really helps clear my mind so that I can focus on what’s important, and not stress about problems that don’t exist.
Read Michael Singer’s The Untethered Soul
He explained the mind in a way I hadn’t heard before, and it changed EVERYTHING about the way I think. Read my key takeaways from the book right here!
Replace negative thought patterns with positive mantras
Sounds all woo-woo, but it works!
Whenever you catch yourself thinking ‘I’m not good enough’ or ‘I can’t’, literally stop mid thought and replace it with ‘I can figure anything out’ or ‘I am doing enough, I have enough, I am enough.’
Come up with your own mantra that puts a positive spin on things.
Make sure it is something believable. If you’re working on asking for help, snapping your fingers and saying “I am someone who asks for help” might not resonate, but “I am learning to ask for help when I need it” might do the trick.
Find something you can identify with, so that repeating it ingrains it into your being.
I tell myself every morning ‘I am inspiring. I am motivated. I am full of knowledge. And I can figure anything out.’ After repeating that a few times, I’m ready to light up the world.
My daughter is 2 and she’s already mastered this! She will tell herself ‘I am a big girl’ every time she’s trying to keep up with her big brother, and do you know the power that gives her? She walks down the stairs without a railing, she rides her kick bike over a ramp, and she puts her own undies on!
BAM – told you it works.
// 8 // Anticipate the struggle
Here’s a funny thing: we all think we are the only ones who can’t follow through on a goal we’ve set.
On social media we see everyone living their happiest, best lives and we look at all the things we haven’t done, and all the commitments we’ve abandoned, and think… what the heck is wrong with us?
The truth is, everyone goes through the same experience. We just don’t talk about it.
Here’s the cycle WE ALL go through, ANY TIME we decide to make a change.
- We all start to feel a bit of discontent over something.
Whether that’s your weight, or your job, or a relationship, you start to feel that little inkling of dissatisfaction. For the most part, we push it down, but while it’s being stuffed down it continues to build.
- The discontent hits a breaking point.
Something happens in life and it pushes us to the brink, and we can’t handle that discontent anymore.
- We reach a decision.
The emotion is still high and we are motivated to make a big change and improve our situation. Then the fun part comes…
- We suddenly hit a wall of fear.
We hadn’t realized what our decision would look like in reality: the consequences, trade-offs, and effort required to make it happen.
- Our brain goes into self defense mode, triggering our amnesia.
You know exactly what I’m talking about. We purposefully forget why we wanted the change so much. Literally! We cannot summon the same feelings anymore and we tell ourselves, “well it really wasn’t so bad, I’m going to go back to the old way”.
- We back track.
We go back to our old habits, our old relationships, our old patterns. We feel a little bit of remorse, but we stuff it down, and we let it live there until it builds up again and we go through this process all over again.
This is the change cycle.
We all go through it.
Whether it’s deciding to quit your job, or deciding to give up sugar, every change is the same to our brain, because we are programmed to maintain the status quo.
So, knowing this, what can you do?
If you struggle with this continuously, there is nothing better than working with an experienced life coach to help you rewire your thinking so that you can avoid self doubt and sabotage.
Goal & success coaching is one of my specialties, and I’ve spent 5 years leading change across people & organizations, so I can help you kick the habit of quitting before you’ve even started. Work with me.
When you hit that wall of fear, realize it’s all part of the process. There is nothing wrong with your or your goal just because you’re scared. IT’S NORMAL.
Knowing that information will keep you going in the right direction, because instead of doubting your life choices, you’ll know it has nothing to do with the quality of the decision and everything to do with your brain freaking out.
Anticipating the challenges you’re going to face ahead of time will ensure you don’t quit early.
Take a minute and actually write out what you’ll do if you don’t feel like following through on your commitment and detail the conditions under which you will quit.
Goal: I will wake up at 4am every week day this month
Hesitation plan: If the alarm rings and I don’t feel like it, I’m going to get up and brush my teeth anyway, and then reassess how I feel.
Quitting conditions: I will only quit if I get the flu.
Having extreme clarity on what to do if you don’t feel like following through will help your mind hold out longer.
The mind gives up before the body ever will.
// 9 // Amp up the energy
Sometimes something as simple as listening to a great podcast or blasting my favorite song gives me the energy, confidence, and motivation I need to rock a difficult task.
My favorite podcast episode to get my butt in high gear, is The RISE Podcast, Episode 80: The Hard Things That Will Throw You Off Course (And How To Fight Them)
At the end of it, I feel like I just walked out of a motivational conference and I am ready to rule the world.
Currently, my favorite songs to get me through a difficult conversation with my boss, or the last mile of my run, are:
- Whatever It Takes – Imagine Dragons
- High Hopes – Panic At The Disco
- Natural – Imagine Dragons
Ouuuu boy, fired up just singing them in my head!
And if you’ve got kiddos, we rock out to Jo Jo Siwa – D.R.E.A.M. (I secretly love it, it brings home all the points!)
// 10 // Set yourself up for success
I learned a lot of things reading Benjamin Hardy’s Willpower Doesn’t Work. The key point?
“People are unknowingly performing at mediocre levels simply because that’s how their environment was set up…Most environments are optimized for distraction, not high performance or recovery.”BENJAMIN HARDY
Set up your physical space so that you are either 100% on fire, or 100% in rest mode. Don’t live in the in between.
In your office, this means
- Closing your email tab (and signing out of it!)
- Putting your phone on Do Not Disturb mode and leaving it on the other side of the room, and
- Clearing any clutter that will make you feel like you should be cleaning
The most important thing you could do to increase your productivity is to create conditions that make your success inevitable.
This life is amazing. It is so, SO good.
We have big dreams we are chasing and some days we are lighting up the world with our ambition.
But we all get those days, or those weeks, when we’re just not feeling it.
- When we’d rather have a nap than put in the effort.
- When we’d rather give it all up and choose the easier path.
- When we wonder what the point of trying even is.
At those points in your life, I want you to remember that waiting for motivation to strike is a sure path to failure. Motivation is not lightning. It will not fall out of the sky.
You create your own motivation, just like you create your own energy, and your own confidence.
It is within your control to generate an endless stream of bad*ssery.
“I think you should slay dragons.”BRYAN CALLEN
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If you find this resonating with you, I would love to hear how you made out implementing some of these ideas in your life! Let me know in the comments below!