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Some days getting motivated is hard. And staying encouraged and galvanized can be even harder.
I should know. I’ve been there. More than once sad to say!
I would find myself waking up and impelled to do…absolutely nothing. Not even a little!
Never mind that I had things I truly thought I wanted to accomplish, it was just too hard to get going. And the truth of the matter is, all I really felt was the pushback of laziness.
What had happened to my inner drive? Disappeared down the rabbit hole with Alice I suspected. But maybe it wasn’t Alice I should have gone with. Maybe I should be running with Goldilocks instead.
If this topic hits close to home to you, let’s head straight over to Goldilocks for the simplest way to get your motivation mojo back up and running.
And once we’ve got that down we can move on to how you can make incredible progress with some simple tips on getting motivated because, after all, most progress tends to be made by us lazy ones trying to find easier ways to do something! Right?
The Goldilocks principle
You’ll remember Goldilocks would only eat the porridge that was “just right” but did you know it works the same way for your brain? Your best motivator for getting things done is having tasks that are “just right” so your brain doesn’t get overwhelmed or bored.
Take for instance a game of tennis, if you were playing against someone much younger than you, a six year old for instance, you’d be bored and demotivated pretty quickly.
On the other hand if you were playing Roger Federer you’d totally be out of your ability zone and likely totally demoralized to boot.
You’d need the Goldilocks principle to come to your aid, you’d need to play with someone who was at a similar or a little bit better level than you.
You’d have a chance at winning the match, but you could also be outplayed so you’d be more likely to focus on the challenge in front of you.
In his book – The Surprising Truth About Motivation – Daniel H. Pink says:
“One source of frustration in the workplace is the frequent mismatch between what people must do and what people can do. When what they must do exceeds their capabilities, the result is anxiety. When what they must do falls short of their capabilities, the result is boredom. But when the match is just right, the results can be glorious. This is the essence of flow.”
Tasks that allow us to master a skill a little beyond our current ability are incredibly motivating.
And when I would find myself totally unmotivated I would ask myself, “am unable to motivate myself because my project has drifted into the way too easy area, or into an area of greater difficulty that’s too hard for me to handle?”
If you feel a bit dispirited and lacking in drive try the following:
Asking the right question
Sometimes a shift in mindset is required to discover why getting motivated is so darned hard. Like the question I’d asked myself about the Goldilocks principle.
If you keep asking yourself questions like, what’s wrong with me, you’ll naturally begin to set off that inner critic which doesn’t think much of you in the first place.
A better question and simple way to get around “the what’s wrong with me” syndrome is simply to ask, “what else could this mean?”
You’ll find this is a much easier way to get your groove on.
It’s been said if you ask you’ll receive, and since our questions determine our thoughts, asking a question that leads to better thoughts tends to make everything in life that much easier. Possibly finding new ways to motivate yourself.
Find or even change your reasons ‘why’
Why are you doing what you’re doing? To feel and continue to feel some passion for what we do we need to know our why. Why are you doing what you’re doing?
Is it to contribute to something bigger than yourself? Is it for your happiness and fulfillment? Is it to support others or grow yourself? There is no wrong answer here. The only right answer is YOUR “why.”
This way you will be going through life with intention, knowing your why and getting easily to the places where you fit.
Sometimes lack of enthusiasm is just another way of telling us we’re doing the right things for the wrong reason.
Changing your “why” might be exactly what you need to light your fire!
Use the right words to get yourself moving
Here’s a secret I’ve learned over the years when there’s no catalyst to incite me into action, I take a deep breath and just get going.
Sometimes we have to rise up, remembering we’re in 100% control of us and the choices we make. Don’t tell yourself you must do it, words make a difference. Tell yourself you choose to do it.
Words can be incredibly empowering or disempowering and feeling blah, with no urge to do anything is when motivating language matters a lot.
Make the power of words work for you, especially when they’re words you whisper to yourself within.
The way we talk to ourself reflects our inner most feelings and leads to our actions and our results. Changing your inner conversation equals a change of reality.
Just get going
Spur yourself into action without waiting for motivation to take hold. I know this sounds counter-intuitive. But there are times when not being able to get motivated is a signal to do whatever it takes to change the state we occupy at that moment.
I have a tee shirt I wear some days when I walk, it has a slogan we all know well, “Just do it.” Nike was right.
The amazing thing is when I tell myself, I’ll just do it for half an hour I discover motivation joins me and flow kicks in as an added bonus. Hand on heart it works for me every time.
The emotional state of mind that follows the thought “I’ll just give it half an hour” removes all feelings of pressure.
Imagine how incredible your progress could be by simply getting going and doing what you’ve been telling yourself you should do.
If the task is a big one, break it down into smaller goals and try doing just a bit each day. A little done each day is an unbelievably simple formula for success.
Tap into the feeling
Feeling is the secret to creation. Be our creation good, bad or indifferent.
From whatever source, feelings can be the spark that rekindles hope, or ambition, or motivation.
Those little whispers of encouraging feelings can cause you to become more aware of your true potential. And the cause of flashes of inspiration or fleeting thoughts that you haven’t had before of your future promise.
I appeal to you when you’re feeling hopeless or stuck or overwhelmed or plain old lazy to find a way to simulate warm, soul stirring feelings.
Flipping through memories in your head for something feels really good is a quick and easy way to change how you feel in this moment.
And when you feel good, motivation finds you faster.
Your best stories often come from overcoming your biggest struggles.
It’s up to you to decide if you want to be the person who takes on the challenges of life and overcomes, or the one who’d prefer to dodge them.
I say this to remind you that your struggles won’t break you, they will make you.
If you can learn to push your buttons from the inside you can be sure you will keep learning and living and growing, and discover as I have that the difficult soon loses its edge.
Over to you
What tips do you have on how to get motivated?
If you have any techniques that can get and keep your motivational spark alive, leave us the goods in the comments below.
We can all do with a bit of encouragement and your ideas and tips might just be what someone really needed to hear today.
I appreciate you for being here, reading, and sharing your words of wisdom.
Encourage one another
And here’s a video that has motivated many…and may be the very thing that helps you get motivated today. Though be warned it does contain some strong language!
Great post! Recently I observed that I was experiencing an extreme lack of motivation to finishing a project that I was working on. I kept procrastinating and the completion date just got pushed further and further away. I now realise that perhaps things have shifted and I was becoming bored. It was when I decided that I needed to challenge myself with higher goals. That got me excited, tapping into the creative flow and going once again!
The quote by David Pink is awesome! Thanks for sharing! I enjoyed your tip about changing the inner conversation. The stories we tell ourselves can certainly change our reality!
Hi Evelyn…wow do I know what you’re talking about re extreme lack of motivation…how great you found a way to get excited about your project and tapped into that creative flow. Changing the way we speak to ourselves is such a simple yet powerful tool. Good luck with your new project. 🙂
So many great ideas here, Elle! Sometimes my motivation to start a larger project gets pushed off until I get all the “little things” done like folding laundry and checking email. Unfortunately, this can greatly delay the beginning of that big project which increases anxiety. Then I remind myself to just start the larger project by taking the first small step – just get started. This is much like your idea to just give it a half hour. Simply starting can be so powerful!
Oh my, those little things we do to put off doing the one big thing…who hasn’t done that I wonder Paige? That first small step just to do something is like connected to the miracle of creative flow and suddenly, before we know it, we’re off to the races so to speak. 🙂
I heard something about motivation the other day that spoke to me
Motivation is what comes from outside of us
Then Inspiration was mentioned
Inspiration comes from within
So I can ask myself the same questions as you especially after just having downsized
I have great days of inspiration and then days where I fluff around totally unmotivated !!
A work in progress xxoo
I love that quote on motivation Suzie. I suspect we are all works in progress when it boils down to it. At least I hope so, for we’re all here to express in higher and greater ways.
I needed to read this as I have found my motivation lacking lately. There is so much going on in the world, it’s hard to focus on my goals. I like the “goldilocks” analogy. I’ve not heard that before. It definitely is a sweet spot.
There is so much going on in the world today Debbie and it can be a challenge for us to stay motivated. I’m glad some of the ideas in the article might have been of help.
I love the Goldilocks principle! Just a couple of days ago, I felt somewhat low thinking about the current situation. Usually when I feel that way, I have a list of things I enjoy doing on the ready. I try and pick one or two things to do, to lift my spirits. How true that we must pick something that’s just right! I’ll try and get that book you mentioned – sounds like a good read! Take care, Elle!
It is a great book Vidya…I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. I like to have things on hand when my spirits get depleted, like books, or quotes, or sometimes new skills to learn that keeps my brain busy!