Motivation is something we all struggle with at times, we are human after all, but when you lose motivation for something how on earth do you go about trying to motivate your motivation?
The Collins Dictionary defines the word motivation as:
- the act or an instance of motivating
- desire to do; interest or drive
- incentive or inducement
- (psychology) the process that arouses, sustains and regulates human and animal behaviour.
The problem is that with so many different things going on in our lives, it is all too easy to let some things slip and it only has to slip once; a routine to be broken and then it’s goodbye motivation. People lose motivation for lots of different things, but amongst the most common are dieting, exercising, work/studying and quitting a bad habit e.g. smoking or drinking.
The good news is that there are various ways in which you can re-motivate yourself and with this renewed positivity and energy it is highly likely you will achieve the goals you have set yourself. First and foremost it is absolutely essential that you approach each new project or goal in the right way. Yes, your motivation may well be literally bursting out of you at the beginning, but if you don’t have a bit of structure there’s a high chance that as things start to get difficult your original motivation may well disappear and that is where failure lies.
Achieving several, in fact even one or two, small goals is infinitely more rewarding than giving up and not completing one big goal. By taking on more than we can realistically handle we are almost certainly destined to fail. Instead, focus on taking small, baby steps towards mini goals, which in time will help achieve a bigger end goal. Martin Luther King was famously quoted as saying, “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward” and he couldn’t be more right.
One goal at a time
Leading on from the above, it is really important that you only attempt one mini goal at a time. You may think you are an incredible multi-tasker, but trust us, when it comes to keeping motivated it works much better if you focus all your time and energy on completing one project at a time. We all know that taking on too much can be exhausting both physically and mentally; we just sometimes need a gentle reminder!
Lists are an absolute necessity when it comes to keeping track of all your mini goals and to help keep you organised. When goals are vague and undefined they become virtually impossible to achieve, as you can easily forget your original intentions. Start by writing down every small step you need to complete to reach your goal. Whether it’s to not eat biscuits for a week, to cut down on sugar in your tea or to eat at least 2 pieces of fruit a day, write everything down that you can think of. It’s amazing how much more motivating it can be to see your goals written down in ink rather than just as ideas in your head. Once you have written down your goals you need to think about placing them in some kind of order. It is entirely up to you how you go about doing this. Some of you may prefer to organise them according to those that are most important to you, or it may be they have a natural order in which one can only be started if another has already been completed or you may simply prefer to start with the easiest and work towards the hardest. It is your choice and you alone can make that choice. Now that you have a list, each item needs to be further broken down into a list of actions related to achieving that goal. Take, for example, the eating no biscuits goal. Although this is written down on the list, it may not be quite as easy as simply not eating the biscuits so break down the process of stopping eating biscuits into mini, achievable tasks such as; don’t buy biscuits today, hide the biscuit tin, eat fruit at snack times or throw biscuits away. By taking these baby steps, which don’t seem quite as daunting, the success rate of the bigger goal is much higher. Each time you complete a task, make sure you make a big deal of crossing it off so that you can see the success you have had. There is nothing more motivating than success!
Pin, post and go public
By printing out your goal and pinning it up around the house, whether it’s a note on the fridge, on the mirror, inside your purse or somewhere on the wall, you are less likely to forget about it and more likely to face up to the challenge. It could even be that you’d like to lose a bit of weight so why not pin up a ‘before’ photo to remind yourself of why it is you felt the need to lose weight. Another idea is to ask a friend to literally post a note or letter of encouragement to you through the post. Not only will it be a nice surprise, because let’s face it who really gets nice post these days, but it could be exactly the thing you need to keep you going on what can sometimes be a challenging journey. Another great technique for keeping the motivation levels high is to commit your goal publicly. By this we mean not only sharing what you intend to do with friends and family but publicly stating it on social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter. No one wants to reveal to others that they’ve given up on something so the likelihood is that even if motivation is starting to wain, you are more likely to go that extra mile to stick at it than show yourself up as a failure in front of people. If you really want to go the whole hog, why not think about setting up a blog to record all your highs, lows, successes and to act as an emotional vent to jot down your feelings.
A strong support network of family, friends or even from online forums is an absolute must as it can be incredibly difficult to accomplish something alone. Depending on your goal, it may be something that a friend also wants to achieve and you can therefore join forces to help motivate each other. Also, depending on personalities you may even thrive on a certain amount of friendly competition between you both. Remember, you don’t necessarily need to let the other person know that you are competing with them, but it may well be enough to spur you on! Only share your ambitions with positive people who are keen for you to succeed and have faith in your ability to do so. Simply by talking your goals through with the positive people in your life, you will not only keep your own negative feelings in check but you will also re-energise your motivation.
Ok, so you started off really well, with all the best intentions and things have been pretty plain sailing, but you’ve now hit a bit of a slump, you’re starting to fall off the wagon and any hint of motivation is slowly but surely wasting away. What now? How can you re-motivate your motivation?
Everyone loves a success story and it is a great way to motivate yourself towards your own success. One of the best ways to kick start your motivation is to take inspiration from others; a ‘wow if they can do it then I must also be able to’ kind of attitude. Read blogs, books, magazines, newspapers and talk to others for advice, encouragement, inspiration and success stories. Another proven method to help inspire and refresh positivity levels is to read and print out motivational quotes that strike a chord with your own situation. Here at The Art of Healthy Living we know how effective these motivational quotes can be, it’s certainly helped lift our spirits on numerous occasions and we have some exciting news that will help you on your path to maximum motivation. We have recently set up an email service that when you sign up to will leave you a positive, motivational message in your in box every day! For more information on this and to take advantage of this sensational sign up please CLICK HERE.
It’s very easy for us to sit here and say feel positive, but we all know positivity doesn’t come at the mere switch of a button. However, positivity is absolutely key in keeping motivation on track and for making those mountains seem a lot easier to climb. There are various ways in which you can instil positivity into your mindset and most of these involve taking time out to be mindful of your needs. Taking time out for yourself should not be seen as a treat and should certainly not come with an ounce of guilt attached to you, time by yourself is a completely natural and healthy way for you to collect your thoughts and practice mindfulness. Whether you go out for a walk in the fresh air to blow away the cobwebs, meditate to escape the trappings of the exterior world, exercise to physically blast away any doubts or practice yoga to reflect on things and realign your positivity, these are all fantastic ways to feel positive and to help you become aware of what motivates or unmotivates you. If you are still struggling to banish any negative thoughts, try listening to some uplifting music that you associate with a happy time. Music is a powerful tool and is a great mood buster. Create a personalised playlist of your own positive music, which you can listen to when you need a bit of a boost.
Get rid of distractions
I’m sure we’ve all fallen into the trap of getting easily distracted particularly when we’re doing something that is a bit boring, difficult or something that we don’t really want to be doing, but remember, procrastination is motivations biggest enemy! There will always be something that is more interesting than the job we should be concentrating on so the key is to remove those distractions. Switch off your phone, close down your laptop so you can’t be tempted to check your social media sites, email or be tempted into buying the dress you’d saved in your online shopping basket, remove any treats from the house and instead focus on rewarding yourself if and when you complete a task. It may sound a bit like training a puppy, but think how much better that chocolate bar is going to taste if you eat it after you have completed a goal.
Don’t be so hard on yourself
Nobody’s perfect and it’s time to start believing in this and realising that you are not a super hero. Obviously it would be near on impossible to be motivated 100% of the time, it is just not realistic, but what you do need to start realising is that even if motivation goes, it will come back again. Once you believe and understand this, you can relax, stop thinking of yourself as a failure and work on building up your motivation again using the tools you have read about above. Another thing to remember is that failure is actually a positive thing, as success often requires many failed attempts. Put a positive spin on any failure by seeing it as a learning experience that will take you on your next part of your journey.
When you first start out to achieve a goal you will be filled with an energetic passion and enthusiasm for the job in hand, but this can quickly ebb away when the job begins to get hard. To reinstate your motivation you must remind yourself of how you felt at the beginning and reignite the passion you first had. If you’ve kept a diary or a blog of your journey, have a look back at earlier entries and remind yourself of the feelings you felt, the joy and motivation you originally had and that should be enough to give you a kick up the backside.
Always be proud of what you have achieved and don’t be afraid to tell the world how great you are. If your motivation is somewhat lacking, take a moment to reflect on some of your past achievements and how great you were to have accomplished them. If you can’t think of any achievements, try thinking of ways in which you may have helped other people achieve theirs. Take pride in yourself and as daft as it may seem and how silly you may feel doing it, take some time each morning to look at yourself in the mirror and remind yourself of just how great you are. You certainly shouldn’t feel embarrassed or big headed about your success.
You can do it
Your mantra to yourself everyday should be “I can do it”, because if you truly believe something, then anything is possible. Never give up, no matter how hard things get. If you’re feeling unmotivated or close to giving up, just put it down as a blip and resolve to get back on track and start afresh the following day. Think about how far you have come on your journey and what a shame it would be to give up on all that hard work and alongside this think also about any past successes to help give your motivation that little extra ego boost
So there you go, our complete guide to motivation and our advice on how to remotivate your motivation when really all you want to do is give up and sulk about your failure whilst scoffing a load of chocolate biscuits!