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How to motivate yourself

How to motivate yourself

When sitting down to write this article, I found myself unable to — more than once. I wanted to complete it; I was interested in the topic, but I could not push myself to do it. I was unmotivated.

Motivation pushes you to perform certain behaviors to achieve results. But what exactly is motivation, and how can you give yours a boost? Motivation is based on reward prediction and value-based decision-making. It is your brain’s way of pushing you to perform certain behaviors, when the presence of an award is perceived. Motivation can be “intrinsic,” coming from within, or “extrinsic,” coming from beyond yourself.

Typically, intrinsic motivation involves wanting to perform tasks to reach a self-imposed goal, in order to make yourself happy. Extrinsic motivation is based on wanting to perform tasks because of a parent, manager, or some other external factor or reward. You may not want to take on that part-time job, but the presence of bills may motivate you. You may not feel like exercising today, but there’s that upcoming race with a shiny trophy at the end of it, so you push yourself to workout.

We are all motivated by both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. When our motivation decreases, we find ourselves unable to complete tasks or even begin work on them. Fortunately, neuroscience gives us a few ways to increase our motivation.

Time Chunking

Part of motivation is finding, or rather — creating, the time to complete tasks. One way to do so is known as the Pomodoro Technique. Use a timer to segment work into “chunks”; the technique relies on both active work and the breaks in between tasks. Typically, each task is broken down into 25-minute intervals, with each break lasting about five minutes. A timer keeps track for you, so you are able to focus on your task without worrying about checking the clock every few minutes.

Similar to the Pomodoro Technique, and backed by experimentation, is chunking your tasks into 52-minute intervals, which sounds like a lot when you are not feeling motivated. However, after the 52 minutes is complete, take a 17-minute break, where you are focused on relaxing, resting, and not thinking about the task you were just working on. Further, because these breaks are relatively long, it gives you an opportunity to take a walk, which is known to boost creativity and memory.

Green Walking

Walking itself is a great way to increase motivation, especially when walking somewhere green. If there is a park nearby your work or home, or a path around the block with trees, walking and seeing the green foliage may be all your brain needs to jumpstart its motivation.

A study published in Environmental Science & Technology found that the color green provides positive effects for mood on the perceived difficulty of a task. The behavioral outcomes in the study included better mood, less stress, and, indirectly, better motivation. People felt better after some time being exposed to green; people who feel good, do good.

How to motivate yourself

Sam Edwards, Getty Images

Working out is hard as hell—even before you hit the gym. Sometimes the best intentions, like setting an early alarm or packing sneakers in your work bag, won’t be enough to get you psyched about the grueling training session you’ve got planned. The truth is that every day won’t feel like a fitness fairytale, so don’t be so hard on yourself. Plus, it’s totally fine to skip the occasional workout. In fact taking extra time to recover may help you reach your fitness goal faster (hi foam roller!).

But before you hit snooze or head to happy hour with sweat-free gym gear, think about whether you’re skipping one session or playing fitness hooky on the reg. It’s called working out for a reason—you have to show up and do something in order to see results. If you need a little inspiration before you get your fitness on, try these 17 ways real women motivate themselves to get #UpNOut.

“I’m always fighting the battle of immediate versus long-term gratification, so I try to find ways to immediately remind myself of the long-term plan by writing little messages on my wrist. It can be anything from ‘4-8,’ because I believe it takes four to eight weeks for results of working out regularly to show, to ‘thank you,’ which is a reminder that I’ll thank myself later if I stick with my plan.” —Lindsey, 21

“I’ve found that motivating myself to work out usually has to come from a positive place instead of a negative place. My best friend and I have a shared private fitness board on Pinterest for when we need extra motivation. My friend is way better at updating it than me, but it’s super motivating, especially because I tend to work out alone. I can check our board and still feel like I have someone keeping me accountable.” —Claire, 23

“My week fills up quickly with events for work, drinks with friends, and other miscellaneous activities, so every Sunday I set aside 30 minutes to plan my workout schedule—and that includes booking spots in whatever classes I want to take. Then I write (yes, write!) the workouts in my planner. Once something is added to my calendar I consider it a non-negotiable—I have to go!” –Bari, 29

“To motivate myself to work out, I make playlists I know I will want to run to. My go-to running songs are mostly DJs like Swedish House Mafia, Alesso, and Audien, but I never forget the fitness classics, like ‘Run The World (Girls)’ by Beyoncé and ‘Sexy Back’ by Justin Timberlake.” —Emily, 23

Photograph by Getty Images

It can seem challenging to complete all the things on your spiritual and temporal to-do lists. But if you change your perspective to focusing on Jesus Christ and drawing closer to Him, then scripture study, prayer, and even homework become meaningful and fulfilling goals. Remember the words of Alma, “By small and simple things are great things brought to pass” (Alma 37:6).

Focus on the Blessings

Motivating yourself to do your personal prayers, scripture study, and all the activities that you should do every day can be hard. And sometimes it can feel overwhelming, like you’re just adding more things to do. But focusing on the blessings and the positive aspects of those activities can really help motivate you to do them. I’m motivated to act when I ponder how different my life is when I do and don’t complete those tasks. When I don’t make time to pray or study (both my scriptures and textbooks), I feel guilt, regret, and overall unhappiness. But when I make those small and simple things a priority, I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders, I feel the Holy Ghost’s influence more often, and I become more optimistic. By being diligent and willing to focus on the blessings that come from being obedient, you will have clarity in both your daily decisions and spiritual questions.

ZoieВ B., 17, Colorado, USA

Get Organized

I have a chart with little squares on it that represents the things that I need to do every day. Whenever I read my scriptures or finish my homework I fill in a square on the chart. When the chart is full, I get to do something I like. After a while, doing those little things just becomes a habit, and then you don’t need the chart to motivate you.

KeatonВ H., 14, Idaho, USA

Choose Good Examples

Choosing my friends wisely, following Church standards, and going to Church activities help motivate me to do things I should do, like reading my scriptures and working on Personal Progress. During my first year at Young Women camp, my leaders announced that a second-year girl in a different ward had completed her Personal Progress. Her example motivated me to work on mine more often, and soon we became great friends. The next year, she had moved into my ward and went to camp with us. On the first day, I asked if we could go play tetherball together, but she said she had to read her scriptures first. I was so impressed, I decided I would read with her. She was such a great example to me! Because of our friendship, I’ve almost finished my Personal Progress and the Book of Mormon. Choosing to follow good examples can start a chain reaction to doing great things and developing your testimony.

CadenceВ J., 14, Texas, USA

Create Reminders

Starting off the day with a prayer improves my motivation and reminds me that through Jesus Christ I can do all things, even when I feel overwhelmed. Putting visual aids around the house also really helps me remember the spiritual things I need to do each day but often forget about. I like to write my daily goals where I will see them, like on my mirror or phone. Often I will set alarms on my phone or enter calendar reminders to say my prayers or complete certain tasks for the day, and I won’t go to bed until I’ve done them. When I’m feeling too tired or want to relax, I tell myself I can take a break and do something else after I’ve completed my tasks. By not procrastinating, I feel less stressed and am able to enjoy my day more.

AbbeeВ C., Georgia, USA

Responses are intended for help and perspective, not as official pronouncements of Church doctrine.

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How to motivate yourself

How to motivate yourself

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We’re experts at setting goals. Today we’ll do 12 different things. And by the end of the month, we’ll nail all those, plus one million more. Sounds like a plan, right?

Truth is, it’s much easier to set goals than to actually get ‘em done. It all comes down to motivation, and we’ll be honest: We have trouble keeping the fire lit. It’s so much easier to sit back and think about all the things we’re going to do… eventually.

To stay motivated, we knew we needed some outside help. That’s why we went to the pros to find 15 new ways to reach your goals, whatever those may be.

We’re not saying it’ll be easy, and we’re not saying it’ll be quick. But we’re willing to bet it’ll be worth it. And the satisfaction that comes from accomplishing just one of our goals? It’s enough to keep us taking baby steps toward everything else on our list.

1. Figure out your ‘why’

To keep that clear-eyed outlook, write down a few reasons you want to get fit (or whatever your goal is), suggests Michelle Segar, PhD, behavior expert and author of “ No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness.”

While that may sound obvious, naming concrete things you want — like getting to the third floor without panting, sleeping better, or turning down junk food — will make it easier to track your progress and stay motivated, rather than aiming for an abstract goal like “get healthy.”

“We want people to anchor physical activity to something that’s actually going to motivate long-term behavior,” Segar says. “It’s important for people to figure out whether the reasons they’ve been trying to do it in the past actually set them up for failure or success.”

2. Keep a running list of what makes you smile

Believe it or not, one of the best ways to keep yourself motivated comes auto-installed on your smartphone. No, not Apple Health or the hundreds of Instagram fitness influencers out there — we’re talking about the Notes app.

Say you don’t know exactly what you want. If you just know you want to start living better, keep a running list of the moments that make you smile, suggests Lindi Duesenberg, founder and executive director of DMF Youth.

“For a while, I would just write down moments in my day that really brought me joy — what I was excited about — and that led me to where I am now.” If you’re not entirely sure what your endgame is, try tracking what makes you happy.

Love seeing your silhouette in Warrior II or that feeling when you hit mile 2.9 of a 5K? Add it to your list, then take a peek and let it motivate you when it’s drizzling outside and working out sounds like the worst idea ever.

Stoked to get home from work and cook dinner? Maybe think about enrolling in a cooking class.

3. Look your excuses in the eye

Excuses are man’s best friend and greatest enemy, says Bernie Roth, a professor at Stanford University and author of “ The Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing, and Take Command of Your Life.”

The trick is to look at your excuses straight on. For example, are you really too tired to work out, or do you just want to watch the new season of Queer Eye? Get super honest with yourself and go from there.

“If you see you’re using an excuse, just correct yourself. Next time it comes up, you’ll probably do it again — but after a few times, you’ll stop,” Roth says.

“If you believe your own baloney reasons, you’ll never change your behavior. It’s really a matter of telling yourself the truth.”

4. Develop a gratitude practice

The moment we open our eyes, we’re aware of everything we have to do that day. To stay motivated, tick off a few things you’re grateful for while still in bed, says Duesenberg.

“When we wake up, we’re often overwhelmed with what we have to do and what we have to fix, and our focus becomes that,” Duesenberg says. “So, shifting that focus right away, just acknowledging what is good, puts you in a better mind frame to tackle the day.”

5. Don’t let fear stop you

If you haven’t heard of Jason Comely, the creator of the Rejection Therapy game, tune in to this NPR podcast. In brief, his fear of rejection was so strong, he became totally isolated in his home.

To face his fear, he decided to turn it into a game: Try and get rejected at least once a day, every day. Eventually, he turned his ideas into a deck, each card with phrases like “Before purchasing something, ask for a discount.” He sold them online and now people play across the globe.

Today, there are countless videos of people trying similar rejection challenges, and some results are downright awesome.

In taking rejection’s power away, Comely was able to beat it, and Duesenberg says the same technique can apply to anything that intimidates you. Aim for — or at least expect — failure, and eventually it’ll happen less and less.

“Just jump in and be okay with failing and totally losing face. We get paralyzed by fear. We feel like we have to be good at everything before we start it, which is counterintuitive, but we live in such an instant gratification kind of world,” Duesenberg says.

So, if you aim for the bottom rung, you’re still a step above not trying at all — and a step closer toward your eventual goal.

6. Take 20 seconds

While we’ve always associated the “20-second rule” with the amount of time it’s acceptable to eat something after it’s hit the floor, Duesenberg likes to give it another, slightly more motivational meaning.

“You just need 20 seconds of insane courage to do something. Just be bold and do it, and whatever happens, happens. The outcome might not be perfect, but at least you took that step and that’s one step closer,” Duesenberg says.

It’s all about baby steps, even if you need to close your eyes and take a deep breath to do them — like the one you’d take as a little kid before jumping in a pool.

In the same way, work up the 20 seconds of courage it takes to press send on an email to a new business contact or jog for 10 minutes today — your “20 seconds” doesn’t have to be literal. After pressing send or kicking off a run, it’s likely you’ll want to do it again and again.

How to motivate yourself

Focus on the task, not how you feel about it.

No matter how generally motivated you are, all of us have some tasks that we don’t want to do. Maybe we find them boring, pointless, draining, time consuming, annoying, or anxiety producing. So how do you get motivated in these types of situations? The first step is to recognize that getting motivated doesn’t mean that you have to experience a particular feeling. You can decide to do something without ever getting excited about it by finding a personally meaningful reason to do it. Next, you have to come up with a strategy. Try involving other people; positive social pressure can provide the impetus to get something done. It’s also helpful to pair unpleasurable activities with pleasurable ones to increase your overall mood.

Focus on the task, not how you feel about it.

No matter how generally motivated you are, all of us have some tasks that we don’t want to do. Maybe we find them boring, pointless, draining, time consuming, annoying, or anxiety producing. So how do you get moving in these types of situations?

The first step is to recognize that getting motivated doesn’t mean that you have to experience a particular feeling, like excitement or anticipation. Instead, motivation is simply one or more reasons you have for acting in a certain way. You can decide to do something without ever getting excited about it by finding a personally meaningful why.

For example, you could choose to do something because it will:

  • Lower your anxiety.
  • Benefit someone who you care about.
  • Lead to financial gain.
  • Avoid a negative consequence.
  • Make you feel good about yourself.
  • Clear your mind.
  • Align with your values.
  • Reduce stress.

These reasons might sound something like this in your day-to-day life:

“I don’t want to do _______. But if I do ________, then I will see a significant financial payoff both now and in the future and will feel good about my choices.”

“I don’t want to do _______. But if I get ________ done, then it will make my boss happy and lower my anxiety every time I have a one-on-one meeting.”

“I don’t want to do _______. But if I make progress on ________, then I will have so much less stress next week and be prepared for ________.”

Even if we never feel particularly motivated by a task, we can find a reason to move forward by looking beyond the task to the results.

The second step for success involves coming up with a strategy for getting tasks done when you have a low to non-existent emotional drive. Depending on the task and your work style, one or more of these strategies may help. You can consider these methods as tools in your toolbox when you’ve come up with a reason to take action on a task but still feel uncertain on how to complete it.

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One set of action-taking methods includes involving other people in the process. This positive social pressure can provide the impetus to get something done. This could look like delegating part of the task, teaming up with someone else to complete the activity together, getting accountability, or simply being present with other people who are also working. In regard to the last point, for some of my time management coaching clients, this can look like sitting in a library where other people are also getting work done, or even having a virtual session where they work on a task while someone they know is on the other side of Skype also cranking away.

Another set of action-taking methods revolves around how you structure your approach to the work. These types of strategies, each illustrated with an example, can help you to gain momentum when you have low drive to move forward:

  • Put a low-frequency activity ahead of a high-frequency activity. For example, I can’t open my email until I’ve filed my expense report.
  • Give yourself a standard time. Every Friday from 2-3 pm, I have time blocked in my calendar for weekly planning, and I honor that time as sacred for that activity.
  • Limit the time commitment. I need to work for 10 minutes a day on this task and then I can stop if I want to do so.
  • Set the bar low. I just need to take one action step a week on this activity.
  • Get ‘er done. I want to get this entirely off my plate so I’m setting aside a whole day to complete the task.

A third set of action-taking methods involves pairing unpleasurable activities with pleasurable ones to boost your overall mood. This could involve giving yourself permission to do a more difficult task, like writing or putting together a presentation, in a location you really like, such as a cozy coffee shop or even a park if the weather’s nice. You can also try layering tasks, such as listening to music or a podcast while organizing your office. Even getting a little physical activity in during the process can help. I may have been known to practice speeches while going on walks. I probably look a little funny, but I get two activities done at once.

When you employ one or more of these strategies, you may not make speedy progress or perfect progress. But you can move tasks forward, slowly but surely, and get the things done that you don’t naturally want to do.

My personal formula for consistent motivation.

How to motivate yourself

People often tell me it seems like I’m on the grind constantly. I write prolifically and consistently. I do work pretty much every day. I am motivated, but I’m not a productivity robot like you might think.

I don’t work 12–14 hour days. In fact, I usually work about four hours per day. I don’t do a ton of busywork throughout the day. Mostly, I do a small handful of things really well and consistently.

I’m not constantly peppy and upbeat like Mel Robbins or Brendon Bouchard. I still have off days. I’m human. But, in the grand scheme of things, I’ve managed to maintain a consistent level of motivation for a half-decade and used it to build a career and life that I love. More or less, I have a solid base-level of motivation on a day-to-day basis.

Before you tell yourself it isn’t possible for you, just know that I used to be extremely lazy — cripplingly lazy. Those familiar with my work know the stories. You can turn the ship around, but you have to have a starting point and get momentum somehow. Let’s talk about how to do that.

You think you don’t have motivation, but you have an abundance of it. You make decisions based on your motivations constantly. Let’s take a look at the definition from the dictionary:

The reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.

You can be motivated to do things that cause problems in your life. You can be motivated to get certain outcomes even if they’re not your ideal outcomes. If you had no motivation, you wouldn’t do anything, at all, ever. And you already have high levels of discipline in you. Don’t believe me?

Why do people go to work every day even if they hate their jobs? Money, mainly not being out on the street homeless, is quite strong and persuasive motivation — so much so that you never ponder whether or not you’re going to go to work.

Most parents do the best they can to raise their children, including a bunch of tasks they’d rather not do, because to them taking care of their kids isn’t a choice, it’s a duty.

Back to the definition — a reason for doing something.

You need motivation to watch Netflix. You’re compelled by the entertainment of the shows, look forward to an escape from reality, or you genuinely want to wind down after a long day.

Motivation is context dependant. I think back to the days in school where I felt like I was forced to learn. When I re-discovered learning on my own, it worked because I changed the context. I had intrinsic motivation, which I’ll show you how to get in a minute.

Dispel the myth you’re not driven by motivation. You are. You just need to change the framework for your motivation.

It’s pretty simple. You develop a sense of intrinsic motivation when you feel compelled to do the work. When I say compelling, you feel pulled to do the work instead of having to push yourself to do the work.

For me, discovering something I was good at helped me feel compelled to keep going. When I first started writing, I enjoyed the process so much because I felt drawn to it. Try this exercise here to find something you’re drawn to.

Even when it comes to difficult and challenging tasks that seem like you need to push yourself to do, you’ll never do them until you create reasons strong enough to draw you to the activity.

Aside from, ‘I might be good at this’ some other compelling reasons to change your life are:

  • Future extrapolation — If you can vividly picture how much your life is going to stagnate if you don’t change, you can compel yourself to change. When I was 25, I visualized the rest of my life working some shit job and never having control over my life for the next four decades. It helped me feel like I was being called to change.
  • The people close to you — My motivation to make something out of my writing career went up when I had a child. Grant Cardone has a saying, “A lot of parents will go broke for their kids, but few will get rich for them.”
  • Staying alive — Failing to eat right and exercise can shorten your life span. But so can working a job you hate and the stress that comes with it. So can the preventable illnesses you incur by sitting in a cube for 30 years. So can the myriad of issues — mentally, physically, and spiritually-that derive from not living a life of purpose. Look at some of the people in society. They’re not just spiritually sick. Literally, they’re sick.

The most compelling reason of all? It’s the cliche. But burning the cliche in your head can compel you, eventually, even if it doesn’t work 999 times in a row. The 1,000th time could hit you like a ton of bricks.

You just want more out of life. I know you do. I don’t know what that thing is, but you want it, and you can either pretend like you don’t want it or go for it. It’s that simple.

These two concepts are the core of everything I’ve learned and taught about self-improvement. I mention them in every single article because they’re that important.

When you’re trying to build a new path for your life, completing the entire path itself isn’t important at all. You just need to complete the first 20 percent of the path and you’re 80 percent of the way there.

Most people quit almost instantly. Few make it past a year. Almost none make it five years or more.

As you pass each milestone — 90 days, six months, a year, few years, five years — your odds of quitting fall sharply. Make it six to 12 months and you really have a shot.

You don’t have the full dream yet, but you have signs that success is possible — an audience, some customers, a two-pack at the top of your stomach, whatever — and you deposit little subconscious signals into your brain that you’re someone capable and deserving of success.

You do this piece by piece.

When I first started writing five years ago the prospect of writing three books, quitting my job, and owning a six-figure business wasn’t even in the realm of reality for me.

But it didn’t need to be.

Your biggest and wildest accomplishments will fall outside of what you currently think you’re capable of. So don’t even worry aboutcthem. Focus on getting traction first.

Next, there’s the self-improvement arc, which is just a fancy way of saying you’ve gone through the process of achieving a long-term goal. Once you go through an entire arc, you realize just how limiting your beliefs are.

And, when the next venture arises, you know from day one that you’ll never quit. You don’t have to guess or think.

I started a YouTube channel about a year ago and was able to commit a half-decade to work on it, just like that. The decision was set in stone right away.

After settling into my ‘dad bod’ during my marriage and finding myself 50 lbs heavier than I am now, I knew when I went to the gym on day one that it was a forgone conclusion.

Why? Because I’ve gone through the arc, the arc that is much like a workout routine — painful with little to no results, to begin with, some progress six months down the road, and effortless to continue once you have a year under your belt.

Follow this arc enough times and you reach the state of consistent daily motivation.

“You don’t overcome challenges by making them smaller but by making yourself bigger.” – John C. Maxwell

When it comes to getting results, it takes motivation and ability.

Motivation makes things happen.

Where there’s no will, there’s no way. One of the best ways to improve your personal effectiveness is to master your motivation and find your drive.

If you can master motivation, you can deal with life’s setbacks, as well as inspire yourself to always find a way forward, and create new experiences for yourself, and follow your growth.

In this post, I’ll demystify motivation and give you the motivation tools that really work.

1. Connect to your values.

This is the ultimate secret. If you can connect the work you do to your values, even in small ways, you can change your game.

One of my values is learning and growth.

I find ways to grow my skills in any situation. For example, I don’t just “call back a customer.” I “win a raving fan.” I don’t just “do a task.” I “master my craft.” I don’t just “get something done.” I “learn something new.”

2. Find your WHY.

Figure out a compelling purpose. Turn this into a one-liner.

For example, when I fall off the horse, I remind myself I’m here to “make others great.” This gets me back on track, sharing the best of what I know.

3. Change your WHY.

Sometimes you’re doing things for the wrong reason. Are you doing that task to get it done, or to learn something new? Just shifting your why can light your fire.

4. Change your HOW.

You can instantly find your tasks more enjoyable by shifting from getting them done, to doing them right.

I think of it as mastering your craft. Make it artful.

Sometimes slower is better. Other times, the key is to make it a game and actually speed it up. You can set time limits and race against the clock. Changing your how can get you out of ruts and find new ways to escape the mundane.

5. Remember the feeling.

Flipping through your head movies and scenes is one of the fastest ways to change how you feel.

Remember the feeling. How did you feel during your first kiss? What about laying on the grass on a sunny day?

When you feel good, you find your motivation faster.

6. Shift to past, present or the future.

Sometimes you need to be here, now. Sometimes, the right here, right now sucks. The beauty of shifting tense is you can visualize a more compelling future, or remember a more enjoyable past.

At the same time, if you catch yourself dwelling on a painful past, get back to right here, right now, and find the joy in the moment.

You’ll improve your temporal skills with practice.

7. Find a meaningful metaphor.

Find a metaphor that fuels you. Maybe you’re the “Little Engine that Could.” Maybe you’re “in your element.”

The most powerful thing you can do is find a metaphor that connects to your values. This is why I turn my projects into “epic adventures.”

8. Take action.

Here’s a secret that once you know it, can change your life. Action often comes before motivation.

You simply start doing an activity and then your motivation kicks in. Nike was right with “Just do it.” For example, I don’t always look forward to my workout, but once I start, I find my flow.

9. Link it to good feelings.

Find a way to link things to good feelings. For example, play your favorite song when you’re doing something you don’t like to do.

It has to be a song that makes you feel so great that it overshadows the pain of the task. It’s hard to tell yourself you don’t like something when it feels so good.

A similar approach is to find your theme song.

10. Impress yourself first.

This is how people like Peter Jackson or James Cameron or Stephenie Meyer inspire themselves. They make the movies or write the books that impress themselves first. They connect their passion to the work and they don’t depend on other people setting the bar. Their internal bar becomes their drive.

11. “CHOOSE” to.

If you tell yourself you “HAVE” to do this or you “MUST” do that or you “SHOULD” do this, you can weaken your motivation.

The power of choice and simply reframing your language to “CHOOSE” to can be incredibly empowering and exactly the motivating language you need to hear. Choose your words carefully and make them work for you.

12. Pair up.

This is one of my favorite ways to make something fun. One person’s painful task, is another’s pleasure. Pair up with somebody who complements your skill or who can mentor you and get you over the humps.

13. Change your question.

Sometimes you need to change your focus. To change your focus, change the question.

If you ask yourself what’s wrong with this situation, of course you’ll find things to complain about. Ask yourself what’s right about the situation and you can quickly find the positives and get your groove on.

14. Fix time for eating, sleeping and working out.

Sometimes your body or emotions are working against you because you’re not giving them a break or fueling them the right way.

One simple way to improve results here is to find a routine for eating, sleeping, and moving or working out that supports you.

15. Play to your strengths.

Spending too much time in your weaknesses wears you down. Spending more time in your strengths helps you renew your energy and find your flow.

Strengths are the place where you can grow your best. Find the things that you can do all day that you really enjoy and find excuses throughout your day to do more of that. Success builds on itself and this helps you build momentum.

Try out the motivation techniques to see what works for you.

At the end of the day, all motivation really comes down to self-motivation, and you get better at motivation by building your self-awareness.

Learn how to push your own buttons from the inside out.

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This piece originally appeared on Sources of Insight

How to motivate yourself

There are myriad psychology models and theories on what motivates us to do the things we do: how we respond to incentives, achievement theories, and so on.

I look at motivation as excitement. So how can you remain motivated in a simple way that works every single day? Here are 10 ways.

1. Take a break–you deserve it.

The only way we can perform at an optimal level is create time for rest. The moment you know you can’t take any time off is usually when you need it most.

So take that long delayed vacation, and return to your business with renewed enthusiasm.

2. Keep your cards close to your chest.

Finally running that marathon? Excited about your new diet? Bursting at the seams over your new project? Good. Keep it to yourself.

Announcing your intent to do these feats will backfire. Resist the urge to reap the barrage of Facebook likes, and gushing comments. The positive feedback you receive from your network will trick your brain into thinking you’ve already accomplished your goal, sabotaging your once-motivated brain to do said feat.

So keep it to yourself and share the good news once you’ve already done it.

3. Confront death, and define your legacy.

Death is a powerful motivator. We get bogged down in mindless activities. They make us feel like we’re accomplishing things, when in reality we’re just spinning in circles.

Knowing that you have finite time on this planet helps sharpen your focus. Everything we do is another step in defining our legacy. This may seem like heady posturing, but both can be powerful motivators.

4. Celebrate the little wins, no matter how small.

Little wins may seem like just that–little.

Celebrating these wins can help to create positive habits. You break the inertia of mediocrity by teaching everyone around you how to win. They get the chance to bask in that emotion.

Vishen Lakhiani, CEO of Mindvalley, has gone so far as implementing what he calls the “awesome bell.” Which he rings (you guessed it) anytime something awesome happens.

5. Slash your to-do list in half.

Slashing your aggressive to-do list in half will allow room for success. Knowing that it’s realistic for you to complete the list is empowering.

6. Be gentle with yourself.

Stop comparing the accomplishments in your life with those of your neighbor. The story you create in your head will never be as good, and the reality will never be as bad.

There are many people who are smarter than you. The moment you can embrace this notion, you’re free. Free to explore. Free to follow what excites you. Free to ignore what they do, or how they do it, and focus on you.

7. Hack the way your brain perceives your new habits.

Recently, I began waking up two hours earlier than usual during the week. Instead of viewing it as two hours less I get to sleep, I view it as two extra hours to my day, allowing me to add a full workday per week.

8. Embrace vulnerability.

We live in a culture where we horde Instagram followers, and Facebook likes. The perception of our lives being anything less than perfect is a daunting notion. The glossy Facebookification of our lives can create a dangerous facade of success.

Sharing defeats and admitting failure is a powerful cultivator of motivation, allowing you to move past the failure. Work through the emotion instead of taking it out on someone else. Then move on to something more constructive.

Sharing these vulnerable moments also cultivates deeper connection with peers.

9. Do what you love (sort of).

Find what it is you love to do and get proficient at it. Success dwells at the fulcrum of passion and excellence.

But be careful. Make sure that you can make a living from your passion. I’m passionate about a lot of things that I know I’m not so amazing at and that I definitely can’t make a living at. I love playing guitar. My daughter loves when I play songs from the movie Frozen. It’s fun. I’m never going to be a rock star.

10. Focus.

There is a an anecdote I’ve heard about Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Gates’s father at a dinner party. A guest asked them what the most important quality for success was today and all three responded “Focus” at the same exact time. They all smiled and laughed to each other because they hadn’t really prepared the answer.

We are all inundated with texts and emails. These are no longer just work interruptions. Because of the mini-computers we carry around in our pockets, the flood of information distracts us wherever we happen to be, 24/7.

So turn off your iPhone, stop trolling your ex-lover’s Facebook page, and get to work.

“You don’t overcome challenges by making them smaller but by making yourself bigger.” – John C. Maxwell

When it comes to getting results, it takes motivation and ability.

Motivation makes things happen.

Where there’s no will, there’s no way. One of the best ways to improve your personal effectiveness is to master your motivation and find your drive.

If you can master motivation, you can deal with life’s setbacks, as well as inspire yourself to always find a way forward, and create new experiences for yourself, and follow your growth.

In this post, I’ll demystify motivation and give you the motivation tools that really work.

1. Connect to your values.

This is the ultimate secret. If you can connect the work you do to your values, even in small ways, you can change your game.

One of my values is learning and growth.

I find ways to grow my skills in any situation. For example, I don’t just “call back a customer.” I “win a raving fan.” I don’t just “do a task.” I “master my craft.” I don’t just “get something done.” I “learn something new.”

2. Find your WHY.

Figure out a compelling purpose. Turn this into a one-liner.

For example, when I fall off the horse, I remind myself I’m here to “make others great.” This gets me back on track, sharing the best of what I know.

3. Change your WHY.

Sometimes you’re doing things for the wrong reason. Are you doing that task to get it done, or to learn something new? Just shifting your why can light your fire.

4. Change your HOW.

You can instantly find your tasks more enjoyable by shifting from getting them done, to doing them right.

I think of it as mastering your craft. Make it artful.

Sometimes slower is better. Other times, the key is to make it a game and actually speed it up. You can set time limits and race against the clock. Changing your how can get you out of ruts and find new ways to escape the mundane.

5. Remember the feeling.

Flipping through your head movies and scenes is one of the fastest ways to change how you feel.

Remember the feeling. How did you feel during your first kiss? What about laying on the grass on a sunny day?

When you feel good, you find your motivation faster.

6. Shift to past, present or the future.

Sometimes you need to be here, now. Sometimes, the right here, right now sucks. The beauty of shifting tense is you can visualize a more compelling future, or remember a more enjoyable past.

At the same time, if you catch yourself dwelling on a painful past, get back to right here, right now, and find the joy in the moment.

You’ll improve your temporal skills with practice.

7. Find a meaningful metaphor.

Find a metaphor that fuels you. Maybe you’re the “Little Engine that Could.” Maybe you’re “in your element.”

The most powerful thing you can do is find a metaphor that connects to your values. This is why I turn my projects into “epic adventures.”

8. Take action.

Here’s a secret that once you know it, can change your life. Action often comes before motivation.

You simply start doing an activity and then your motivation kicks in. Nike was right with “Just do it.” For example, I don’t always look forward to my workout, but once I start, I find my flow.

9. Link it to good feelings.

Find a way to link things to good feelings. For example, play your favorite song when you’re doing something you don’t like to do.

It has to be a song that makes you feel so great that it overshadows the pain of the task. It’s hard to tell yourself you don’t like something when it feels so good.

A similar approach is to find your theme song.

10. Impress yourself first.

This is how people like Peter Jackson or James Cameron or Stephenie Meyer inspire themselves. They make the movies or write the books that impress themselves first. They connect their passion to the work and they don’t depend on other people setting the bar. Their internal bar becomes their drive.

11. “CHOOSE” to.

If you tell yourself you “HAVE” to do this or you “MUST” do that or you “SHOULD” do this, you can weaken your motivation.

The power of choice and simply reframing your language to “CHOOSE” to can be incredibly empowering and exactly the motivating language you need to hear. Choose your words carefully and make them work for you.

12. Pair up.

This is one of my favorite ways to make something fun. One person’s painful task, is another’s pleasure. Pair up with somebody who complements your skill or who can mentor you and get you over the humps.

13. Change your question.

Sometimes you need to change your focus. To change your focus, change the question.

If you ask yourself what’s wrong with this situation, of course you’ll find things to complain about. Ask yourself what’s right about the situation and you can quickly find the positives and get your groove on.

14. Fix time for eating, sleeping and working out.

Sometimes your body or emotions are working against you because you’re not giving them a break or fueling them the right way.

One simple way to improve results here is to find a routine for eating, sleeping, and moving or working out that supports you.

15. Play to your strengths.

Spending too much time in your weaknesses wears you down. Spending more time in your strengths helps you renew your energy and find your flow.

Strengths are the place where you can grow your best. Find the things that you can do all day that you really enjoy and find excuses throughout your day to do more of that. Success builds on itself and this helps you build momentum.

Try out the motivation techniques to see what works for you.

At the end of the day, all motivation really comes down to self-motivation, and you get better at motivation by building your self-awareness.

Learn how to push your own buttons from the inside out.

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This piece originally appeared on Sources of Insight