How to get motivated by taking action. When you improve your behaviour, you can boost your mood and motivation.
I was feeling unmotivated at work for a few days, so I revisited what I know about motivation. I managed to improve my mood in a single day by practicing some of the following techniques.
We all have times when we feel down and we need to recall how to get motivated. Self help books teach you to ‘be positive’ but I believe that’s an over-simplification of an otherwise good philosophy. After all, I do believe the quicker you can bounce back from negative thinking, the faster you get back on track to achieving your goals.
“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it” -Lou Holtz, retired American football coach, active sports caster, motivational speaker and author.
I’m going share some practical ideas with you on how to get motivated. I have used every one of these techniques, multiple times. I have found that just one of these actions can significantly improve my mood and my motivation.
Don’t fear doing something because you imagine the ‘worst case scenario’. Force yourself to take action and you may just conquer that fear. I have pushed myself to do things I don’t particularly want to do at times because I knew they had to be done. Cold calls, presentations, fitness tests and shooting tests (for a different job) all began with me taking action, even though I was nervous to start.
Keep a daily journal of things that motivate you. Try writing about what you are thankful for, what I want to achieve and occasionally unanswered questions or insights you have. The American Psychological Association previously found evidence that expressive writing does in fact boost health and helps people deal with stress.
I’m currently reading a great book called Change Your Thinking by Sarah Edelman, PhD. In her book, Edelman describes the link between emotions and behaviour as bilateral; meaning emotions affect our behaviours and behaviours affect our emotions. Start behaving as if you’re already motivated. Smile, stand up straight, make eye contact and be positive in your tone of voice.
Break your goals down into smaller milestones, so you can celebrate small victories along the way. Christopher Bergland calls these ‘micro’ goals, as opposed to ‘macro’ (the bigger) goals in his article on Psychology Today. I have tried this approach myself and found it has helped me in several areas of my life.
Switch off all of the outside noise and give yourself time to think. Walk somewhere, do some light exercise or sit quietly in a park. Sherrie Bourg Carter, Psy.D., states solitude helps us concentrate and be more productive. It’s no coincidence that people say, “I need to go for a walk and clear my head”. I do exactly that when I need some clarity.
Sit in the morning sunlight, while you read your book or enjoy your coffee. My Fiancé Kayla, a psychology student at the time, pointed out that morning sunlight has mood improving benefits. I found a helpful article outlining a few mood lifting benefits of getting more sun. Read more in ‘What are the benefits of sunlight?’ by Rachel Nall.
Visualise what you want. Visualisation is so important, I wrote about it in my own book, Time to Start. I have visualised my own goals in the past, sometimes without even realising it! Construct a successful outcome in your own mind and it will improve your chances of success. AJ Adams, MAPP, has written an article called, ‘Seeing is believing. The power of visualisation’, in which she describes some uses, examples and benefits of visualisation.
“Human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind” -William James, American philosopher, psychologist and physician.
I am not flawless, always happy or always upbeat. I have bounced back from feeling unmotivated or flat because I have adopted these techniques myself.
Try a few of the ideas above if you are struggling to get motivated. Act on these ideas. Don’t just read them. Knowing how to get motivated will not help you, unless you put this knowledge into action. Maybe today is the day for you to get your mojo back!