The Ultimate Guide to Staying Motivated All The Time

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Post written by Joe Wilner.

‘The world cares very little what a man or woman knows; it is what a man or woman is able to do that counts.’ – Booker T. Washington

Have you ever had one of those days where despite your best intentions you just can’t seem to get the motivation and energy to get any work done?

If you have ever been stuck in this rut you know how distressing and disappointing it can be.

There are so many things we could be doing but we just can’t seem to marshal the energy to take action.

Fortunately, thanks to vast amounts of psychological research, we have information about how people can be optimally motivated.

Motivation waxes and wanes as our personal focus, perspective, and outlook changes. If you want to know how to be more motivated look to your attitude, emotions, and behavior for the answer.

We must own our goals

Motivation is related to our goals, desires, and passions. When we are working toward something that we feel connected to and feel ownership over we are likely to be more driven.

We must be 100% committed to our goals, and take ownership over their accomplishment.

A key concept in the psychology of motivation relates to intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

Intrinsic motivation is our inner drive that enables us to exercise our ability, regardless of any external reward.

Extrinsic motivation is when we are driven to obtain some external reward, be it status, praise, money, or other incentive that comes from outside ourselves. When we work for a paycheck but despise our job, this is extrinsic motivation.

Unbridled motivation comes internally.

How can we enhance our intrinsic motivation?

Here are some attributes of activities that can help enhance this inner drive

  • Allow a sense of autonomy
  • Stimulate a sense of competence
  • Focus on what you find interesting
  • Do novel things that stimulate curiosity
  • Have some aesthetic value
  • Do things that present optimal challenges
  • Tasks that are freely chosen

Feeling confident and believing in ourselves.

Self-Determination Theory

Self-Determination theory explains that the basis for self-motivation is our inherent tendency toward psychological growth and getting these innate emotional need met.

These include:

1. Competence: the need for mastery experiences that allows a person to deal effectively with her or his environment.

2. Relatedness: the need for mutually supportive interpersonal relationships to help us accomplish goals.

3. Autonomy: the need to make independent decisions about areas in life that are important to us.

Do you have these three areas covered in the work you do?

Use mental rehearsal to boost self-confidence

If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.’ – Henry Ford

Do you believe you have the ability to coordinate and use your skills in challenging and changing situations? When we believe we are capable of achieving something our motivation raises.

Start seeing yourself as successful, whatever your goals or aspirations may be. Imagine yourself behaving in a certain way until this behavior becomes real.

Use your creativity and imagination to rehearse more productive outcome.

Whether you want to lose weight, get a promotion, or increase sales rehearse the successful outcome you desire.

Use goals as a motivational tool

Working toward goals can be a great motivator. When we accomplish our goals it helps us feel successful and increases confidence.

Enhance your motivation by using this process.

¥  Establishing strength based goals;

¥  Pursue goals with which you have resources;

¥  Achieving the goal; and

¥  Developing self-esteem and confidence.

Accomplishments build our confidence so we can start setting larger goals.

Change for the better

Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?

Motivation is also related to pain-avoidance. We can quickly become motivated to change when the emotional pain becomes bad enough.

When things are going well and you feel comfortable with your situation, motivation tends to slip away. If we are totally satisfied what’s the point in changing?

People often resist change even if it’s in their best interest. They fear the unknown and prefer the safety and security of what they know.

We weigh the pros and cons and if the risk of changing is greater than the risk of staying the same we probably won’t take action.

Be aware that if you’re going to change some pain is required. Step outside of your comfort zone. This is where change happens.

Use time-management to stay motivated

When we become overwhelmed with stress our motivation goes out the window. If we’re exhausted and mentally drained it’s tough to stay focused and maintain the concentration and enthusiasm necessary to be effective.

If a plethora of to-do’s is getting you bogged down, stay motivated by prioritizing.

Do today – Focus on what needs to be done immediately. This is the only task to give your attention and energy to. When this task is completed, then you can move on to other things.

Do later – This is what can be done after your urgent task for the day is completed. If you get your “do today” tasks completed, consider these bonus accomplishments. These are items that can be pushed back to a later time if needed.

Do someday – These are things that you are striving for on a long-term basis. They may be things you have always wanted to do and will be able to eventually. Though, despite your excitements about these items, if you have more urgent tasks get those done first.

Motivation starts with uncovering our desires and passions, and cultivating the self-confidence and self-trust to take action.

It shows up as a positive attitude and the beliefs we hold about ourselves and our future. When these things come together effectively it ends with assertively working to achieve goals and being accountable for mistakes in order to stay dedicated.

Joe Wilner is a life coach, speaker, and writer who helps inspire and empower people to find their purpose and meaning. He provides coaching to enhance well-being and runs the personal development blog Shake off the Grind. Subscribe to his blog via RSS.

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