The key to getting started with anything is having the motivation to move toward accomplishing the task.
Why do we get out of bed in the morning? Because we are motivated.
Why do we study hard? Motivation.
Why do we make coffee? Yep, still motivation.
I have tried to simplify the term here to the best of my ability. It is not as much of a difficult task to achieve. If you too, like so many others, are facing a lack of motivation or often suffer from this problem, then read on because we have a lot of useful information in store for you…
1. Environment is more critical than most people think
Well, of course, we blame the environmental factors all the time when we want to escape falling into the pit of guilt.
If you are telling me you haven’t, you are definitely lying.
There is no person who has, even for once, not blamed their environment for something which has gone wrong.But, how many of us have actually given the situation the credit when something good happens?
We are what we see. We are a product of our surroundings.
For example, you appeared for an exam which you thought did not go that well. When the results come out, and you get a decent percentile - more than you expected - you take all the credits and believe it was the fruit of your hard work. It could also have been possible that others did not attempt the exam as well.
Research suggests that environment is more important a factor than we often like to admit. Yeah, your surrounding deserves more credit because it influences you and directs your behavior towards attainment of your goals.
For instance, you can be the best flute player in the world, but without the right audience and nurturing your talent is purposeless. This is what the role of the environment is in directing our behavior and motivating us to move ahead.
2. Practice Public Accountability for your goals
Haven’t we all looked at pressure through a negative perspective?
We tend to think when our parents compared us to the neighbours’ kids, it was pressure; when we competed in a race, it was pressure, and there was always a pressure to do well in the society we live in, and it is not a lie. I feel you.
But, have you ever thought what if this very pressure, which stresses us out, could become the very cause of motivation if the dose is taken in the right amount?
On one hand, pressure makes us indulge in unpleasant acts, on the other hand this same pressure makes us motivated to do good deeds. Instead of thinking of pressure as a source of stress, only by changing our perspectives and little help from our family and peers a lot can be achieved.
No pressure, no diamonds.
For instance, tell your family about the new habit you wish you indulge yourself in, like letting go of your smoking habit. Keep your friends and family updated about your everyday routine. As you cannot up and quit smoking in one day, start by reducing the number of cigarettes you consume in a day. You will see that public accountability makes the process a lot easier.
3. Program your brain by visualizing your desired outcome
This is probably something we have not been taught.
As children, we often dreamt of our future, impossible dreams, of superpowers, of us saving the world and what not. And what happened next? We were shunned from dreaming anymore. Our dreams became limited to the visions our subconscious made when we dozed off.
Bring those days of daydreaming back, because visualizing ourselves getting what we dream of getting, will actually bring us steps closer to actually achieving them in reality!
A dream is a wish your heart makes.
Namely, there are four main ways how visualizing your dreams coming true will impact your motivation.
1. Activating your subconscious mind which will lead on to making your mind more creative. This will help by enabling the creative side of your brain to envision you finally achieving your goal, in more than one, plain and simple way.
2. It makes your grey matter more efficient at recognizing the sources which will be of help to you in attainment of your goals, and which won’t. This way you can remain away from the things which lead you away from your goal.
3. It confuses our brain (in a good way, of course) by making it believe that our dreams are the real deal and, thus, motivating us to move towards our dreams. This works in the ways that the neurons, which make up our brain, get excited by the vision we see. Because this excitation very closely resembles the excitation received during a real-life event, the neurons are made to believe that our dreams are the reality. This is how our psyche makes us motivated.
4. Because your brain is more efficient in recognizing the resources which are of help to you, it now starts building up a law which will make you work in ways that get you closer to the people and things necessary for you to move up the ladder of growth.
All the great women and men of our society, have achieved what they wished for because they had a dream.
As long as you dare to dream, dare to visualize and dare to be determined, you will be moving closer to reaching your goal.
4. Commit donating to a charity you hate (if you fail to pursue your goal).
An effective way to stay motivated is to give your earnings away - not the needy, but to the charity to which you would otherwise not donate a penny.
How does it help you? Well, the idea is plain and simple.
Studies suggest that we would rather not gain anything out of an event than lose something we have.
Using this very law, they have devised that if we really want to stick to our goals, and stay motivated, we can start by donating to the charities which are completely against our beliefs and morals.
This will motivate you to stick to your goals in order to avoid giving away your earnings. It is like punishing yourself from going astray. But remember, the charity must be something you truly despise. There should be no good which comes out of it.
If somehow, this practice does not do the trick for you, try: Burn or Burn.
This one is quite painful. And it involves your money… again.
For this you will need 3 things:
1. An aim.
2. A calendar
3. $100 bill. Or any other amount which is too painful for you to lose.
When you have found an aim, make a detailed plan to achieve it. Mark the important days on the calendar, and clip the $100 bill on the calendar. The trick here is, when you feel like skipping a day of your routine, you have to burn the dollar bill.
You realise it’s too high an amount to lose. Also, it is government property so burning it might get you into trouble. So, you might as well head back to your regime.
The Aherk app is another type of a system which will help you stay motivated.
The Aherk app is the ultimate way to make yourself follow your routine and stay true to your regime. Why? This app will post an embarrassing picture (uploaded on the site by you) to your social profile.
Another way to manage it is the 21 day app, if blackmailing yourself isn’t the way you like to work.
While the 21-day app lets you keep a track of your routine by making short-time resolutions and fulfilling them, You need to set up a plan or a routine for yourself, check-in on the website and give the updates and reward yourself upon fulfilment of each task.
Why does this work? Because you are answerable to someone (here, the app), it acts as a form of a (good) pressure to stay up-to-date.
Stick around longer on the journey to your goal with visual cues.
According to a study, there has been plenty of proof to suggest a positive correlation between staying motivated and the impact of visual cues.
Why do visual cues work? It is because they show us regular updates on our behaviors.
For example, consider you are planning to learn to play the guitar. Making a progressive chart or a graph which displays your progress by the days will make you more motivated. Graphs, pictures, charts et al. attracts our attention and keeps us focused by helping our neurons to make the necessary connections with the task at hand.
Colors are attractive to our minds; which is why research suggests that the more cheerful your plan or bullet points look, the better impact they will have on our minds. This is the reason why sticky notes are colorful.
Mapping your ideas and plans for the future will give your brain a clear image of what is expected to be done, what is required and how to move ahead in that direction.
5. Get a friend along to share your journey
Although a workout buddy has been populated to achieve fitness goals, the strategy is effective for other goals as well. Not only is having your buddy with you is fun, it is also beneficial to you in many ways.
A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles.
It was found in a healthy lifestyle study that if people were prompted even by an electronic reminder to go to the gym, the likelihood of them going to the gym regularly would significantly increase.
If an electronic call or message could illicit such a response in one’s behavior and motivate them, image what a LIVING person can do, especially if you like the person!
Having a person with you makes you obligated to them. Hence, it has an effect on how you do things.
Psychologists even say that a partner like a workout buddy actually works like a healthy competition, but you both need to be at the same level. Teaming up with someone who is at a higher level may even have a negative impact, like making you inclined to work harder than you actually can, in order to stay at par with them.
6. Let go of your goals. Create Systems.
A new approach to staying true to your goals is what you need because the tried-and-tested old ways are too mainstream.
Consider this: If you knew the benefits of reading every day, then don’t you think you would be more inclined to read every day?
People who are informed about something, or have knowledge about it, are more likely to invest their time on it and that, too, more willingly as compared to those who only set up a target without deeper investigation.
A good system shortens the road to the goal.
Still not clear? Read this: If you want to improve your imagination, you may turn to getting into the habit of reading. Your goal becomes to read 3 books in a week. But, what happens after you have achieved your goal?
Most often, what happens is that after working hard tediously, we give up. Why? Because instead of focusing on improving your imagination you are harming yourself by taking more on your plate than you can take. Soon enough, you start associating reading to a tedious task which can be avoided until the last moment.
After reaching the place where you wish to be, you become lesser and lesser motivated to better yourself at it. You think of it as an accomplished task.
Instead of making a goal of reading 3 books a week, make a system which helps you stay on a path which is actually helpful to you. Read for as long as you really want to, and read as many books as you can read comfortably. While doing this, learn the various ways of improving your imagination and putting lesser pressure on yourself.
A system will aid by making you more knowledgeable, making you focus more on how to achieve your target, while setting up a goal will only make you motivated to attain a set target. Because you get engrossed into your plan, you become motivated to repeat the behavior over and over.
The baseline remains as this: your journey should be enjoyable.
No matter what you choose to do, you should be comfortable doing it. Life is anyway too short to do things half-heartedly. Be it writing, be it singing, be it painting or be it dancing- do it because you love to.
You now know the 7 unconventional ways of keeping yourself motivated, then why not start now?
There is no better time than the present.