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Looking for ways to increase motivation?
Motivation can have a major effect on our actions and behaviors which can affect how we go after our goals and how we live and work.
While we should not solely rely on motivation nor should it be our main focus, fortunately, there are ways we can increase our motivation.
If you’re feeling a lack of motivation, here are 15 ways you can increase your motivation. Boost your motivation with this list of tips.
1. Connect with your why
Your why is the foundation of your motivation. There are two types of motivation — intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is driven by your internal self while extrinsic motivation is driven by external factors such as your job, rewards, or your peers.
Research has found that you’re much more motivated when you’re driven by intrinsic motivation rather than extrinsic motivation. Connect with your ‘why’ for your goals and make sure that your ‘why’ is intrinsic instead of extrinsic.
If your why is not strong enough, your motivation will suffer.
2. Spend time in nature
Spending time in nature can not only give you a boost of motivation, but can also increase creativity and feelings of inspiration. Studies show that even just seeing the color green in your environment can boost your motivation.
Even just a walk in the neighborhood counts. When spending time in nature, avoid screens and distractions including music and podcasts. You want to practice solitude with your thoughts, especially for creativity.
3. Spent time in the community
Spending time in the community related to your goal or project can increase your motivation by seeing others motivated and excited. I became an avid reader this way. Seeing others excited about books and reading on Youtube, Instagram, and Goodreads made me excited about books and reading as well. Motivation can be contagious. Spending time in the community can also bring about a healthy competitive spirit.
When we’re involved in our community, we not only see others succeed around us, but we can also receive help and encouragement especially when things get tough or we feel stuck. This not only increases our motivation, but increases our chances of success!
You don’t have to be physically involved in your community either. Sometimes just listening to podcasts or watching videos can have the same effect.
4. Pay attention to progress and celebrate it
If you’re not measuring your progress, it’s going to be hard to see how far along you’re coming. Instead of just engaging in all-or-nothing thinking where you see yourself as either not having achieved your goal or having achieved your goal, see your success as incremental. Track and measure your progress and pay attention to it. Notice it.
When you notice progress and small wins, celebrate! Seriously. Celebrating your progress makes you feel successful and increases your motivation to keep going. Celebrating also helps with ingraining habits and can actually serve as the ‘reward’ part of the habit.
5. See results from others & seek inspiration
We’re not always going to naturally feel inspired or motivated, but we can always seek inspiration from others. If you have a goal, granted there’s someone out there that has achieved it and with the boundless information on the internet, it shouldn’t be hard to find many stories of success.
Even if we’ve already heard and seen about certain results, reminding ourselves of them by rereading or putting them in front of ourselves again can reignite the motivation we got when we first came across them.
6. Make it fun or make it a challenge
In his book Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely shares how he was able to create a habit of consistently self-mediating with a medicine that made him sick. Every time he would take his medication, he would put on a favorite movie. He was able to motivate himself to medicate when he paired it with something that he found fun — watching movies.
Making the tasks that you have to do fun in some way or making it a challenge can make you look forward to doing them.
Here are some ideas to make your tasks or projects fun:
- Listen to music
- Make it a social activity
- Gamify it
- Make it a challenge
- Combine it with another pleasant activity
7. Make it easier
Sometimes feeling like a task is too big, complicated, or difficult can make it seem daunting which decreases our motivation. Breaking down the task and making it easier increases motivation to the point where it’s hard not say no. You want to make it easy enough to that point.
This is also helpful when keeping up with habits. To keep up with habits when I’m not feeling it or feeling sick/tired, I have what I call a minimal effort habit in “replacement” of the habit.
For example, when I don’t feel like working out, I’ll do just one set. Some may consider this a waste, but it’s a powerful way to ingrain a lasting habit. Or if I’m not feeling so good, I’ll get ready, put on my workout clothes and shoes and that’s it.
8. Increase your skills
In his book So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Cal Newport found that people tended to feel more passionate and happy about their work when they increased their skills and expertise.
People naturally tend to enjoy that which they are good at. Being good at something can be a natural motivator. It also increases your confidence which also increases motivation.
Find out ways to increase your skills or knowledge to enjoy more of what you do.
9. Get creative with it
We tend to be more driven and motivated with a task and project when we have autonomy and can exercise creativity. If we’re just being told what to do without any creative direction or we’re doing tasks that
Brainstorm and find out ways you can practice creativity with your goals, tasks, or projects.
10. Connect with your future self
We tend to experience the cognitive bias called present bias which means we tend to see our future selves as complete and total strangers. This makes us favor ourselves in the moment and discount our future selves and how we will feel in the future.
Connecting with your future self can motivate you to do the hard things now to take care of your future self and make life easier for yourself in the future. It can increase your motivation by making you want to look out for future you.
11. Manage your energy
Motivation is fickle meaning that it varies from time to time and depends on many different factors. Our energy is an important factor for motivation in the moment. Luckily we can influence our energy levels by taking care of ourselves.
If you’re tired or hungry, you’re not going to feel very motivated. We sometimes tend to underestimate the importance of getting quality sleep and eating well and regularly. Make sure you’re prioritizing getting proper sleep and eating well.
12. Get emotional
Our emotions are a strong drive for our actions. We like to think we are creatures driven by logic and reason, but we are actually heavily driven by our emotions more so than we normally think.
The more emotionally connected to something we are, the stronger the connection and motivation. You can get emotional by connecting with your why and making sure that your why affects you emotionally. You can also practice thinking about how you will feel if you do or don’t accomplish your task, project, or goal.
Exercise can be a natural motivator. Your brain releases healthy chemicals as a result of exercise which can lead to increased levels of motivation. It’s considered to be a keystone habit in that it affects other areas of your life. It also increases energy and improves self-discipline. Studies have found people who make time for exercise are more productive than those who don’t.
You can combine exercise with spending time in nature and even spending time in the community for a triple boost of motivation.
14. Listen to music
Listening to music can give a quick boost of motivation if you listen to the right music. Music can have an incredible power to influence our moods and emotions.
Create a playlist or find a song that gets you motivated and listen to it when you need a quick boost.
My go-to song is Work by Britney Spears. I have my Alexa set up so if I say, “Alexa, motivate me,” that song plays.
You can even find motivation playlists made by others anywhere you listen to music.
15. Take care of your mental health
Happiness has a major effect on your motivation. One of the biggest symptoms of depression is a lack of motivation. Prioritize your mental health above everything else. Nothing is worth sacrificing your mental health for.
Take care of your mental health by surrounding yourself with supportive people and avoiding toxic people. Spend time with your loved ones and make time for activities and hobbies you enjoy. Pay attention to your beliefs and self-talk and evaluate whether or not they serve you. Practice being kind, patient, forgiving, and compassionate to yourself.