“I just have way too much motivation. I don’t know what to do with it all!” said no one ever.
– by Melissa Wildt, MS, LMHC / Talkspace Therapist
Do you ever find yourself procrastinating and you’re not sure why? It’s absolutely true that the longer we put off doing something, the more stress it can cause us in the long run. Most of us know how this can feel, but not how using strategic motivation can help end this cycle of frustration.
“Motivation is ‘the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.'” [tweet this]
If you already know what you’d like to accomplish, the next step involves finding the drive to do it! Below are some of the tips I find to be really helpful, and hopefully so will you.
1. First, you should identify your goal.
Knowing what you want and why can be motivation in and of itself. Write down a list of all the reasons why your goal is particularly important to you. Review your list regularly, especially when you feel like slipping. And make sure your goal is SMART: Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Realistic. Timely.
2. Next, make an action plan to help you realize your goals.
Motivation can come from understanding how to attain your goal. More likely than not, you can break down your initial goal into smaller goals. Try using baby steps to help you get started, and take progressively larger steps as you get more comfortable adhering to your action plan. Doing this will make your goal seem a lot more manageable and by far less overwhelming.
3. Use extrinsic motivation…Treat yo’self!
Extrinsic motivation is just a fancy way of saying we’re motivated by factors outside of ourselves, such as money, good grades, losing weight, etc. Decide how to appropriately reward yourself for reaching certain milestones, such as receiving a good grade on a test or losing a few pounds.
This is a great way to positively reinforce your action plan, and an even greater way to justify treating yourself to a massage or a pair of new shoes. No matter how old you are, getting a reward is satisfying.
4. Evaluate your energy levels.
Your lack of motivation can have a lot to do with a lack of energy. Determine if any of the usual culprits are negatively affecting you: restless sleep, stress, poor diet, or even depression. Make sure you’re taking good care of yourself by getting enough sleep, eating a nutritious diet, and incorporating daily activities that manage stress. Also, make sure that your caffeine intake isn’t out of control!
5. Watch the excuses!
Motivation means not making excuses. Be brutally honest and ask yourself, “What is getting in the way of me reaching my goals?” Eliminate the negative factors. Negative thinking, for example, is a common barrier for someone working on reaching his or her goals. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy – so if you think you can’t reach your goal, you probably won’t.
6. Lastly, get some support!
Motivation is contagious. Whenever possible, try finding a group of other people that have the same or similar goals as you. Or, consider seeking out a therapist for additional support. Just like a personal trainer can help someone reach their physical goals, a therapist can help someone reach their emotional goals. Most importantly though, let your friends and family know about your goal – they will be your biggest supporters and can help keep you accountable for your progress.
Use these tips to find the motivation you need to complete the goals you have – and, of course, do your best to stick with it! Good luck!
We have all goals and dreams we wish to fulfill, and we all sometimes need an extra boost of motivation to make them a reality.
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