Motivation is the driving force behind every accomplished goal; it’s what drives us to do what we do so that we progress.
There are times when we feel motivated to complete a task well, but there are also times when we just procrastinate.
How many times have you left an essay until hours before the deadline, or put off doing some other important job?
Did you regret it?
Perhaps you promised yourself that it would be the last time that would happen.
Then guess what?
You find yourself in the same position a short while later.
If this describes you, you’re certainly not alone.
It’s common to procrastinate and find lots of other “important” things to do so that the primary task takes a back seat.
And you’ve probably found that you’ve gotten away with leaving things until the last minute time after time.
So why change, right?
But you’re no doubt all too aware that the day will come when you won’t rise to the challenge.
It could be achieving less than adequate marks in your dissertation, performing poorly at work, or not reaching some other important life goal.
Why risk that when you could swing the odds of succeeding in your favor by adopting good habits?
You can use your time more effectively, reduce stress, and ultimately become your best self by simply mastering the art of motivation.
Here are five ways to motivate yourself to succeed.
1. Be Optimistic
Humans are creatures driven by emotions and it’s our mood that usually determines how productive we are.
When we feel bad we typically look for activities that are going to make us feel better in the short term.
And it’s this that distracts us from being productive in the present.
On the contrary, research shows that when we feel happy we are generally more productive and feel successful.
In fact, the military teaches recruits that optimism plays a fundamental part in developing a strong resilient mindset.
But how do you go about cultivating a positive attitude?
Well, the good news is it’s not as tough as you might think.
Here are five things you can do to become an optimist.
Challenge Negative Thoughts
Next time you start to have negative thoughts write them down and challenge them.
Determine whether there is any evidence to show that these thoughts are true or untrue.
Most of the time we accept our thoughts as facts, so by analyzing them you get a clearer picture of what’s really going on, and if you think that a negative self-belief is true, simply look at what you can do to change it.
Create a Gratitude List
This is a highly effective way to feel better about yourself because when you are feeling truly thankful for all the good things in your life, you won’t feel any other emotion besides gratitude at that present time.
Find a Role Model
Many highly successful people attribute part of their success to having a positive role model in their lives.
It doesn’t have to be someone you know personally.
It could be a celebrity, an athlete, a finance guru, anyone who you look up to and would like to emulate.
Improve Your Posture
How you carry yourself doesn’t just tell others how you feel; it tells your mind how you feel too!
The way you present yourself affects your mental state, so if you want to feel positive carry yourself better.
Envision What You Want
This is a powerful tool that can change your life.
Take ten minutes each day to visualize your best self.
How do you act?
What do you do differently?
What does a positive you look like?
If you hit any barriers when doing this exercise, that’s okay.
In fact, recognizing what’s getting in the way of the person you want to become is the first step to overcoming these obstacles.
While it’s true that not everyone is born an optimist, you have the potential to become an optimist by changing your thought processes and forming good habits.
2. Recognize Progress
Research from Harvard University shows that progress is key to keeping motivation levels high.
Teresa Amabile conducted research into motivation and found that nothing impacts motivation quite like progress in meaningful work.
So, if you want to feel motivated, recognize the progress that you make along the way to achieving your goal.
The best way to do this is to break your task down into a series of smaller tasks and as you complete each segment of the larger task recognize the progress you have made.
This should help to keep you motivated enough to complete your objective.
3. Reward Yourself
Most people are incentivized by rewards.
In fact, one study shows it accounts for up to 75 percent of personal motivation for completing a task at hand.
Researchers found that it is perceived self-interest that is the biggest determining factor in anticipating both satisfaction and dedication toward finishing a project.
Think about why you want to achieve a particular goal and note down your motives as this will reinforce your reasons for putting the work in.
And once you have accomplished what you set out to do give yourself a reward.
It doesn’t have to be extravagant.
It could be something as simple as allowing yourself to watch your favorite show on Netflix, going for a bike ride, or treating yourself to your favorite takeout.
Of course, for this approach to be effective you would have to be disciplined and not give yourself the reward until you have completed a goal.
4. Associate with Productive People
The Longevity Project studied over 1000 people throughout their lives and noted that the person we become is dependent on those we associate with.
This is what they said:
“The groups you associate with often determine the type of person you become. For people who want improved health, association with other healthy people is usually the strongest and most direct path to change.”
There is evidence to suggest that this also applies to many other areas of your life, so if you want to be motivated and productive, spend time with people who exhibit these qualities.
5. Improve Your Self Image
How we feel about ourselves typically affects our motivation levels.
When we feel bad about ourselves it is often a challenge to even complete basic tasks because we just aren’t feeling up to it.
This is why it’s important to improve your self-image because when your self-image is poor, you will feel bad about yourself most of the time and won’t have the motivation that is required to make progress.
If you have a negative self-image you can start to raise your self-esteem by following these steps:
A. Initially establish why you currently feel this way about yourself. Write down all the reasons.
B. Then challenge all of the reasons. Is there any truth to these beliefs or have you just accepted these views as truths?
C. Once you have done this some of the deeply held negative beliefs you have about yourself should be dispelled.
D. Next, write down all the things that you’re good at and also include what you like about yourself.
E. Use these positive statements to affirm your true worth and refer back to this list whenever you have a setback of some kind.
By implementing the necessary changes to boost your motivation, you’ll find that you use your time more productively.
You will also enjoy greater life satisfaction, you’ll have less stress, and you’ll be more likely to succeed.