10 Ways to Get Yourself Motivated for a Happier Life
Motivation we will define as the general desire or willingness of someone to do something or the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way. Procrastination, which is kind of the opposite of being motivated, is classified as a form of self-sabotage in psychology. As human beings we tend to push away uncomfortable situations, or we procrastinate because of the fear of doing something new or the fear of failing. Harvard University Psychology Professor Ron Siegel suggests that bringing optimism and fun back into the picture can help with motivation.
According to the research, motivation leads to happiness in life and understanding and developing your own motivation skill set can help you take control of many other aspects of your life. The benefits of being self-motivated include (summary list from multiple sources): higher self-esteem, higher confidence, more trust, strength for challenges, helps you overcome indecisiveness, helps you be more open and positive, helps you be more organized, helps promote good time management skills, and can help you get faster promotions at work. That all sounds good on paper.
If you have been following my blog then you realize that my intention is to help you get to a point where you LOVE YOUR LIFE. Most people are just not wildly in LOVE with LIFE. If you want to be self-motivated then you will have to be intentional about your life, your time, and what actions you are taking. Of course, you would not be motivated if you feel like you are on a treadmill or just meandering through life. Of course, you would not be motivated if you are feeling like you have no control over your life. Of course, you would not be motivated if you feel depressed or overwhelmed. (Sidebar: If you are experiencing depression, please see a licensed psychotherapist for help. Depression can be very serious.)
Just like taking a trip, you have to know where you are going. You have to know what your goal or goals are. As I discussed in the Creating a Road Map to a Life You Love post, you are going to have to do some work to get there. A Life that YOU LOVE is simply not going to magically appear one day. We call that magical thinking, and I don’t recommend it. Ever. Motivation is one of the cornerstones to success according to the research. But how do you get motivated? Well, it starts by getting clear on what you are out to accomplish. What lights you up? What is fun? What do you love. Once you have laid out a path, it’s much easier to muster up the motivation. Motivation, and especially the self-motivation aspect, is a skill or muscle like so many other attributes and skills that can be honed and practiced over time.
While I happen to be fairly strong in this area, this past weekend I bumped up against a lack of motivation, which is very unusual for me. As a result, I began considering and looking at why was I not doing what I had planned? What was holding me back? I had set up a reward for completing the project, yet even that was not providing the motivation called for.
As the all too familiar story goes, I had set aside or planned for X numbers of hours over a weekend to make a dent in a complex and large paper filing project. And the weekend flew by, as weekends often do, without one piece of paper being filed! It was really rather shocking for me. That’s not how things go for me once I set a goal. So, I thoughtfully considered the situation to determine why I was not being my word and getting the papers dealt with. Once I had done that there were a few significant reasons that were stopping me, and some changes would have to be made. This is the power of personal growth and development – to be able to distinguish or ascertain in any given moment what is going on internally and then make changes to keep moving forward. It’s extremely powerful to be able to engage in that kind of process for any area of your life.
While I have not included having a positive attitude in my list of 10 ways to get yourself motivated, that kind of goes without saying. The negative vs. positive attitude is the subject for an entirely separate post. Suffice to say for now, most things go better with a positive attitude. Nor have I included playing music that you love, or several other things in this list. This is just my own view of the top things that I have found increase self-motivation from my own life and from coaching individuals over the years.
So, as I contemplated why I was not doing the paper filing, it also became clear that I needed focused time – not time in between my social outings as I had originally set up. The papers carried with them some importance and keeping them or not keeping them was no small matter. This type of job requires brain power and focus, and the recognition of that meant scheduling a focused time for the job. That was both freeing and motivating. Using your emotions to bring motivation to the table is extremely powerful and effective, and I would suggest starting with this if you are looking for a boost in motivation even if it means dealing with a fear of some sort.
You absolutely can have a life that you LOVE. And to get there you will need self-motivation, to be intentional, to figure out what it is that you want. You can have lots of joy and happiness if you are willing to do the work to get there. For those of you who are new to this kind of purposeful, intentional, goal-oriented life, this might seem a bit over-the-top. It would probably feel extremely weird if you began implementing such new behaviors. Do it anyway! The likelihood that you are just going to “fall into” a life that you LOVE is so minuscule that it’s just not likely. So why not figure out what you want and go for it! I am here to love you through the process.
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