5 Ways to Maintain Motivation for a More Productive Life

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Motivation – “That thing in the back of your mind that drives you, no matter what seems to be stacked against you.” This definition from Urban Dictionary I feel describes what motivation is quite nicely. It’s a driving force. It’s what causes us to get up and go for it. It’s what helps us to get things done. The main thing most people seem to struggle with in terms of motivation, is staying motivated. So how do we keep at it? How do we cultivate a lifestyle that allows motivation to be a large part of each day? Here are 5 ways that I have discovered and utilize in my life that do just that:
“Of course motivation is not permanent. But then, neither is bathing; but it is something you should do on a regular basis.” – Zig ZiglarRaising Positive Kids in a Negative World

Wake Up Early

If you follow my blog, by now you’re probably thinking “enough with the early riser stuff already!”. But honestly, I can’t promote this enough. Since I started waking up early, my days have become so much more productive! There’s simply no replacement for having time in the morning where your mind is at its peak and you can just sit quietly and plan the day. This allows you to stay motivated not only by having some quality peace of mind time, but by planning out your day, you can be sure to stay on track and accomplish what you want to each day with clarity.

Keep a Journal

Writing has been shown to promote mental health in a tremendous way by many studies such as this one: The effect of positive writing on emotional intelligence and life satisfaction. Many studies such as this have found that by simply writing positive thoughts and emotions down in a journal, you can improve your overall outlook on life substantially. These positive writings, which can be about your goals, positive things that have happened to you, or just positive thoughts or ideas you have, promote positive thinking in a large way. This in turn has the effect of keeping you motivated, as a happy you is a motivated you.

Surround Yourself With Positivity

Something that struck me as amazing as I was reading Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (I highly recommend reading this book which you can get here: Thinking, Fast and Slow), is that what we see has a “priming” affect on our minds. In one part of the book Kahneman discusses a study where by simply showing words related to old age, the test subjects would walk slower than another set of subjects not exposed to such words. It seems obvious right? If I read an article about drinking water for example, I’m going to subconsciously (and possibly consciously as well) want to go drink water. I may even feel thirsty after reading the article. So how can we relate this to motivation? If you surround yourself with positive, these positive things will act as “primers” that will in turn cause unconscious positive results. For example, if every day you wake up and read a little from a book about the amazing benefits of exercising in the morning, you will be more likely to begin the day following reading the book with some exercise. Or another example is: if you hang a positive themed poster above your workspace that says something simple such as “do good work” or “stay focused” you will tend to have consequent behaviors in line with these words.

Set Smaller Goals

Setting smaller goals is a much more useful strategy than simply having a large one. Now, am I saying that setting a goal of making $100,000 is bad because it’s a large goal? No, not at all. What I will say though is that by setting a goal such as this, you set yourself up for failure. Every day that you don’t have that $100,000 goal met, is a day you are failing. And while failure is often a great motivator, success is an even better one. So instead of sticking to one large goal (which is always a great thing to have to offer an overall direction to your life), set smaller goals that are in line with your large goal. For example: if your goal is to make $100,000, you might try setting a goal of making $1000 a week instead (still difficult I know 😛 ). By setting this much more attainable (yet not too easy and thus still challenging) goal, you allow yourself to have a chance of succeeding. At the end of the week that you make your desired $1000, you get a very large confidence boost which translates into a larger drive towards completing the goal again next week. Over time, in this way you can reach your larger goal, while having small successes along the way to stay motivated.

Don’t Overthink or Rely on Motivation

At the end of the day, there’s only so much we can do or think about to promote our own motivation. Motivation after all is a bit of an abstract concept as there’s no true absolute way to measure it. We simply say “I want to do this thing, therefore I am motivated to do this thing”, yet we know that somehow there’s more to it than that. We can be motivated to study even though we hate it, because the want to graduate college is so strong for example. We can also be hindered if we’re not careful, in that we’ll struggle to be “motivated” to do something and wait for that “motivation” to come, instead of just buckling down and completing the task. So at the end of the day, I recommend you focus more on getting the results you want in terms of lifestyle, happiness, productivity, and so on, and the motivation will surely follow 🙂
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