According to a number of psychologists, sustaining motivation requires three things: autonomy, competence and value. It’s important to feel like you’re in charge, it’s important that you do something that aligns with your personal values, and it’s important that you’re good at what you’re doing.
Taking these three factors into account, let’s look at seven ways to get off your butt and take action:
Set a Goal: The most basic and arguably the most important of all motivation tools. In 1979, interviewers asked graduates from Harvard about their written goals. The answer was that 84% had no goals at all, 13% had goals that weren’t written down, and 3% had clear goals with plans on how to accomplish them. Ten years later the interviewers asked these same graduates about their income. The 13% who had goals were earning twice as much as the 84% who had no goals, and the 3% were earning ten times as much as everyone else.
Exercise: The science is pretty flawless on this one. Exercising prevent sickness, improves your mood and boosts alertness and energy.
Banish Negative Thinking: As soon as you set a goal, no matter who you are or where you’re from, the very first obstacle you will likely face is yourself. You’ll immediately start to think of all the reasons why something won’t work or why you don’t have the skills to do something. It’s important to stay objective and realistic, but you must not allow irrational negative thinking to guide your actions. You are the captain of ship—and once you decide on a course, the waves of your mind’s negativity should not have the power to interfere.
Get Rid of Naysayers: Making sure your mind does not interfere with your plans is difficult enough, but one of the worst things you can have in your life is people who keep telling you why you can’t do this or why you can’t do that. These people are toxic and are stopping you from achieving your full potential. If they can’t be reasoned with, then you must let them go and make room for positive people who want to see you achieve your dreams.
Get Good: The better you are at something, the more likely you are to want to keep doing it. Instead of trying to reach your goal in a straight line, consider a more training based approach where you do things that will, over time, increase your skills.
Think of the Benefits: Usually when you’re trying to accomplish something, you do so because there’s an end goal in mind. This end goal should be at the forefront of your mind at all times. You probably started working towards your goal in the first place because you wanted the benefits that come with achieving it. Thinking of it will keep you motivated.
Public Commitment: This one doesn’t work for everyone, but when it works, it really works. By making your goals public, you create consequences. Should you fail to achieve your goal, you will be disappointing your friends and family. For a lot of people, this kind of motivation is enough to get them through the day.
Tiago Marcelo teaches English in three languages on his website and always enjoys writing about personal development. He thanks you for reading his article.