Feeling motivated to work on your goals can be a daily struggle. The idea of just popping out of bed ready to accomplish every task on your to-do list can seem like an out of reach fantasy.
However, with the right strategies, it’s entirely possible to start each day with a sense of purpose and enthusiasm that allows you do exactly what you need to do that day.
This article will teach you habits you can adopt to help you wake up feeling motivated and ready to conquer the day ahead.
What You Need to Know About Motivation and Willpower
Before diving into practical habits that will help you wake up motivated every morning, it’s important to understand the dynamics of motivation and willpower.
Motivation is the driving force that fuels your actions, it’s your reason for pursuing an outcome.
Willpower is the mental muscle that helps you resist the temptation of short term gratification—like the pleasure of eating take out instead of cooking a healthy meal at home—and stay committed to your goals. Here are a few key points to keep in mind:
- Motivation Fluctuates: It’s natural for motivation to ebb and flow. Some days, you’ll be brimming with enthusiasm, while other days, it may seem in short supply. Recognizing this variability can help you manage your expectations and develop strategies to maintain motivation.
- Willpower Is a Finite Resource: Willpower, like a muscle, can be exhausted over the course of a day. This is why it’s essential to set up your environment and habits to support your motivation, as relying solely on willpower can lead to burnout. We’ll talk about that in this article.
- External and Internal Motivation: External motivation can come from rewards, recognition, or outside pressure, while internal motivation arises from personal values, passions, and a genuine desire to achieve your goals. Cultivating internal motivation can help sustain your drive in the long run.
Now, let’s explore these strategies to help you wake up motivated and ready to tackle the day.
Habits to Help You Wake Up Feeling Motivated
1. Prepare the Night Before
A successful morning begins the night before. Preparing for the next day can reduce stress, decrease decision fatigue, and set a positive tone for your morning because you’re prepared and you’ve got less to do.
If there is any part of your daily tasks or goals that you can prepare for the night before, make it a habit. Here are some ideas:
- Plan Your Outfit: Choose your outfit and accessories for the day. This eliminates the morning stress of deciding what to wear.
- Set Up Your Coffee or Tea: If you enjoy a morning beverage, prepare it the night before. This small ritual can be a pleasant way to start your day.
- Prepare Your Meals: Have a quick breakfast ready to go, and if you take your meals to work or school, prepare them the night before too. Even if you work from home it can be beneficial to have your meals already prepared for you on days when you know you’ll be busy.
- Organize Your Space: Declutter your workspace and living area. A tidy environment can promote a calm and focused mindset.
2. Set Clear, Achievable Goals for the Day Ahead
Sometimes the reason for an unproductive day is not having a plan. We might have many things we need to achieve, but without a system to organize those tasks it can feel jumbled or overwhelming.
Either make a to-do list the night before or first thing in the morning. Setting clear, achievable goals not only helps you stay organized but also provides a sense of purpose and motivation.
On the other hand, maybe you already have a list but there are so many things on it that you feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. In that case, break it down. Put 1-3 things that are most important at the top and don’t worry about the other tasks yet.
If you still feel overwhelmed, break each task down further, figure out what the first step is and then once you get started you’ll naturally create momentum that will carry you forward. When you get those top priority tasks done, move onto the next items.
When you know exactly what you need to do and how to start each task, you’ll wake up excited to work towards accomplishing those things instead of feeling confused or intimidated.
Here is a guide with more tips on how to make a smart to-do list.
3. Establish a Consistent Sleep Schedule
The foundation of a motivated morning begins the night before. Ensure you get a full night’s sleep by maintaining a regular sleep schedule.
Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day helps regulate your body’s internal clock and ensures you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day.
Here’s how to achieve this:
- Set a Bedtime: Determine a reasonable bedtime that allows for 7-9 hours of sleep. Stick to this schedule, even on weekends, to reinforce your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.
- Limit Screen Time Before Bed: The blue light from screens can disrupt your sleep. Avoid using electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime.
- Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine: Engage in calming activities like reading, meditation, stretching, or a warm bath to wind down before sleep.
- Block Out External Stimuli: Make sure there aren’t noises or lights that will keep you awake. Try putting on white noise or rain sounds to block noises from around your home. Cover up lights from electrons in the room. I once had a tv that had a light that turned on when the tv was off, I couldn’t sleep unless that light was covered.
4. Create a Morning Routine
A morning routine sets the tone for your day and can be a powerful way to start gaining momentum on your goals.
The right morning routine will look different for everyone. Some people can jump right into being productive, others need some time to wake up and ease into the day. Create a routine that suits your body’s rhythm.
You might be able to immediately start working on your most important task for the day and then slow down later in the morning, or you can take your time and warm up to be productive later. Make sure to include something in your morning that makes you feel good, it really helps to maintain motivation through the day.
Here are some ideas for an effective morning routine, use what works for you:
- Wake Up Early: Start your day early to have extra time for self-care and reflection.
- Exercise: Incorporate physical activity, even if it’s just a short workout or a brisk walk. Exercise releases endorphins, which can boost your mood and motivation.
- Mindfulness or Meditation: Spend a few minutes practicing mindfulness or meditation to clear your mind and set positive intentions for the day. Try my 6 minute morning meditation.
- Journal: Some people benefit from getting all their thoughts and feelings out first thing, here are some morning journal prompts.
- Gratitude: Start the day by thinking of 5-10 things you’re grateful for. It immediately puts you in a good mood and helps you feel more positive throughout the day.
- Drink 8 oz of Water: Give your body water first thing in the morning, before having any coffee.
- Healthy Breakfast: Fuel your body with a nutritious breakfast to kickstart your metabolism and provide sustained energy.
5. Adopt the Identity of Being a Motivated Person
Your self-identity plays a significant role in your motivation. What we believe about ourselves is a self-fulfilling prophecy, we will always unconsciously take action—or not take action—from how we identify ourselves.
If you’re always telling yourself that you’re tired, lazy, uninspired, unmotivated, etc then that is the only way you can behave. You can’t wake up feeling motivated until you adopt that mindset.
By adopting the identity of a motivated person, you condition your mind to stay inspired to take action. Here’s how:
- Create a New Story About Yourself: Look at how you think about yourself, do you identify as a motivated person? If not, it’s time to change your internal story. Get clear about how you’d like to behave from now on and start to think like that version of you—it takes practice and persistence so be patient!
- Positive Affirmations: Repeat positive affirmations that reinforce your identity as a motivated person everyday until it’s second nature. For example, “I am a motivated and driven individual,” “I always get things done,” or “I’m always ready to take action.”
- Surround Yourself with Motivated People: Associating with motivated individuals can be infectious. Their energy and dedication can inspire and motivate you.
- Celebrate Your Wins: Acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small. This reinforces your identity as a motivated and successful person because you have evidence of the times you took action and achieved your goals.
Affirmations are really my favorite way to adopt a new identity, so I have tons of free audios on Youtube that will help you rewire your mind. Listen to these success affirmations daily, they’ve made a huge difference for me.
6. Get Excited About Future Results
One of the most potent sources of motivation is the anticipation of future results. Keep your eye on the prize! What’s the payoff for accomplishing your goals? How will it benefit your life both short-term and long-term?
Maybe it’s as simple as peace of mind, or perhaps it’s a monetary gain. Whatever the reward, remind yourself that it will feel so good when you check that task off your to-do list or achieve your goal. Let that feeling excite you and drive you forward.
This is one of my favorite ways to feel motivated to work when I’d much rather rewatch another episode of The Great British Bake Off instead.
Create a vivid mental image of your successful future, visualize being on the other side of this goal and how proud you are. Let this reinforce your commitment and excitement.
It also helps to track your progress. Keep a journal or use a goal-tracking app to monitor your progress. In my Big Goal Action Planner printable workbook there is a chart you can fill in to visually track your progress. Seeing how far you’ve come can be a motivating reminder of your capabilities.
In conclusion, waking up motivated is an attainable goal with the right mindset and strategies. By preparing the night before, establishing a consistent sleep schedule, creating a morning routine, setting clear goals, adopting a motivated identity, and getting excited about future results, you can start each day with purpose and passion. Remember that motivation is a dynamic force, so be patient and kind to yourself on the journey towards a more motivated you.