Knowing you need to do a task but not having the motivation to start is a terrible feeling. We all want to be productive and accomplish our goals or check off our to-do lists, but sometimes the drive to take action just isn’t there. Taking the first step towards starting something can feel like climbing Mt Everest (you know, without the risk of dying).
So lets discuss how you can motivate yourself to take action and accomplish what needs to be done.
First, have a vision of what you want to achieve and write down the benefits it will bring. Then set a goal around your vision and create a system that will support the actions you need to take to achieve it. Finally, ditch your excuses and take action anyways.
Whether you need motivation to clean your house, lose weight, study for school, or change your life in some way the formula for motivating yourself is the same. Once you learn it, you can apply it to anything. Lets go into greater detail on how to be self-motivated.
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Why do you feel unmotivated?
It isn’t because you’re lazy or the task isn’t important, it’s just human nature. Even if something is easy to do, it’s also easy not to do so we just… don’t do it.
Also life is messy and complicated! We all have a million commitments and distractions to weave through, it’s easy to get sidetracked and tell yourself that you’ll do it later.
Conveniently you don’t see the consequences of your inaction, big or small, until that magical time of later. Only when later arrives it’s not so convenient, right?
The following motivation tips will help you get back on track.
How to Motivate Yourself to Take Action
1. Have a Vision
When you need to motivate yourself it can be really helpful to have a vision of who you want to be and what you want to have to help guide your actions. When I’m feeling kind of blah I go back to my vision and it helps me feel motivated again.
To access that vision sit in a quiet space, close your eyes, put your hand on your heart, and envision the best version of yourself or your life as if it’s the present. Where are you? Who are you with? What do you do each day that improves your life? How are you dressed? What does your home look like? Where have you traveled to?
I like to do this visualization at least once a week. You can also write this down and make a vision board. Find pictures that represent your goals whether it is a dream home, car, vacation, workspace, body, etc.
Maybe you don’t know exactly what you want to do, but I bet you know how you want to feel. You want to feel safe, happy, fulfilled, abundant, healthy, strong, loved, and like you’ve got something to live for.
If nothing else, your vision can be of you feeling those things.
2. Know Your Why
What is the purpose of doing the action you need or want to take? How will it help fulfill a goal, improve yourself, or make your life better? Is it aligned with the vision you have for your life?
Get really clear on why you need to take this action and write it down!
You need to write down your why because eventually you’re going to forget or make excuses and your motivation will go out the window. When that happens, and it always will because we’re human, remember your why.
When that time comes go back and read what you wrote. Get back in alignment with your goals, vision, and purpose and the motivation will come back.
By the way, your Why doesn’t always have to be deep. It can just be because it needs to be done so that you don’t go crazy or lose your job.
3. Set Goals
Now that you know your vision, it’s time to set some clear goals for yourself.
Sometimes we lose motivation because we don’t really know what we need to do. I know I spent so much time not taking action because I either didn’t know what I wanted or I didn’t know how to accomplish it.
Having a goal can inspire you to take action by giving you direction, but there are two important things to remember when setting goals.
The first is that you need to break them down into actionable daily or weekly steps. The second is that you need frequent reminders so that you don’t forget to take those actions. The next two steps will help with that, so we’ll talk about breaking down your goals here.
Let’s say you have a goal of buying a house. If you only write down “buy a house” in your journal or planner is that enough to help you achieve it? Of course not. There are many steps between your current state and buying that house and you have to know what they are before you can take them. So you would break it down into smaller steps like
- Decide what location you’d like to live in
- Determine your budget
- Figure out how much you need to save each month for a down payment
- Find a bank to get a loan from
Then, you would break those steps down further. Maybe have a research phase to gather information, then an action phase when your research is done.
When you know at least the initial steps to take it’s a lot easier to feel motivated to work towards a goal.
4. Build a Support System into Your Environment
In my last post I talked about how to achieve your goals by creating an environment that makes productive habits easier. The goal is to decrease friction between you and success by making your home a space that promotes good habits.
The awesome thing about habits is that they don’t rely on motivation.
When you create a habit that supports your goals, your desired behavior becomes automatic. You don’t have to try to talk yourself into taking action, you just do it without even thinking.
Want to drink more water? Keep a water bottle nearby so that when you see it you just take a drink. I have this gorgeous tumbler cup, I love drinking out of it.
Need a daily reminder to do a task? Print out a habit tracker & put it on your mirror or fridge so that it triggers the behavior when you see it.
Want to make working out easier? Set out your workout clothes and shoes the night before.
Turn your environment into a motivational ally.
5. Ditch Your Excuses
Take a close look at the reasons you tell yourself about why you can’t take action right now.
I’m too tired.
I don’t have the time.
I don’t know how.
I can’t do it.
It’s too hard.
Sound familiar? We all tell ourselves these things sometimes. You have to take an honest look at your excuses and see if they’re factual or just stories.
More often than not the truth is that we aren’t too tired (at least not for the fun stuff), we do have the time (to watch Netflix or scroll through social media), we can learn how to do the thing if we make the effort, and it’s not too hard if we break it down into smaller steps.
If you really don’t have the time, either make some sacrifices or decide if you really want this right now. If you don’t know how, learn or find someone who does. If it’s really too hard get some help. If you’re really too tired get more sleep.
If you don’t confront your excuses they will keep holding you back and I know you don’t want that.
6. Count Down From 5 and Do It Anyways
Sometimes you just have to suck it up and force yourself to move. In The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins she has a method where you count down from five and on one you move.
Five, four, three, two, TAKE ACTION!
So to make this a habit start with small tasks, like getting out of bed, doing your laundry, vacuuming the floor. Make acting on 1 instinctual so that when you use this method on important stuff it’ll be automatic and effective.
7. Work on Something Else
If you’ve been working really hard and you’re feeling worn down take a break! You don’t have to be productive all the time.
Find something fun to do, or engage in another hobby. Whether it’s reading a book, watching tv, drawing, knitting, working out, let your brain focus on something else for a while. Set a timer for 15-30 minutes on your phone, then come back and do what you need to do.
Related: 10 Things to do When You Feel Stuck
I hope you’ve learned some strategies here to help you motivate yourself to take action and achieve your goals when you’re feeling unmotivated! If you want similar content sent to your inbox once a week please subscribe below.
Love and light.