People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents. ~Andrew Carnegie
Regardless of your level of motivation, it is human nature to have days when you aren’t feeling very motivated. By surrounding yourself with positive and motivational things, those days will normally be few and far between.
However, if you find your lack of motivation lasting for more than a few days you may be on your way to a full-fledged motivation slump.
True motivation is an internal force.
Although motivation from other people can be helpful, reality is that you’re not always going to find the support and encouragement you need from other people when you need it.
It’s not necessarily that they don’t care, sometimes it’s simply that other people are caught up in their own lives at the moment and simply don’t realize you’re waiting for them to motivate you.
So if you find yourself waiting for someone else to encourage you, or kick your butt to get going … then maybe it’s time for you to kick your own butt a little and work on motivating yourself.
When You See a Slump Coming
- Recognize a slump for what it is: We are rarely immediately aware when a slump begins to set in. More likely we’ll chalk it up to the need for a break; telling ourselves we’ll get back on track after a break. Left unattended, some people won’t get back on track for days, weeks, months or even years in extreme cases. Recognize the slump for what it is—a momentary lag in your motivation—and take action accordingly.
- Look for new ways to do the same old things: Even the most important task on your list can get old if it involves doing the same thing day in and day out. Mixing up your schedule or trying a variety of ways to complete repetitive tasks will keep your brain engaged and interested and your motivation will continue to burn.
- Paint a clear picture for yourself of what life will be like if you never change: Sometimes pain is our motivator for change; for instance having to lose weight for health reasons. In this case, it may be helpful to create a trigger to remind yourself of the consequences of not staying on track with your goal to lose weight.
- Perfection doesn’t exist: Find the middle ground between perfection and just-good-enough. Motivation is almost impossible to maintain when we expect everything to be 100% perfect. Shoot for 80-90 percent and move on when you’ve hit it!
- Build your own small library of personal development tapes: Listen to motivational messages and personal development tapes while you are commuting, running errands, cleaning or exercising.
- Get the blood pumping: A little exercise, whether it is in the form of a weight-lifting session in the gym, or a leisurely walk will not only make you feel better physically, but the rush of endorphins will give you that little feel-good kick.
- Give yourself a pep talk: Set aside a minute every day to let positive energy flow; write down (or say aloud) everything that you like about yourself and your life, and use that minute to reaffirm why you want to meet your goals. You may feel silly at first, but it’s harder to feel unmotivated when you’re literally cheering yourself on!
- Surround yourself with success: Success stories can be great for lifting the spirit and re-engaging our motivation when it’s lagging. There’s also something quite profound about the effect motivational quotations can have on us – amazing what a mere string of words can do to touch our hearts and give us that extra bit of courage.
- Pat yourself on the back: Even if no one else knows about your accomplishments, they shouldn’t go unnoticed. Commemorate finishing a marathon by framing your bib or medal, or engrave the date of a huge accomplishment on a piece of jewelry. Not only does it feel good to celebrate the achievement, but it also serves as a visual reminder of your progress, which can help keep you pumped up on those less-than-motivated days.
- Challenge yourself. A little competition can be good for you! Join a challenge for that extra push you need to meet your goals, as well as the support from others who are going after the same goal.
- Considered creating your own mantra or adopting a theme song: Why not take your goal or goals, and turn them into your own personal mission statement—“I choose to spend more time with my children” or “I choose to take control of my time so I can start my own business”. Maybe you have a favorite song that when you hear it causes your spirit to soar.
- Monitor your progress: Keeping track of your progress on goals or whatever you are working toward achieving will not only help you stay motivated but will serve to alert you if you begin to fall into a slump.
Forced vs. Natural Motivation
There is a big difference between trying to force ourselves to do something and being self-motivated to do it as a result of wants and desires. Forcing yourself to do something, even when you realize it’s for your own good, locks you into struggle. It is like sitting in a car with one foot on the gas and the other foot on the breaks. It uses up a lot of energy and internal resources. It is pitting your willpower against the deeper motivations of your subconscious mind, and willpower can only take you so far.
If you find yourself a situation where you are feeling forced to accept or create change in some way, take responsibility for your own life experience by examining your real motivation. What behaviors, situations, or consequences are you avoiding and what do you need to do to be true to yourself?
Final thoughts on self-motivation …
Experts agree that self-motivation provides a sense of freedom when it comes to successfully navigating the paths we choose to take in life.
Think of all the brilliant examples you’ve read over the years of the successful and famous. Those people who went through the wringer of perspiration and effort, sparked by their inspiration, belief and vision that one day their idea, invention, book, whatever – could become a reality. Through all the trials and tribulations they kept faith with themselves. They maintained their self confidence. They utilized their positive mental attitude. They kept on going, when most would have walked away, and made their ‘little’ bit of history.
Self-motivation was the key.
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