How Do I Motivate Myself?

by Alexia Camfield on April 23, 2015

How Do I Motivate Myself?

How Do I Motivate Myself?

One of the most common struggles I hear from my clients is regarding self-motivation. How often have you found yourself grappling with how to get yourself moving along the path towards accomplishing something that you have repeatedly identified as being something you want to make happen? I want to offer you some coaching ideas about how to end the madness!

To start, motivation is an inside job. External motivators can serve as behavioral rewards and influence our desire to behave in a certain way but true motivation comes from an internal source. Motivation is an energy we generate in how we choose to approach the pursuit of whatever it is we desire. This energy comes from how we are thinking and feeling as we consider bridging the gap between where we are and where we want to be.

I want to share some of the top motivation squashing themes I regularly hear my clients struggle with:

  1. Feeling overwhelmed. Thinking that the tasks required to achieve the results desired will be exhaustive and not enjoyable.
  2. Feeling discouraged. Reviewing past evidence in which they have had the same goals yet either not followed through or hit up against barriers ultimately not accomplishing their desired goal.
  3. Feeling defeated before even starting. The focus is on the size of the gap between the starting point (where they are now) and the desired end point.
  4. Feeling lost. “I don’t even know where to start.”
  5. Feeling inadequate. So often my clients compare their starting point to people they have identified who have accomplished or already made progress in the same endeavors.

Do you see a theme here? The feelings that kill motivation (overwhelmed, discouraged, defeated, lost, inadequate) are generated by the thoughts around the pursuit of what we want. So, the good news is, if we want to generate better feelings (motivational feelings) we just have to work on generating better thoughts. If you would like a refresher on the coaching model click here.

Some of the steps I encourage clients to take to create motivation for themselves include:

  1. Take a step back from pushing the process and look at what it is you are wanting to accomplish and why. What inspires you about this? Inspiration is the spark to any motivation. Identify as many things as you can that inspire you about what you are wanting to accomplish. Write these things down. Pen to paper. We make a different, stronger connection when we write that when we just allow thought to happen.
  2. Identify the thoughts and feelings that are killing your motivation. Review the coaching model and work on cleaning up any thinking that is not serving you. Take it even further by working on identifying thoughts that work to generate motivating feelings. (hint: you can’t get to the better thoughts without first cleaning up the oppositional ones)
  3. When you think you don’t know what to do, that is a lie, you do know what to do. Change your thinking. You do know what to do. That is one of the BEST pieces of coaching advice I could ever give you. Take action. Brainstorm a list of 10 things you can do to start. 10 ideas or actions that you could do. Don’t over think them. You don’t have to commit to them. Get a list going. Use this strategy over and over anytime you aren’t sure what to do. Pen to paper. Don’t stop until you get to 10. Even if you have 9 good ones. TEN.
  4. Pick one thing you can do today. Even if it is super, tiny. One thing you can commit to today. Pick 3 things you can do this week. You can pick more but highlight the THREE that you will commit to for this week. Schedule these on your calendar. Pen and paper. Any extras are an awesome bonus.
  5. Weekly pick a day and time you are going to devote to repeating this process. All of the steps above. This is your professional staff meeting with yourself about this important topic. If you are working with a coach or a therapist or have a friend who is an accountability partner it can be helpful to use them to feel accountable to the process. This can be a great use of external supports. I also want you to strengthen your internal supports and a weekly me myself and I meeting needs to be on your calendar for the rest of your life. It is one of my favorite times of the week. I like to meet with myself on Fridays as it gets me excited about the week to come and frees me up to enjoy some play time over the weekend.
  6. Create visual cues. Write yourself little notes or place pictures or quotes in places that remind you of the specific goal you are working on. Put a sticky note in your day book or in your car or create a screen saver that helps to spark the reminder of what inspires you to have this goal in your life.
  7. Finally, record your progress and celebrate your victories. Compare yourself to yourself. Work to break through your own personal bests. Look to others for inspiration but avoid comparison. Expect that there will be setbacks. Know that there will always be another list of 10 things you can do to move forward. Know that even though others can help you with ideas for that list you yourself already know what to do to get started. It’s all about how and what you choose to think.

If you somehow are still stuck, don’t go it alone. Share your plight with a few people you trust and just be willing to hear any feedback they have. There is always a way to ignite your motivational resources. As always I am excited to hear about what you are working on in your lives. Email me!

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