So far, you have learned what motivation is and where it comes from, and you have learned what sort of things can deplete motivation and where to look for a never-ending source of power to strengthen your motivation. But what about actual tactics to combat laziness, forgetfulness or whatever the problem is that is causing your lack of motivation.
It is likely that you will be familiar with some of these tactics already. Most people that have made goals and failed at achieving them are familiar with the theory behind increasing motivation, even if they haven’t tried any of the exercises listed here.
Your first step is to write down what it is you want. If you don’t set an achievable, measurable goal, then all of the motivation in the world isn’t going to help you. Think of motivation like the gasoline you put in your car. You can fill your car up with gas; you can even run the engine and idle in your driveway, or make all your neighbors mad by revving the engine. But without a destination, you’re not going anywhere.
It is only when your car is full of gas, you have a destination in mind, and you have a roadmap to get there that exciting things begin to happen.
So, let’s go over some exercises to help you remind yourself of why you are putting in all of this hard work.
Exercise #1: The Photo
Suppose that you want to lose weight. You see yourself in the mirror every day; you get on the scale once a week, and you go grocery shopping a few times a month. Obviously, you know that a problem exists, but knowing about the problem doesn’t give you any excitement about doing what it takes to change it. Being able to look at the solution does.
Post a picture of yourself, or a picture of someone you want to look like if necessary, on your wall, refrigerator or door. Make it as big of a photograph as you possibly can and when you look at the photo every day, you will be motivated to make the changes. Even when you are feeling down, walking past this photo might be enough to get you excited again.
This doesn’t just work for weight loss either. If you want to be rich, post pictures of the yacht, airplane, sports car or whatever else you want. If you want to be famous, Photoshop a picture of yourself on a movie poster and hang it up.
Exercise #2: The Vlog
Starting a vlog can be a great way to stay motivated. You can either keep a vlog for yourself, or you can post it online. This method has three advantages over some of the other methods here, particularly if you post online, but it also has a downside.
Advantages of Vlogging
There are some serious advantages to going to the vlog route. First, you’ll have a record of all of your past accomplishments on video, and you can go back and look at them anytime. Again, with the weight loss example, suppose that you have lost 50 pounds, and you suddenly find yourself unmotivated to do it anymore. You could go back and look at all of the progress that you have made so far, and you might just get that motivation going again.
Another advantage of vlogging is that you are accountable to someone. In fact, if you publish on YouTube, and you get a following, you will be accountable to a whole bunch of people. You can create vlogs detailing your progress, and you will have more motivation to keep going because you know that you will be letting down your viewers if you mess up.
This is a great way to keep your motivation strong, but as mentioned, it does have a downside. If you do mess up, you are going to be embarrassed about it, and you are going to have to face all of those people. If it is a small error, this might not be such a big deal, but if it is a major screw-up, you are going to have to explain yourself to your viewers.
There is one more thing to consider when deciding whether or not to use this method. You will have a support network already in place, and your viewer comments and video responses may help keep you motivated when you need it the most.
Exercise #3: The Reminder Method
You could also do the reminder method, which is simply a way of keeping motivated about a project or goal by writing about it whenever you feel discouraged, or writing about it when you first make the goal so that you can read back and see what it is you wanted and why you are trying so hard to achieve it.
There are two methods to doing this, and either one is pretty effective. The first method is to keep a journal. Many people are already used to keeping a journal, so this method might work for the better because they will remember to read and update their journal. Keeping a journal is a good idea anyway because you can write down your thoughts, impressions, and feelings and when you make it through a particularly hard obstacle on your way to achieving your goal you can read the journal to get some motivation.
The other method is to start an online blog. This one also has an advantage – the same advantage that video blogging has – that you’ll be accountable to people if you use a blog to journal, and you get some followers. If this sounds appealing to you, all you need to do is sign up with one of the free blogging services or start your website and install Wordpress or some other content management system.
Exercise #4: Posting Results
There is nothing like a list of your past achievements so far to keep you motivated, and this particular method is effective because you are going to post your results somewhere visible. A whiteboard in your bedroom or study is perfect, but you can also print out your results on paper and post them somewhere you’ll see them.
You can use your refrigerator, the wall above your toilet, or even the ceiling if you can see them when you look up. No matter what your goal is you will be reaching little milestones on the way to it, and every time you reach one of those milestones you have created a track record that will keep you motivated from now on.
How you decide to post your results is up to you. If you are doing weight loss as a goal, you can create a chart where you write down your weight every week. If you are trying to become independently wealthy, you can write down milestones on the method that you are using to achieve that independence. No matter what your goal is, there is a way to post and track it somewhere on a wall where you are going to see it every day.
Exercise #5: Create a Routine
Creating a routine is also one of the best ways that can keep you motivated on your journey because the habits that you build will keep you going even when you don’t feel like it. Habits are hard to break as we found earlier in the example of the man who didn’t learn to brush his teeth. But the hard part is when you first begin because it does take some discipline to build a routine in the first place.
If you want to build a routine, it starts with setting daily goals. Figure out what you are going to do daily (in general, not specifically) and then make a time for you to do it. If you need to, make a schedule so that you’ll know where it fits in, or simply add it to your todo list. It takes approximately four weeks to develop a habit, so you’ll need to be strong during those four weeks. After that, you will have a much easier time staying motivated because you’ll be in the habit of working towards your goal.