Lacking motivation is something that we have all experienced. Whether it’s struggling to attend exercise classes after work, or meeting up with friends at the weekend, motivation is paramount to our everyday lives. When we lack motivation, this can make daily routines difficult to maintain. Particularly in the current climate, maintaining motivation has become increasingly difficult when we have been told to stay at home.
We can attach our own personal meaning to the word motivation; Positive Psychology describes it as a “drive or a need”. We might describe it as a desire within us that makes us want to change. Motivation enables us to engage in problem-solving which can help us work out how we might be able to achieve our chosen goal. All of these reasons can give us direction and purpose. Ultimately, motivation comes down to wanting (Baumeister, 2016); we want to run that half-marathon, we want to join that art class or we want to get a new job.
Throughout this article, I will highlight various tips on how you can ground yourself when feeling out of control.
1. Choose your goal.
Having a goal is imperative when it comes to motivation. If you don’t have one, then what is keeping you going? What is it that you’re aiming towards? Once you have decided on your goal, write it down. Write it in a journal, stick it to your notice board or put it on your fridge. Keep reminding yourself of it to maintain your motivation. Think about your values when creating your goal; if you base it around your values then you are more likely to achieve it.
2. Publicise it.
When we discuss our goals with others, we feel more committed to achieve them. Thinking about our goal internally makes it more passive; we are more likely to change or dismiss it if we do not say it out loud. Posting it in a blog or on your Instagram page may increase motivation. Depending on your goal – setting up a fundraiser can be a great way to raise awareness and keep you on track.
3. Start small.
This advice is really important to remember. If your goal is to join a local yoga class, or art class, then start small. It can feel overwhelming to join a busy class with lots of people around, so take small steps. You could try a yoga session at home with a friend, or just familiarise yourself with the equipment you might need for the art class that you’re planning on joining. If you start small, then you are much more likely to achieve your ultimate goal. Achieving those smaller goals provide you with positive emotions which remind you why you are doing this in the first place.
Read books, magazines and blogs around your chosen goal. Surround yourself with things that get the creativity juices flowing. Choose environments that bring you positive emotions – these could be spending time outside, or visiting art exhibitions. Plan ahead to ensure that you are keeping yourself inspired; write it in your diary so it keeps you focused.
5. Reward yourself.
Achieving our goals can be hard work. If your goal is running a marathon, then ensuring that you reward yourself for your hard work is essential. Your reward would be personal to you – so that could be going for a weekly dinner with friends, or going for a spa day. Doing this also helps you recognise all of the achievements that you have made along the way, no matter how big or small. Rewards maintain your motivation. Mindfulness and meditation are also good ways of grounding yourself, and bringing yourself into the present moment.
6. Be kind to yourself.
It can be easy to get lost in your newfound goals, and the routines that they create. It can also be really easy to start having negative thoughts about yourself and your ability to achieve these goals. If you find any negative thoughts creeping in –challenge them. An idea is to put your thought in court- what is the evidence for and against this thought? Write the evidence down for both, and compare. Usually, people will find that there is not much evidence to support their negative thoughts. This highlights that it is actually our internal critic rather than judgement from others.
Remember, motivation will fluctuate throughout your life. It’s important to remember to be kind to yourself and reward yourself often. If you feel out of control, take stock of where you are and create realistic goals. Want to read more? You might like to read our article on 'Gratitude to change your attitude'.