Updated: Mar 5
Now Easter is over, how many of you out there are beginning to feel like the honeymoon period of lock down is well and truly over and now have to motivate themselves into actually getting things done and establishing some sort of routine?
The novelty of watching endless box sets, getting to the next level of the latest game on your phone and raiding the fridge every hour can’t go on – can it? A massive amount of people are embracing social isolation. We see them on social media doing amazing activities with the kids every week and accomplishing tasks they’ve wanted to for ages. I applaud them wholeheartedly, but what if you are struggling with getting things done, when the world (apart from those marvelous healthcare and key workers out there👏👏👏) seems to be on a go slow?
Truth is, it’s much easier to think of things you want to do than actually achieving them. It all comes down to motivation, and I’ll be honest: I have really been struggling in that department lately. It’s so much easier to sit back and think about all the things we’re going to do… eventually. Procrastination has very much been my middle name lately.
So, with this very clearly on my mind and with the bank holiday weekend coming to an end, a sort of deadline to get things moving for me, I decided to kill two birds with one stone (write a blog and get motivated!) by finding some expert tips on how to make achieving goals easier and more enjoyable.
From embracing failure to being kinder to ourselves, these tips will hopefully help to reduce any unnecessary pressure we put on ourselves and we can go on to embrace this next stage of social isolation.
1. Evaluate the why.
Look at the tasks in hand and figure out why you want to achieve them. Write down a few reasons you want to for example, get fit or whatever your goal is.
This might sound obvious, naming real things you want — like getting to the third floor without getting out of breath or sleeping better — will make it easier to track your progress and stay motivated, rather than aiming for an open-ended goal like “get healthy.”
Not all tasks are as life altering as getting fit or losing weight and it’s often the boring tasks that get put off. Evaluating the why of a task, especially the dull ones, doesn’t make them any more attractive or achievable but by asking yourself why you are bothering in the first place will make it more doable. If you can’t work out why, then there’s a good chance you shouldn’t bother with it in the first place.
2. Examine your excuses.
What is keeping you from your goal? Don’t let the excuses continue without evaluating them and removing the problem.
Are you unmotivated because you feel overwhelmed, tired, afraid, bored, restless or angry? Maybe it is because you aren’t sure you have the time or skills?
3. Find the right environment.
Fighting for space and resources with the rest of the family could be stopping you from completing your tasks. Setting up a rota system may help. Perhaps where you usually work is not available to you at the moment.
Was the coffee shop one of the places where you were really productive? Studies have shown that when we’re a little bit distracted by background noise; it may enhance our creative cognition. If this is the case, you can go to the Coffivity website and listen to ambient background noises of a coffee shop (espresso not included).
4. Start small.
Start working for five minutes. Often that little push will be enough to get you going. You could also set a timer for 30 minutes and do whatever it is you’re avoiding, full throttle. No matter what, keep plugging away at that task.
When the timer goes off, take a 10-minute break and do whatever the heck you want. We don’t care, just make it a treat. Then, when those 10 minutes are up, get back at it.
Keep working away for 30 minutes on then 10 minutes off, until you get what you wanted to do done.
5. Involve others in your goals.
Find someone who will motivate you when you’re feeling lazy. It’s much easier to procrastinate and put off your work when no one’s holding you to account – so recruit a friend or colleague to check in on you from time to time. It’s also a lot more fun.
It’s far more rewarding to celebrate your success with a friend and much less daunting.
6. Move Around.
Get your body moving as you would if you were extremely motivated to do something. This ‘faking it’ approach to motivation may seem silly or crude but it works. Listening to my favourite upbeat music really does this for me, especially if I have a little dance too. Apparently one of the most underrated motivational tricks is to simply take a walk. Need some convincing? A 2017 study found that a brief walk up the stairs was more energizing than 50 milligrams of caffeine.
7. Reward yourself.
Celebrating every win. Every time you hit an important milestone or take the next step towards your goal reward yourself. It will help to keep you feeling motivated and inspired in your journey.
8. Embrace failure
It’s vital to accept that sometimes things won’t always go right – but that doesn’t mean you should give up. It’s normal for things to sometimes not to go to plan and vital to accept this as part of the process.
9. Be kind to yourself.
Having self-compassion is one of the most important skills we can develop for our mental health, and it can also help us to stay motivated. After all, beating yourself up about the smallest of mistakes or setbacks isn’t the way to make yourself feel good about the direction you’re heading in.
Good luck with your motivation levels…I have to say I am raring to go. But first, now I’ve completed a task - a little reward for myself! 😉