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Tips on Self-Motivation

Ever since sleeping late and working in your PJs has become the norm instead of the exception, mastering the art of self-motivation has never been more crucial. Without certain parameters, a freestyle life can seem open-ended; minutes, hours, and days, bleed into one another like a watercolor canvas. Along with career efficiency, maintaining a delicate balance of daily activities that keep your spirits up is a must. When it comes to keeping yourself on track, there's not one quick fix, because the roots of motivation are personal, entangled within your thoughts, feelings, and emotions.


Figure Out What Drives You

Often motivation stems from two places: inside or out. The kind that comes from your inner desires, is known as “intrinsic.” And the other type that's external, is known as “extrinsic.” With intrinsic motivation, you enjoy the journey so much that it alone keeps you engaged. Think of painting, dance, acting, poetry, or anything arts related. In contrast, extrinsic wants are about attaining something outside yourself, focused on the end result, such as a goal or reward; that doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy the process, but your driving force stems from what you'll achieve once a certain action is complete. For instance, if you run a marathon because you love running, and the sweet adrenaline rush you get from it, then your motivation is intrinsic. On the other hand, if you dream of reaching the finish line, and seeing your friends cheering you on from the sidelines, then your determination is extrinsic.


It helps to deepen your awareness of what's behind your actions to gain insight on how to self-motivate. According to Licensed Psychotherapist and Certified Relationship Coach, Babita Spinelli, motivation works when, “you utilize conscious or unconscious interventions to shift your emotional states to make what you want happen.” 


Strengthen Motivation With Meditation

“When you meditate, areas of your brain start to slow down, reduce stress and help you relax which creates the ability to focus or concentrate,” says Spinelli.  And this kind of increased focus links to the ability to get things done, and self-motivation. “Using a guided meditation on productivity or motivation are powerful focused techniques that can be applied to help self-motivate,” adds Spinelli. A nice option is listening to Declutter the Mind for Focus or a meditation of your choosing.


Create A Joyful Environment

It may seem overly simple but bringing pleasure into your actions is a game-changer. “Self-motivation can thrive when we derive satisfaction from the actual process of attaining our objective and not just achieving the objective itself,” says Spinelli. Since intrinsic motivation implies enjoying the journey itself, it's logical that if you can manage to find a way to love the task even more, it helps intensify your driving force. Interestingly though, even externally driven actions can benefit from bumping up the pleasure quotient.


So when deciding what you'd like to do, consciously weave into your actions/goals ways to keep it interesting. It's too common, when working at home, to forget to schedule downtime, which is never a good idea. Be mindful of emotional and physical self-care. And avoid burnout by taking regular breaks, vary your routine, and incorporate a sense of play whenever possible.


Honor Your Emotions

Your feelings can cause you to put up internal roadblocks, getting in the way of moving forward. “Emotions influence your outlook on life and the ones which can impede self-motivation are anger, fear, guilt, shame, and sadness,” says Spinelli. So when you're swept up in an emotional storm, how can you get back on track? Spinelli suggests, “Working through the emotions by acknowledging them.” Look at them as objectively as possible. Similar to watching your thoughts in meditation, try to detach, and understand what surfaces. Think about “the how and why, and process it,” Spinelli says, adding that it's important to couple that new understanding with, “taking actions to work through them in a healthy way.” Never push your feelings aside. Gauge what you need at any given moment. Spinelli says, “Self-regulation, coping techniques such as self-compassion, and reaching out to a friend,” can go a long way to help keep you motivated.


Instead of Goal Setting, Motivate Gradually

Once you examine any potential setbacks,“It is key to identify your goal, and then work backwards,” According to Dr. Alexandra Stockwell MD, Relationship and Intimacy Expert and bestselling author of Uncompromising Intimacy. There are various ways to do this. You can write your goal down, and list the logical steps. Then below, detail would likely need to happen to reach the end. Turn the paper upside down, and you know where to begin, and the natural upward path. A method Dr. Stockwell suggests, “For example, if you want to lose 50 lbs, just focus on losing the first 3 or 5 lbs. Once you have done so focus on losing the next 5 lbs. Because losing 5 lbs is doable whereas focusing on a goal of 50 lbs quickly becomes overwhelming.”


Why wait to be happy? Celebrating the little wins along the way matters more than you may realize. Instead of trudging along hoping for an end result to eventually materialize, noticing and feeling good about the moments/steps along the way helps generate positive feelings, and propels action. According to Dr. Stockwell, “It is common to think a small goal is meaningless, but remember, accomplishing a tiny goal every day will get you a lot farther than focusing on a big goal and not taking action.”


Drawn Inspiration From Friends

Look around you... Who are your closest friends? How do they make you feel? Are you energized or emotionally zapped? According to Dr. Stockwell, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” Examine your circle of friends… When was the last time you made a new pal? Who do you call or text when you need reassurance or inspiration to keep going? “If you choose friends who are the way you want to be, they are going to reinforce your motivation in all kinds of helpful ways. This means it matters who your friends are, because this can also lead in the direction of negative reinforcement.” So take stock of your social relationships, and be aware of how different people affect your energy. Your friendships are crucial when it comes to motivation. Set limitations on draining friendships. And align with positive souls who reinforce your actions.




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