How do I independently motivate myself?
Last Updated: 03/31/2021 at 5:16pm
Stacey Kiger, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor
My belief is that therapy is not about giving advice, but joining you on your journey
Top Rated Answers
Everybody has a different way they get motivated. And to find a way that works for you, we need to look a bit into various aspects of motivation. There is intrinsic (the one where you are motivated because you are interested or enjoy doing something) and extrinsic (the one where you are motivated with something outside your interests as some kind of award (money, compliments from others, etc.) or expectations of society and other). It would be great that we all have intrinsic motivation without the need for outside awards, but let's be real, most of the things we have to do aren't that enjoyable and intersting. So for the beginning of the motivational process, I'd recommend experimenting with various external factors to find what award system is suited to you. For example, if you struggle with motivation for studying some experts recommend making studying fun (e.g. making a song out of the material you need to learn) or rewarding yourself with something sweet after you finish let say 50 pages. If you have no idea what rewards to use, try getting to know the topic a bit more, and also it is possible to google "how to motivate myself to ___"
Sometimes I find it very hard to start something. I basically trick myself to start "playing around" with it. So, if I have a big writing project, I'll take a piece of paper and create some "bubbles" of ideas. Or if I have a creative project I'll look at some books that might be inspiring. I then find that I keep going. Launching right into the meat of things can be too intimidating. As a creative, breaking things down into little pieces doesn't always work either (though it's a good practice). I find just saying to myself, well, give it a go for a few minutes helps.
I personally always found it tricky to find motivation by myself. I always relied on others to make me feel like whatever I'm doing is truly worth doing. Community does indeed seem to hold a very important role when it comes to motivation. I have tried a multitude of tricks to get myself into the habit of being productive or consistent when it comes to my goals and some of them worked for a while, not many worked for long. After all, trying to employ your motivation in order to generate motivation is like trying to get a knife to cut its own blade. If you lack the motivation to do something, no amount of force will change that fact. That said, I believe there's two distinct ways in which one may motivate themselves, based on what they expect to get out of it: Extrinsically: If you feel you need motivation to fulfill a task because it is necessary rather than enjoyable, what worked for me most was splitting the task in small, bearable daily chunks and then gradually increasing them until I reached a performance I was satisfied with. I believe consistency is the most helpful tool here. Intrinsically: This is a bit more tricky. Trying to motivate yourself to do something you feel like you should be enjoying already sounds like a suspicious endeavour to begin with. I believe the key lies in moderation here. If you truly enjoy the activity, it's best to trust your body to tell you when the proper time for the activity is rather than attempt to compulsively force yourself towards it, that will ultimately just spoil the enjoyment of the activity altogether. If still, you never end up feeling like engaging in the said activity, it may be better to drop it if it's not crucial you do it. After all, the whole point was to enjoy it, if you don't, there is no point. My key takeaway would be: When trying to achieve a higher goal, always split it up in bite-sized chunks and approach them kindly and consistently without overworking yourself. Listen to your body and trust its signals. Secondly, don't feel compelled to enjoy activities you may not really enjoy, that just leads to stress. Once again, trust what your body is telling you and learn to be kind with yourself, everything else should settle out in the meantime.
Motivating yourself can be hard, but here are a few, I hope, helpful suggestions. Listen to some music that's encouraging and got a little bit of a beat to it. Spend some time in nature to collect your thoughts. Settle and make yourself do something productive, even if you don't really feel like it. You'll often find once you start something and truly give it your all that you will feel way better. Also, set goals in your day. Have a routine and try to stick to it. If possible, take up exercising or try doing something you have always want to try. Just a few suggestions!
Motivation sometimes is useful...especially when it comes to things that you have to do, but you are bored of doing them. A kind of motivation is finding a person (you are obsessed with or you are really happy seeing them) and having them to do the thing you want to be motivated for. It works for many people. Though, you may try just setting one goal each time and having your life organised. Also you can try doing things with music, if is that possible. Last but not least, a way of motivating your self, is loving yourself. Those really help most people find their motivation. Have a lovely day!
One way to independently motivate oneself is to look for what it is that drives us, or think about the aspects of life that are interesting or important to us, and organize our actions around that. For instance, it can be very difficult to wake up and go to school or work in the morning, however, if we are going to school or work because of something that is important to us, it can be a lot easier, due to internal motivation. For example, it might be easier to want to wake up for school if you are going to school to become a doctor because you want to help people. Similarly, it might be easier to go to work if you are going to work to save up money to buy your dream car. When we are working towards something that is important to us, like a goal, we become more willing to endure in the name of that idea, because that idea is a form of internal, independent motivation.
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