79 Practical Tools For Motivating Yourself

High motivation is a cornerstone of any successful life. It’s the psychological catalyst that energises, maintains and controls behaviour.

The direction and sense of purpose people gain from being motivated is what sustains them through challenges. When we keep our motivation high and eyes on the big picture, no problem is too large to overcome.

But how do you stay motivated? What can you do to light that fire when it’s missing?

There’s a whole host of techniques to try. We’ve compiled the best articles from around the internet for you. Apply the tools and get yourself motivated!

Suzanne Gerber, writing for Forbes, published this fantastic piece on staying motivated no matter what…

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How To Stay Motivated And Accomplish Anything

Sustaining motivation can be tough under the best of circumstances. So how can you stay motivated when your to-do list runs to four pages, you just got another rejection letter, your adult child announced his plans to move back home, the car and washing machine went on the fritz at the same time and you can’t find time in the day to work on your own personal projects?

We know those pop-psych directives to put a photo of you at your most fit on the fridge or write yourself a check for $1 million and tape it to your computer monitor or plaster your mirrors with affirmations, like “I attract my perfect soul mate.”

Motivation is not magic. It does not come in a bottle. There is no little blue pill for it. But it’s something you can tap into by design then harness. Every inspirational author, speaker and life coach has his own tips (and DVDs and seminars), but over my decades of observing super-successful, high-achieving people, I’ve come up with a list of seven things that are fundamental to sustaining motivation, whether you’re trying to finish a 10,000-piece jigsaw puzzle or climb Kilimanjaro.

Seven Steps to Staying Motivated:

1. Set a goal and visualize it down to the most minute detail. See it, feel it, hear the sounds that accompany the end result (wind rushing through your hair, applause). Elite athletes visualize their performance ahead of time — right down to the smell of the sweat dripping down their face as they cross the finish line.

2. Make a list of the reasons you want to accomplish the goal. In our busy, distracting world, it’s easy to get blown off course. This is why you need to ground yourself in your goal. For extra “success insurance,” write your list with a pen. Studies show that when we write by hand and connect the letters manually, we engage the brain more actively in the process. Because typing is an automatic function that involves merely selecting letters, there’s less of a mental connection.

3. Break the goal down into smaller pieces and set intermediary targets — and rewards. I’ve called this “chunking” long before there was a Wikipedia to explain that there are eight variations of the concept. To me it’s the best non-pharmaceutical antidote to ADHD. Tony Robbins, arguably the foremost motivational speaker and personal development coach, says: “A major source of stress in our lives comes from the feeling that we have an impossible number of things to do. If you take on a project and try to do the whole thing all at once, you’re going to be overwhelmed.”

Enter chunking. My system involves chipping away at a project. Break it down into the smallest realistic steps and only do one at a time. Neuroscience tells us that each small success triggers the brain’s reward center, releasing feel-good chemical dopamine. This helps focus our concentration and inspires us to take another similar step. Try this with your bête noire, whether organizing your papers and bills or setting out to find a new job.

4. Have a strategy, but be prepared to change course. Let Thomas Edison inspire you in this department: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up.” “The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

5. Get the help you need. It doesn’t necessarily take a village, but even if you could theoretically accomplish your objective alone, there’s inherent value in sharing your plan. It’s why people get married in front of witnesses. Announcing your intentions sends a strong message to the world and, more important, to your unconscious mind, which can sometimes sabotage our best efforts. Also, we often overestimate our abilities. The flip side is being highly selective about whom you tell and ask for help. It’s akin to the builder’s rule to always get “the right tool for the right job.”

6. Pre-determine how you will deal with flagging motivation. This is not defeatist thinking. On the contrary! It’s (almost) inevitable that at some point along the way, whether because of temporary setbacks or sheer exhaustion, you will need a little boost. When that happens, I think of what others have endured to reach their targets and to quash even the beginning of a pity party, I invoke the most hard-core endurance models I can think of: friends fighting serious diseases and Holocaust survivors.

Winston Churchill is particularly inspirational on this front. After London endured 57 consecutive bombings by the Germans during World War II (the Blitzkrieg), he was invited to address a group of students. In that speech, he uttered his immortal line “Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, give up.”

7. Continually check in with your reasons for carrying on. Despite his all-too-human flaws, Steve Jobs embodied this brilliantly. He once told an interviewer: “I think most people that are able to make a sustained contribution over time — rather than just a peak — are very internally driven. You have to be. Because, in the ebb and tide of people’s opinions and of fads, there are going to be times when you are criticized, and criticism’s very difficult. And so when you’re criticized, you learn to pull back a little and listen to your own drummer. And to some extent, that isolates you from the praise, if you eventually get it, too. The praise becomes a little less important to you and the criticism becomes a little less important to you, in the same measure. And you become more internally driven.”

See the Big Picture

There’s also a more meta, “Why are we here?” way to think about motivation. The great Jewish Rabbi Hillel (alive around the time of Jesus), famously said, “If not you, then who? If not now, when?” If you truly let those words sink in, it’s hard to be slacker.

But perhaps my favorite “put it all in perspective” commentary comes from the Dalai Lama. When asked what surprised him most about humanity, he answered, “Man.” Why?

“Because,” said His Holiness, “he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

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You can find the original article here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2013/07/19/how-to-stay-motivated-and-accomplish-anything/#228a4eb331a5

Psychologist and author Dr. Sherrie Bourg Carter takes a look at August Turak’s thoughts on finding inspiration in her short article titled, Three Strategies to Get (& Stay) Inspired…

Three Strategies To Get (& Stay) Inspired 

Inspiration actually emerges from the soil of action: perspiration is just the water that nourishes it. August Turak

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At first, this quote from Turak’s article, 3 Keys to Getting and Staying Inspired, may seem counterintuitive. People often think inspiration is what propels action; not the other way around. Not so, says Turak, a marketing consultant. If inspiration is what you’re seeking, he writes, it’s a mistake to sit around and wait for it to strike:

“Very few of us drag ourselves off the couch and off to the gym from inspiration. Instead it is that dissatisfaction dished out by that vaguely familiar reflection in the full-length mirror that usually does the trick. Early on, our gym experience is anything but inspirational as we battle sore muscles, lethargy, and our tendency to rationalize. But then one day someone comments on our progress, we are flooded with inspiration, and we redouble our efforts. Little by little, this self-reinforcing virtuous spiral of action leading to inspiration which in turn produces more action repeats itself until, mirabile dictu, we actually start looking forward to going to the gym.”

If you’re looking for a little inspiration, here are the three best ways to find it:

1. Act

Do something. Move. Act. React. But don’t sit still, thinking the inspiration will come. If your goal is to write a book, start writing. If it’s to get fit, start working out. Although inspiration does occasionally fall from the sky and into our heads, Turak notes, “Inspiration that doesn’t result from action quickly fades, and that is why inspirational speeches and seminars are so often belittled as a waste of money.”

2. Start Small

Most of us have become accustomed to getting what we want when we want it. When I was in graduate school and needed to write a paper, I had to go to the library—actually get up, get out, and drive to that physical location—search for relevant articles and research, make copies of what I needed, and write my paper. Today, within seconds, I can find hundreds of articles on point without ever leaving my chair. Turak says this cultural expectation of immediate gratification is, in part, what leads us to set goals that are too high, and therefore doomed to fail. Instead, he says, we need to take small steps toward an ultimate goal. He remembers that he used to be habitually late, until his mentor, Lou Mobley, the founder of the IBM Executive School, suggested that he commit to being on time for one appointment each day. Little by little, his timeliness inspired him to be on time more often. He’s now been habitually early for over 30 years.

3. Work with Others

It’s much easier to get and stay inspired when you’re working with others who have similar goals, or at least someone who is motivated to keep you on the right track. Working with others can also help you enjoy the experience more. It’s hard for most people to stay motivated for long periods of time all on their own. If you can, that’s great. But why not increase your odds of long-term success by hooking up with someone who is working toward a similar goal and who can reignite the fire when your flame starts to die down?

“Genius, they say, is 80% perspiration and 20% inspiration,” Turak writes. “While I like this aphorism, I would take it a step further. Perspiration and inspiration may seem like two distinct elements coexisting in the character of genius. But as counter-intuitive as it may sound, inspiration actually emerges from the soil of action: perspiration is just the water that nourishes it.”

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/high-octane-women/201201/three-strategies-get-and-stay-inspired

Leo Babauta, the ever insightful editor at ZenHabits.net, created this helpful list of tools to get you out of a slump and onto better things!

Get Off Your Butt: 16 Ways to Get Motivated When You’re in a Slump

Even the most motivated of us — you, me, Tony Robbins — can feel unmotivated at times. In fact, sometimes we get into such a slump that even thinking about making positive changes seems too difficult.

But it’s not hopeless: with some small steps, baby ones in fact, you can get started down the road to positive change.

Yes, I know, it seems impossible at times. You don’t feel like doing anything. I’ve been there, and in fact I still feel that way from time to time. You’re not alone. But I’ve learned a few ways to break out of a slump, and we’ll take a look at those today.

This post was inspired by reader Roy C. Carlson, who asked:

“I was wondering if you could do a piece on why it can be hard for someone to change direction and start taking control of their life. I have to say I’m in this boat and advice on getting out of my slump would be great.”

Roy is just one of many with a slump like that. Again, I feel that way sometimes myself, and in fact sometimes I struggle to motivate myself to exercise — and I’ll use that as an example of how to break out of the slump.

When I fall out of exercise, due to illness or injury or disruption from things going on in my life, it’s hard to get started again. I don’t even feel like thinking about it, sometimes. But I’ve always found a way to break out of that slump, and here are some things I’ve learned that have helped:

1. One Goal. Whenever I’ve been in a slump, I’ve discovered that it’s often because I have too much going on in my life. I’m trying to do too much. And it saps my energy and motivation. It’s probably the most common mistake that people make: they try to take on too much, try to accomplish too many goals at once. You cannot maintain energy and focus (the two most important things in accomplishing a goal) if you are trying to do two or more goals at once. It’s not possible — I’ve tried it many times. You have to choose one goal, for now, and focus on it completely. I know, that’s hard. Still, I speak from experience. You can always do your other goals when you’ve accomplished your One Goal.

2. Find inspiration. Inspiration, for me, comes from others who have achieved what I want to achieve, or who are currently doing it. I read other blogs, books, magazines. I Google my goal, and read success stories. Zen Habits is just one place for inspiration, not only from me but from many readers who have achieved amazing things.

3. Get excited. This sounds obvious, but most people don’t think about it much: if you want to break out of a slump, get yourself excited about a goal. But how can you do that when you don’t feel motivated? Well, it starts with inspiration from others (see above), but you have to take that excitement and build on it. For me, I’ve learned that by talking to my wife about it, and to others, and reading as much about it as possible, and visualizing what it would be like to be successful (seeing the benefits of the goal in my head), I get excited about a goal. Once I’ve done that, it’s just a matter of carrying that energy forward and keeping it going.

4. Build anticipation. This will sound hard, and many people will skip this tip. But it really works. It helped me quit smoking after many failed attempts. If you find inspiration and want to do a goal, don’t start right away. Many of us will get excited and want to start today. That’s a mistake. Set a date in the future — a week or two, or even a month — and make that your Start Date. Mark it on the calendar. Get excited about that date. Make it the most important date in your life. In the meantime, start writing out a plan. And do some of the steps below. Because by delaying your start, you are building anticipation, and increasing your focus and energy for your goal.

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5. Post your goal. Print out your goal in big words. Make your goal just a few words long, like a mantra (“Exercise 15 mins. Daily”), and post it up on your wall or refrigerator. Post it at home and work. Put it on your computer desktop. You want to have big reminders about your goal, to keep your focus and keep your excitement going. A picture of your goal (like a model with sexy abs, for example) also helps.

6. Commit publicly. None of us likes to look bad in front of others. We will go the extra mile to do something we’ve said publicly. For example, when I wanted to run my first marathon, I started writing a column about it in my local daily newspaper. The entire island of Guam (pop. 160K) knew about my goal. I couldn’t back down, and even though my motivation came and went, I stuck with it and completed it. Now, you don’t have to commit to your goal in your daily newspaper, but you can do it with friends and family and co-workers, and you can do it on your blog if you have one. And hold yourself accountable — don’t just commit once, but commit to giving progress updates to everyone every week or so.

7. Think about it daily. If you think about your goal every day, it is much more likely to become true. To this end, posting the goal on your wall or computer desktop (as mentioned above) helps a lot. Sending yourself daily reminders also helps. And if you can commit to doing one small thing to further your goal (even just 5 minutes) every single day, your goal will almost certainly come true.

8. Get support. It’s hard to accomplish something alone. When I decided to run my marathon, I had the help of friends and family, and I had a great running community on Guam who encouraged me at 5K races and did long runs with me. When I decided to quit smoking, I joined an online forum and that helped tremendously. And of course, my wife Eva helped every step of the way. I couldn’t have done these goals without her, or without the others who supported me. Find your support network, either in the real world or online, or both.

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9. Realize that there’s an ebb and flow. Motivation is not a constant thing that is always there for you. It comes and goes, and comes and goes again, like the tide. But realize that while it may go away, it doesn’t do so permanently. It will come back. Just stick it out and wait for that motivation to come back. In the meantime, read about your goal (see below), ask for help (see below), and do some of the other things listed here until your motivation comes back.

10. Stick with it. Whatever you do, don’t give up. Even if you aren’t feeling any motivation today, or this week, don’t give up. Again, that motivation will come back. Think of your goal as a long journey, and your slump is just a little bump in the road. You can’t give up with every little bump. Stay with it for the long term, ride out the ebbs and surf on the flows, and you’ll get there.

11. Start small. Really small. If you are having a hard time getting started, it may be because you’re thinking too big. If you want to exercise, for example, you may be thinking that you have to do these intense workouts 5 days a week. No — instead, do small, tiny, baby steps. Just do 2 minutes of exercise. I know, that sounds wimpy. But it works. Commit to 2 minutes of exercise for one week. You may want to do more, but just stick to 2 minutes. It’s so easy, you can’t fail. Do it at the same time, every day. Just some crunches, 2 pushups, and some jogging in place. Once you’ve done 2 minutes a day for a week, increase it to 5, and stick with that for a week. In a month, you’ll be doing 15-20. Want to wake up early? Don’t think about waking at 5 a.m. Instead, think about waking 10 minutes earlier for a week. That’s all. Once you’ve done that, wake 10 minutes earlier than that. Baby steps.

12. Build on small successes. Again, if you start small for a week, you’re going to be successful. You can’t fail if you start with something ridiculously easy. Who can’t exercise for 2 minutes? (If that’s you, I apologize.) And you’ll feel successful, and good about yourself. Take that successful feeling and build on it, with another baby step. Add 2-3 minutes to your exercise routine, for example. With each step (and each step should last about a week), you will feel even more successful. Make each step really, really small, and you won’t fail. After a couple of months, your tiny steps will add up to a lot of progress and a lot of success.

13. Read about it daily. When I lose motivation, I just read a book or blog about my goal. It inspires me and reinvigorates me. For some reason, reading helps motivate and focus you on whatever you’re reading about. So read about your goal every day, if you can, especially when you’re not feeling motivated.

14. Call for help when your motivation ebbs. Having trouble? Ask for help. Email me. Join an online forum. Get a partner to join you. Call your mom. It doesn’t matter who, just tell them your problems, and talking about it will help. Ask them for advice. Ask them to help you overcome your slump. It works.

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15. Think about the benefits, not the difficulties. One common problem is that we think about how hard something is. Exercise sounds so hard! Just thinking about it makes you tired. But instead of thinking about how hard something is, think about what you will get out of it. For example, instead of thinking about how tiring exercise can be, focus on how good you’ll feel when you’re done, and how you’ll be healthier and slimmer over the long run. The benefits of something will help energize you.

16. Squash negative thoughts; replace them with positive ones. Along those lines, it’s important to start monitoring your thoughts. Recognize negative self-talk, which is really what’s causing your slump. Just spend a few days becoming aware of every negative thought. Then, after a few days, try squashing those negative thoughts like a bug, and then replacing them with a corresponding positive thought. Squash, “This is too hard!” and replace it with, “I can do this! If that wimp Leo can do it, so can I!” It sounds corny, but it works. Really.

You can find Leo’s original article here: http://zenhabits.net/get-off-your-butt-16-ways-to-get-motivated-when-youre-in-a-slump/

This article from Marina Krakovsky at Stanford University, though not quite light reading, brilliantly demonstrates the importance of assessing precisely where our motivation to do better comes from.

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The Effort Effect

According to a Stanford psychologist, you’ll reach new heights if you learn to embrace the occasional tumble.

One day last November, psychology professor Carol Dweck welcomed a pair of visitors from the Blackburn Rovers, a soccer team in the United Kingdom’s Premier League. The Rovers’ training academy is ranked in England’s top three, yet performance director Tony Faulkner had long suspected that many promising players weren’t reaching their potential. Ignoring the team’s century-old motto—arte et labore, or “skill and hard work”—the most talented individuals disdained serious training.

On some level, Faulkner knew the source of the trouble: British soccer culture held that star players are born, not made. If you buy into that view, and are told you’ve got immense talent, what’s the point of practice? If anything, training hard would tell you and others that you’re merely good, not great. Faulkner had identified the problem; but to fix it, he needed Dweck’s help.

A 60-year-old academic psychologist might seem an unlikely sports motivation guru. But Dweck’s expertise—and her recent book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success—bear directly on the sort of problem facing the Rovers. Through more than three decades of systematic research, she has been figuring out answers to why some people achieve their potential while equally talented others don’t—why some become Muhammad Ali and others Mike Tyson. The key, she found, isn’t ability; it’s whether you look at ability as something inherent that needs to be demonstrated or as something that can be developed.

What’s more, Dweck has shown that people can learn to adopt the latter belief and make dramatic strides in performance. These days, she’s sought out wherever motivation and achievement matter, from education and parenting to business management and personal development.

As a graduate student at Yale, Dweck started off studying animal motivation. In the late 1960s, a hot topic in animal research was “learned helplessness”: lab animals sometimes didn’t do what they were capable of because they’d given up from repeat failures. Dweck wondered how humans coped with that. “I asked, ‘What makes a really capable child give up in the face of failure, where other children may be motivated by the failure?’” she recalls.

At the time, the suggested cure for learned helplessness was a long string of successes. Dweck posited that the difference between the helpless response and its opposite—the determination to master new things and surmount challenges—lay in people’s beliefs about why they had failed. People who attributed their failures to lack of ability, Dweck thought, would become discouraged even in areas where they were capable. Those who thought they simply hadn’t tried hard enough, on the other hand, would be fueled by setbacks. This became the topic of her PhD dissertation.

Dweck and her assistants ran an experiment on elementary school children whom school personnel had identified as helpless. These kids fit the definition perfectly: if they came across a few math problems they couldn’t solve, for example, they no longer could do problems they had solved before—and some didn’t recover that ability for days.

Through a series of exercises, the experimenters trained half the students to chalk up their errors to insufficient effort, and encouraged them to keep going. Those children learned to persist in the face of failure—and to succeed. The control group showed no improvement at all, continuing to fall apart quickly and to recover slowly. These findings, says Dweck, “really supported the idea that the attributions were a key ingredient driving the helpless and mastery-oriented patterns.” Her 1975 article on the topic has become one of the most widely cited in contemporary psychology.

Attribution theory, concerned with people’s judgments about the causes of events and behavior, already was an active area of psychological research. But the focus at the time was on how we make attributions, explains Stanford psychology professor Lee Ross, who coined the term “fundamental attribution error” for our tendency to explain other people’s actions by their character traits, overlooking the power of circumstances. Dweck, he says, helped “shift the emphasis from attributional errors and biases to the consequences of attributions—why it matters what attributions people make.” Dweck had put attribution theory to practical use.

She continued to do so as an assistant professor at the University of Illinois, collaborating with then-graduate student Carol Diener to have children “think out loud” as they faced problem-solving tasks, some too difficult for them. The big surprise: some of the children who put forth lots of effort didn’t make attributions at all. These children didn’t think they were failing. Diener puts it this way: “Failure is information—we label it failure, but it’s more like, ‘This didn’t work, I’m a problem solver, and I’ll try something else.’” During one unforgettable moment, one boy—something of a poster child for the mastery-oriented type—faced his first stumper by pulling up his chair, rubbing his hands together, smacking his lips and announcing, “I love a challenge.”

Such zest for challenge helped explain why other capable students thought they lacked ability just because they’d hit a setback. Common sense suggests that ability inspires self-confidence. And it does for a while—so long as the going is easy. But setbacks change everything. Dweck realized—and, with colleague Elaine Elliott soon demonstrated—that the difference lay in the kids’ goals.

“The mastery-oriented children are really hell-bent on learning something,” Dweck says, and “learning goals” inspire a different chain of thoughts and behaviors than “performance goals.”

Students for whom performance is paramount want to look smart even if it means not learning a thing in the process. For them, each task is a challenge to their self-image, and each setback becomes a personal threat. So they pursue only activities at which they’re sure to shine—and avoid the sorts of experiences necessary to grow and flourish in any endeavor. Students with learning goals, on the other hand, take necessary risks and don’t worry about failure because each mistake becomes a chance to learn. Dweck’s insight launched a new field of educational psychology—achievement goal theory.

Dweck’s next question: what makes students focus on different goals in the first place? During a sabbatical at Harvard, she was discussing this with doctoral student Mary Bandura (daughter of legendary Stanford psychologist Albert Bandura), and the answer hit them: if some students want to show off their ability, while others want to increase their ability, “ability” means different things to the two groups. “If you want to demonstrate something over and over, it feels like something static that lives inside of you—whereas if you want to increase your ability, it feels dynamic and malleable,” Dweck explains. People with performance goals, she reasoned, think intelligence is fixed from birth. People with learning goals have a growth mind-set about intelligence, believing it can be developed.

 

You can find the full, original article here: http://alumni.stanford.edu/get/page/magazine/article/?article_id=32124

This article, posted by the editor at Pick The Brain, has 20 great practical tips for keeping yourself and others motivated. Its contents will be particularly helpful for leaders looking to keep teams motivated.

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Motivation

If you want to make things happen the ability to motivate yourself and others is a crucial skill. At work, home, and everywhere in between, people use motivation to get results. Motivation requires a delicate balance of communication, structure, and incentives. These 21 tactics will help you maximize motivation in yourself and others.

1. Consequences. Never use threats. They’ll turn people against you. But making people aware of the negative consequences of not getting results (for everyone involved) can have a big impact. This one is also big for self motivation. If you don’t get your act together, will you ever get what you want?

2. Pleasure. This is the old carrot on a stick technique. Providing pleasurable rewards creates eager and productive people.

3. Performance incentives. Appeal to people’s selfish nature. Give them the opportunity to earn more for themselves by earning more for you.

4. Detailed instructions. If you want a specific result, give specific instructions. People work better when they know exactly what’s expected.

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5. Short and long term goals. Use both short and long term goals to guide the action process and create an overall philosophy.

6. Kindness. Get people on your side and they’ll want to help you. Piss them off and they’ll do everything they can to screw you over.

7. Deadlines. Many people are most productive right before a big deadline. They also have a hard time focusing until that deadline is looming overhead. Use this to your advantage by setting up a series of mini-deadlines building up to an end result.
8. Team Spirit. Create an environment of camaraderie. People work more effectively when they feel like part of team — they don’t want to let others down.

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9. Recognize achievement. Make a point to recognize achievements one-on-one and also in group settings. People like to see that their work isn’t being ignored.

10. Personal stake. Think about the personal stake of others. What do they need? By understanding this you’ll be able to keep people happy and productive.

11. Concentrate on outcomes. No one likes to work with someone standing over their shoulder. Focus on outcomes — make it clear what you want and cut people loose to get it done on their own.

12. Trust and Respect. Give people the trust and respect they deserve and they’ll respond to requests much more favorably.

13. Create challenges. People are happy when they’re progressing towards a goal. Give them the opportunity to face new and difficult problems and they’ll be more enthusiastic.

14. Let people be creative. Don’t expect everyone to do things your way. Allowing people to be creative creates a more optimistic environment and can lead to awesome new ideas.
15. Constructive criticism. Often people don’t realize what they’re doing wrong. Let them know. Most people want to improve and will make an effort once they know how to do it.

16. Demand improvement. Don’t let people stagnate. Each time someone advances raise the bar a little higher (especially for yourself).

17. Make it fun. Work is most enjoyable when it doesn’t feel like work at all. Let people have fun and the positive environment will lead to better results.

18. Create opportunities. Give people the opportunity to advance. Let them know that hard work will pay off.
19. Communication. Keep the communication channels open. By being aware of potential problems you can fix them before a serious dispute arises.

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20. Make it stimulating. Mix it up. Don’t ask people to do the same boring tasks all the time. A stimulating environment creates enthusiasm and the opportunity for “big picture” thinking.

Master these key points and you’ll increase motivation with a bit of hard work.

You can find the original article here: http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/21-proven-motivation-tactics/

Stacia Pierce, writing for the Huffington Post, published a very helpful article on how to stay motivated even when you’re surrounded by negativity.

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10 Ways To Stay Motivated When Negativity Seems To Be All Around

In life, there may be times when negativity seems to surround you, suffocating your dreams and destroying your hope. When that happens, many go through their day being saturated with negativity and accepting it as a way of life. While you can’t always control what happens to you, you can control how you respond to it. Seek to create a positive environment for yourself and you’ll begin to become more motivated to achieve your dreams and goals. Here are 10 ways to stay motivated through hard times:

1. Have an attitude of expectancy. You will get what you expect. Expect something great to happen for you every day and it will. Say aloud each morning to yourself in the mirror, “I expect something good to happen for me today!”

2. Take control over what you can, and stop worrying about what you can’t. Some things are within your control, while other things are not. Learn to recognize the difference. Refuse to worry about circumstances beyond your control. Don’t allow yourself to become so emotionally entangled that it paralyzes your progress. Things may not always work out perfectly, but the sooner you get over them, the quicker you move on to your next victory. Only you can control your own actions and reactions.

3. Read and listen to positive information. If you fill your mind with uplifting and inspiring information, it will keep you motivated. Go to the bookstore or library today and find at least one book on a positive topic that will give you a boost. You need constant reminders telling you that you are capable of achievement.

think positive

4. Be with positive people as often as possible. Negative people and conversations will have you focused on all the wrong things and may take your focus off of your goals. Seek out positive people and don’t engage in negative conversations. Instead, choose to remain neutral or just don’t participate at all. If you find yourself caught in the middle of a conversation that is going in the wrong direction, change the subject to something productive. Try saying something like, “I am focused on finishing this new project. I’m really excited about it.” If you are stuck on the phone with a negative person, you could cut it short by telling them, “I have an important appointment/meeting/conference call in five minutes and I need to finish preparing for it now.”

5. Speak positive affirmations. Words have a creative force. Regardless of what is going on around you, speak out loud what you want to happen. Write out an affirmation that you can say daily and put it up somewhere that you are sure to see it every day, like your bathroom mirror or your refrigerator.

6. Learn from your mistakes, instead of repeating them. We all make mistakes; the key is to learn from them and keep on moving. Conduct regular self-evaluations and examine how you handled situations and what you could do differently next time. Write down possible solutions and outcomes so when you are faced with a problem you can properly think through the best way to handle it.

7. Make a plan. There is a very popular saying: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” When you take time to plan, you allow yourself to think through the entire process from beginning to end. This can spark ideas, improve productivity and ensure a great outcome. Once you have a written agenda, you are immediately going to be motivated to accomplish it. Without one, you have nothing to run with and end up feeling stuck. Write out your to-do list the night before. Identify the three most important things that you must accomplish the next day and start with those first.

plan

8. Celebrate accomplishments, whether big or small. Always take time out to celebrate. Rewards play a huge part in staying motivated. Reward yourself each and every time you reach a goal. It could be anything from throwing a party to taking a weekend away or treating yourself to a movie night. Just don’t overlook it. Think about something you have recently accomplished and plan a way to celebrate it within the next 10 days. It can be as simple as going out for ice cream. Reward yourself — you are worth it!

9. Build a support team. Having the right team in place to help you is crucial to your success. You will be amazed at what you and your team can accomplish when you are all motivated and working toward the same goal. It is worth the effort to put the right support system in place. Make a list of some winning people in your circle that you can partner with, exchange ideas with and who can help you get things done.

10. Rehearse your victories. Oftentimes we forget how far we’ve come and the successes we’ve already accomplished. Designate a token of achievement that you can carry with you to remind yourself that you are a winner. It doesn’t matter if it is big or small. Go back and look at your trophies, certificates, a special note of congratulations or anything that will keep you motivated when you are facing tough life moments.

victory

An infectious, positive attitude can shift your entire life. Infusing your mind with positive thoughts will cause you to produce more positive results in your life. Right now you’re getting as many opportunities as you think you can have. You’re making just the amount of money you really believe you can. To break into making what you’ve only dreamed of and wished for, you must start thinking, believing and speaking like you’re already worth that number! Purposefully infusing your life with a positive perspective will keep you motivated and eliminate all negative sources out of your life.

The original article is on the Huffington Post website, here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stacia-pierce/10-ways-to-stay-motivated_b_4941277.html

Gleb Reys created this useful list of mix and match methods for staying motivated. The idea is to pick what works for your situation and use it to get yourself firing on all cylinders!

get-motivated

How To Stay Motivated

It is hardly a secret that the key to successfully accomplishing one goal after another is staying motivated. There are, of course, tasks which you may not like at all, yet you find motivation to complete even them because you recognize how each particular task serves a greater goal.

How exactly do some of us manage to stay motivated most of the time? Here are just a few ideas you can try:

1) Find the Good Reasons

Anything you do, no matter how simple, has a number of good reasons behind it. Not all the tasks have the good reasons to do them seen at first sight, but if you take just a few moments to analyse them, you will easily spot something good. We also have many tasks which don’t need any reasoning at all – we’ve been doing them for so long that they feel natural.

But if you’re ever stuck with some task you hate and there seems to be no motivation to complete it whatsoever, here’s what you need to do: find your good reasons. They may not be obvious, but stay at it until you see some, as this will bring your motivation back and will help you finish the task.

Some ideas for what a good reason can be:

  • A material reward – quite often, you will get paid for doing something you normally don’t like doing at all
  • Personal gain – you will learn something new or will perhaps improve yourself in a certain way
  • A feeling of accomplishment – at least you’ll be able to walk away feeling great about finding the motivation and courage to complete such a tedious task
  • A step closer to your bigger goal – even the biggest accomplishments in history have started small and relied on simple and far less pleasant tasks than you might be working on. Every task you complete brings you closer to the ultimate goal, and acknowledging this always feels good.

2) Make it fun

When it comes to motivation, attitude is everything. Different people may have completely opposite feelings towards the same task: some will hate it, others will love it. Why do you think this happens? It’s simple: some of us find ways to make any task interesting and fun to do!

Take sports for example. Visiting your local gym daily for a half-an-hour workout sounds rather boring to many of us. Yet many others love the idea! They like exercising not only because they recognize the good reasons behind it, but simply because it’s fun! At certain time of their daily schedule, they find going to gym to be the best thing to do, simply because nothing else will fit their time and lifestyle so perfectly.

Depending on how you look at it, you can have fun doing just about anything! Just look for ways of having fun, and you’ll find them!

A simple approach is to start working on any task from asking yourself a few questions:

  • How can I enjoy this task?
  • What can I do to make this task fun for myself and possibly for others?
  • How can I make this work the best part of my day?

The answers will pop up momentarily, as long as you learn to have the definite expectation of any task being potentially enjoyable.

Some of you will probably think of a thing or two which are valid exceptions from this statement, like something you always hate doing, no matter how hard you try making it fun. I don’t want to argue – you’re probably right, and that’s why I don’t claim everything to be fun.

However, most tasks have a great potential of being enjoyable, and so looking for ways to have fun while working is definitely a good habit to acquire.

3) Take different approach

When something doesn’t feel right, it’s always a good time to take a moment and look at the whole task looking for a different approach.

You may be doing everything correctly and most efficiently, but such an approach isn’t necessarily the most motivating one. Quite often you can find a number of obvious tweaks to your current approach which will both change your experience and open up new possibilities.

That’s why saying “one way or another” is so common: if you really want to accomplish your goal, there is always a away. And most likely, there’s more than one way. If a certain approach doesn’t work for you, find another one, and keep trying until you find the one which will both keep you motivated and get you the desired results.

Some people think that trying a different approach means giving up. They take pride in being really stubborn and refusing to try any other options on their way towards the goal. My opinion on this is that the power of focus is great, but you should be focusing on your goal, and not limiting your options by focusing on just one way to accomplish it it.

different path

4) Recognize your progress

Everything you may be working on can be easily split into smaller parts and stages. For most goals, it is quite natural to split the process of accomplishing them into smaller tasks and milestones. There are a few reasons behind doing this, and one of them is tracking your progress.

We track our progress automatically with most activities. But to stay motivated, you need to recognize your progress, not merely track it.

Here’s how tracking and recognizing your progress is different: tracking is merely taking a note of having reached a certain stage in your process. Recognizing is taking time to look at a bigger picture and realize where exactly you are, and how much more you have left to do.

For example, if you’re going to read a book, always start by going through the contents table. Getting familiar with chapter titles and memorizing their total number will make it easier for you to recognize your progress as you read. Confirming how many pages your book has before starting it is also a good idea.

You see, reading any book you will be automatically looking at page numbers and chapter titles, but without knowing the total number of pages this information will have little meaning.

Somehow, it is in a human nature to always want things to happen at once. Even though we split complex tasks into simpler actions, we don’t quite feel the satisfaction until all is done and the task is fully complete. For many scenarios though, the task is so vast that such an approach will drain all the motivation out of you long before you have a chance to reach your goal. That’s why it is important to always take small steps and recognize the positive different and progress made.
5) Reward Yourself

This is a trick everyone likes: rewarding yourself is always pleasant. I’m happy to confirm that this is also one of the easiest and at the same time most powerful ways to stay motivated!

Feeling down about doing something? Dread the idea of working on some task? Hate the whole idea of working? You’re not alone in that, I’m telling you!

Right from the beginning, agree on some deliverables which will justify yourself getting rewarded. As soon as you get one of the agreed results, take time to reward yourself in some way.

For some tasks, just taking a break and relaxing for a few minutes will do. For others, you may want to get a fresh cup of coffee and even treat yourself to a dessert. For even bigger and more demanding tasks, you may want to reward yourself by doing something even more enjoyable, like going to a cinema or taking a trip to some place nice, or even buying yourself something.

rewards

Your progress may not seem to others like anything worth celebrating – but take time and do it anyway! It is your task and your reward, so any ways to stay motivated are good. The more you reward yourself for the honestly made progress, the more motivated you will feel about reaching new milestones, thus finally accomplishing your goal.

Mix and match

Now that you have these five ways of staying motivated, it is a good moment to give you the key to them all: mix and match! Pick one of the advices and apply it to your situation. If it doesn’t work, or if you simply want to get even more motivation, try another advice right way. Mix different approaches and match them to your task for best results.

Just think about it: finding good reasons to work on your task is bound to help you feel a bit better. Identifying ways to make it fun will help you enjoy the task even more. Finally, if you then plan a few points for easier tracking of your progress and on top of that agree on rewarding yourself as you go – this will make you feel most motivated about anything you have to work through.

The original article is located here: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/featured/how-to-stay-motivated.html