Extra Mile Writing

Extra Mile Writing

7 Tips to Help Motivate Yourself

1. 30 Minutes of Anything is Do-able

clock and flowers hanging on fence

If you are anything like me, sometimes you’ll have days where you have to work to motivate yourself.

I’m one of those people who likes to see things get done, but sometimes I don’t necessarily like to get them done personally.

I’d rather already be at relaxed and finished, rather than at overwhelmed and not yet started. Unfortunately, overwhelmed and not yet started is where I’m normally at.

Luckily I have discovered that I can definitely achieve 30 minutes of anything. Once I’ve achieved this, I can easily write down another 30 minutes of something on my list for the day, and achieve this easily too.

This is because I find that 30 minutes is not a long time, but it is long enough for me to become immersed in the task and to actually achieve something.  Once immersed in the task, I find that it is not as horrifically awful as I thought it was, and amazingly sometimes I even find myself going on to other tasks and forgetting about the time.

However, I issue this advice with a caution. While 30 minutes is a useful tool, I find that with certain jobs I am better off writing them down on my list for the day and then getting them done and finished with at one time. This is because some jobs just drag on too much with 30 minute time slots, or can be unsatisfying when done this way.

2. Break the Job Down into Smaller Parts to Increase Motivation

silver coloured metal cogs

I am one of those people that often has to break a job down into smaller parts in order to get the job done.

I find this technique useful with jobs that I seriously dislike doing, or when I am tired and thinking about everything I have to do feels overwhelming.

I have also found this strategy very successful with jobs like cleaning, which I enjoy about as much as an overly vigorous cavity search. 

When I can no longer put off cleaning the bathroom any longer I start by telling myself just to clean the shower.  Then I’ll come back later and clean the bathroom vanity.  Eventually I’ll hop back in and sweep and mop the floor.

It may sound a bit erratic, but all of a sudden the job is done. Also, because I’ve broken it up with other more enjoyable activities I haven’t got to the stage where I’m seething about having to do a job I don’t enjoy. 

3. Reward Yourself

woman lying on white sand beach

I find rewards extremely useful when I need extra motivation to do something.

In my case, I sometimes perceive really rather simple things as extraordinarily difficult, so I force myself to do them by giving myself a reward later on.

Embarrassingly, I have found even things like making phone calls about job openings difficult in the past.

So to make myself complete the task I use rewards like food (yes I am a sad and simple creature), or some form of positive or relaxing experience.

The great thing about rewards is they don’t need to be either expensive or elaborate (luckily in my case chocolate is relatively inexpensive). They just have to work for you.

Unfortunately I don’t have a beautiful aqua beach on my doorstep to loll about on like the chick in the photo, but there’s still plenty of other ways I can reward myself at the end of the day.

4. Write it Down

open notebook with today handwritten at top

As I make reference to on the home page of this website, I am one of those anal psychopaths who loves to-do lists.

I actually love lists of any kind, because they give me a sense of control over my life. 

For some strange reason, if I write something down on my list for the day, I’m highly motivated to get it done. I can then cross it off my list (and place a nice tick next to it as well, absolute bliss!!!).

Tragic, isn’t it. 

But it works for me, so I do it.

I find that being able to cross even small tasks off a list also makes me feel good because it shows me that I can set and achieve goals.

Once the list is achieved, I can also relax for the night, or do something enjoyable.

5. Motivate Yourself by Being Nice to Yourself

boy toddler smiling

I’ve discovered that feeling like I am a steaming pile of excrement is strongly associated with finding it difficult to motivate myself.

But when I believe that I can achieve what I want to achieve in life, then all the jobs that I have to do to get me there become do-able too.

I’ve finally learnt that I am the only person who really can motivate myself. A big part of this is being supportive of myself, the one person I’m spending 100% of my time with for the entirety of my life! 

Happy days!!!

A Henry Ford said, “Whether you believe you can or believe you can’t, you’re right.”

6. Think About the People/Creatures You Love

woman with arm around dog

I’ve found that either thinking about the people or furry creatures I love or feeling under pressure to get some money in the bank are good ways to motivate myself.

Because we want a bright future for ourselves and those we love, just thinking about them gives us a good kick up the proverbial.

To quote Lao Tzu, “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

7. Remember That Nothing is Actually Scary at All

silhouette photo two people on black mountain

Fear is a terrible waste of time and also an enormous demotivating force.

I’ve found that once I’ve done whatever I was anxious about doing, I realise that it was actually nothing to be scared of at all.

In fact, many of the things that I’ve worked myself up into a lather about have turned out to be in fact quite easy, and after a time, even routine.  Later still these enormously scary life threatening experiences sometimes even become boring, they are that uneventful. 

We are all scared about something or other because we are all human, but none of us can afford to let fear trick us.


© Annemaree Jensen