Tips to Help Motivate Your Wayward Self

1. 30 Minutes of Anything is Do-able

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I’m one of those people who likes to see things get done, but with some jobs 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, and 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

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I am definitely 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 even 30 minutes of something is just too much to face.

This strategy has proved successful for me 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 probably sounds a bit erratic, but all of a sudden the job is done, and because I’ve broken it up with other more enjoyable activities I haven’t got to the stage where I’m unhelpfully grinding bits of my teeth out all over the newly cleaned bathroom floor. 

3. Reward Yourself

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I find rewards extremely useful when I need an 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 promising myself a reward later on.

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

The rewards I use to make myself complete the task might be 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 still 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

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I am one of those anally retentive people who loves to-do lists.

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

For some strange reason, if I write something down on my list for the day, I’m highly motivated to get it done, just so that I can 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. Be Nice to Yourself

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I’ve discovered that feeling like I am a steaming pile of excrement is strongly associated with being demotivated.

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 and a big part of that is being supportive of myself, the one person I’m stuck with for the entirety of my life!  Happy days!!!

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

6. Think About the People/Creatures You Love

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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 again are good motivators for me.

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

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

The worst part about fear is that once you’ve done whatever you were anxious about doing, you find that it was actually nothing to be scared of at all.

A lot of things that I’ve been scared of I have later discovered to be in fact quite easy, and after a time, even routine.  Later still these enormously scary almost 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 2021