It’s Monday morning. You’ve got a to do list for the week, and goals to achieve. You know what you need to do and why you’re doing it. And yet, you drag your butt out of bed, linger over coffee, and generally have a hard time getting anything done at all.
At the same time, your neighbour jumps out of bed, checks her to-do list, goes over her goals, and is excited and motivated to start the day and the week. It’s a week full of possibilities, she says. Who knows what might happen when you’re motivated to make things happen?
Don’t you wish, some days, you could be more like that? I know I do. There are days when I find it hard to do much more than stare at the computer screen and wonder what I’m going to write. While I’d love to say that motivation has nothing to do with it, I’d be lying to myself and to you. Because the truth is, motivation — the drive to get things done — has everything to do with it. And there are days when my “gotta get it done” engine just doesn’t fire on all cylinders.
The problem is, the work doesn’t wait. It doesn’t care, and your clients don’t care, if you feel like working or not. You have to find ways to motivate yourself when you’ve got to get things done even if you don’t feel much like working.
Here are five things you can try. They work for me, and they might just work for you too.
1. Start your day on a positive note.
You don’t have to jump out of bed and proclaim how happy you are to be up at 5:00 a.m., but starting your day with negative feelings doesn’t help either. You’ll never get yourself motivated if all you do is complain about how you don’t want to be up, don’t want to exercise, or go to work, or eat a healthy breakfast.
Starting your day on a positive note means feeding your brain positive thoughts and images, right from the minute you get up. One exercise you can do to start out on the right foot is to visualize how you want your day to go even before you get out of bed. See your day flowing smoothly while you get everything on your list done and you make great strides toward achieving the goals you’ve set for yourself.
Then get out of bed and start your day exactly the way you envisioned it.
You can also read positive books, listen to self-help tapes, or write positive affirmations in a journal to help start your day with positive energy.
2. Get dressed in the morning.
You’ve heard the phrase “dress for success” more than once, I’m sure. The problem is, especially when you work at home, you don’t have to dress for success unless you’re actually leaving the house.
Even if you don’t put on a power suit to work from home, at least get out of your pajamas. Sure, there’s that whole “work at home in your pjs” mentality, but it’s not really meant to be taken literally. It’s really hard to get motivated to work when you’re dressed for sleeping.
You’ll find your energy is much better, and you’ll actually be more motivated to work once you’re dressed – even if it’s only in your favorite jeans or workout clothes.
3. Hang out with positive people.
If you want to improve your motivation, hang out with motivated people. It’s much easier to motivate yourself to get things done when you are always around other people who are getting things done.
Positive energy is contagious. You can’t help but be around positive people and not have at least a little of their energy rub off on you. Besides, it can be a real downer to yourself and to others if you’re always the one who hasn’t accomplished anything while others around you are continually achieving their goals and moving on.
One of the things I like to do when I don’t feel like writing is create a mental competition with my positive-minded friends. Since I’m a very competitive person by nature and I really hate to lose, I motivate myself by turning everything into a competition even if the people around me have no idea that I’m competing against them.
4. Do something right now.
You don’t have to accomplish everything on your list right now, but do something. It’s self-defeating to set a goal and then not do anything about achieving it.
I’ve done this more times that I like to admit to. I’ll get an idea, decide I’m going to do something, and then let it stew until I pretty much talk myself out of doing anything about it. My best successes have come when, as soon as I’ve set the goal, I’ve started to work on achieving it.
Even the smallest of actions can fuel your motivation, because once you start working on a project, quite often the inspiration to finish it comes with the momentum you gain from taking immediate action.
5. Burn your bridges.
No, I’m not advocating actually setting fire to something. I’m saying don’t give yourself a choice. Sometimes having too many choices leads to lack of motivation because humans being what we are, will almost always take the path of least resistance. It’s more comfortable, it’s easier, and if you fail it’s really no big deal.
If you really want to motivate yourself, don’t give yourself an out. Make achieving your goal an all or nothing proposition, and you’ll find you’re much more motivated to get things done because you absolutely can not afford to fail.
That being said, make sure when you’re planning your all or nothing strategy to build yourself some options just in case things don’t go exactly as you planned. Make sure you have an answer if someone asks you what your backup plan is, and structure it so that you are still going forward. Just because it’s a backup plan doesn’t mean you should actually use it to back up.
Knowing what motivates you is a big step in knowing that you will be successful, and everyone’s motivation will be different. Sometimes it’s just a little push outside our comfort zone that will get us motivated enough to do something. Every goal requires you work toward it, so make sure that your motivation is strong enough to see you through to the end. If you do need a little push, try these tips and let me know how they work. I look forward to hearing that your draggy Monday mornings are a thing of the past!