Get motivated tips

Always use a calendar.

I'm 22 years old, and it's my third year in university. I have finally started using a calendar, and it's rocking my world. I know what you think. I, too, used to think that Microsoft Excel, my smart phone and my computer were the only things I would need to help me reach my goals.Wrong. Acquire a physical calendar today, and write down everything you must do. Open it every morning, and see what's ahead. This way, you will never forget anything, you will be more motivated, and planning things ahead becomes very easy. It really is that simple!

Dress up to study more.

Picture this: you get up at a good time to study (btw, good way to do this is to have a compulsory reason:sign up for a 2 hrs job in the early morning) , you are dressed in a slacker's pijamas, wearing comfy socks. Then you start checking your phone.... OR: you are dressed with a nice shirt, good shoes and a tie. Slacking in the second outfit, even if home alone, gives you a "feel like an idiot" factor that can really boost your productivity. Not exactly on this application of the concept but there are studies about how oneself self-takes more seriously if good dressed.

If you want to remind yourself to do something in the morning then put a post-it note on your bathroom mirror.

Its helped me; hopefully it can help someone else.

Assign avatars to the angel and devil on your shoulders.

When faced with a hard task we are often counseled by two opposing inner voices--The angel's voice telling you to do the hard work and the devil's voice telling you to procrastinate.Recently I've started to visualize these voices. For the angel's message, I picture it coming from someone I really admire, someone I always looked up to.For the devil's voice, I picture it coming from a person I really despise (a personal rival I really hate).So every time my devil's voice is telling me to slack, I picture that advice coming from my personal rival. And of course I'm not going to trust that guy! He's just trying to sabotage my life so he can get ahead!Does anyone else try to picture their inner voices?

Make "To-Do" lists, and cross items off as you complete them. But KEEP those accomplished lists for future inspiration!.

One day, I had a lot of stuff to do, thinking I wouldn't get it done at all. I wrote everything down to make sure I didn't make anything. Then, as I accomplished each thing, I crossed it off. But I kept that completed "To-Do" list, and taped it up in front of my computer (where I keep current "To-Do" lists) so that I always see it.It inspires me, knowing that I can get things done, even when it seems hard.Like I said, just a tip for self-post month!

Social Support (the Right Way)

When it comes to building a new habit and staying motivated to follow through on a new goal or commitment, the idea of social support is pretty common. You’ll often hear the advice to get an “accountability buddy” or something similar. While the idea of recruiting positive social support to stay motivated is a good idea in principle, most people make two big mistakes:

  • They think their social support person’s main role is to check in on their progress toward their goal or outcome. This is a problem since the best way to stay motivated and actually achieve our goals is to mostly ignore the end goal itself and keep your focus on the daily routines or tasks that will move you toward your goal.
  • They think of their social support person as someone who will stop them from slipping up. This is problematic because it frames the challenge in negative terms—an accountability partner is there to stop you from messing up. But in general, positive reinforcement is far more reliable and powerful for keeping us motivated, especially in the long run. All that being said, if you want to recruit a friend or partner to help you stay motivated and make progress toward your goal, try these two approaches:
  • Don’t tell them your end goal. For example, if your end goal is to lose 30 pounds, tell your social support person that their job is to help you show up at the gym 5 days a week, nothing more. The more focused you and your social support person are on the regular routines you need to do to be successful, the more likely you are to stay motivated to stick with them.
  • Tell your social support person that their entire job is to support your wins. Their job is to validate you and encourage you, not to serve as a form of social threat to keep you from slipping up. Their job is to congratulate you after a tough workout, not guilt-trip you to showing up at the gym. Recruiting a friend or partner to aid you in your goal can be a powerful source of motivation and encouragement. Just make sure you set things up right from the beginning.

The Seinfeld Strategy

The Seinfeld Strategy is a simple but powerful way to stay motivated, especially when it comes to first developing a new habit. The strategy comes from some advice comedian Jerry Seinfeld gave someone once about how to stay motivated and consistent in your work.

He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.
He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. “After a few days, you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”
“Don’t break the chain,” he said again for emphasis.

So the strategy itself is simple:

  • For any habit, task, or routine you’d like to stick with, plan do you a little bit of it every day.
  • Each day you successfully complete the task, mark off that day on a calendar with a big red (or another color) X.
  • Try to keep your streak alive as long as possible. If you do miss a day, note how long your streak was next to that box. This is your new goal to beat. The Seinfeld Strategy is an especially powerful way to stay motivated because it’s a Double Motivator. A double motivator is one that is motivating in two different ways simultaneously. In this case, crossing off each successful day gives you a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction—positive reinforcement. But avoiding the pain that comes from breaking your streak is also motivates you to keep going—negative reinforcement. Finally, the fact that you’ve got a big calendar full of red Xs on your desk or where you work is a tangible reminder that you need to do your task. Memory enhancement always helps you stay motivated, too. Learn More: How I Uses the Seinfeld Method to Create a Writing Habit

Gentle Self-Talk

If your goals are good ones, you probably have more motivation than you realize. The trouble is, you may be wasting huge chunks of it. And one of the biggest culprits behind wasted motivation is our own self-talk. Self-talk refers to our habits of talking to ourselves, both what we say to ourselves in our own head and how we say it. If your habitual, automatic self-talk tends to be negative, harsh, and judgmental, it’s going to produce a lot of difficult emotion like guilt, anxiety, frustration, and sadness, all of which sap you of your natural motivation to reach your goals. This means that one of the best, if counterintuitive, ways to stay motivated is to stop robbing yourself of motivation with overly negative self-talk. And instead, create a new habit of gentle self-talk. Here are some examples:

  • Suppose you hopped off the treadmill 5 minutes early because you were just too tired to keep going… Harsh Self-Talk: You’re so weak you couldn’t even finish the last 5 minutes. You’ll never get in shape for that 5K. Gentle Self-Talk: I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t make it all the way to the end, but the fact that I’m so tired means I must be really giving my muscles a good workout.
  • Imagine you impulsively blurt out a sarcastic comment to your spouse after dinner, even though you’ve been working on being less sarcastic in your relationship… Harsh Self-Talk: I knew I’d mess up again. I’m just a sarcastic person. What’s the use in fighting it? Gentle Self-Talk: Ah, man, I did it again. I’ll keep working at it because I know old habits are hard to break. Our own habitual negative self-talk is one of the most powerful obstacles to staying motivated and working through challenges to our goals. If you can learn to notice and then re-shape your self-talk to be more constructive and gentle, you’ll be amazed at how much motivation you’ll already have. Learn More: Cognitive Restructuring: The Complete Guide to Changing Negative Thinking

Visualization

For a long time, I was skeptical of the idea of using visualization as a technique for improving performance and motivation. It always seemed a little hokey and woo-woo to me, like something you’d read in a cheap self-help book or hear from a scammy motivational speaker. But the truth is, visualization is a very straightforward practice that can powerfully boost motivation. And it has nothing to do with channeling cosmic energies, manifesting your inner purpose, or any other nonsense like that. Instead, it works on a simple principle of motivation that says the more specific, concrete, and available our mental representation of a goal and its benefits are, the more we’ll feel motivated to achieve it. For example, consider two scenarios for staying motivated to achieve a goal of losing weight:

  • Scenario A: The doctor told me it would be good for my health to lose weight. Guess I should try to eat better…
  • Scenario B: The doctor told me it would be good for my health to lose weight. And then I imagined how fun it would be if I could run and jump and swing and play with my grandkids at the park without getting instantly winded and fatigued. Which scenario is going to provide more motivation to lose weight? Yeah, obviously Scenario B. The more detailed our image for the outcome and its benefits, the more motivational pull that outcome will have on us. No matter what the specifics of our goal, if we make time to visualize and “paint the picture” in our minds of what it will look like to achieve our goal, we’ll have more sustained motivation to do the hard work required to get there. I’ve found that the best practical way to add visualization into your routine or plan for change is to commit to a small journaling habit. Get yourself a small notebook and spend 5 minutes a few times a week writing about what it will really be like to achieve your goal and all the possible benefits that might go along with it.

Artificial Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a fundamental principle of human behavior that says a behavior is more likely to happen (and continue to happen) when it’s followed by something enjoyable or rewarding:

  • Little kids are more likely to learn how to use the potty if their parents clap and sing songs and cheer profusely whenever they successfully go in the potty rather than somewhere else.
  • Employees are more likely to come to management with useful suggestions and feedback if managers listen to that feedback carefully, take it seriously, and offer genuine thanks and appreciation. You get the idea. We all know the power of positive reinforcement in our lives. But what we’re not as good at is building in positive reinforcement when it doesn’t occur naturally or by default. But the ability to build in positive reinforcement mechanisms to our own challenges and goals—a process I call artificial positive reinforcement—is a surprisingly simple skill we can all learn. For example: Suppose you decided that this is the year you finally read Moby Dick. You’ve told yourself since college that one day you’d finally read The Great American Novel, but so many times before you’ve cracked it open, made it a few pages or chapters past Call me Ishmael, only to lose interest and fail at your goal once again. What if you artificially set up a system of reward and positive reinforcement for yourself? I know, it seems silly to reward yourself for reading a book—I’m an adult not an elementary school student!—but if you want a proven, effective way to keep your motivation up, this will do the trick. Here’s how you might do it:
  • Pick a small amount of reading you would like to do each evening. Let’s say 15 pages.
  • Choose a small but enjoyable reward. I like those little Dove dark chocolates.
  • Keep your copy of Moby Dick and your bag of Dove dark chocolates on the shelf by the coach.
  • Each time you finish your 15 pages, put the book away and reward yourself with a chocolate. Again, I know this one can seem silly and childish because we associate positive reinforcement with getting kids to do things, but it’s just as powerful a principle with adults as kids. Give it a shot.
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