How often do you lament, “If only I were more motivated, I could get so much done and be successful”? For many of us, motivation seems hard to find. Whenever a tough project pops up or we have to do something we’ve been dreading — whether it’s stripping the wallpaper in the bedroom or collecting the year’s receipts at tax time — our motivation vanishes.
1. Assess your values. Consider whether the task at hand aligns with your values, Maynard said. To figure out your values, she suggested asking, “How do you want to see yourself in the world today?” Another way to think of this is to mull over what accomplishing the task would give you “that is even more important than having accomplished the goal itself,” Maynard writes in her own list of tips.
2. Ask why. We’re experts at rationalizing why we didn’t do something, but instead of focusing on excuses, ask another why: Why is this task important? It doesn’t matter whether you created the task or if it was assigned to you. “Connect with a larger reason of why you’re doing this,” Maynard said. She gave the example of a client who procrastinated on noncreative aspects of her business like billing. That client’s “why” became financial security for her family.
3. Create a top 10 list. One of Maynard’s clients created and framed a list of top 10 reasons to get his degree. He put it on his desk as a daily reminder. When Maynard was training for a 50-mile race, in addition to her physical preparation, she needed to train mentally. On tiny pieces of paper, Maynard wrote “I will love running all day,” which she posted anywhere she’d see them. “That mental preparation kept me going in the end when I didn’t want to go any longer,” she said. Visual reminders keep you going when the going gets tough — or boring.
4. Reframe your goals. According to Maynard, you’re much more likely to be motivated when your goal is a positive one, when you’re moving toward something you really want to accomplish. Revise your goal with positive words, “so you are nourishing yourself with what you want, instead of denying yourself the things you don’t want,” Maynard writes.