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Staying motivated is a struggle — our drive is constantly assaulted by negative thoughts and anxiety about the future. Everyone faces doubt and depression. What separates the highly successful is the ability to keep moving forward.
There is no simple solution for a lack of motivation. Even after beating it, the problem reappears at the first sign of failure. The key is understanding your thoughts and how they drive your emotions. By learning how to nurture motivating thoughts, neutralize negative ones, and focus on the task at hand, you can pull yourself out of a slump before it gains momentum.
Reasons We Lose Motivation
There are 3 primary reasons we lose motivation.
  1. Lack of confidence – If you don’t believe you can succeed, what’s the point in trying?
  2. Lack of focus – If you don’t know what you want, do you really want anything?
  3. Lack of direction – If you don’t know what to do, how can you be motivated to do it?
How to Boost Confidence
The first motivation killer is a lack of confidence. When this happens to me, it’s usually because I’m focusing entirely on what I want and neglecting what I already have. When you only think about what you want, your mind creates explanations for why you aren’t getting it. This creates negative thoughts. Past failures, bad breaks, and personal weaknesses dominate your mind. You become jealous of your competitors and start making excuses for why you can’t succeed. In this state, you tend to make a bad impression, assume the worst about others, and lose self confidence.
The way to get out of this thought pattern is to focus on gratitude. Set aside time to focus on everything positive in your life. Make a mental list of your strengths, past successes, and current advantages. We tend to take our strengths for granted and dwell on our failures. By making an effort to feel grateful, you’ll realize how competent and successful you already are. This will rejuvenate your confidence and get you motivated to build on your current success.
It might sound strange that repeating things you already know can improve your mindset, but it’s amazingly effective. The mind distorts reality to confirm what it wants to believe. The more negatively you think, the more examples your mind will discover to confirm that belief. When you truly believe that you deserve success, your mind will generate ways to achieve it. The best way to bring success to yourself is to genuinely desire to create value for the rest of the world.
Developing Tangible Focus
The second motivation killer is a lack of focus. How often do you focus on what you don’t want, rather than on a concrete goal? We normally think in terms of fear. I’m afraid of being poor. I’m afraid no one will respect me. I’m afraid of being alone. The problem with this type of thinking is that fear alone isn’t actionable. Instead of doing something about our fear, it feeds on itself and drains our motivation.
If you’re caught up in fear based thinking, the first step is focusing that energy on a well defined goal. By defining a goal, you automatically define a set of actions. If you have a fear of poverty, create a plan to increase your income. It could be going back to school, obtaining a higher paying job, or developing a profitable website. The key is moving from an intangible desire to concrete, measurable steps.
By focusing your mind on a positive goal instead of an ambiguous fear, you put your brain to work. It instantly begins devising a plan for success. Instead of worrying about the future you start to do something about it. This is the first step in motivating yourself to take action. When know what you want, you become motivated to take action.
Developing Direction
The final piece in the motivational puzzle is direction. If focus means having an ultimate goal, direction is having a day-to-day strategy to achieve it. A lack of direction kills motivation because without an obvious next action we succumb to procrastination. An example of this is a person who wants to have a popular blog, but who spends more time reading posts about blogging than actually writing articles.
The key to finding direction is identifying the activities that lead to success. For every goal, there are activities that pay off and those that don’t. Make a list of all your activities and arrange them based on results. Then make a make an action plan that focuses on the activities that lead to big returns. To continue the example from above, a blogger’s list would look something like this:
  1. Write content
  2. Research relevant topics
  3. Network with other bloggers
  4. Optimize design and ad placements
  5. Answer comments and email
  6. Read other blogs
Keeping track of your most important tasks will direct your energy towards success. Without a constant reminder, it’s easy to waste entire days on filler activities like reading RSS feeds, email, and random web surfing.
When my motivation starts to wane, I regain direction by creating a plan that contains two positive actions. The first one should be a small task you’ve been meaning to do, while the second should be a long-term goal. I immediately do the smaller task. This creates positive momentum. After that I take the first step towards achieving the long-term goal. Doing this periodically is great for getting out of a slump, creating positive reinforcement, and getting long-term plans moving.
It’s inevitable that you’ll encounter periods of low energy, bad luck, and even the occasional failure. If you don’t discipline your mind, these minor speed bumps can turn into mental monsters. By being on guard against the top 3 motivation killers you can preserve your motivation and propel yourself to success.

The 7 Unconventional Ways Of Thinking

1. “Welcome the pain”

Yep! Welcome the pain. Accept it willingly.
There’s a saying, “Pain is weakness leaving the body”, which means to say, no matter how tough or how much pain you’re feeling, you’re going to emerge stronger after that. So don’t be afraid when things get tough. Push yourself to accept what is coming instead and know that you’re going to grow from it.

2. “Look forward to feeling good”

This is my main, personal method in motivating myself. I believe that when you work hard, the feeling you get after that is the reward. The sense of satisfaction and accomplishment is the backbone of it all.
The fitness mantra, “Do you want to be sore, or sorry later?” works the same way.
So only aim for the feeling. Ask yourself how you want to feel later only. Forget about how you’d feel in between.

3. “Stop moving forward, take a step back instead”

Stop progressing altogether for a second. Just stop.
Take a step back instead.
It may seem paradoxical, but you know what it can do for you? You’ll be able to gain more clarity.
Go back for a second, re-evaluate your goals and remember your why. This effectively gives you the motivation to move forward.
And you’ll make better progress.

4. “Quit”

Or better yet, quit. Give up altogether on what you’re doing.
This requires some reflection and evaluation though. Sometimes quitting is the best thing you can do. You just have to realize that what you’re doing isn’t helping you anymore.
And after you quit, you’re free to do whatever you want as you’re no longer trapped by whatever it is which held you down.

5. ”Have a really good break”

This kind of goes hand in hand with point (2): Look forward to feeling good.
I find that a lot of people have lousy breaks. They don’t do themselves the favour they deserve. E.g. Instead of recognizing that a break time is a time to recharge, they end up being completely idle by doing mindless things like surfing Facebook, Twitter or watching random YouTube videos they aren’t even interested in watching in the first place. That is dead time. It does not help you at all and before you know it, you’re back to work.

6. “Failure is your best friend”

Or, failure is your ally.
Embrace failure, for it will give you the best and most meaningful lessons you actually need to move forward. That being said, failure is not the end.
When you don’t get the results you want, it doesn’t mean it’s over. Instead, you’re given the opportunity to learn and grow the fastest way possible.

7. ”Have fun”

Whatever it is in life, just have fun. Make that your sole aim.
Don’t take life so seriously. Laugh at your mistakes. Never sweat the small stuff. Just have fun, and be thankful for what you have, and that everything is going to be okay anyway.

5 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Action

You're lying on the couch and Teen Mom is on TV.

You don't even care, it’s just noise, because you are procrastinating a task you know has to be done.

This could be a number of things such as a paper, home work, cleaning, or maybe it's a goal you want to accomplish.

The term "getting motivated" is a huge buzz word in the self help community.

It doesn't have to be as complicated as the 'gurus' make it.

Here are some practical steps you can do right now to push yourself to action.

1. Throw your hat over the wall

Do you remember being on the playground in elementary school when some idiot threw the ball over the fence?

Then everyone got together and decided who had to hop the fence and get it? Let's use this example in today's life. Throwing your hat over the wall means completing an action that forces you to get started on a goal.

Let's say you've been wanting to get in shape for awhile but haven't came up with the motivation. Do this right now: go buy a 3 month membership to your local gym.

Congrats, you've just thrown your hat over the wall, now go get it. Look for simple actions that will force you to get motivated to act.

2. Make the consequences unbearable

Did you know most people would rather protect their assets than risk gaining more? This is human nature but sometimes it goes against our best interest.

This technique is similar to the first but stands out on this principle: if you don't accomplish your goal, there will be consequences.

Here's a good example. Let's stick with the exercise theme and say you posted on Facebook how you are going to post pictures of your 'new' self in 60 days. Okay, so now you have a challenge. What will be more painful?

You being sore from the gym or the embarrassment of you shirtless on Facebook? What scenario can you create to make the consequences of not accomplishing a goal more painful than taking action?

3. Envision 

There was once a man who was very fast and would race people for money in his small village. One day another man approached him and challenged him to a race. The challenger asked the fast man just how he was so fast. The man answered, "When I'm racing, I picture a wolf chasing me.", "Ah" replied the challenger.

They both lined up 200 yards away to begin the showdown. Bam! Went the gun and the two started off. The fast man was ahead at first but then from the corner of his eye the saw the challenger blow past him and cleared the finish line right in front of him.

After the race, the fast man approached him and asked how he was so fast. The challenger replied, "Well you see. When I run, I picture myself chasing the wolf".

Envision the feeling of actually accomplishing your goal and then chase that feeling like the wolf.

4. Set aside something until you accomplish the mission

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Sometimes to just go without something is a great motivator. If I told every woman that they could not eat chocolate until they've lost 5lbs the gym would be a massacre.

What's something that you really like that you could give up?

Could it be no more internet browsing until you've written your term paper? This is a great way to build willpower as well as motivate.

5. Start the snowball

What does every large snowball have in common? They were all started by a single snowflake. This is a momentum builder.

What small task can you do right now that you can keep building on until you've conquered your goal?

This may be hard because if you lack the motivation to do anything in the first place. So use one of the other tactics first then implement this one to get going.

Let's say you want to start a pet grooming business. It may seem overwhelming at first. What would be the smallest action you can take that you can build on?

How about reading a pet grooming book or just seeking out potential rental space?

Once you do take action however, you'll see the momentum carry you to the finish line.

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