It’s difficult to keep yourself motivated in general. Trying to maintain your motivation at work can feel like pulling teeth. It’s difficult to keep yourself motivated in general. We tend to have an inherent aversion to sustained effort, which no amount of caffeine or work motivational quotes or posters can overcome. One of the primary characteristics that distinguishes high-achieving professionals from the rest is their ability to motivate themselves. The question remains, how do you keep going even if you don’t feel like it?
Motivation is a personal thing. What gets one person excited and motivated might not get you motivated. Everyone has different levels of commitment to their goals. There are a number of tactics that appear to work for most people whether they’re attempting to lose weight, save for retirement, or a challenging endeavor at work. If you’ve ever failed to achieve an attainable goal or finish an assignment due to procrastination or a lack of commitment please continue reading. These four strategies can assist you in moving forward.
Think of Tasks As Getting Closer to Your Goals
The value of goal setting has been well proven by studies. Salespeople who set targets close more deals, and people who make daily exercise commitments are more likely to improve their fitness levels. Abstract goals like “doing your best” are rarely as helpful as realistic goals like bringing in 10 new clients per month or exercising 10,000 steps per day. As a general rule, any goals you create for yourself should be specific.
Goals should elicit intrinsic motivation rather than extrinsic motivation. When an activity is perceived as its own end, it is intrinsically motivated; when it is seen as serving a different, ulterior purpose earning you a reward or allowing you to escape punishment—it is extrinsically motivated. Intrinsic motivation predicts achievement and success more than extrinsic motivation.
Take, for example, New Year’s resolutions. We discovered that those who selected plans that were more enjoyable to pursue at the start of the year than those who chose more important but less enjoyable goals. This is despite the fact that New Year’s resolutions are notoriously difficult to keep; if they weren’t, there would be no need for a resolve!
Of course, if the external motivation is strong enough, we will persevere through even the most difficult jobs. Many people stay in their employment for the money, feeling like “wage slaves” in the workplace. However, in such cases, they frequently perform the bare minimum to achieve the aim. Extrinsic motivation is unlikely to help us achieve true excellence.
In an ideal world, we would all seek out employment roles and places that we enjoy, thereby maintaining high levels of engagement. Unfortunately, many people fail to do so. For example, most employees say yes when asked if positive connections with coworkers and managers are important in their current role. However, they have no recollection of workplace morale being vital to their success in previous jobs, nor do they believe it will be in the future. Remembering intrinsic motivation at work will help ensure long-term success.
We don’t all receive jobs and tasks we adore, the idea is to concentrate on the aspects of the work that you do enjoy. Consider how completing the assignment could be satisfying—for example, by allowing you to demonstrate your abilities in front of your company’s leaders, develop vital internal relationships, or provide value to consumers. Finally, try to counteract drudgery with activities that you enjoy—for example, listening to music while clearing up your inbox, or undertaking tedious duties with friends, family, or your favorite coworkers.
Find Effective Rewards
Some jobs or even stretches of a career can be quite taxing, thus it might be beneficial to develop external motivators for oneself in the short to medium term, especially if they complement incentives provided by your employer. You could reward yourself with a vacation if you accomplish a project or a gift if you lose weight. However, be wary of perverse incentives. When you care about the quality of your performance, one mistake is to reward yourself for the number of things performed or for speed. An accountant who rewards herself for completing auditing work fast may be prone to errors, while a salesperson who prioritizes sales over repeat business might expect some dissatisfied clients.
Another common blunder is to select incentives that work against the aim you’ve achieved. If a dieter’s reward to stay motivated to lose weight is pizza and cake, he’ll probably ruin some of his hard work and revert to old habits. If you reward yourself for one week by being lazy the following week, you risk losing the progress you made the week prior. Goal attainment, according to research on what psychologists call balance, sometimes allows people to succumb to temptation, which sets them back.
Furthermore, certain external incentives work better than others. Most people work harder to qualify for an uncertain reward than they do for a certain reward, because the former is more challenging and exciting. Uncertain rewards are more difficult to implement at work, but they are not impossible. You can make a game out of it by keeping two envelopes at your desk, one of which contains a more valuable gift, and selecting only one at random after the job is completed.
Finally, loss aversion—preference for people avoiding loss over gaining comparable gains—can be exploited to create a powerful external motivator. In a 2016 study, University of Pennsylvania investigators encouraged participants to walk 7,000 steps every day for six months. Some people were given $1.40 for each day they met their target, while others were penalized $1.40 if they didn’t. The second group achieved their daily goal 50% more frequently. StickK.com, allows users to set a goal, such as kicking bad habits like smoking, then commit a loss if they don’t achieve it: they must, for example, contribute money to an organization or political party that they dislike.
When people work toward a goal, they usually experience a huge boost of motivation in the beginning followed by a crash in the middle, where they will begin to lose interest in what they are doing. Fortunately, research has shown a number of strategies for combating this habit. There’s less time to surrender to that irritating lull if you divide your goal down into smaller subgoals.
A second method is to shift your perspective, and focus on the progress you’ve made. We tend to boost our effort when we’ve already made progress and the objective appears within reach. This is why loyalty programs are created, customers are likely to spend more as they get closer to receiving a reward. Think of your starting point as being farther than the end point. Another mental trick is to concentrate on what you’ve already accomplished up to the halfway point of a task before shifting your emphasis to what remains.
This strategy can be used for both rote activities and more qualitative objectives. The individual who is sending the notes can stay motivated by counting down how many she has sent until she reaches 20, at which point she should tally down how many she still has to complete. Similarly, a beginner pianist should concentrate on all of the scales and techniques she has learned in her early stages of development before moving on to the remaining technical hurdles.
Allow Your Peers To Fuel You
Human beings are sociable animals. We’re always looking around to see what others are up to, and their activities have an impact on our own. Even sitting next to a high-performing coworker can help you work more efficiently. However, when it comes to motivation, the situation is more complicated. When we see a colleague breeze through a project it frustrates us, we either become encouraged and want to emulate that behavior, or we lose motivation, assuming that we can delegate the task to our peers. This isn’t completely irrational: humans have flourished as a species by specializing and capitalizing on their comparative advantages.
The problem is that we can’t always delegate, especially at work. However, we can still take use of social influence. One rule is to never passively observe ambitious, efficient, and successful coworkers; the risk of demotivation is too great. Instead, ask these friends what they’re aiming to achieve with their hard work and why they think it’s a good idea. People are more likely to buy a product if a buddy recommends it. Listening to what your role models have to say about their ambitions can help you get more motivated and set higher goals for yourself.
In a recent study, people who were having trouble achieving a goal like getting a job believed they needed professional advice to succeed. They were actually better off sharing their knowledge with other job seekers because they were able to lay out realistic strategies that they could follow themselves, which has been demonstrated to enhance motivation and achievement.
Finally, know that the people who will best motivate you to complete specific duties are not necessarily those who will do the tasks well. Instead, they’re intimate friends and family, as well as mentors, who share a big-picture with you. Thinking about those people and our desire to succeed on their behalf might give the intense intrinsic motivation we require to achieve our objectives. For example, a person may find dullness at work enjoyable if they believe they are setting a good example for their child.
Flow is defined in positive psychology as a mental state in which someone is fully involved in a task, with energized focus and enjoyment. Unfortunately, in ordinary life, that feeling might be brief or elusive. It can be beneficial to use internal and extrinsic motivators, properly arrange rewards, shift our emphasis back or forward depending on how near we are to the finish line, and use social influence.
Self-motivation is one of the most difficult qualities to master, yet it is essential for success. Forte Strong aims to help men gain independence which requires maintaining motivation to keep yourself afloat