Motivating yourself is an important aspect to help you achieve success. Motivation comes from goal setting and having a vision, but for some people, this comes easier than others.
Having the right mindset has a lot to do with motivation. When you have something you want to accomplish, it’s how you think about the task that will help (or not help) you complete it.
Scientists have studied motivation and the psychology behind it, and have identified factors in our thought process that affect our motivation and how to change how we think in order to motivate ourselves.
Choose to do things
Looking at a goal or task as something you have to do will make you feel significantly unmotivated. Nothing in life is a “have to”, instead you choose to do things like going to work, or doing your laundry because of the benefits you’ll get from it.
No one likes to feel like they are forced to do anything, so shift your mindset and turn your have to into a choose to.
Align your tasks with your values
Another factor into feeling unmotivated is when the task is something that you don’t feel right about. If the task conflicts with something you believe in or feel strongly about, you’re likely to not have the best attitude towards doing it.
For example, if you are missing out on a family occasion because you said you’d attend a networking event, but strongly believe in work-life balance, you’ll likely feel unmotivated and unhappy about the networking event. Change these un-motivators by realigning your tasks to match your values.
Stop fearing failure
Lastly, thinking you can’t do something makes it very easy to procrastinate and avoid the task. Instead of fearing failure, remind yourself that practice makes perfect and the benefits that will come from putting forth the effort. Alternatively, figure out ways you can be successful in achieving it like asking for help, or taking the opportunity to learn from someone else.
Dopamine and motivation
Although the above deals with the psychology behind motivation, there is also biology behind it too, involving Dopamine. Dopamine is a compound in our bodies that is most widely known as the compound that regulates pleasure. But research shows that the compound also regulates motivation.
So how do you increase dopamine in your body naturally? Power foods like almonds, leafy vegetables, avocados, coffee, and even chocolate can help, as well as dopamine supplements like curcumin, which is the active ingredient in the super spice, turmeric. Exercising is also linked to increasing your dopamine naturally. Haven’t we heard time and time again that exercise is good for our brain? Well it’s also good for boosting our motivation.
Don’t let your willpower run out
An interesting thing to acknowledge when it comes to motivation is willpower, which is a finite resource, which means we are only allocated a certain amount of it each day. Think about it this way, how many times have you been completely productive for the majority of your day only to hit a wall that you are unable to get over?
To reduce the fatigue of making choices and getting stuff done, consider developing a regular routine, prioritizing your most important tasks first, and eliminate unnecessary commitments when you just don’t have the time. By doing this, you’re preventing yourself from using your available willpower on the aspects of your life that aren’t a priority.
In conclusion, changing the way you look at tasks that you have to accomplish, making sure they align with your values, and leading a healthy lifestyle can all help increase your motivation. So if you are having trouble feeling motivated in life or in your career, work through these steps to help get you back on the right track.
About the Author
Lauren Marinigh is a Toronto-based online marketing and content development professional, who is completely addicted to traveling, puppies, and GIFs.