Wondering how to be self-motivated? It’s normal to feel like you don’t know how to find your groove; it happens to everyone at some point.
Finding Your Self-Motivation Can Be Challenging
It’s frustrating to realize you are lacking motivation. Let’s think about it, who taught us how to be self-motivated? When were we taught to be self-motivated?
I didn’t have a class in self-motivation in school, did you?
Self- Motivation Defined
Psychologists define motivation as a need or desire that energizes and directs behavior. Psychologist view motivated behavior from instinct, drive-reduction, arousal theory and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.quizlet.com
Growing up, I was motivated by avoiding punishment, not goal setting or getting positive feedback. Can anyone relate?
The Superheroes of Self-Motivation
For many of us, we have found motivational role models in two categories. We generally see them in sports stories and everyday people who have overcome enormous obstacles. I mean, who doesn’t love seeing someone lose 100 pounds with discipline and exercise?
Challenging Circumstances Can Crush Us Or Make Us Rise Up
How about the teen mom who believes she can become the CEO of her own company? Or a middle-aged woman who plans to start a business with her husband, only to have him die shortly before the opening?
That woman was Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay. Drawing on her incredible self-motivation, she created a worldwide company that is currently valued at $3.25 billion dollars.
Self-Motivation For The Rest Of Us
What about those of us that want to turn off Netflix and get off the couch? And if you are anything like me, there are some days that getting motivated might require my own nuclear power plant to get me out of bed. My attempts to get motivated feel like 20-ton boulders, crushing my will and depleting my energy.
Does Life Feel Boring and Without Purpose?
When we are unmotivated, we can feel like life is boring and without purpose. For some of us, feelings of depression can increase, and negative emotions can keep us pinned to the couch.
There are times when we need some medical support to help us feel like ourselves again. Working with a coach or therapist can be a good first step. If your sense of depression doesn’t lighten or lift, it might be time to consider some mood-balancing medication.
Personal Motivation Is A Choice
Assuming your lack of self-motivation is not due to a medical condition, it’s time to ask yourself some hard questions. Holding yourself accountable and telling the truth about your daily routines is the first step to developing self-motivation.
Truthfully speaking, you must choose- will you allow the slump you are in to overwhelm you? Or will you take the first step (tiny as it may be) toward a better life?
You Always Have A Choice To Determine Your Response
No matter how you feel or what circumstances you are enduring, you always have a choice! As humans, we have the choice to decide how we will react to our life circumstances. It’s true we might have been a victim, but we can choose to be self-motivated as we begin to create a life we love.
Using Science To Help Build Self-Motivation
The science behind motivational hacks and productive habits has become a huge industry. Who isn’t searching for tips and tricks to get to the next level of productivity and output?
People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” ~ Zig Ziglar
How to Be Self Motivated
Remember that you are living your ONE life. Daily reflection on your limited time here on the planet is one way to get self-motivated. The ancient Greek and Roman stoics spent hours focusing on their death, which resulted in the mental motivation to live their best life.
Despite being gruesome, ask yourself to consider the end of your life. Did you use your time to build something of legacy? Or did you lack the discipline to pursue your dreams as you queued up the next vampire TV show?
Ask These Types Of Questions When You Are Not Motivated
What is making me feel emotionally heavy? Relationships, work, and finances are usually the main culprits here. Thinking about the origin of your negativity is the path out of the slump.
If you have an apology to make, a big project to start, or a bill to pay, take action right away.
What am I missing? Take an inventory of the things that seem to be missing from your life. Do you need: a more connected romantic partner, better nutrition, a workout routine, a challenging goal?
When we get too comfortable, we can feel unmotivated to level up. Identify what is missing and then create a plan to make it happen.
The “Miracle Question” Can Help You Get Self Motivated
The Miracle Question is a method used in therapy sessions. It is based on the idea that the client knows the best answer to solve their problem. Once the desired solution is determined, the coach and client work toward creating a map to get to the destination.
Okay, your close friend comes to you with a problem. They want to know how to increase their self-motivation AND will pay you $5,000 for your best advice.
What would you tell them to do? What parts of your current life and habits would be helpful for them to duplicate?
Are there unhealthy choices they should give up? What routines should they build in their life for increased productivity?
Strangely, it is easy for us to advise other people, and often, it is helpful. Why are we blocked when we reach for our own self-motivation? Practice what you preach; take the advice you gave your friend. And the imaginary money too!
Self-Motivation Requires You to Dig Deep
Sometimes we need to look deep into our soul to find our self-motivation. Often called our “why” or our “life purpose,” we all have something we are sent here to do. I believe that our “why” often is based in helping other people, whether it is through teaching, creating new products, or simply offering compassion.
When you find your “why,” your self-motivation will be easier to activate. Identifying your purpose helps you get excited about the possibility of making a difference in your community and in our world. We need your gifts and skills, don’t let a lack of self-motivation stop you from offering your unique self!
You Have To Get Back On Track To Find Your Self-Motivation
Go Back To The Basics
If you are struggling with motivation, there is a good chance that you are off track with your routines and habits. I am talking about basic best life practices like sleep, movement, and nutrition. We get sidetracked when we stop taking care of our physical body.
It is almost impossible to feel motivated if you are exhausted due to a lack of sleep! Sleep research indicates that our mental abilities suffer when we don’t make time for sleep. Sleep hygiene has the following five main ideas.
- Be consistent. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends.
- Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature.
- Remove electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, and smartphones, from the bedroom.
- Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime.
- Get some exercise. Being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night. Courtesy of cdc.gov
Protecting your sleep will provide a stable foundation for increased self-motivation.
Regular exercise will increase your self-motivation. Truthfully, one of the best ways to energize your day is to begin a regular practice of exercise.
Research shows that a 30-minute workout (heart rate increased and slight sweat) will fuel your mind to be more creative. Creativity generates motivation to try new ideas and begin new projects.
Move Your Body, Open Your Mind
You need to move your body to open your mind. For centuries brilliant men and women would take long walks out in nature. Many would write during that time or return home with fresh ideas. Legendary creatives like Henry David Thoreau and Emily Dickinson would spend time in nature, returning home inspired.
Sometimes self-motivation is like a water pump; you need to prime it with fresh air.
Nutrition Is Key To A Self Motivated Mindset
You are what you eat. You will lose motivation if you reach for sugar and high-carb foods to fuel your day. Current research shows that after our initial insulin spike (aka energy rush), our bodies fall into an energy slump due to dropping blood sugar. If you constantly reach for a little “pick me up,” take some time to figure out what is signaling your need to eat.
Are You Eating To Avoid Your Feelings?
Often, we reach for food to “buffer” against feeling our negative emotions. Who hasn’t destroyed a bag of potato chips, eating them as fast as a woodchipper shreds sticks? Or, feeling anxious, we open a new browser tab and start shopping for shoes or a new fishing reel, keeping our bad emotions buried under the thrill of retail therapy!
I am certain that we all understand that eating a Snickers bar isn’t the same as a handful of blueberries, but sometimes it helps to hear it again. Consequently, when we use food to escape our emotions, it leads to a low energy cycle, which results in a lack of self-motivation.
Fuel your self-motivation with high-quality protein and fresh produce daily.
Answer This Last Question To Help Find Your Self-Motivation
Okay, you now have the basics for a solid foundation to build self-motivation. But there is one more question to answer!
What do you need to do next?
I have a strong belief that people hold the answers they need. We need some help digging down to find the source of the problem. This is the reason I spend so much time creating content to help YOU find the answers you are looking for.
So, what do you need to do next? Is it time to return to the basics of sleep, movement, and nutrition? Try setting aside time to think about the advice you would give a friend to help them with their motivation!
Are you ready to declare war on wasting time? Don’t wait; now is the best time to choose intentional action steps to get self-motivated!
Remember, no matter what method you choose, self-motivation is built on the foundation of choice. We must choose to create motivation; it has to originate from inside our thoughts and determination.
Increasing self-awareness around the things that keep your motivation blocked, like physical health, is vital. Facing your insecurities that keep you from moving forward is a key factor. Focusing on your goals and visualizing your future self enjoying the results of your hard work can be very motivating.
Undeniably, we are all making daily choices to stay stuck or move forward with self-motivation. There will be easy days, and there will be difficult days. The important thing is to choose to move forward, even if it is just an inch.
Melane Ann is a writer, blogger, and life coach. In 2020, she turned her experience in midlife divorce and creating a new life for herself into midlifeismagical. With a master's in Marriage and Family Therapy, Melane focuses on helping women over 50 navigate their relationships and commit to healthy aging. She and her new husband share 7 children between them. Melane jokes that she has a black belt in blended families! In addition to her writing, Melane works virtually with her coaching clients from her home office.