What are the best tricks to keep yourself motivated?

The key to keeping yourself motivated is to think beyond this moment, beyond our “to-do” list, beyond today.

Why?

Because today will pass, this tiresome list of tasks we need to finish will be replaced by another one, our mood too will pass, this minute as you are reading this very sentence will pass too. And what will remain?

Your vision of who you want to become. Even if you’re not sure of every nuance, every detail this person could be, you probably have an idea.

It is the best version of yourself.

It is the happier you.

It is the stronger, more resilient you.

It is the smarter you.

It is the better, 2.0 version of you, the polished version, the version of you that you will be proud to become.

So next time you ask yourself how to stay motivated, do it for THAT VERSION OF YOU.

***

Now that you understand the why, let’s move on to the how.

Here are 5 hacks to keeping yourself motivated:

ONE. Write the important stuff down.

  • Identify your top 3 goals. For example: graduate from college, get an advanced degree, find a job that is the best fit for your skill set, develop a skill that you’ve always wanted, get physically fit, become an entrepreneur, grow your personal or professional network, etc.
  • Then, under each goal, write down 3 things you will need to do on a regular basis to make progress. For example: if your goal is to get physically fit, then the things you should focus on can be creating a meal plan for the week to eat healthier, working out regularly, and doing research on YouTube for fun workouts that don’t take up too much time and can be incorporated easily into your day.
  • Finally, create a weekly schedule to fit in the activities you’ve identified as important to achieving your goal. Divide each day into hourly increments, then block off time for your activities. You should still be able to find a couple of hours where you can do what you set out to do. If you feel you don’t have enough time, then consider creating a customized morning routine and a nighttime routine to give more structure to your day.

TWO. Be laser-focused on making progress by asking this question first thing in the morning: What is the one thing I am committed to completing today?

  • Why this habit matters: it encourages you to think strategically about your life, it keeps you focused on your goals, it forces you to prioritize, and it serves as a personal promise to yourself.
  • How you can incorporate this habit into your day: put it in writing. Write it in big bold letters on a sheet of paper and hang it on your bedroom or bathroom wall. Read it out loud as you start your day, and come up with an answer on the spot. Then, as you go through the day, make sure you’re working on completing what you’ve identified as your one thing.

THREE. Feed your brain.

A great hack to boosting motivation is to expose your brain to different ideas and perspectives from other people who managed to overcome an obstacle or to succeed in accomplishing something they’ve always wanted to do. Who knows? Maybe hearing these stories could give you an idea or two how to implement the strategies they used into your daily life. Use this opportunity to learn, be curious, wonder, question, pause, think.

A. Listen to podcasts

  • Optimize with Brian Johnson (my top pick: More wisdom in less time to help you live your greatest life. Condensed big ideas from the best books on optimal living and micro classes on how to apply these ideas.)
  • The Inquiry (a debate on a controversial topic in the news and 4 experts challenging each other with 2 views, for and against the topic)
  • Intelligence Squared (the world’s leading forum for debate and intelligent discussion, led by great orators and sharp minds)
  • Achieve Your Goals with Hal Elrod (creator of The Miracle Morning, provides ideas to cultivate a morning routine and boost productivity)
  • This Is Your Life with Michael Hyatt (a podcast dedicated to intentional leadership, with the goal to help you live with more passion, work with greater focus, and lead with extraordinary influence)
  • Happier With Gretchen Rubin (a fun show led by bestselling author of The Happiness Project, with small ideas you can apply to your life to exercise your happiness muscle)
  • Radio Headspace (a podcast to give you inspiration for a healthier, happier life, with topics such as mindfulness, being happier, and changing the world)

B. Read books (fiction and non-fiction)

Why? It’s the equivalent of living multiple lives; reading can stimulate your imagination, strengthen your critical thinking skills, and ultimately, give you food for thought on how what you can do to improve your life.

  • If you don’t have one already, get a library membership at your local library.
  • Set aside one hour every evening when you turn off the TV, get away from the computer, and read. Create a ritual around it: make a cup of hot chocolate or tea, pick some relaxing music to listen to, get some comfortable pillows and a blanket.
  • Check out recommendations on the best books of all time on Quora to pick writers and topics that many consider to be timeless and unique.
  • Download the Goodreads app to find books on the topic that interests you, to get recommendations, add books to your bookshelf, and track your reading progress.

C. Watch videos of condensed big ideas

  • YouTube’s FightMediocrity channel. It is a channel dedicated to fighting mediocrity through big ideas, using self-improvement books and animated important concepts that are in short video format.

FOUR. Replace saying “I can’t do this right now” with “why not?”

Procrastinating may sound like the easy way out. Why? Because it doesn’t require a lot of effort to procrastinate. In fact, it’s almost a default reaction to something challenging that’s in front of you. Consider this:

  • Think carefully if there is something else hiding behind procrastination. Maybe it is fear of not being able to do something successfully.
  • Next time you feel like procrastinating, rather than immediately saying “I can’t” ask yourself where the resistance is coming from. Be honest with yourself. Find out what it is so you can do something about it.
  • The biggest benefit to making this change is this: whenever you say “why not?” you win over fear. There is something really powerful when we leave a little space open for possibilities, instead of shutting the door in our own face. It’s a subtle change in attitude towards ourselves than can have a tremendous impact in our lives.

FIVE. Treat yourself.

So now that you’re working on taking this motivation thing seriously, you should give yourself a reward to mark the occasion. What you choose to reward yourself with will depend on your personal interests, affinities, your passions, as well as your personality.

  • Do you enjoy spending time with friends? This weekend, get everyone together for an evening out to watch a movie, attend a concert, catch up over coffee or dinner at your favorite restaurant, or invite them over to your place for a few hours of laughter, good conversation, and fun.
  • Would you prefer to spend some time alone or with your family or partner? Schedule a night in, order takeout, have fun talking and eating together; or, spend an hour or two in an activity that makes you feel really good, like playing guitar, chess, painting, writing, or getting involved in any project that really gets your mind engaged.

Whatever you choose, it should feel like a celebration of small wins. For every hour that you dedicate to your personal development and to staying motivated for what matters most to you, reward yourself so you feel like you’ve accomplished something worthwhile: investing in your own future.

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