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We all go through periods when motivation is low. As the middle of winter rolls around, the mornings get darker, the days get shorter, and you accept that the winter blues have taken over. Your motivation is positively hungry.
So how do you overcome the couch’s magnetic pull and the law of averages? Money is a popular motivator, but it cannot be money alone. A healthier body is also a common goal, but why is that important to you? Success can ignite a fire beneath you, but what does success look like and how do you feel about it?
The real motivator is all the great things we can do with money, a healthier body and success. What would life be like? What trips would you go on? What great schools would you send your children to? What a beautiful house you could have? What charity or cause could you fund?
If you don’t feel motivated, you need a way to remind yourself why you have goals in the first place. You need intrinsic motivation. The internal drive to take daily actions towards your goals out of your own interest and pleasure, where the very act of behavior is the reward.
With intrinsic motivation in mind, here’s a simple action plan to get yourself motivated or re-motivated this winter:
Related: 7 Things You Can Add To Your Routine To Fight The Winter Blues
1. Take a piece of paper and make a list entitled “WHY?” at the top
Write down all the reasons why you want to achieve your current goals. These reasons usually involve many other people, so be sure to include a healthy mix of these external motivators as well as your own internal motivators. Examples include feeling accomplished, feeling proud of yourself, being able to pay for something you otherwise wouldn’t be able to pay, keeping a promise you made to yourself, etc.
2. Write each reason separately on the flashcards
Review these cards daily during your morning coffee, on the train, during your daily journaling session, or any other time you can be mindful.
3. Imagine your life if your reasons came true. This is called creative visualization.
Go through your day from start to finish. What would your days be like? Who will you spend time with? where would you be? What would you and your family do if you had the success you dream of and earned the money you want to earn?
4. Be clear about what you really spend your time on each day and if you really love it
Are you really living a life that feeds your soul? How do your actions add to or diminish that dream life? Whether or not you’re happily fulfilling your calling, here’s an exercise to help you identify exactly what’s holding you back and demotivating you.
Exercise: go through each task and place it in one of the three columns titled:
- 1. Love | 2. Don’t love | 3. Neutral
The list in the “Love” column can be celebrated and, of course, continued. The list in the “I don’t love” column should be delegated or otherwise unloaded to disable this energy leak. For “Neutral” quests, decide if you can continue with a higher level of passion and motivation. If not, delegate them as well.
5. Stop smelling the roses
Nothing can be demotivating like not taking a break and fighting burnout. In addition to enjoying your work, take time to enjoy the moments and days when you are not working. Plan a glass of wine after work, schedule a massage at the end of the week, or take a weekend walk in the countryside. These are all ways to celebrate small successes and re-motivate yourself.
Of course, the best way to start the whole journey of intrinsic motivation is to just start. Only you can do it for yourself. Follow these five steps and you will not only overcome the winter blues, but you will achieve your goals with more ease and passion than ever before.
Related: 10 Ways to Stay Motivated When You’re Really Not Feeling It