We’ve all had times when we feel like no matter what, we lack the motivation to get things done. Even if those are things we genuinely want or need to do, it can be hard sometimes. Procrastinating seems to be something everyone does at some point or another, but the real question is why? Why do we all procrastinate when we know it’s better not to? It turns out that this all ties into feelings, and when thoughts go up against feelings, feelings will almost always win. It’s simply how our brains are structured. Studies show that when people try and fight their own feelings, those same feelings just get stronger. So what does this mean for motivation? The key to it is emotion and making yourself feel something. You might need to think of a plan, but you need to feel in order to act on it. Once you’ve done the thinking part, let’s get to the next step: acting on it. How do you do that when you don’t feel like it?
We procrastinate the most when we’re in a bad mood. Procrastinating is a mood-management technique – a shortsighted one. We’re most prone to it when we think it will actually help. Meanwhile, research has shown that happiness increases productivity and makes a person more successful. The key to motivation and productivity, then, is optimism. How can you make yourself optimistic if you aren’t feeling it? Keep track of your progress and celebrate it. Nothing is more motivating than progress.
Rewards are a good thing, right? We can all agree on that. Penalties, of course, feel bad. Both of these things can work well for motivating you. According to research, rewards are responsible for three-quarters of the reason you do things in the first place. Whenever you complete something on your to-do list, reward yourself! It might feel like training a dog in a way, but it works for people too.
Get Peer Pressure
One thing that helps people more than hurts them, according to various studies, is peer pressure. This may come as a surprise, but it’s true. Surround yourself with people you want to be like. Doing so will make your tasks a lot less daunting since they’re all doing the same. As Charles Duhigg writes in his book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, “When people join groups where change seems possible, the potential for that change to occur becomes more real.” Studies have shown that the groups people associate themselves with most often determine the kind of person they eventually become. Those who want to improve their health, for instance, should associate with others who are healthy – this will cause the biggest change.
To sum up this short yet effective list, there are very simple things you can do in order to motivate yourself and better yourself as a person. Write these things down as your own to-do list and get going! The most rational thing for you to do right now is to stop being rational – listen to your emotions and get them going. Believing you can do something is the first step to getting it done after all.