Top tips for getting motivated
Do you have a list of things you want to achieve, change or finish off but never seem to get around to? What's missing is motivation and I'm here to help you get some. In fact, you can put it on your list!
You are not alone in not getting things done. Many of us are very good at knowing what we want to do, but not so good at actually doing something about it! So, how can you get things done?
De-stress to get things done.
Stress can have a huge effect on motivation. It's been said that stress leaves you with 100% of your emotional brain working and only about 40% of your thinking, analytical brain. This makes it hard to take on anything new or change the way you do things.
If stress is a serious problem for you, read some of the articles on my stress blog, download some freebies from my stress website, or contact me for some advice and support.
Break down the list
Take all the things on your 'to do' list, one by one, and ask yourself...
- how important is it to me to achieve this, on a scale of one to ten?
- is there a deadline by which this has to be done?
Use this information to put the things on your list in order of priority. Taking them one by one will feel less overwhelming.
Generally, aim to do the things that are most important to you first, but if less important things have a tighter deadline, you might have to allow for this.
Take the first item on your list and ask yourself...
- is this actually possible or realistic? (if no, you'll have to re-think!)
- do I need equipment, help or new skills to achieve it?
- if yes, where can I get what I need?
- if no, what actually gets in the way of me going ahead - are there specific problems or is it just a general lack of energy or oomph?
- if there are specific problems, what can I change to stop them getting in the way or at least to reduce the likelihood of this happening?
Set yourself a goal and a deadline by which you'll achieve it. For example, if you want to quit smoking but need help to do so, you might set 'I will research hypnotherapists in my area and choose one to work with, by Thursday next week'. Once you've done that set the next goal, which might be 'I will contact my chosen therapist and make an appointment by [date]'. Keep setting these interim goals until you reach where you want to be.
What if you don't reach your goals?
In that case, ask yourself these very important questions.
- Why do I want [your goal] in the first place?
- Is the goal something I feel I want to do or something I feel I must do?
- Are there reasons I'd actually prefer not to do it at all?
It surprises some people to learn we are more motivated by things we want to do. 'Must do' is not always enough. Let's look at an example.
Jim decides his goal is to quit smoking. His wife doesn't like the smell, and his kids nag all the time. He feels guilty because he knows the family could have a decent holiday or a new car with the money he currently spends on cigarettes. On the other hand, he actually quite enjoys smoking. It's nice to go outside for half an hour (his wife won't let him smoke in the house) and get some peaceful time alone. He's never really liked flying, his health is currently good, and the car reliably gets him from A to B.
Next door, Fred also wants to quit. His family are supportive, but he's the one who's really had enough. He doesn't like the taste, hates being banished from the house, and although his health is OK, he's noticing a real impact on his fitness levels. He'd love to go to Australia to meet the baby grandson he's never seen, but he can't afford it unless he quits.
You can probably see that Jim feels he should quit, Fred really wants what quitting will do for him. Imagine they both stop smoking but then there is heavy rain and both houses are flooded. Both families have to go into temporary housing, deal with insurance companies etc., and both Jim and Fred get very stressed.
Jim takes one look at the temporary housing and goes back to smoking. He's stressed, so even his wife and kids have to admit it's understandable. For Jim, problems are a good reason (or maybe an excuse) to forget the goal for a while and get back to having his 'me' time and avoiding long-haul holidays.
The stress and inconvenience of the flood are making it more difficult for Fred to stay stopped as well. He's having cravings, but he's already fitter and won't allow anything to stop him seeing his grandson. Problems, for Fred, are things that get in the way of what he wants, and he'll put up with a lot (including cravings) to overcome them.
Your goal might be something quite different but you can see from this that to be really motivated, and to overcome whatever gets in your way, you need to find - and keep in mind - very powerful reasons for reaching your goal. Things you want from it instead of things you want to avoid.
Still having trouble?
Try making a list of what your reasons are. Can you think of ways to increase the 'want to' and worry less about the 'ought to'?
If not, a qualified hypnotherapist can help you do exactly this, and undermine any excuses or obstacles that get in your way. Hypnotherapy is particularly good at this because it works with the unconscious mind which may be reacting to information or ideas you're not consciously aware of. Contact me so I can help you.
Debbie Waller is a professional hypnotherapist, specialising in stress, anxiety and related issues. She also offers EMDR which is used for trauma, PTSD, phobias and OCD and publishes hypnotherapy-for-ibs.co.uk for those interested in using hypnotherapy to relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
Debbie owns a multi-accredited hypnotherapy school, Yorkshire Hypnotherapy Training and offers further training for qualified therapists via CPD Expert. She is the author of Their Worlds, Your Words, editor and contributor to the online magazine Hypnotherapy Training & Practitioner, and co-author of The Hypnotherapy Handbook.
For more information on any of these services, phone 01977 678593.
Researcher & drafter: Rachel Waller.