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How to Get Motivated to Do All

Everyone goes through it from time to time: the struggle to find the energy to get stuff donewhen you’d rather stay in bed or do literally anything other than those things on your to-do list. Overcoming procrastination requires setting yourself up for success by starting small and being consistent. Whether you’re looking to stick with a new workout routine or finally hone your cooking skills, these tips can help you find your inner drive. Exercise regularly While it’s tough getting started, finding ways to give yourself a push when you need it can help you achieve your goals, whether they involve training for a big event or blowing off some steam with mindful movement. Just be sure to listen to your body — everyone needs rest days and occasional comfort food. Make it a game To build up motivation, high performance coac
h Shefali Raina suggests reframing the task in the context of a game and connecting your actions to rewards or penalties. For example, “if you want to feel motivated to exercise, you could commit to a game structure where if you exercise three times a week you get to treat yourself to something you enjoy,” she explains. “But if you exercise less than three times, maybe you give up something you value.” Just make sure you’re still leaving yourself space to take days off as your mind and body needs. Make your goals easier to achieve Clinical psychologist Steve Levinson, PhD, suggests making it as easy as possible to do the specific things you know you should do. If your goal is to unwind with some light stretching when you get home from work, keep your mat somewhere that’s highly visible and easy to access. Take things a step further and lay out your comfy stretching clothes before you head out in the morning. Call on a goal buddy “We all need someone who believes in us,” says educational psychologist Elisa Robyn, PhD. Having a goal buddy keeps you accountable to your goals because they can offer you encouragement for staying motivated. Consider enlisting a friend with similar goals to team up with you on exercise or even just to encourage each other. Studying for school or an exam Studying can be a pain, especially if you aren’t particularly interested in the topic. Below are some techniques to make the process smoother. Make a to-do list When starting out on a large project or preparing for an exam, write everything you need to get down on a to-do list. By breaking everything down into manageable tasks, you’ll feel less overwhelmed and have a greater sense of accomplishment when you cross each one off. Build small rewards into the process It’s important to build small rewards or celebrations into the process. “It can be difficult to stay motivated, but setting small goals makes the journey a bit easier,” says Robyn. Treat yourself After a long study session, try rewarding yourself with some of the following: a walk through the park a phone conversation with a friend watching a movie or curling up with a book Keep track of your progress A key part of staying motivated is acknowledging how far you’ve come. If you’re having a hard time completing a project, keeping track of how much you’ve accomplished can give you the energy to push you through to the end. After each study session or work period, jot down how much you’ve advanced as a reminder for the next time you feel stuck. Build in regular pauses Sometimes, finding the motivation to work through a long study session involves taking short breaks to refresh your mind.