Learning how to get motivated and stay motivated is one of the best lessons any person can learn. Whether you are trying to stay motivated at work or you’re trying to keep your energy levels up while working out, staying motivated keeps us moving forward when we really would rather just sit down and take a rest. Life has activities that we don’t necessarily enjoy, but we know we have to do. And when you do them day-in, day-out for years on end, you tend to burn out.
Staying motivated when this happens requires focus and determination, because your job or your exercises don’t always pay off in the short term. It’s natural to want instant gratification and you’re not likely to get rewarded immediately for your hard work in your career.
How To Get And Stay Motivated At Work
So here are methods to get and stay motivated while you’re waiting for the long term payoffs for all the hard work you’re putting in.
1. Set Targets and Reward Yourself When You Hit Them
“Targets” are arbitrary goals you set within your job. Maybe you want to become 5% more productive in your job (5% more sales, 5% more volume produced). Whatever it is, set yourself targets to hit within the larger goal, so it isn’t just one long slog to get ahead. When you hit those goals, have set rewards you get for attaining that goal. This not only gives you a sense of accomplishment, but it also gives you that extra motivation to get the job done.
Consider when you go on a long car ride. You look at the map and get in mind your destination. But there are also landmarks along the way that tell you that you’re making progress. Consider the system of targets-and-rewards the same as telling everyone in the car, “When we reach so-and-so, we’ll stop, stretch our legs and get a meal.” Like that small rewards for keeping your patience on a long trip, targets are little landmarks on the journey that tell you that you’re closer to your final destination.
2. Recognize the Progress You’ve Made and Keep a Good Attitude
With that in mind, notice when you are making progress. Recognize in your mind that you have made improvements or inroads into the task you are trying to accomplish. This helps you maintain a sense of accomplishment, which encourages pride and positivity. It’s easy to get negative when doing your job, so you sometimes have to remind yourself to stay positive. Recognizing we have made progress encourages positivity.
Attitude is a huge factor in life. If you believe you can do something through hard work, you’ll be motivated to do that hard work. So when you want to get motivated and stay motivated, it helps to remind yourself that you can do what you’ve set out to do and that you will do what you’ve set out to do.
3. Make Your Breaks Count
When it comes time for break time, make certain the break counts. Really get away from your work for those 15-20 minutes. This will reinvigorate you and make you more productive until your next break. If you instead dwell on whatever task you’re performing, you’re not really getting a break. Getting a mental break is often just as important (if not more important) than getting a physical break.
4. Make It Fun
Find ways to make your job fun. This can be easier said than done. Friendly competition can make a job fun. Making real friends at work also instills a sense of fun in the workplace, because you might occasionally look forward to seeing your buddies. Finding challenges within your job to make the job seem more like a game also helps.
5. Find New Motivations
If none of the above seem to be helping, then you need to find new motivations and really deconstruct what it is that motivates you. Ask yourself, why am I doing this? What is it that gets me motivated and keeps me motivated?
Are you wanting better pay? Do you want a better position at your work? Do you want more recognition than your peers at work? Or are you seeking to improve your resume as a stepping-stone to a better job out of the company? Ask yourself what it is you really want and where you want to be, then use that knowledge to motivate you to accomplish your goals.
6. Be Healthy in Body
No matter how the above sounds to you, make certain you get exercise when you are in a stressful job. Otherwise, you lose energy and begin to get down on yourself. Exercise helps you burn off stress and relieve anxiety, which are two of the big problems many people in a stressful work environment have to deal with. Exercise is one thing you can control, so control this part of your life, at least.
How To Get And Stay Motivated When Exercising?
- Keep an Exercise Journal – Keep track of the amount of time you exercise, the amount of weights you lifted and the number of reps you did. Keep track of the distance you ran or the speed you ran on the treadmill. Also, keep track of the weight you’ve lost. These things not only help you determine how intensive your workouts should be, but they also help make yourself accountable. When you know that every repetition and every ounce is being tracked, you’re more likely to take that extra minute to exercise.
- Measure Your Improvement – While you’re keeping a workout journal, you’ll be able to measure your improvement in your workouts. Track your speed, strength and endurance while exercising. Keep track of how long you work out (endurance), how much weight you use (strength) and how far you ran (speed, endurance). Also, keep track of the weight you lost, but keep in mind that weight fluctuates from day-to-day anyway, so don’t consider any one measurement to be an indicator of the work you’ve done.
- Don’t Burn Yourself Out – If you’ve been exercising a while and you’ve begun to “wear down”, you may be exercising too hard too soon. Limit the amount of exercise you do or stop exercising so hard, until you can build up your strength and stamina. Sometimes, lack of motivation comes from hitting a wall we placed there ourselves, because we had unrealistic expectations about how exercise would help us. Exercise is a long term project, and short term strategies are doomed to failure.
- Keep Moving Forward – On those days you planned on exercising, but don’t feel like going through with the work out, do a little bit anyways. A little exercise is better than no exercise, even if the little bit is inadequate.
- Schedule Workouts in the Morning – If you want an instant sense of accomplishment, perform a workout. That’s one reason why morning workouts are so positive, because you have something to hang your hat upon for the rest of the day.
- Get a Workout Buddy – If you are having trouble learning how to get and stay motivated, consider adding a workout buddy. Having a second person working with us tends to motivate people. This might be a long time buddy, a coach or even someone you met at the gym.
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