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(#18) Motivation Hacks

For this week's blog post I couldn't decide if I wanted to share my favorite motivation hacks or if I wanted to share the things I do for more energy. So I left it up to the people and shared a poll on my instagram story.

You can already tell which topic won by the title of this blog post BUT if both topics interest you, make sure you subscribe to the blog to be notified next week when I share about how to be more energized!

Many people struggle with motivation. We have a list of things that we want to do but can never seem to get to, things like decluttering the house, starting a fitness routine, reading more. We get stuck in this trap of “I’ll get to it eventually”. In order to have more motivation it’s important to first understand motivation (most of us don’t).

We think that motivation works like this, we get this sense of drive to work towards our goals, we take action on our goals, our actions yield a result, the result gives us a sense of accomplishment. And we continue going.

We’ve got the cycle all wrong though. Instead motivation works like this: We have a desired outcome, we take action toward the outcome, the action yields a positive result, the positive result inspires us (or motivates us) to take more action.

We think that the motivation to do something comes before the action when in reality it’s the action that comes first and the motivation that comes second. So here are the hacks that I use to get myself into action.

#1 Make a List & Prioritize

In our current world there is so much to do with so little time to do it.

We have to take care of our mental, emotional and physical health. We have to make time to spend with our friends and family. We have to maintain a household and make time for our hobbies. We have to earn an income and discover our life purpose. On top of taking the dog to the vet and getting the oil changed on the car.

When our list becomes too overwhelming it can be easy to quit before we even get started.

So here’s what I like to do. Make a list of everything that I have to do, the regular day to day tasks, the additional things that don’t normally come up and everything in between. Then I do the things that I have both the time and energy for RIGHT NOW.

So yesterday my list was like this:

- Finish module 3 of my nutritionist course

- Go to the gym

- Get groceries

- Write this week’s blog

- Clean the bedroom

- Get the oil changed on the cars

- Get dinner with my family

When I made the list I was really overwhelmed thinking about how I was going to complete all of my tasks in one day. I almost threw in the towel and watched Netflix instead (it was my day off after all) but I picked just 1 thing that I wanted to do and that was clean my room. I made the bed, vacuumed the floors and finished the laundry.

By the time I was done, I just wanted to lay in bed and relax. I didn’t want to go out in the cold to the grocery store, the gym or to get my oil changed.

So that’s what I did, I laid in my freshly cleaned sheets and worked on my nutrition course. As I completed module 3 of the course I felt like I was on a roll, so I kept going and completed module 4 as well.

Before I knew it, it was already time for dinner with my family and I hadn’t completed the rest of my list. But I felt accomplished and less overwhelmed having completed a few items. I felt so motivated that after dinner I worked out at home (which I rarely do).

Knowing which of your tasks are the most important and which ones can be put off is really helpful too. I had enough groceries to get through at least a few more days so I felt okay procrastinating that. And this blog didn’t need to be posted for a couple days so I was fine procrastinating that as well. We often think of procrastination as the opposite of motivation when in reality positive procrastination can be the key to motivating us into action. Knowing which tasks we can procrastinate to free up our time and energy to complete more important tasks instead.

#2 Schedule it

Another thing you can do to inspire action is to write your goals down and schedule them. Research shows that you are 40% more likely to accomplish a task if you simply write it down. If you have an ongoing task that you are trying to motivate yourself to do, stating when and where you will take action makes you more like to actually take action.

I do this like this:

“Every Monday & Wednesday after dinner, I workout for 30 minutes at the gym.”

It’s scheduled and I rarely miss out on this time that I schedule for myself. It’s easy to watch another episode of your favorite TV show or keep scrolling on social media when you don’t have a concrete plan for when and where you take action. But if “Every night when I get into bed, I read for 10 minutes” it’s a pretty concrete plan.

As the old saying goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Set a plan in motion to help you stay motivated to take those actions you need to take.

A helpful resource is this Best Self Planner that will help you not only schedule the actions but track your progress as well!

#3 The 10 Minute Game

This is honestly my best tip for having more motivation. When you have a task that you know you “should” be doing but you can’t force yourself to do the action, I do what’s called the 10 minute game. 10 minutes of undisrupted action. If your goal is to workout a 10 minute walk or bike ride. If your goal is to clean your house, 10 minutes of cleaning. 10 minutes of reading a book. We all have 10 minutes. When a task is large and daunting it can be hard to get started.

“I have to clean this whole house? It’s going to take me 3 hours!”

“I have to do a whole hour of exercise, I don’t have enough time for that”

“This whole book is going to take me a month to read!”

When a task feels large and overwhelming it can be easy to put off. But if we dedicate just 10 minutes, it can help us make forward progress.

So set a 10 minute timer and take action.

At the end of 10 minutes one of two things is going to happen, #1 you notice that you’re enjoying doing the action and your motivated to keep going. #2 you say “thank god that 10 minutes is over” and you move on to something else.

No matter what the outcome is, you have made steps in the right direction. Personally, I find that I end up finishing the task most of the time. I start doing the dishes for 10 minutes and at the end of the 10 minutes I’m motivated to finish cleaning the whole kitchen. I start a 10 minute walk and I’m enjoying it so much that I keep walking.

But every once in a while, I finish the first 10 minutes and make the decision to call it quits.

Having the out is important. Having an achievable end in sight is often enough to convince me to get started.

Which of these feels most practical for you?

  • Write a to-do list and prioritize

  • Scheduling in my actions

  • The 10 minute game

Next week I’ll be sharing what I do to have more energy (and it’s not caffeine!)

See you next week!




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