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Increasing Motivation: 7 Simple Tips and Techniques

Whether you need to finish some house chores, jumpstart an exercise regimen, or find a compelling reason to go to work every day, below are 7 easy-to- follow tips to increase your motivation:           

Do your worst task first.  Motivational speaker Brian Tracy popularized this maxim on how to best approach work you don’t want to do. According to Tracy, think of doing unpleasant tasks as similar to eating live frogs --- and you must always eat the biggest, ugliest, most disgusting frog first. The sooner you can get the distasteful and obnoxious aspects of your work out of the way, the more you can look forward to the rest of your day.

Break down your goals. It’s hard to muster enthusiasm for a mammoth task. Faced with a larger than life goal, it’s tempting to come up with one excuse after another. “Oh, I need to find my strength first.” “Not yet, I’m still busy with so-and-so.” But if you break down your goal into easy-to-swallow, bite-sized pieces, it won’t be so intimidating. You can also better track your progress, which can give you a regular sense of accomplishment!

Find the WIIFM factor. Come on, let’s face it: we’re all a little selfish inside. We need to know “what’s in it for me?” before we attack something that we don’t feel like doing. So make a habit of identify the pay-offs of a task even before beginning it. Or create your own reward system if no offer is on the table. Knowing benefits are to come after toil is key to motivation!           

Surround yourself with enthusiastic people. Enthusiasm is contagious. And if you’re the competitive type, there’s nothing like the thrill of wanting to trump another person’s zest. So don’t work in the company of downers; pessimism and laziness around you are surefire ways to not feel motivated by what you’re doing. Instead, befriend the Type A’s. And those that can see the silver lining of anything. These people can teach you a thing or two about moving towards a goal.

Get an accountability partner. Lone rangers are dead rangers. The easiest way to fall back into a bad habit is to not have someone to report to. Contract for a friend or a supervisor to constantly evaluate your performance and keep you on your toes. And make sure that your accountability partner is capable of playing both good cop and bad cop. He or she must be able to give encouragement when you’re doing well --- and a kick where it hurts when you’re falling behind!           

Come up with negative reinforcement each time you procrastinate. Make it costly to delay action. Not motivated to paint the shed? How about shelling off $10 for the local charity each day you procrastinate? Uninterested in the healthy food your spouse prepared? (Instead you’re sneaking in that greasy burger!) Then you have to give up watching your favorite game. While negative reinforcement doesn’t work as well as positive reinforcement, it can still do the job. Just make sure the punishments are really consequences that matter to you --- otherwise, they won’t have the power to get you moving.           

Make things fun! And lastly, put some swing and laughter into it! Hard work need not be bland and boring; if there are ways to jack up the excitement factor of an unwanted task, then do so. Cleaning the home can be transformed into a game of “Amazing Race” where the first team to store clutter neatly in boxes gets a price. Your boy doesn’t like doing book reports? Then get him material he’s interested in reading. You may even add in music to spice up routine work in an assembly line. You’re gifted with a sense of humor --- so use it!

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