According to the online publication Positive Psychology, motivation is not just a set of phrases “I want” and “I will. It is an inner process in each of us – a special state that motivates us to change ourselves or something in our environment. To “catch” one’s motivation, one must be open to internal dialogue and ready for change.
But what will help increase self-motivation – the right attitudes, getting rid of bad habits, teamwork?
We have studied specific techniques developed by psychologists and scientists. They will help to predict all obstacles, to get rid of negative mindset and limiting desires.
#1. Get rid of the negative mindset
The Journal of Sports Exercise Psychology published 47 studies on how we are affected by positive and negative inner dialogue.
Psychologists found that positive self-talk motivates a person to live a better life and boosts self-esteem. And the negative discourages, causes procrastination and creates pessimistic scenarios in our heads.
When we make decisions alone with ourselves, our thoughts usually sound more harsh, we are full of fears, anxieties and often program ourselves in advance for a bad result. The greatest harm of negative internal dialogue is that it kills our critical thinking.
The founder of the research project Science of People Vanessa van Edwards argues that such bad habits and factors influence the formation of negative mindset:
- Lack of physical exertion
- Neglecting problems
- Habit of starting things and not completing them
- Gossiping and complaining about life
By getting rid of these factors, you will take the first step toward a positive mindset. And here are some tips to help you think and act more constructively in the future:
- Your internal dialogue should sound optimistic. In doing so, don’t allow yourself to become a toxic optimist who has stopped hearing the voice of reason.
- Identify the fears that your inner voice is instilling in you and work through them. Usually they are not grounded in facts, they are just an impulse. Replace the phrase “I don’t think I’ll pass the exam” with “I know I’ll pass the exam because I’ve been preparing for it for 3 months.”
- Every time a thought like “I’m going to lose my job and my life will go downhill” pops into your head, ask yourself: “Do I really want that to happen in reality?” What happens in our brains has a direct bearing on reality, because thoughts shape behavior. Instead of lamenting the possibility of losing your job, tell yourself, “The manager is not happy with my progress. This month I have to prioritize my tasks and send a report to my manager every day.”
#2. Practice the WOOP Technique
The WOOP technique was first developed by New York University psychology professor Gabrielle Ettingen. The technique helps you achieve your goals based on Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, and Plan.
Ask yourself the questions: What do I want? What will I get if I make my wish come true? What is the greatest obstacle I see? What is my plan for overcoming the obstacle?
It is the obstacle that plays a key role here. One way to not let yourself stumble on the worst days is to simply think through the obstacle ahead. For example, you’re taking an online course for project managers. You may be hampered by:
- Lack of internet/light at home
- An urgent task at work.
- everyday circumstances (need to take the car to the service station)
- feeling that you can’t handle a difficult part of the course
So that nothing distracts you from learning:
- Pay for Internet on time / use a mobile handout / check the blackout schedule for your address / charge all your gadgets and powerbank.
- Alert work that you’re taking a course at that time, or create a “Training” slot on your calendar and let your coworkers know.
- Distribute your daily tasks throughout the day so that nothing gets in your way during the class.
- Instead of dreading training, focus on useful information that will help you get ahead.
#3. Set small goals to achieve more
Have you noticed that motivation goes up if we set goals at the beginning of the day, new week or month? Psychologists have found that humans tend to associate such time slots with new beginnings. This is because this is how we mentally distance ourselves from all the unpleasant things that have happened in the past.
According to a Stanford Business School study, our initial, small but frequent victories create momentum that can lead to long-term success in the long run.
Simply break your path to a global goal into smaller segments or smaller tasks. For example, if you want to get a new job:
- Do a review of your skills.
- Do a market re-survey, research trends, salary levels
- Prepare a resume and portfolio
- Update your LinkedIn
- Prepare a cover letter for potential employers
- Start interviewing and determine your top 3 desired jobs
- Do a test assignment for each employer
- In the case of an offer – ask for a pause, think about the decision and only then accept the offer.
#4. Get rid of limiting desires
One day a girl came to the Science of People psychological research lab who was very self-conscious about her “awful” nose. She claimed that it was the reason she could not make friends: “When I talk to people, they think only about my nose. If I fix it with plastic surgery, it would be much easier for me to make friends.”
But let me ask you a question: have you ever had trouble connecting with someone because you didn’t like their nose? Probably not. The problem is that people often try to motivate themselves in advance with a negative attitude–their complex.
Other limiting desires may sound like this:
- “Everything would be better if I were smarter.”
- “If only I worked at Google.”
- “If only I were different from others.”
To get rid of negative attitudes, try to figure out which areas of your life you are satisfied with and which areas still need to change. By thinking logically about your shortcomings, you’ll engage your analytics and rational thinking, so ghostly fears and worries will be eliminated.
This is where the Wheel of Life Balance helps
The main parts of the Wheel of Life Balance:
- Business/career: How do you feel about your job, your career? Do you see prospects for your business?
- Friends: How is your social life going? Do you feel supported by your friends?
- Family: How are your personal relationships?
- Health: Are you satisfied with your physical health and well-being?
Personal qualities: Are you satisfied with your personal characteristics? Do you have enough confidence, do you have self-presentation skills, are you easy to meet new people? Everyone’s list of characteristics is different.
That way you’ll understand what part of your life is set up and what you still need to work on. And to achieve your goals, start from positive attitudes.
The problem is not in appearance or in the absence of a Ferrari, but in the fact that the person has not yet found the right way to develop and self-affirmation.
Let’s return to the case of the girl who was afraid of not making friends because of her appearance. After analysis, she would conclude that the original problem was not in the “Friends” sector, but in the “Personal qualities” section and low self-esteem.
#5. Get rid of the “all or nothing” attitude
Let’s say you set a goal to go vegetarian. You like the process, it’s easy and fun. It goes on like that for a few weeks. But suddenly you feel an irresistible urge to eat barbecue pizza.
You order take-out. But the pleasure of the pizza is overshadowed by sad thoughts that you will never go vegetarian again, because you can’t live without meat pizza.
So you’re giving up on your goal because you’re choosing the all-or-nothing option.
Instead of saying to yourself, “I’m a regular person. Sometimes I like crispy bacon and sometimes I like veggie rolls,” you say, “I will never be a vegetarian.”
With an all-or-nothing mindset, you’re going to have a hard time realizing your goals. So isolate yourself from that mindset. Tell yourself, “I really enjoyed the pizza this evening, and I’m looking forward to oatmeal and fruit for breakfast.”
#6. Share your idea with others
If you have a big project coming up, think about the concept in private and then tell someone about your idea. This could be anyone – a friend, family member or complete stranger.
Why is this approach effective? First, the other person can look at the project with fresh eyes and offer interesting ideas. And secondly, by sharing your big idea, you will feel a certain responsibility to that person. That way you’ll be motivated to complete what you promised.
If you want to feel more responsible, tell a group of people about the project. Ray Wu, co-founder of the weight-loss platform Weilos, shared his observation. Those participants in his project who actively shared their weight loss goals and progress ended up losing 0.5 pounds per week. And people who didn’t share their personal results lost 0.1 kilograms per week.