Step by Step How to Motivate Yourself

A step by step process for achieving your dreams

go up and never stop written in neon yellow light

Motivation is hard to come by and easy to lose. A Forbes study showed that 40% of American teenagers are chronically unmotivated, and this is no surprise. Convenience and immediate results are becoming an increasing part of everyday life, and long term goals are getting more and more difficult to maintain. What steps can you take to push yourself toward your goals?


Getting Started is the Hardest Part

The longer you put it off, the more difficult starting becomes. Humans are habitual creatures, we enjoy repeating the same patterns we worked ourselves into our entire lives. Usually, this keeps us completing the same tasks that have kept us alive until this point. When the habit becomes procrastination and laziness, these form our habit base and it can quickly become a problem. All it takes is one act to break the cycle. Complete a goal, any goal, and keep going. The most difficult part is working yourself out of the habits you’ve already set for yourself. Once progress has become your habit base, the rest is easy. Just keep the inertia going.

Coffee and planner on desk

Realistic Goals

Set Your Sights Lower

If your goal is to become a CEO of a fortune 500 company you’re not going to be achieving this goal overnight. When you don’t achieve your goal it becomes a distant dream rather than a reality. Instead, give yourself everyday immediate goals that can lead you toward this goal eventually. Completing small goals will give you the satisfaction of achievement and put you on the road toward your ultimate goal. Even if you get off track, if you shoot for the moon you’ll land amongst the stars.

Man sitting on boardwalk


Progress Through Relaxation

Getting stressed over missed goals and lack of progress can put you in a gridlock of stress and frustration. Take a minute to relax and reset. Meditate by calmly imagining how you would continue from here to complete your goals. Imagine yourself taking the steps and reaching a success. This will serve to center yourself on your goals and give you new confidence in the steps you will take to get there. For meditation advice, check out this article.


Create a Productive Environment

Change Your Location

Don’t work in the same place your relax, give yourself a designated office or work area. Make sure that there are few to no distractions in it. If there are clocks, remove them. You should make it so the only thing you can look at in this area is your own continuous progress. As you use this area, you will find that entering your office grants you an immediate feeling of motivation and energy. Use this to your advantage.

Fist with focus written on it

Get a Motivation Buddy

Two Heads are Better Than One

Get someone who will keep you accountable, preferably someone who is trying to get some motivation of their own. Keep each other oriented on your goals and push each other to succeed. Having someone to rely on besides yourself can be an excellent tool, especially if you’re finding trouble getting motivation on your own. It can even be helpful to make it into a little game. Share your goals with each other, and make bets who will complete them first. Motivation can be a fun, bonding experience.

Mark Your Calendar

Keep Your Sights Set

Mark a day that you will complete your goal by. Make sure it’s not too far off, you don’t want to forget about it or procrastinate for a long period. Make the goal small, realistic, and within the next week. These deadlines will make sure you don’t start falling behind. Another benefit of keeping a calendar is that you can watch yourself progress over time. There’s nothing more motivating than seeing your own achievement!

Girl holding box

Reward Yourself

Treats for Goals

Rather than beating yourself up over missing a goal, promise yourself rewards for when you complete the tasks set for yourself. Psychologists have shown that rewards are more motivating and lead to better work than punishment. Figure out something you want, only allow yourself it if you finish your task on time. Pick out something you’d like to have but must save up for, everytime you complete a small goal put money in a fund toward it. Watch the savings pile up and your goals become realized.

Feet in hammock

Give Yourself Breaks

Relax When Needed

No one is working a hundred percent of the time. If you are only pushing yourself forward with no rest, you risk burning out and losing sight of your goals completely. Give yourself frugal rest time. It is better to allow this time to be frequent and small rather than long and infrequent. When you take large breaks you run the risk of forming it into a habit and losing your hard earned motivation. Although breaks are good, your goal is not to rest but to achieve.


Have Confidence in Yourself

Believe in You!

You CAN achieve your goals, and you should remind yourself this as often as possible. Build confidence in your ability to complete a task and you will find that it comes easier. A good way to build confidence in your abilities is to reinforce yourself. Complete a goal- then feel good about it! The more you complete in a row the better you will feel about your ability to follow through with a task. Before you know it, you will consider yourself a motivated person.

Abby Marsh

Abby is a Student at Pitt majoring in Communications.
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