Has a New Year’s resolution already turned into a distant memory? Sometimes it can feel like no matter how inspired you are to change it’s nearly impossible to find the motivation to begin.
Motivation often comes without a thought—like when you’re hungry, you eat, or when you’re cold, you grab a sweater. Other times it can feel like an epic struggle—like when you are trying to choose an evening jog over the couch and your streaming video subscription.
According to famed psychologist, and human potential expert, Abraham Maslow, once we’ve met basic necessities like food, water and shelter, people are intrinsically motivated to grow and reach our full potential. If motivation is truly second nature, why can it sometimes be so hard to put down the remote?
The solution may be in the way we look at motivation. Here are some ways to think differently about taking action.
Be Honest About Your Resources
Often when people aren’t able to generate positive changes in life it’s not for lack of motivation, it’s for lack of resources. If you haven’t enough of a needed resource, like time, money, energy or skill, it will be hard to reach your goal no matter how motivated you are.
Try scaling your resolutions to fit your resources. For example, if your goal is to learn to play the piano but you can’t find a solid hour to practice every day, try blocking out 5 to 10 minutes for practice at different points in the day instead. Every minute adds up.
Be Mindful of Your Energy
Energy ebbs and flows throughout the day and motivation follows that same cycle. Take a week to track your personal energy highs and lows and note any patterns. Plan to tackle the more challenging tasks during higher energy periods and the easier ones when energy and motivation are waning.
Having a totally low-energy day? Instead of blowing off a task completely, try to stick with it for just a few minutes. Say you’re working on a blog. If you come home from work too tired to write the 500 words in your daily goal, at least write something. Even a sentence or two moves you closer to your goal.
Be Frugal with Your Time
Do any of these phrases sound familiar? I ran out of time. I never have enough time. There aren’t enough hours in the day. Chances are that you, or someone you know has used some variation in the past.
Often, time constraints can be one of the largest impediments to motivation. And, although you can’t add more hours to a day, there are things you can try to better use the hours that you’re given.
Try treating your time like the precious commodity it is. Here are some ideas to change your relationship with time, freeing up minutes and hours for your new tiny habits and goals:
- Are there any non-critical tasks or habits in your daily routine that you can reduce or eliminate altogether? Consider using a timer to limit the length of distracting or non-productive activities in your day.
- If you can’t eliminate a task, can you do it with less time or effort? Try looking for a helpful productivity tool or consider delegating tasks when possible.
- Try putting yourself higher on your priority list. When planning your day, think about marking out blocks for your personal tiny habits and goals first and then filling in the rest of your schedule.