When you have no motivation the simplest of tasks can feel like a real struggle. The truth is, we have all been there. Even the most active people you can think of probably have days where they feel unmotivated and getting started again can feel like a big task. In fact, sometimes we can feel so unmotivated that we don’t even want to try to make a change at all.
But it’s not completely hopeless: with some small steps, you can get started down a path to positive change.
- Start small. Really small.
If you’re having a hard time getting started, it might be because you are thinking too big. If you want to start exercising for example, you may think that you have to do crazy intense workouts 5 times per week. Thankfully, this isn’t the case! Try to fit in just 2 minutes of exercise, whether that’s two minutes of brisk walking, jogging on the spot or lifting shopping bags. Commit yourself to completing 2 minutes of exercise in the week. If you can do this, maybe you can increase it to 5 minutes the following week. Keep increasing the time each week, and you could get to 15-20 minutes of exercise within a month. It may not sound like a lot, but these baby steps are all steps in the right direction.
- Stop putting words to your negative thoughts
It’s easy to say that something is going to be difficult or tiring but saying these negative thoughts out loud can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Is it this negative self-talk that is actually causing your slump? Instead of voicing how tiring the workout might be, try to focus on positive statements like ‘I can do this!’, and how good you will feel for achieving something when it is done. Acting as if you are excited to start, even if you are not, might just trick your braining into feeling more motivated. Instead of sitting on the sofa in your pyjamas all day waiting for motivation to strike, try getting yourself dressed and moving. You might find after that first step, it’s easier for you to keep going – ‘fake it until you make it!’
- Practice self-compassion
You might think being hard on yourself is the key to getting motivated, but actually being too harsh on yourself can reduce motivation. Research shows that self-compassion is actually much more motivating, and also improves mental health.
Rather than beating yourself up for mistakes or calling yourself names, try to create a kinder inner dialogue. This doesn’t mean repeating exaggerated positive affirmations, but rather a healthy balance of self-compassion, self-acceptance and self-improvement. Acknowledge your flaws, mistakes and failures with honesty and kindness.
What would you say to a friend that was in your position?
- Get outside!
Sometimes, the last thing you want to do is an intense workout. Go easy on yourself and remember that something is better than nothing. Fresh air, a change of scenery and a gentle stroll can do wonders for your motivation, especially if you’re able to walk within nature rather than on busy urban streets. Being outside in nature like a local park often has a calming effect that rejuvenates the brain and reduces brain tiredness.
- Pair a dreaded task with something that you enjoy
Our emotions play a major role in our motivation levels. If you’re sad, bored, or anxious, your desire to tackle a challenge that you feel is going to be tedious or tough will suffer.
Boosting your mood by adding a little fun to the task might have you feel more motivated, and might even help you look forward to it!
- Listen to your favourite music whilst you run
- Call a friend and talk to them whilst you clean the house
- Light a scented candle whilst working on your computer
- Invite a friend to run errands with you
- Turn on your favourite TV series whilst you’re doing the ironing
- Dance whilst you do the washing up (just be careful with the breakables!)
Making a tedious or difficult task a bit more interesting can make the task itself seem much more fun.
Check back here next week for the final 5 tips on keeping motivated!
One response to “10 ways to find motivation when all you want to do is watch the telly”
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