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How to boost your motivation

A man has hiked to the top of a mountainThe human brain is wired to conserve energy. "If you've already got food, shelter, and warmth," the brain thinks, "what's the point of spending all this energy on a risky venture with unknown rewards?" To trigger motivation, you have to make a sales pitch to your brain, persuading it that your venture is not risky and that the rewards are real. The techniques below will do just that, and performed regularly will help give your motivation a boost.

Leverage Peer Pressure
Behaviors spread through social groups. You've seen this in action when people copy the hairstyles of celebrities. We are socially influenced by other people's behaviors and we feel an unconscious pressure to conform to them. Use this to your advantage by connecting and spending time with people who have already achieved the goal you are working towards.

Introduce Novelty
In novel situations, the brain becomes more alert and active. So every week, try to switch up your routine in some way. If the idea of running on a treadmill three times a week doesn't appeal to you, do dancing this week, tennis next week, martial arts the week after, and so on. Or if you're a writer, try writing from different locations every week. Introducing novelty will help you avoid boredom and give yourself additional stimulation

De-construct Tasks
Make challenging goals less daunting by breaking them down into smaller tasks. Your aim is to chart a step-by-step path from where you are now to where you want to be. For each stepping stone, always identify the specific actions you need to take. So you are not "building a business," a large, nebulous and daunting goal, you are "completing the business plan and attending the entrepreneur's workshop on Wednesday evening."

Build Competence
Psychologists have discovered that we are more motivated to complete tasks when we perceive ourselves to be good at them. Whatever you are aiming towards, identify skills or an area of knowledge that will aid you, and develop in that area. For example, if you're trying to start a business, you could buy and read the three best-rated marketing books of the moment.

Develop Relationships
Generally speaking,we are more motivated to take part in activities if they help us to build positive relationships, so seek out supportive people to work alongside. This could take the form of having a workout buddy, going to meet-ups or workshops, or even joining online communities. You could even find a "goal buddy," and have regular meetings to discuss your progress.

Identify Benefits
Making the positive impacts of your goal more salient in your mind will give you a boost in motivation. To do this, imagine you have fully achieved your goal. Then write for 20 minutes about what your life is like and how reaching this goal has benefited you. After that, write down the top five benefits, the ones that excite you the most, and review them every day.

Start Small
Motivation increases after you start taking action, so if you're not motivated, start small. If you can't be bothered writing, tell yourself you'll just do two pages. If you're not motivated to exercise, just do a five-minute workout. You'll find that after you get started, your motivation will increase and you'll end up doing more.

As sales guru Zig Ziglar said, "Motivation doesn't last. Neither does bathing. That's why we recommend it daily." These techniques are not permanent solutions, you need to do them consistently and regularly. But if you do, you'll find it easier to take action towards your goals.

Copyright © Warren on 2017

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Tags: lifestyle