25 Ways to Get Motivated Today

by Mikey Rox on 26 March 2012 12 comments
Photo: dahon

While winter is officially out of here until the end of the year, you may still feel sluggish from your hibernation. Sitting around in a Snuggie for three months has that effect, after all.

But now that spring is here, it’s time to brush off the cobwebs and get back in the game. It may seem difficult at first, but there are many easy ways to get motivated right now. To put you on the right path, here are 25 of my tips that will have you up and at ’em in no time. (See also: My Personal Productivity Rules...What Are Yours?)

1. Drink Coffee

If you find it hard to jolt your body into go mode first thing in the morning, drink a big cup of joe. Coffee has the caffeine you crave to jump start your day without all the calories of energy drinks or soda.

2. Stay Active

A sedentary lifestyle will lead to a lack of energy, which will directly impact your level of motivation. Try to do something active each day, even if it’s a 20-minute brisk walk around your neighborhood. You’ll feel much better once your blood is flowing.

3. Make a List

Having a written list of tasks to accomplish is the only way I get anything done — ever. I spread my work for the week over each of the five days, so I don’t burn out too quickly. When I finish a task, I cross it off the list, which feels oh so good, by the way. Even on the weekends, I create a to-do list that includes chores that I need to accomplish like cleaning the house or going to the dry cleaners. Having those tasks on paper helps me stay on track, even when I want to veer off. 

4. Open the Curtains and Windows

It’s hard to feel motivated when you’re in a dark room. When you wake up in the morning, open the curtains or blinds and the windows. The curtains will allow lots of necessary light in to wake you up, and by opening the window, you can hear all of the activity happening outside, which will help you get moving.

5. Get More Sleep

When you’re sleepy, your energy level suffers. Try to get to bed earlier by turning off the TV and putting away the phone and Internet at a reasonable hour.

6. Take a Cold Shower

This may not exactly motivate you in itself, but it will wake you up real fast — and that’s a good start.

7. Have a Goal in Mind

What’s the point of working toward something if there’s nothing toward which to work? Set goals. Also, it will be easier to motivate yourself if the goals are small and achievable. If your goals are major, it will be harder to reach them, resulting in a lack of motivation to do so.

8. Reward Yourself

To keep yourself motivated, promise yourself something special when you achieve your goal. Maybe it’s a nice dinner out or a new pair of shoes. Whatever it is, make it count — just don’t cheat.

9. Ask for Support

Keeping yourself accountable is tough, but when you bring other people into the mix, it’s much easier. Ask a friend or colleague if they’d be willing to help keep you motivated for a short-term project. When you reward yourself at the end, perhaps you can invite your motivation buddy along as well.

10. Move Your Alarm Clock

It’s easy to hit the snooze button over and over and over. I think my husband hits it at least six times every morning — and it drives me nuts. If you have trouble getting out of bed, put your alarm clock across the room. It’ll force you to get up. And while you’re up, you might as well get started on your day.

11. Schedule Early Meetings

I love early morning meetings because they force me to meet the day head on. I’m dressed and ready to go from the start, so the rest of the day can only get better from there.

12. Wake Up to Upbeat Music

Everyone has that special jam that rocks their body. Instead of waking up to whatever nonsense is on the radio in the morning, set your alarm to wake you up to something that makes you want to move.

13. Prepare the Night Before

Being prepared is an essential component to motivation because it cuts down on the anxiety you may feel when diving in. If you have small things that can be done in advance of a big workday, do them the night before. When you wake up, those menial tasks will be complete, so you can head straight into the heavy stuff.

14. Iron Your Clothes

As someone who works from home, it’s important for me to shower and dress first thing in the morning, a major component of which is ironing my clothes. I have to do it. It gives me the confidence I need to meet the day inside and outside — and I’m always more productive when I feel good about myself.

15. Tell People Your Plans

Broadcast your plans on your social media networks. By letting everyone in your life know what you’re doing, you will inherently feel responsible to stay motivated. You’re likelier to complete your goals so you can share with your friends what you’ve accomplished.

16. Eat a Better Breakfast

It’s the most important meal of the day for a reason — it gives you the energy you need to get going in the morning. But be conscious of what you’re eating. Fruits and low-fat yogurt will fuel you better than bagels and donuts. Plus, you’ll feel better about yourself, which is never a bad thing. 

17. Think of a Personal Mantra

Spend some time thinking of a motivating mantra to keep you focused. Before I moved to New York City, I would keep photos of the city on my pegboard to keep me motivated to make strides to move here. For lesser ambitions, a few positive sentences about reaching your goals should help keep you moving in the right direction when you feel like you’re starting to derail.

18. Try to Do Less

Are your goals or tasks overwhelming? That can kill motivation instantly. If you feel like what you’re trying to accomplish is bigger than you, scale it back. Spread the tasks out over a few days if you have time and tackle each one in smaller spurts.

19. Sign Up for Motivation E-mails

Sometimes you just need encouragement, even if you don’t know who’s sending it. There are lots of websites that will send you daily motivational e-mails that will make you feel better the second you read the message.

20. Start the Day Doing Something You Enjoy

If you’re looking at your to-do list and just can’t seem to muster the motivation to chip away at it, take an hour or so to do something that you enjoy instead. By getting in your head in a happy place, you’re putting yourself in a better situation to want to get down to business when you’re finished.

21. Set a Time Limit

There’s nothing better than plain ol’ pressure to motivate someone. Set a time limit — and maybe even a timer — to help you stay on track. Watching a clock countdown will give you the gusto to keep going in hopes that you can beat it.

22. Deconstruct Arduous Tasks

Break multifaceted tasks into smaller, more achievable goals that you can cross off more frequently. 

23. Cut Back on Alcohol

Alcohol is a depressant. It can cause you to sleep less and give you a hangover. When alcohol is involved, all motivation goes out the window. To stay on the straight and narrow, eliminate alcohol from your diet during the week — or, at the very least, cut back when you know you have to get something done.

24. Think of the End Result

There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. Keep that finish line in the back of your mind the whole time — then think of how good it will feel when you reach it.

25. Stay Positive

Negativity can eat you alive if you let it. Don't let the little things get you down. Remember that they’re just bumps in the road, and they’ll make you a better person in the long run. You’ll reach your goals faster if you keep your chin up in the face of adversity. You can do it!

How do you get or stay motivated? Is there something in particular that works for you? Let me know in the comments below.

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Guest's picture
J Marie

Great article. I especially like #21. I have been using a timer with my daughter to help her stay focused on homework, and it has really helped. Just knowing that she has a time limit helps her to stay on task!

Guest's picture

As a college student, i'm hitting my mid-semester crisis and lack in the motivation department. This post was just what I needed. I'm a coffee addict so it made me smile when the first thing on the list was to drink coffee...that I can do! But the other 24 ways are going to be so helpful to fuel my motivation and get me through the rest of the semester. Thank you so much for the tips.

Guest's picture

Interesting idea to iron your clothes when working from home.. Every little bit helps to get you in the working mindset I guess! I use a lot of these techniques, coffee is a big boost, but no early AM meetings if I can help it!

Mikey Rox's picture

Thanks for the comment, Tyler! It's really amazing how different I feel when I get up, take a shower, and put on proper clothes for the day when I'm working from home. There have been days that I've just stayed in my pajamas because I don't plan to go out, but those days are never as productive as when I'm fresh and ready to go.

Guest's picture
Carl Lassegue

I've actually been using tip #4 a lot lately and it works. Having the fresh air and a lit room helps me wake up and get going in the morning.

Guest's picture

What a great article! Sometimes I find myself without any motivation at work, and doing some of the things on your list will certainly help!

Guest's picture
LORI GRAHAM

I do a to do list and not a large one for each day i do it at night and then I check off it one at a time as it gets down I set my clocks all over the house; such as my 3 cell phones I set them in other rooms so when they ring I am forced to get up and motivate myself then I put Beyonce on the cd player and that motivates me I set the auto program button on my coffee maker and wake up to MAXWELL House coffee brewing I pray and give thanks then I read my DAILY BREAD AND MY LENT BOOK FOR EASTER AND THEN I GIVES THANKS TO ~~~ GOD WHO IS THE HEAD OF MY LIFE TODAY FOR WAKING ME UP AND KEEPING MY ALIVE AND THEN I AM OFF TO COLLEGE A 53 YEAR OLD WOMAN I STILL ENJOY MY EDUCATION IT LETS ME KNOW I STILL GOT A GOOD BRAIN INSIDE

Guest's picture
Dave

Mikey,

You've compiled some fantastic tips here. I think #13 is key and one I try to incorporate as often as possible. Since I work full time and have a business on the side, it's important for me to prepare as much as I can. If I don't or I don't have a schedule or task list worked out, it's incredibly difficult to stay on point and accomplish anything.

Thanks a lot!

- Dave

Jennifer Holder's picture

This list is exactly what I needed today (probably every day, honestly). Telling people my plans always works for me. If I say I'm going to do something, friends always end up asking me about it, and hold me to it! I don't know if I can commit to #23, honestly, hah.

Guest's picture
Martin

Some of these are actually counter productive. Especially the "share your goals" point. Don't give away your personal power by sharing your goals. There's even scientific proof backing this up. It's way more powerful to set a goal and complete it without having told anyone (that includes people close to you). Watch this short clip for extra info: http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=NHopJHSlVo4&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DNH...

Guest's picture

#18 hits me hard. Great article, gonna go conquer the world now!

Guest's picture
Harry

Great ways to get motivated!

You may want to check out http://www.GoalsOnTrack.com/, a very nicely built web app designed for tracking goals, habits, and todo lists, and supports time tracking too. It's clear, focused, easy to navigate, and most of all, really works!