Finding the motivation to work towards your goals can sometimes feel like pulling teeth. Your body and emotional state reject every attempt from your mind to get you to feel excited and energized once again. You know you’ve felt motivated before, and it felt great! So why can’t you feel that way all the time? Why do you have to feel so uninspired?
Luckily, our minds and bodies aren’t static. They change, and depending on what we do, we can cause new emotions to arise. When you’re in a state of demotivation, you can actually hack your body to start feeling motivated again with some simple tricks. Using these hacks, you’ll be able to change your emotions at will and re-harness that excited, inspired energy.
Here are nine of the top hacks you can use to start feeling motivated again to achieve your goals:
Read Inspirational Books
When we read, our entire minds submerge into the world of the story. We engage many parts of our brain and it often feels like we are right there with the characters acting out their lives. This is a powerful tool for changing your state of mind because you’re borrowing someone else’s for a bit! Reading inspirational books that help you feel motivated to work out, or spend time on your passion project, can get you hyped enough to actually go and do the work. Some great books to make you feel motivated after reading just a few pages are Tony Robbins’ Awaken the Giant Within, David Goggins’ Can’t Hurt Me, or Robin Sharma’s The Five Am Club. Get some inspiration from these pages, then get to work on your goals!
Listen to Exciting Music
Another excellent emotional manipulator is music. Music can make us feel sad when we were just happy, or happy when we were just sad. The swells and pitches of sound have an uncanny ability to affect our bodies and our states of mind. So use that to your advantage! Create a playlist of your favorite pump up songs. Choose songs that give you that hit of energy and make you want to attack your goals. When you’re feeling super unmotivated to hit the gym or focus on your work, turn on that motivational playlist and watch as your whole mood shifts!
Edit Together Your Own Hype Video
In today’s modern world, and with the computers we all have in our back pockets, you don’t have to rely on someone else to make a motivational speech to get you ready to achieve. Instead, find clips from your favorite motivational movies and recorded talks — think scenes from the movie Rocky or a talk from a sports coach — and edit them together. You can even add your favorite pump up music to the background. Your personal hype video doesn’t have to be very long, just around 10 minutes or so to give you that extra boost. Visual and auditory stimulation will affect your whole state and give you the motivational push you need to get started!
Get Some Accountability
One of the reasons we often fall short on working towards our goals is because no one is expecting us to actually work on them. The only person who holds you accountable, is you. And you aren’t going to throw much of a fit if you miss a day here or there.
So find an accountability partner that will help you stay on track. This could be someone else who has the same goal as you, someone you trust to check in on you, or someone who’s relying on you to reach milestones in your goals. Social pressure is a great force in society and on our actions, so hack it to get your goals accomplished!
Look at Your Goals Every Day
Write your goals down in a journal. Write them down on a white board. Write them in your calendar. Write them down on sticky notes and put them on the bathroom mirror.
Make it so that everywhere you go, you see your goals. Make it so they are always there, always reminding you that it’s time to focus and get things done. Don’t let yourself ignore them. As long as your goals are top of mind, you’ll be forced to confront them and work on them regularly.
Use a Timer
A timer is a super effective tool for getting started working towards your goals instead of continuing to procrastinate. If you’re finding yourself feeling lots of resistance to a task you planned to do, set a timer and let yourself work on it for only 10 minutes. Then set a timer to take a break. Then get back on track with another 10 minute timer. It’s always better to make a small step forward than none at all. Plus, one of the biggest hurdles is actually just getting started, so if you can do that, you’re already halfway there.
Take a Break
Sometimes, when you’re way too “in it” with a goal, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and you may need to step back and reset.
If you’re feeling extremely demotivated and burnt out, try taking a break. It could be as simple as walking outside, working on another project, or channeling your energy into something creative you don’t usually do. Go outside and paint! Take some cool photos! Dance in your kitchen! Changing up what you’re working on can give you the refresh you need to hit the ground running on your goals with renewed energy.
Hack Your Habits
While feeling motivated is nice and hacking your system to feel motivated when you need it can help you get to work on your goals, you don’t really need motivation if working on your goals becomes an unconscious habit. If you simply start working on your goal without thinking about it, you won’t have to worry about hyping yourself up.
Turn your goals into habits by scheduling a time to work on them every day and adding it to your routine. Give yourself rewards after you finish working on your goal each day until you’ve conditioned yourself to do it without thinking. This reward system could be something as simple as crossing your task off a list, or it could be a little bigger, like buying yourself a small item you really want but wouldn’t usually purchase.
Eventually, working on your goals will become second nature and you won’t even have to think about it.
Get Driven, Not Motivated
While motivation and habits are super effective for getting us moving in the right direction, after a while you’re going to run into problems.
Your motivational state won’t last very long as soon as you run into obstacles that cause you anxiety or overwhelm. This is when you’ll probably start asking yourself questions like “what’s the point?” or “why am I even doing this?” or “what if I quit today and started again tomorrow?”
These questions are a natural part of trying to achieve anything difficult. And feeling motivated or being in the habit of working on your goals isn’t going to help much when the negative thoughts come knocking.
So before you head off to work on your big, exciting goals, consider what’s driving you.
What is the inner force compelling you to accomplish this goal? Why do you want to achieve this goal and not some other goal? What’s so important about it? Why are you going to put yourself through the struggle of achieving it?
When things get tough — and they will — these questions will naturally pop into your mind. That’s why it’s so important to figure out what your answer is as soon as possible. When the negative thoughts arise, you can combat them with your ready answers.
This exercise is designed to help you develop a deep-seated conviction about reaching your goals. You should be prepared to fight through all the negative emotions and thoughts and hopefully, even start to enjoy the obstacles along the way, because they are a chance to prove yourself!
When you become driven, not necessarily motivated, you’ll be able to harness a deeper part of yourself that doesn’t mind struggling a bit through problems and demotivation. While being able to hack your motivation through stimuli, writing your goals down, using a timer, getting accountability, or setting up new habits can help you immensely when it comes to getting that energy and excitement back, at the end of the day, it’s how driven you are that will get you to the finish line. Your drive will be the force that determines whether you give up as soon as things get tough, or if you buckle down and figure it out.
As Robert Greene, author of The 48 Laws of Power reminds us:
“If you’re really driven and you want something deep, hard enough in life, you’re going to get it.”
…motivated, or not.