What pushes you to do your best everyday? Is it because you want to get a good grade in school? Or maybe you want to be the first to accomplish something in your family. What motivates us, or drives us to act in a certain way can be complex.
But what do you do when you feel unmotivated, or not feeling excited to accomplish a task? It can be very hard to motivate yourself to do something you don’t want to do. Sometimes these feelings come because the task seems impossible. Sometimes these feelings come because others have told us in the past we can’t do it.
So how can we motivate ourselves? How can we build motivation?
Fixed vs growth mindset
Many times we think that how smart we are, athletic, or creative is a fixed thing. We were born with it or we weren’t. This is not true. Talk to people all over the world and they will say to get great at something, you have to work for it. In these cases it is better to have a growth mindset, meaning that our abilities are always growing. We can build our skills up, like constantly working a muscle until it gets stronger.
Whenever you encounter a challenge, change the narrative. “I can’t do this” changes to “I can do this if I put the work into it.”
Setting goals for ourselves
When we are trying to motivate ourselves to do something, be it studying, working on a project, or aiming for greatness, it helps to establish a goal.
Think to yourself, what is the big picture goal I want? It could be you want to be a doctor. That is great you have your big picture goal, now how do you get there? Establishing small goals to get to the big goal will help motivate you to accomplish small tasks to get to the bigger picture.
Your big goal → Be a doctor
Small goals to get there → Getting to College → Graduate with good grades → Apply to medical school
Do well in school, focus in math and science → Volunteer in a hospital or clinic→ Find mentors to guide you → Enter a science fair or science competition to practice your research skills → Apply for college and get accepted into a pre-med program→ Study pre-med →
Small goals can be even smaller! Maybe you have weekly goals that build towards another goal. This is fine too! Finding motivation in accomplishing small things to get us to our larger goals is always helpful.
Be your own personal cheerleader
You did it, you set goals for yourself, you have worked tirelessly to accomplish them, but sometimes you feel down and unmotivated. What can you do?
It is hard to always stay focused on our goals, especially when we don’t feel great. We may have others around us telling you to give up. Telling you that you can’t do it. When this happens you need to remember to be your own personal cheerleader. Don’t give up on yourself, and remind yourself you CAN do it.
Maybe you have a journal where you write quotes that make you feel good. Maybe you wake up, look in the mirror, and tell yourself you are great and can achieve your goals. Maybe you say something you are grateful for at the end of each day. Remember you should always be your own biggest fan and believe in yourself. The world may think you are wrong, but if you know what you are doing in your heart is right, you can’t be stopped.
Try it Out!
We learned a lot of techniques to stay motivated. Pick one you want to work on and write about it in your notebook. Here are some ideas to get started.
- Is there something you always wanted to work on but thought you couldn’t? Write down what you want to work on and remember to tell yourself you can grow!
- Think of your big goal and then outline the small goals you can take to get there.
- How can you be your own cheerleader? Think of one thing you want to do each day to remind yourself you are great.
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