People love new beginnings. A fresh start. A clean slate. A new chance to step up your game. But how can you hold on to this motivation? How can you stop yourself from procrastinating? How can you inspire yourself to keep working towards your goal?
Here are 5 easy tricks for you to stay motivated ALL YEAR.
Motivational quotes & post-it notes
You are probably thinking: ‘Hold up, motivation quotes – really? Where are you going with this?’
Most of us think that motivational quotes and pictures are pretty cheesy and silly. But there is a reason why they are the most shared posts on Pinterest and Instagram. They WORK!
A study by Robert Cialdini, professor of psychology, concluded that if call center employees were shown a picture of a runner winning a race, they ended up with 60% more donations. Why? Because the concept of achievement was in their attentional environment.
Multiple studies have shown the same effect: exposing people to words that connote achievement increases their performance and doubles their willingness to keep working! And it does not have to be a quote or picture, it can even be a post-it note with something like ‘win’ or ‘reach your goal’ written on it. Stick it to your laptop, and GO!
Beat procrastination by leaving a task unfinished (wait, what?!)
The Zeigarnik effect states that our brains remember uncompleted tasks better than completed tasks. Our brains like closure. When we leave a task unfinished it stays active in our mind. In order for our brain to get the closure it wants, we will feel motivated to start working on it again.
That is why cliffhangers work so well on TV. We want to come back for more. To create this cliffhanger effect at work, you could start writing an e-mail and leave it in your concepts folder until the next day. The next morning you will feel motivated to start typing again right away.
Boost motivation by making progress visible
Another thing our brains like: PROGRESS! Seeing progress will increase our motivation. So get your to-do list out and start checking off those tasks!
Even the illusion of progress boosts our motivation. A study by Ran Kivetz, Professor of Business at Columbia University, illustrated this. Customers were given a ‘buy ten get one free’ card, while others got a ‘buy twelve get one free card’ but with the first two stamps already filled in. Although both groups had to collect 10 stamps, the second group was quicker to collect them all.
Focus on small wins on order to reach big goals
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
And that is how it works in real life too. People like to set goals. But most goals can take MONTHS or even YEARS to achieve. And since we like to see progress, we need to achieve small wins in order to stay motivated. So don’t think to much about your big goals, but focus on the small steps you need to take TODAY in order to achieve that big goal in the future.
Focus on YOU (“what the heck do I want?”)
There are two types of motivation: Intrinsic motivation is behavior driven by internal rewards (satisfaction, fulfillment, joy etc.). Extrinsic motivation is behavior driven by external rewards (money, grades, praise, fame etc.)
When we do things that are important to us (intrinsic motivation) we often become productivity masters who don’t allow setbacks to keep us from achieving our goal. Intrinsic motivation breeds determination and a focus on long-term outcomes.
Are YOU ready for the new year?