Overcoming Inertia – 5 Ways To Motivate Yourself

I needed help with this one today, thus it seemed like a good topic.  I have a few things that I keep in mind which help me moving forward and staying active.  Here is my list of 5 things to get you moving too.  Also, check out my Just Do It post for some other thoughts.

1. Know what you want to do

This seems obvious, but isn’t.  In order to get motivated to do something you need a clear idea of what you want to do.  Call this the planning step.  Figure out what you want to do and then come up with a plan.  Writing things down on paper or on the computer can help.  If you make a list of everything in your head it usually seems less daunting than when everything is floating around in a jumble in your head.  Also, once you have a plan you have already taken action and then it is that much easier to go ahead and execute your plan.

2. Schedule it

Don’t just think that you will make time; actually make time.  Put it on your calendar and when the time comes, don’t make excuses.  If it is something recurring, get into a schedule and then stick with it.  For example, I set a goal to add one new post a day to this site so I picked noon as my time to get it out.  If I miss my noon deadline, then I feel bad and that motivates me to get it done (even if it is late).  If you are running, biking, or working out you can help yourself by scheduling a specific day(s) and time and then stick to it.

3. Use the buddy system

This one works great.  If you want to do something like exercise then schedule it (see #2 :) ) with a buddy.  All last year I averaged one bike ride a week (usually during the work week), but this spring I started scheduling Saturday morning rides with a buddy and now my average has consistently moved up to two times a week.  This really helps for several reasons.  It is an extra motivating factor – you can both encourage each other.  Also, it adds a level of responsibility because you don’t want to let down the other person.  It is much easier to hit snooze or keep watching TV if it is just you by yourself, but if someone else is depending on you then that helps overcome the inertia.

4. Think about it

Take a moment to think about your life and see the direction you want to go.  Are you where you want to be?  Is there something – no matter how small – you could do to move you in a better direction?  By really thinking about who you are and what you want out of life it makes it much easier to get going on something that really speaks to you.  Last week I was watching Jesse James Is A Dead Man and something he said really stuck with me.

    I don’t know if you got the memo, but we’re all on a continuous march to death. I’m going to have as much fun as I can while I’m here before I die.
    [paraphrased from Jesse James – sorry; I’ll fill in the exact quote when I have time to re-watch it]

5. Change your perspective

Change the way you think.  Yes, this seems both obvious and ridiculous at the same time, but it is very effective if you can do it.  You have known yourself for your entire life, so sometimes you are your own worst enemy.  You hold yourself to the ruts and self-images you have about yourself.  Try changing your perspective on yourself.  This one is a little difficult to convey, so lets use some examples.

I grew up an introvert and always viewed myself as shy.  I kept telling myself that I was shy and I continued to believe it.  Once I moved away from my home town, I worked on having a paradigm shift and stopped telling myself I was shy.  I wouldn’t say that I am an extrovert, but I no longer consider myself shy and I don’t act like it either.

Another example came when I did a 10 day lemonade cleanse or lemon juice diet.  It was a great experience and I actually didn’t feel very hungry, but I really missed the action of eating.  Sort of like an ex-smoker missing the oral activity of having a cigarette in their mouth.  This was driving me crazy until day 3 of no food.  I finally had a serious talk with myself and just changed my attitude and perspective.  I got it into my head that I just wasn’t going to put any food in my mouth, and the rest of the 7 days went by like nothing.

Logan Challenge

So here is my challenge to you.  Find one thing that you have been putting off and get motivated to do it today.  I gave you 5 ways to motivate yourself, so you certainly can use them to do one thing today.  Be sure to post a comment with your results.  Good luck, and get off the couch!

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