Cheat Sheet

Motivation For Dummies (UK Edition)

Motivation is all about having the willpower to get started – and once you get going it can direct your life in many ways. This Cheat Sheet gives you the essential info you need up front to get you started.

Ten Motivating Tips

Achieving things can be hard when you feel demotivated. Help yourself to get motivated and stay motivated by always keeping these ten quick and easy tips in mind:

  • Begin with the end in mind. Knowing where you’re heading allows you to steer a clear path and achieve your goal.

  • Know where to start. Choosing a simple step first gives you encouragement and a positive feeling to keep you moving forward to the next step.

  • *Keep on track. Checking your progress helps you to see how you’re getting on and enables you to make adjustments if needed, helping you to reach your goal.

  • Believe in yourself. Having faith in yourself and your inner strength helps you make positive changes that feel right for you.

  • Motivate your team. This tip helps everyone feel happier, more involved, and more productive.

  • Ask for support from colleagues and friends. Going to people you know and trust can help you greatly. You already know each other so there are no barriers.

  • Take a positive outlook. Being positive helps your unconscious mind to focus on seeing a way around the challenge.

  • Reward your achievements. Saying ‘well done’ to yourself can make you feel great and gives you the encouragement and incentive to keep going.

  • Have the strength to change tack. Making a change is a positive action rather than staying stuck in a rut. Changing tack can often help you see different and more effective approaches to keeping you moving forward.

  • Visualise your success and see a positive end goal. Visualising a situation helps you rehearse an event in your mind before it happens, allowing your body and mind to drive you towards your goal because you have already practised succeeding.

Consider Your Demotivators

You may need to check if there’s anything holding you back from getting on with the task in hand. Look at the following demotivators to see if they apply to you and if you need to change your situation.

  • You don’t have enough time. Be realistic about how long your tasks are going to take.

  • You can’t afford it. Spend time working out your budget beforehand.

  • You have too many other priorities. Decide on your priorities and stick to them.

  • You feel overwhelmed. Start with a few easy tasks so you aren’t taking on too many tasks at once.

  • *The deadline is too tight. Allow for the unexpected and build in enough time for your task.

  • You can’t see any benefit. Look for a benefit, however small!

  • Your task doesn’t tie in with your vision. Review your overall vision. To keep you motivated your task needs to be linked to your vision of what you’re trying to achieve.

  • The weather isn’t right. Always an excuse; too hot, too cold. But the weather changes and so can you!

Creating a Motivational Environment

Your surroundings can have a strong influence on how you feel. Distractions can affect your motivation and stop you getting on with what you need to do. Think about:

  • Lighting: Natural daylight, sunshine, or full-spectrum light are all ideal for keeping you stimulated.

  • Sound: Some people like working with background noise or having music playing. Others are distracted by the hum of office equipment, people talking, or noise of traffic from outside. Decide which sounds you find bearable and cut out the rest.

  • Space and view: You may need to rearrange furniture to give yourself more space. Having an untidy and cluttered desk can be very distracting and slows you up. Having windows you can open and shut and a nice view all help to create positive feelings about your surroundings.

  • Colour: Try adding colour and pictures to your walls to help brighten you up and keep you feeling cheerful and stimulated.

  • Seating: Make sure your chair is comfortable and the right height for you, especially for when you’re working at your computer. The position you sit in can make a difference to your breathing, your posture, and how awake and alert you feel while working.

  • Equipment: Make sure you have all the equipment you need for your task, so that you’re not being distracted by having to stop to find the right tools.

  • Fresh air: If your office is in the basement or the windows in your office aren’t the sort you can open and shut, make sure you have air-conditioning installed.

  • Temperature: Make sure you can control the temperature of the room where you’re working. Find out where the thermostat is and how to adjust the room temperature if needed.

Mini Motivation Questionnaire

Take a look at the following list of tasks and decide whether you want to achieve any of them. Select those activities you think you would like to take on:

  • Buying a new house

  • Decorating your house

  • Developing a healthier lifestyle

  • Getting a new job

  • Getting a job promotion

  • Passing your exams

  • Working for a professional qualification

  • Passing your driving test

From what you have chosen, list three things that are likely to motivate you into completing the task/tasks. Write down what’s stopping you from completing the task/tasks.

Overcoming Fear

Fear is a strong emotion and can be motivating for some people while being paralysing for others. Here are a few tips for overcoming fear:

  • Practise facing fear. Taking action helps you find ways of overcoming the fear.

  • Just do it. Do what you’ve been putting off.

  • Take the first step. You’re well on your way to overcoming your fear.

  • Build up your courage to tackle the fear. Confronting your fear gets you moving forward again.

  • Think of the worst-case scenario. Tell yourself you’re going to be able to deal with your fear.

  • Explore other options. Look around the situation for other possible alternatives.

  • Take small steps. Small steps are easier and increase your confidence that you can move forward.

  • Ask friends for help. They can often solve issues and help you see alternatives.

Plan to Take Motivating Action

Planning to take positive action helps you to overcome barriers and keeps you moving forward. Here are some general tips to help you with your planning.

  • Decide what your first steps are going to be, even writing a ‘to do’ list first! Your first steps are the mini-goals to achieving your end goal.

  • Know what’s going to keep you motivated: a deadline, family pressure, fear of failure. Having a timescale is wonderful for keeping you focused.

  • Make sure you have the time available for your task. Commit time in your diary, prioritise, and stop putting off what you want to achieve.

  • Get into a positive frame of mind. Feeling positive gives you the momentum to take action and believe that the task is worthwhile.

  • Tell yourself you need to have a positive outcome. For some people having a positive outcome is more important than for others. Decide if there is a specific outcome that could make all the difference for you.

  • Make sure you can afford what you are setting out to achieve. Don’t let the cost be a barrier to achieving your goal. If money is a problem, try to find cheaper alternatives or ways of overcoming your financial problems.

  • You need to have the right skills for your task. You may need to think about acquiring new skills, updating your current skills, or asking other people for help.

Visualising the Benefits of Motivation

Visualisation is about making use of all your senses: what you’re seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, and smelling. Visualising a situation heightens your motivation and allows your mind and body to experience your success before it actually happens. Here’s how you visualise:

  • See your success. Imagine you’re painting an image of what you want to achieve. Ensure you clearly see yourself in the picture, then add colour to brighten the picture and bring in action, as if you’re the lead actor in a movie.

  • Feel the benefits. Imagine your feelings as you achieve your goal. You can feel sensations in your body, positive inner thoughts, and strong emotions. Be aware where the feelings are in your body. Injecting positive feelings helps strengthen the visualisation further.

  • Hear the praise. Enhance and intensify your image further by hearing words of praise or even the sound of people clapping and cheering you. You feel yourself glowing with success from hearing what people are saying about you.

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