We live in a world of constant distractions and stimuli that can rob away an entire afternoon. You find yourself sitting in front of your computer, getting nothing done for hours and I bet you would love nothing more than to keep doing it. Getting off the couch can be HARD. You have a huge list of things to do in your head, but all you really want to do is binge-watch The Mindy Project. It’s really not fair. You have to finish an assignment for tomorrow at noon and you know you should have started already, but…Facebook…Instagram…SnapChat…Youtube…Netflix. All of these apps are providing just enough stimuli to keep you glued to your couch cushion. The stress of procrastination is intense, but it’s still not enough to get you moving. It sounds like you need a little motivation, but where can you find it? Here are 15 ways to motivate yourself that are a little…unconventional, but boy do they ever work.
15 Set Reminders On Your Phone
Input your goal as an event every day on your calendar so when you’re phone dings, you’ll look down and see your goal staring back at you. This is a great way to keep your goal in mind. Soon enough you will start thinking of it more regularly and will start to slowly but surely, put it in priority. Whatever it is you keep putting off, put it in your phone and make sure it dings every single day. It has actually been proven that your brain can be trained through repetition. The more often you are exposed to a certain idea, concept or situation, the more it will stick. It could be anything from “Do a workout today” to “Spend 1-hour writing novel”. It’s super easy to do and it works. Make sure it’s set to an alarm so you are forced to look down at your phone when the reminder pops up.
If you’re a chronic procrastinator, stickk.com will literally change your life. Stickk’s tag line is “Set your goals and achieve them!”. It really is as simple as it sounds. To use Stickk, all you need to do is go to the website or app and register your credit card. From there, you will put a set amount of money on the line. You could do any amount that you feel will motivate you. When I used the app, I put down 200$. That’s definitely enough to kick me in the pants. After you decide how much money you’ll potentially lose, you will choose a “referee” which can be any one of your friends who will decide whether your project or goal is finished or not. If you don’t successfully reach your goal, all the money will go to charity. You can even opt to send the money to an anti-charity like “American Crossroads”, which supports the republican party. Trump will NOT be getting my money.
13 Take a Cold Shower
You want a kick in the behind? Take a cold shower. Hard-core motivational bro-types are huge fans of this simple yet slightly painful practice. Apparently, you only need a minimum of two minutes under the tap for it to have an effect which still sounds like pure torture. After the first 15 seconds it will seem like pure icy hell, but after those first few moments, it becomes an exercise in focus and body awareness. After those two minutes, people have reported an increase in productivity and drive. You just want to get stuff done. I mean, if you can stand under freezing cold water for 2 minutes, think of what else you can do? You’ll be running around the house like a crazy person getting all of your tasks done just like you know you should. The benefits of taking a cold shower are huge and despite its chill factor, this one is pretty easy to fit into your day.
12 Lift Weights
Lifting weights can make you feel invincible. Not only does it help with weight loss, muscle tone, and general strength; it also keeps your brain sharp and on track. A recent study showed that women who lifted weights twice per week had a significant decline in the shrinkage of brain tissue verses women who lifted once per week or not at all. When your brain is clear and on point, you are able to stay on task and get things done which is the whole point of motivation in the first place. Not only does weightlifting scientifically improve brain performance, but the act of lifting a heavy weight feels like a huge accomplishment in and of itself. You feel like a million bucks when you lift that dumbbell into the air. Think about it this way — if you can lift a 15 pound weight, think of what else you can do….
11 Buy Things
This is my favorite motivation hack on the list. Retail therapy can do more than just provide you with a temporary thrill. Newness and novelty is the secret sauce to any motivation kick and what better way to freshen things up than to buy some new items that correlate with your goals. If you want to start working out every morning; you are doing yourself a favor by buying a new set of hand weights or a new yoga mat. The act of buying these items acts as an unwritten contract to yourself to stay on track. You can bet you’ll stick to something when money is involved. Let’s say your goal is to beat your depression, maybe you could pick up a self-help book from the bookstore. If you want to finish that screenplay you’ve been working on, maybe you need to buy a ticket to a movie for some inspiration. Anything that will support your goal is fair game.
10 Wake Up Early
Remember how you used to wake up at 8am to watch cartoons and eat sugar cereal? Remember how excited you were? You practically shot right out of bed! You need to get that feeling back. When was the last time you felt fully rested? Probably when you were on vacation or slept in until noon — I’m right aren’t I? Are you ready for the ultimate secret in getting a good night’s sleep? Go to bed early. It’s really as simple as it sounds. I know what you’re thinking. Why should I exchange my late night Netflix habit for an early bedtime? It has been proven that early risers are more productive and live happier lives than their night-owl counterparts. I get it, it’s hard to call it quits when you’re in the middle of binging the latest episodes of Game of Thrones, but why not get in more daylight and maybe watch tv in the morning? It’s better for your mood and general health. Plus it will inspire you to get more done.
9 Use Social Media
One of the best ways to make a goal feel real is to start talking about it. By posting your goal updates on social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook; you’re opening the doors to receive support from your friends and followers. One of the best ways to do this is to join an online community, but posting on your personal platforms will be good enough. I’m sure your mom will be your biggest fan. Posting your progress for the world to see is like a daily reminder to stay on track. You don’t want your friends to see that you’ve failed, do you? The threat of embarrassment is more than enough to stay focused. If you’re trying to get fit, post some gym selfies. If you’re trying to finish a painting that’s been sitting in your room for months, post a picture every few days of the progression. The comments of validation and praise will definitely help.
8 Make Your Desktop Count
Are you staring at a blank screen while doing your computer tasks? Make your desktop count by changing the background to reflect your goal. If you want to have a job in fashion, change it to your favorite runway shot. If you want to be fit and toned, grab a pic of your ideal body and set it as your wallpaper. You could also go a little crazy and set a slide show of pictures as your screensaver. No one uses screensaver anymore, what’s the deal? Nowadays, we can personalize our screens, but no one does it! It’s perfect opportunity to add a little motivation to your day; you’d be crazy not to do it. Create your own desktop collage or stick with one image that is really important to you. Whatever you feel will motivate you the most and don’t forget you can change it based on your mood with a single click. One day it might be a yoga pose you want to nail down and the next it might be some vacay inspo. Looking at these images all day will light a fire within, guaranteed.
7 Freedom App
This awesome little app will literally change your life. Do you ever find that you sit down to get work done, only to find yourself watching useless youtube videos and scrolling through your newsfeeds? Freedom is a gift to anyone who can’t seem to focus on the task at hand. Freedom allows you to block sites for certain time periods. If your problem is staying up late and browsing the internet for no good reason, Freedom will shut it down so you have no choice but to go to bed. You can also allot certain time slots that your blocked sites will be available, so if you have a project you are working on, you will have no choice but to stick to it because there is literally nothing else to do. Oh, and there’s no going back. Once your decision has been made, the sites are blocked indefinitely. Freedom is now yours.
6 Clean your room
Cleaning your room or work environment can inspire you to get your tasks done. People claim that true artists are inspired by the mess, but I must say; mess only stresses me out. A 2010 study reported that women who described their homes as more stressful because of clutter and unfinished projects were less likely to report marital satisfaction. This study also found that the stress hormone cortisol stayed steady throughout the day which was “indicative of chronic stress”. A clear space equals a clear mind. Once your area is clean and organized, then your mind will start thinking “what’s next”. It no longer has that feeling of stress and incompletion from the messy environment so it’s ready to take on the next task. Make it a routine to clean your space daily so you don’t get stuck in a pit of garbage. I realize this is easier said than done but try it out as a new habit just like how you commit to brushing your teeth every morning. You will find very quickly that cleaning is actual kind of fun.
5 Read inspirational stories
Nothing gets me more charged up than reading inspirational books. It can seem intimidating at first when you first start looking for the right one. There are a ton of self-help gurus out there with varying advice and theories, however; once you find a voice that resonates with you, it becomes very easy to read. It can be a very motivating tool, especially when you’re feeling lazy. You could also try watching some motivational videos on YouTube. You know the ones — epic music, with people jumping off of cliffs in slow motion. It’s mega cheesy, but it really puts you in the right mindset. It makes you feel like you can do anything. Start looking into people like Seth Godin, Tony Robbins, Elizabeth Gilbert and Gabby Bernstein. These people have been where you’ve been and know how to get out of it. Crack open a book and start getting inspired!
4 Make a vision board
AKA a vision board. Yes, it’s a little…2008 — but vision boarding is here to stay. Taking the time to create your own little ideal life on a board is setting a huge intention in and of itself. When you hang it on your wall and look at it everyday, it’s like a reminder of what you intend to do in this life. Hang it in plain view so that you will be forced to look at it everyday. To make your vision board, print out color photos of things like your ideal home, your ideal partnership, your ideal body, your ideal career etc…you can also throw in things that make you happy and that you would like to have in your life in general — like puppies. Alternatively, you can make a smaller collage in a journal and make a “vision book”. Art class-style collages can be a bit of an eye sore, especially when your whole house is black and white modern chic. Oprah would be proud,
3 Pump up the tunes
Music is like food for the soul. It can completely change the way you feel in a matter of seconds. If you’re having trouble getting started in the morning, try pumping some tunes to boost your mood and get yourself on task. A recent study by researcher Jacob Jolij and student Maaike Meurs of the Psychology Department of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands shows “that music has a dramatic effect on explanatory style and perception”. The test subjects were given happy, sad, and neutral emoticons to identify while music was played. Jolij and Meurs found out that the perception of these emoticons changed depending on what song was playing in the background. So whatever mood you want to be in, play the music to match. If you’re feeling unmotivated, some good old pump up pop music is always a good bet, also anything by Queen makes me feel like I’m a total boss.
2 Wall Calendar
I know, I know…earth to captain obvious. Having a big ol’ calendar in front of your face can do wonders for your #motivationlife. I’m not talking about a google calendar, I’m talking about a big, wall calendar that you can hang in your room and NEVER forget about. Make sure you hang this sucker in a place that is extremely visible such as in front of where you keep your laptop or even in the bathroom. Since it’s going to be huge, you can write down literally everything that pops into your head that you think you need to get done. Put EVERYTHING on that calendar and reward yourself when you get things done by scratching it out or even better — erase it! You can also give yourself cute little stickers on the days you got everything done. I know it sounds a little…preschool, but stickers can be very motivational.
1 Drink Coffee
Need a little more pep in your step? Coffee is your best friend. Studies have shown that coffee can make you smarter in the long run and has a positive effect on brain function. That’s all the proof I need to keep up my morning joe habit. The chemical in coffee that gives you that boosted feeling is called, as we all know; caffeine. Caffeine stimulates glutamate and dopamine in the brain which gives you that boost in energy and mood coffee is so famous for. Recently, people have taken to the fat coffee trend by plunking a tablespoon of butter or coconut oil into their morning brew to give themselves an even surge of energy as opposed to the usual hyperactivity followed by a mid-morning crash. Not sure about the science on that one, but it might be a good idea if you want to dull the flame a bit. Once you get your coffee fix, anything seems possible.