Backed By Science: 3 Steps to Motivate Yourself


As humans, we are so good at thinking of what to do but so terrible at actually doing those things.


Problem is you’re skipping an essential step. I’m going to tell you what that is.


You rarely take emotions into account and feelings are a fundamental and unavoidable part of why humans do what they do. We can’t ignore our emotions. Our brains are structured so that when thought and feelings compete, feelings almost always win! But fighting those feelings doesn’t work; research even says this just makes them stronger.[1]


Focus on emotions. Knowing something isn’t enough to cause change. Make people FEEL something.[2]


We need to think to plan but we need to feel to act.


So if you’ve got the thinking part out of the way – how do you aggravate those emotions and get things done? Here are 3 steps that’ll help you!


1.    Get positive


When do we tend to procrastinate the most? When we’re in a bad mood.


Procrastination is a mood-management technique, albeit a shortsighted one. However, we’re most disposed to it when we think it’ll actually help. Far and away the most procrastination occurred among the bad-mood students who believed their mood would change with fun distractions.”[3]


Meanwhile, research shows happiness increases productivity AND makes you more successful.[4]


Monitor the progress you’re making and celebrate it. Nothing is more motivating than progress.


“The progress principle: of all the positive events that influence inner work life, the single most powerful is progress in meaningful work; of all the negative events, the single most powerful is the opposite of progress – setbacks in the work.”[5]


2.    Get Rewarded


Rewards feel good. Drawbacks feel bad. Both can work well for motivating you.


Rewards are responsible for three-quarters of why you do things!


“Researchers find that perceived self-interest, the rewards one believes are at stake, is the most significant factor in predicting dedication and satisfaction toward work. It accounts for about 75% of personal motivation toward accomplishment.” – Dickinson 1999


So treat yourself whenever you complete something on your to-do list. (Yes, this is how you train a dog but I promise it’ll work for you too)


What if you’re having trouble finding a reward awesome enough to get you off your butt? Try a “commitment device” instead:


For example: Give your husband $20. If you go and complete your Group Exercise class at inFIT you get your $20 back. If you don’t complete it, your husband keeps the $20.


Your task list just got VERY EMOTIONAL!


3.    Get Peer Pressured


 Research shows peer pressure can help kids more than it hurts them.[6]


Let me explain.


If you surround yourself with people you want to be it’s far less taxing to do what you should be doing.


“When people join groups where change seems possible, the potential for that change to occur becomes more real.”[7]


The Longevity Project[8], which studied over 1000 people from youth to death, had this to say:


“The groups you associate with often determine the type of person you become. For people who want improved health, association with other healthy people is usually the strongest and most direct path of change.”


Over time you develop the eating habit, health habits and even career aspirations of those around you. If you’re in a group of people who have really high goals for themselves you’ll taken on that same sense of seriousness.


Let’s sum it all up!


Got today’s to-do list? Great! That means the most rational thing to do now is stop being and rational be emotional. Get those emotions going:


1.     Get Positive

2.     Get Rewarded

3.     Get Peer Pressured


You can do this. In fact, believing is the first step!


Think of yourself as a motivated, productive person. How people feel about themselves has a huge effect on success.


“The first step toward improving job performance had nothing to do with the job itself but instead with improving how they felt about themselves. In fact, for 8 in 10 people, self-image matters more in how they rate their job performance than does their actual job performance.” – Gribble 2000



Forward this post to at least two friends and start holding each other accountable!!!


[3] Temptation: Finding Self-Control in an Age of Excess
[5] The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work
[7] The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
[8] The Longevity Project