Motivation Solutions at a Glance

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The keys to motivation are finding a compelling why or purpose, changing how you’re doing something, and using metaphors or mindsets that help keep you going. The simplest way to think about motivation is pain and pleasure. We do things to increase pleasure or reduce pain. The following are solutions at a glance for mindsets and motivation:

How to motivate yourself

If you’re not that motivated, your why just isn’t strong enough—find a compelling why. Another way is to change how you do something; for example, turning it into a game can make it fun and exciting. Team up with someone who complements your skills. You can think in terms of pictures and use visualization to motivate yourself. You can get leverage on yourself by either using pain or using pleasure.

How to stay positive

Ask, “What’s great about this situation?” Shift to the future and ask solution-focused questions, such as, “How to make the most of this situation?”

How to switch gears

To shift gears, you can imagine putting on a different hat. For example, you might put on your explorer hat or your results hat. You can also shift gears by asking yourself different questions, such as, “How much can I get done in the next 10 minutes?”

How to beat perfectionism

Think of perfection as a path, not a destination. Ask yourself, “What’s good enough for now?” Think in terms of versioning your results. Imagine how much better the tenth version will be than the first version. Improve upon it each time through, rather than try to get it all right up front. Worst case, set simple time limits to unblock yourself.

How to beat procrastination

Treat it like a challenge and focus on getting the ball out of your court. Rather than over-think or over-analyze your action, simply take action and make progress. You can always correct course, but what you want to avoid is inertia. Inertia will slow you down and wear you down. The better you get at doing the things you need to do, the more you build momentum for results.

How to find effective metaphors

Figure out whether the problem you are working on should be like blasting with dynamite or chipping away at the stone. This will help you pace yourself for results. Turn your projects into epic adventures if that helps you connect with your sense of adventure. Turn your problems into hurdles you can jump, if that helps you make forward progress.