Transcription of the How To Motivate Yourself episode of the podcast Doers Shakers Makers with Sierra Bailey.
[00:05] Do you want to know scientific ways to get yourself off the couch and into action? Or even better, learn how to have systems in place to keep you going when motivation is low. Today, we’ll talk about both ways to motivate yourself and how to set yourself up so even when you can’t, you’ll keep going. My name is Sierra Bailey. Welcome to Doers Shakers Makers, a podcast for go-getters to inspire you in your business and life. So what is it that keeps us from ticking off those to-do’s and getting things done? It’s our emotions. As humans, we can’t ignore that we have feelings and that the key to motivating ourselves is to engage our emotions. So how do we do this? Well, I’m going to talk about three ways for you to engage your emotions and motivate yourself. The first is to get positive because research shows that happiness increases productivity and makes you more successful.
[01:05] We tend to procrastinate the most when we’re in a bad mood. I mean who wants to do anything when you’re in a bad mood, that is the best time that you just want to do nothing really. You get nothing done when you’re in a bad mood, at least I don’t. Maybe some of you do, but I do find that the better the mood I’m in, the more that I want to accomplish, because optimism is key. Monitor the progress you’re making and celebrate it, get excited about things. So this is such a big part of motivation because it kind of goes hand in hand with: you’re motivated when you’re feeling confident about something and that you can accomplish what you’re trying to do. You’re excited about it. You can’t wait to do it. And the main thing that makes us really excited to do something is if we think we can.
[01:49] So that’s why it’s so important to one, do things, but two, to really celebrate when you are doing things. Which. we’re going to get a little bit more into in the next one. But I even mean if you have a tiny, tiny win to do a little dance in your office, to pat yourself on the back, to brag about it to a loved one who is excited about you doing things as much as you are. So, besides celebrating something, let’s say we’re not even to the point where we’re having something to celebrate. Let’s say we’re really trying to get to the first thing. How do you get positive? How do you put yourself in a positive mindset? The easiest way that any of us can do that is to move a little bit. So go for a walk. Go for a little stroll around the neighborhood.
[02:34] So many studies prove that walking and exercise, and I’m not talking about like CrossFit or anything insane. I’m talking about going for a walk, greatly improves our mood. So if you are needing that first step, just go walk around the block or walk around your house. Just move a little bit, do some jumping jacks. Sometimes I love to just do some jumping jacks, do some burpees. I’m a burpee fan. Nobody else really is. But they are effective for moving you and getting you excited. Also for some people, not everybody, but some people just talking to somebody who is in kind of their area of positive people, really helps too. So if you are in a group of friends that motivate each other, call one up, text one, say I need a little bit of boost, they’ll know what to do, they’ll help you, they’ll get you going.
[03:18] But really it’s about getting yourself in that happy frame of mind in that positive frame of mind. It’s a mindset shift. That is the number one thing to do to get yourself motivated. The second is to reward yourself because research shows that rewards are responsible for three-quarters of why we do things. Treat yourself whenever you accomplish something on your to-do list. And I don’t mean like when you make the vet appointment for your dog, that’s a little much, but if you are accomplishing something that is getting you closer to reaching your goals, reward yourself. If you can’t figure out a reward, you can try, I love this one, this is called a commitment device. Give your friend $50. If you don’t get the task done by 5:00 PM you don’t get your $50 back. If you do get it done, you get your $50 back.
[04:07] How’s that for some motivation? But there are definitely ways that you can treat yourself that you don’t have to spend money, that you don’t have to indulge. Maybe if you have issues with eating too much or things like that, you know that don’t go that way, but do things like if I finish what I need to do, then on Saturday I can have four hours to take my dog on this hike that I love going on and I never think that I have enough time to do. So you can give yourself time rewards. I think that’s a really effective way for those of us that try to cram everything into our schedule. We sometimes don’t think that we’re allowed to indulge in time doing things. So I’ve talked a lot about how I want to increase my reading and it is now worked into really my regular schedule, but I used to, if I really accomplished something big, allow myself to read in the middle of the day.
[04:58] For me, that was like the ultimate, let’s work for that. Alright. Now the third thing is peer pressure. Research shows that peer pressure actually helps kids more than it hurts them. Surround yourself with people you want to be like and it’s far less taxing to do what you should be doing. So if you have people around you who are motivated and who are getting out there and doing great things and who you admire for their work ethic and for what they’re accomplishing, you should be spending more time with those people and less time with the people that are not getting off the couch. It will really shift you in that direction to just be around people who are positive and are rewarding themselves and are doing things. The best way to do that is to join groups. You can do anything from joining like a Facebook group.
[05:47] We have the Doers Shakers Makers Facebook group that is filled with go-getters just like you. That’s a great place to start, but don’t overlook the groups in person. There are a lot of groups which for lack of a better term, often called themselves networking groups, but really they are about bringing together the people who are trying to accomplish things with their lives and do really great things. So being in a group like that can help you feel motivated. The other thing is that, as I touched on a little bit earlier, you can pull together a group of friends or create your own mastermind group and have sort of people in that group that you can reach out to and get in touch with when you’re needing to have a little bit of a reminder of what path you’re on, especially if you’re sharing with them what you want to be accomplishing so that they know. So that when you’re coming to them and saying like, oh, I’m not feeling it.
[06:38] Oh, I’m not doing this. They immediately are like, all right, let’s talk about this. Let’s get you back on track. And they’re helpful in that way. That’s why masterminds do well because you understand exactly the motivators, the end results that you’re striving for. The people that are in that group have heard you open up and be vulnerable so they understand often why you perhaps are all of a sudden exhibiting a lack of motivation. They might say, Oh, you’re just experiencing this fear that you’ve had in the past. You need to push through this. This is nothing. This is just your regular habit or your regular pattern that you fall back on. You need to get through this. That is often why groups like that exist. And I will say there may be one coming to the Doers Shakers Makers. I don’t know what you’d call that, world, soon.
[07:22] But anyway, look into having some people that you know that you can reach out to that understand where you’re going and can help you see that you are perhaps not having motivation because of something like fear. That’s usually the biggest thing. Or is something that’s distracting you that is not allowing you to focus that much. I’ll get a little bit more into that in this next section because what if none of those things that I just talked about work? Well, having systems in place makes achieving your goals as easy as possible, even when motivation is low because motivation comes in waves. It’s not always, no matter what you’re doing to get it, there going to be just flowing out of your fingertips like rainbows and sunshine. Sometimes, there’s just no motivation when we need it. And our future self is lazy.
[08:15] So what are you supposed to do then, if you’re sitting here thinking, all right, I’m not gonna be able to motivate myself? Nobody else will be able to motivate me. So how am I going to get things done? Well, first step, you’re going to plan for failure. Try more things. Be willing to fail. That’s the most important. The people that have success stories usually will list off the 300 ways that they failed before they succeeded. The pitches that they made for their book, dozens of times, money that they tried to get, hundreds of times. Fail, fail, fail, fail, and they keep going. So, that’s the most important part of this. Is that in planning for failure, you better plan to fail because if you’re not willing to fail, you will not succeed. The difference between average and top performers is that average people give up when they fail. Top performers keep pushing until they succeed.
[09:06] So make a list of everything you need to do to reach your goal and then set up systems to make it impossible to fail. What do I mean by systems? We always tend to go back to the exercise and dieting goals because everybody can kind of understand. Most of us have had some sort of exercise, health, food-related goal at some points in our life. So I love to use these. So with exercise it is said that if you exercise in the morning it is the better time to do it, if you are prone to procrastinate on exercise, if you are trying to lose weight or accomplish a goal and there was another thing behind that. And if you exercise in the afternoon, you will go harder, you will enjoy it more. And something else on that one. I personally have always been an afternoon exerciser.
[09:51] It came from sports in school and I just have stayed in that system. However, that morning exercise so I can’t put it off, is looking a lot more attractive as my schedule gets more and more chaotic in my current career. I put it off by the end of the day, I’m exhausted or a meeting replaces it or I have a client that moved something around and it just ends up not getting done over and over. So I understand that one of the best systems to get yourself exercising is to do it first thing in the morning, to lay out your gym clothes the night before. So that you wake up, you’re like, oh, there are my clothes. You put the clothes on and you exercise. You’re basically not giving your brain a chance to say no and that is starting to look a lot more attractive to me right now.
[10:37] And if you are struggling with it, it might be something that you could try. Another one is if you have the desire to switch from coffee to tea, well create a system where you’ve removed all of the coffee things from the kitchen. Oh, the thought of that just makes me so sad. But you know, some people have this goal and you’re going to replace them with the tea things. Maybe you have an electric kettle, maybe you have the teabags in a cute little container on the counter and then have the mug ready. So when you get up in the morning, there is no coffee to make, you just go right to the tea thing instead of the coffee thing. You’re making it extra simple to make the tea and to accomplish that goal. Do you want to read more books? Well, always have books around you. Have one with you at all times.
[11:16] Have them in spots around your house where you’ll see them and you’ll pick them up when you have a few minutes. When I decided that I wanted to pursue my goal of reading more books and double the amount that I was reading, I started doing this. I had them set up in an area kind of in a comfy chair area in the bedroom. I have, of course, I’ve always had them by the bed anyway, so that was an example of having books by the bed. I always have read a book while I’m in bed. Now, I also read sometimes in that chair. Then I started putting them all over the dining room table. They took over the dining room table for awhile. We actually got a new really big dining room table yesterday and I, I asked my husband, Adam, I said, are you going to be upset if I cover?
[11:58] Actually I think he said, where are the books? And I was like, I assumed that you’d be upset if I covered our new table with books. And he was like, no, I know you love them. I totally understand why you do that. He gives me a hard time, but he knows that he is married to an avid reader and that that brings me the most pleasure. So I have books all over the dining room table. I have a large table in my office that has books on them. There are books everywhere, so if I have 10 minutes and I have kicked myself off of the Internet where I do nothing, I will hopefully read more and it actually has made it that I, this year will read three times the amount of books that I had been reading when I first set that goal, so look at that.
[12:36] Having them around really did work. All right. The next part of the setting up book systems is to put it on your schedule or calendar. Oh, novices in the productivity sphere. They love their apps, their hacks, and their tools, but tools don’t matter as much as we think. All you need is a pen and a paper and your schedule or calendar to achieve your goals. Execution is more important than the tactic itself, meaning that getting the thing done is more important than how you get it done. We tend to spend a lot of time setting up our to-do lists in our calendars, in our systems and all of that. I am a big fan of being totally into your calendar and your system planning. I, however, always say to people, don’t end up spending so much time planning that you haven’t left yourself the time to do the thing.
[13:24] Monica Geller in Friends had a great moment with this in the early seasons of the show when she was catering and she planned, and she planned, and she planned, but she didn’t leave enough time to actually do the things. So just remember that don’t spend all of your time planning or you won’t have time to do the thing. You don’t have infinite time. You only have a certain amount. So when you’re planning out your week, put blocks in for your planning. So you do have time to do that and put blocks in for what you need to get done. Set alerts ahead of time to remind you to do things. I’m a big fan of the using an online to-do app just to be able to set the reoccurring alerts just so I don’t have to remember to put things in my planner that come up every single week or even every single day.
[14:13] They just pop up automatically. So in, I’m not saying all apps are bad. In that case, an app is fantastic, but don’t spend all your time looking for the perfect one, find something, put it into place, use it. If you don’t like it a few months later you can switch, but it’s really about execution. That is the most important part. The third part of creating these systems is to develop laser-focus. Yes, emergencies come up. We had a situation in our family last week. I was not directly involved with it, but the dealing with it emotionally and having conversations about things and things like that took up a lot of my time and more importantly, it ended up taking up a lot of my mental space, so I had a hard time focusing. That happens. Emergencies are going to come up. Your child or your mother or somebody is going to end up in the hospital at some point.
[15:03] You may end up in the hospital at some point. Yes. Don’t feel like you have to end the world or your goal at that time, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. Emergencies come up, you will get past them. What I’m talking about is that we tend to sabotage one goal by shifting focus to another. Ugh, I’m the worst of this. I want to have like 19 goals going on at a time. I want to be working on all the things, but you can’t work on all the things because if you do try to work on multiple goals at once, nothing really gets done. You don’t make progress on either, so you want to focus on one big goal at a time. I want to make more money. I want to lose weight. It’s easy right there. You’re like, no, I want to do both of those things.
[15:43] Okay, well work on one and then you’ll accomplish it and then you’ll be able to work on the next one. You have a long life, work on one goal at a time. Write it down, write down that goal. Write down what is motivating you to do that goal. Why are you wanting to accomplish your goal? It is amazing that as soon as you write things down, your brain wants to solve that problem, so write down the things that you want to do and your brain will start working on it. Your brain will start laser focusing on it. I went through this mission with this whole table that I was trying to get. Oh my goodness. It’s all over social media. If you want to go find me all over the place, Sierra Bailey and look into that. There was a dining room table thing. It took three years to find. At the end of it when it was like go time.
[16:23] Also part of the reason I was distracted this past week, but let me tell you, I had laser focus on that table. Mainly because it was at an estate sale and I knew that I had to be the first one to arrive and I had to run in there and throw myself on the table to buy the table for nobody else to beat me out on my perfect table ever. That was some laser focus and I got the table and I think I got the table because I lived, breathed and talked about that table for the four days before that estate sale. Eh, ok the two weeks, will you know, be honest with that one. So if you put laser focus on your goals, your brain will be like that is happening and you will get your goals done. And then, I know I said three things, but once you are putting all of your systems in place, test and adjust them, there’s always room for improvement.
[17:07] But you need to get working on them before you start testing and adjusting. Because as we talked about at the beginning, action is the most important part. As we talked about in all of these, really doing the thing is the most important part. Well, I hope this episode motivated you. If not, you now know how to motivate yourself. Thank you for joining me today. My name is Sierra Bailey and this is Doers Shakers Makers, a podcast for go-getters. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts, and if you’re listening with apple podcasts, please give me some stars. You just have to highlight the little stars and if you give me a review, just a sentence is fine. It really goes a long way in helping me get found. I’ll be back next Monday to keep you inspired and get you doing shaking and making
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