7 unexpected tricks to self-motivate

The weather is cold, which makes you want to climb back into bed. The holiday decorations are coming out in full force, so you pine for gift shopping instead of going to work. It’s tough to stay motivated during this time of year. But don’t beat yourself up about it – we’re all distracted.

It may be time to get re-motivated about work, so you can end the year with a bang. Here are some unexpected tips and tricks to self-motivate (backed by scientific research).

  1. Strike a pose. This one has nothing to do with Madonna. It revolves around the importance of body language. It can actually impact your body chemistry. Research shows that holding a “high-power” pose – chest out, arms spread, no slouch – for just two minutes lowers your cortisol levels, which are associated with stress.
  2. Eat chocolate. Any excuse to eat chocolate is always welcome, right? But there’s actually a good reason. Chocolate, and other foods, are dopamine releasing foods. Eating these foods increases serotonin, a neurotransmitter that calms, and phenylethylamine, which promotes stimulation. The release of dopamine elevates your heart rate and significantly increases motivation. It also results in a mild antidepressant effect because your brain responds to the stimulants by promoting blissful emotions.
  3. Hold yourself financially accountable. That’s right. Put your money where your mouth is, so to speak. Gaining, or losing, money can be a powerful motivator. For example, give your friend or colleague $50 to hold onto as part of an informal contract. If you make your goal, then you get the money back. If you don’t they get it keep it. Or, your friend could donate it to their charity of choice.
  4. See green. No, not money. The actual green color. Did you know that the color provides the biggest boost in motivation and energy? And, a glimpse of green sparks creativity. The best way to get some green in your life? Go outside! Take a quick stroll. You will not only see green but be more motivated after physical activity and fresh air.
  5. Help others. Sharing your ideas and helping others can help boost your own motivation. Witnessing the success of others can inspire your own success. So helping others actually helps you.
  6. Celebrate the small victories. Trying to meet long-term goals can be difficult because it’s hard to stay motivated over a long period of time. Set shorter goals for yourself along the way. And when you achieve them, reward yourself, even if it’s something small. Studies show that rewards can increase intrinsic motivation because it strengthens the association between the activity and the goal.
  7. Just do it. The Nike tagline truly applies here. Sometimes, you have to stop thinking and just do it. Even if it’s not perfect. When you worry about it too much, you’re just wasting time and not accomplishing anything. And inaction is the real failure. The quest to be flawless can be draining on your motivation.

We’ll leave you with this motivational quote from former football player and coach, Lou Holtz. He said, “Your talent determines what you can do. Your motivation determines how much you are willing to do. Your attitude determines how well you do it.”