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How to Motivate Yourself

Have you ever sat down at your computer to work on a paper only to find yourself checking your Facebook posts instead? Or watched your pile of dirty laundry grow until it practically takes over your room?

Of course you have! We all need a little push now and then to tackle things we don’t want to do. It’s only human.

Whether you have a secret passion you’ve always wanted to pursue or need a nudge to help you tackle class work or a boring chore, these motivational tips will help get you moving. Let’s get started!

  1. Do something…ANYTHING! Make a list. Get organized. Get your brain in gear. And just begin. Since getting started is always the hardest part, promise yourself that you can stop in 15 minutes if you want to. By then you may be on a roll and want to keep on going until the job is done!
  2. Divide and conquer. No one says you have to do it all in one sitting or even one day. Divide big tasks into smaller ones, and focus on completing just one task at a time. If you’re writing a paper, start with the first paragraph; if you’re running out of clean clothes to wear, at least sort your laundry into dark and light piles. Feel good about your accomplishments. You’ll be surprised how much you can do if you take it one step at a time.
  3. Stay positive. It’s practically impossible to get motivated when you’re down in the dumps. To shake that bad mood, turn on your favorite music, pull up the window shade and let the sun shine in or go for a short run or walk. You’ll feel much more productive once you get your juices flowing.
  4. Ask a friend for help. You know the saying: two heads are better than one. Well it’s true. Besides, you might find that your friend is in need of a little motivation, too. Sometimes just knowing that you’re not in it alone can be very motivating.
  5. Talk about it. Talk therapy is cheap and it’s a great way to get fired up about something you want or have to do. It also makes you accountable, which means your friends will expect you to follow through. Tell as many friends as you can about what you’re trying to accomplish and ask for their encouragement.
  6. Visualize the outcome. Imagine what will happen if you never pursue your personal passion…if you keep putting off writing that paper…if you never take a minute to get to know that cute guy or girl in your math class. Now imagine what will happen if you do. Linking negative outcomes with not acting and pleasurable outcomes with taking action is a standard motivational technique. See if it works for you.
  7. Fuel your body and your brain. A six pack of Dr. Pepper, three café grandes or a tall can of Red Bull will definitely get you moving. But for energy that lasts, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and skip the sugar. Nothing can kill a burst of motivation faster than a caffeine or sugar crash.
  8. Reward yourself. You know you’re going to feel really good about yourself when you finally achieve what you’ve set out to do. But in the meantime, set a few progressive goals and reward yourself when you reach them with something you’ll really enjoy—like some new iTunes or a night out with your BFF! It doesn’t have to be big…just big enough to keep you going in the right direction!
  9. Dress for success. Did you know certain colors can affect your mood? Wear red to boost your confidence, yellow for intelligence or orange for energy and mental stimulation. Light blue, green or pink will calm you down if you’re feeling tense. And if you’ve got a lucky t-shirt, put it on!
  10. Remember why… It’s easy to stay on course when you’re feeling motivated, but motivation can fade as time goes on. Make a list of reasons why achieving your goals are important to you, and keep the list where you can see it. Read your list aloud whenever you need a boost to get you going again.

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