Climbing a steep mountain takes a lot of resilience and drive to go on. Especially when with every step upward, you slip two behind. Such is the course of life. No matter how passionate you are about something, there can always be a day when you just don’t feel up to it. It could be because of failure, tragedy, sick days or really any other unfortunate event that can discourage you from making the effort. Most of the time, this fiasco is only a result of our negative mood/emotions.
But there’s good news. You can increase your motivation, and consequently your productivity, by hacking your emotions. There are ways you can gear your brain into determination mode and perform a lot better. Here are 7 Psychological hacks to get your motivation going:
1. Strike A Confident Pose
Really, this isn’t a joke. Your body language can do wonders for your productivity. There are two ways that a head held high and a good shoulder posture can help you. First off, it makes it appear as if you’re confident in yourself, so other people around you treat you like authority. This will make you want to take charge. Secondly, your brain begins to believe that you’ve got to take control because your body is in that position. So correct your posture. Don’t fold your arms, hunch, crouch or do anything that makes you smaller. Instead, keep your limbs hanging looser and wider.
2. Make A Fresh Start
Even in Chemistry, the most amount of energy that a reaction takes is right at the beginning, just to get the reaction started. This is called Activation Energy. Once the reaction has begun, the energy needed comes down to a constant level until the end of the reaction. Your tasks are similar. You need to take that first step and push the thought of procrastination to the back of your mind. Once you’ve got the inertia going, it’s much easier to get things done. Every time you’re putting a task off by saying you’ll start after 15 more minutes, tell yourself you need to begin right now.
3. Eat Something That Will Release Some Extra Dopamine
Try a chocolate, some berries, and nuts or whole foods like avocados, grains, and fish. This is how these foods induce dopamine levels in your brain:
- They increase the levels of serotonin in your brain; a neurotransmitter that brings down anxiety and stress.
- They release phenylethylamine, which stimulates your brain.
- A release of dopamine also raises your heartbeat, which will make you want to move.
- Dopamine makes you happier, and so these are basically mild anti-depressants for your brain. The happier you are, the more optimistic you’ll feel and as a result, you’ll perform better.
4. Set A Timer
Estimate the amount of time that a task should take for you to complete. Then set a timer accordingly. When you’ve got a timer recording how much work you’re getting done, you’ll a feel a little more guilty about slacking and will also avoid it. This will force you to get your work done. Another benefit of setting a timer is the break at the end of it. You’ll be looking forward to that reward in the form of a temporary relief from your work, and hence, you’ll work faster.
5. Write A Contract For Yourself
There are online websites that you can use to prepare a mock contract. Bet some money on a goal that you want to achieve. This could be getting fit, starting a firm or finishing your assignments. Then find a friend who will invigilate you throughout. If you make it, you get your money back. But if you don’t, your friend is to donate the money to charity. Contracts like these will not only save you from guilt but also your money because you’ll be putting it away at intervals.
6. Talk About Your Plans
Once you get your plans out there, you’re not the only one expecting some kind of an outcome. Find a friend or a family member that’s close to you but is also popular in your circle, and tell them about your plans. Now you’ll have to keep this person up to date, on every other occasion, because they know about your goals. You also know that if you fail at the job, you’ll either be disappointing them or they’ll talk about it to others and everyone else will eventually know. Of course, this will only multiply your guilt and you’ll work harder to protect your pride.
7. Look At Things That Are Green
Have you noticed that all danger signs are red in color? This is because the color red is the only light with the highest frequency of waves, which makes your brain become super alert. The color green, on the other hand, is responsible for releasing dopamine in your mind, because it is a soothing light. It increases not only your motivation but also your creativity.
Surround yourself with green, and notice how you’ll feel much more relaxed. This is why many psychologists advise regular interaction with nature to help people reduce stress. It is also believed that people associate the color with growth, and thus feel the need to progress everytime they see it.
8. Prepare A Things-To-Do List
Weekly, or monthly, find yourself some time and make a checklist of all the work that you need to get done with. Then as you go finishing them, check each of these off. An important advantage of doing this is having all of your work organized. You won’t be forgetting things and you’ll be getting them done on time, without any delays. If for some reason, you can’t get a task done, the next one will be right there as a reminder, and you can use your time to get busy with it. Every time you check a task off, the number will encourage you to keep moving ahead.