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15 Simple Ways to Get Motivated When You Are Alone



15 Simple Ways to Get Motivated When You Are Alone

It’s easy to stay motivated when you have others cheering you on. Your friends and co-workers can be supportive and encouraging and even pitch in to help when you have projects or tasks to finish. And when you are losing your enthusiasm, theirs can be contagious. It’s good to have friends around to keep you going. But how are you on the motivation scale when you’re alone? How motivated could you keep yourself if you were to be alone for a week? If you don’t know, or if you know already that you lose your motivation, then you have some work to do.

What Lack of Motivation Looks Like

We all have occasional days of being fully and wonderfully lazy. After all, we work hard, we play hard, and it’s time to simply veg out when we have some alone time. This can be wonderfully renewing, so long as it is occasional. But, if it becomes habitual when no one else is “looking,” then you are missing out on getting a lot accomplished that could actually result in a better you.


Here’s a bit of a checklist test. Ask yourself if you do these things every time you are alone

  • Spend the day and evening watching TV and/or playing video games
  • Stay on Facebook for several hours, commenting on everyone’s posts
  • Have long, pointless phone conversations with friends because you are not with them
  • Look at projects, think about how you should get to them, but then opt for “some other time”
  • Ruminate about things – either from your past or about your future


Admit it. If you are doing this a lot when you are alone, then you are unmotivated and a procrastinator unless others are around. This is a dangerous habit to form because you lose the ability to motivate yourself. And there will be times when others won’t be around, important tasks will loom before you, and you will not be able to get started, much less complete them.


So, how do you develop the habits of motivating yourself? Try these for starters.

1. Think the “end” rather than the “beginning.”

Your house/apartment is a mess and pretty dirty too. If you can’t get yourself going, walk into each room and get a visual of what it will look like when it’s clean and orderly. Sometimes that visual is all you need. And here’s a related “trick.” When you first wake up in the morning, visualize your day from start to finish. See yourself getting things done.


2. Set up a competition with yourself.

This works if you are naturally competitive. Say to yourself, “I bet you can’t get that one wall painted in 45 minutes. Set a timer and go for it.Turning tasks into a competitive game is both fun and motivating.


3. And what’s a competition without a reward?

You’ve brought some work home and you just can’t get started. It’s boring and tedious, and there’s no one there to pitch in. And you have to meet a deadline. Plan what you “get” when you get it done – something good, and don’t cheat. When you finish it, you get to go for your favorite burger and a beer or order pizza.


4. Tell others what you are going to do.

Your yard is looking like the forest primeval, and you have told everyone at happy hour last night that you are going to spend the entire day getting it cleaned up. Once you have told others, you pretty much “own” it, and you should be able to muster up the motivation so you won’t have to admit that you failed.


5. Break a task down into smaller chunks.

And write each chunk down in order. Attack just the first chunk. Then go check your email or get on Facebook, but just for 15 minutes. Set a timer. Go back and pick up chunk #2 and so on.


6. If the task is physical, get that music on

Upbeat music tends to energize people. So, while you get to that project that has been half-finished for the past 3 months, attack it to the music. Get the last of those Christmas decorations down and put away; clean out that fridge; go through your closet and drawers and throw stuff away; go into that horrible place, the garage, and clean it.


7. Turn off your phone

You can’t turn it back on until you have put in two hours on the tasks you know you have to get finished. Negative reinforcement sometimes goes a long way to motivate people.


8. Post-it notes with inspirational quotes

Put them in places where you usually go to veg – like on the TV screen or your game console, or that stuffed chair you sit in and fall asleep.


9. Make a list in advance

Here are a couple of things about lists. It’s psychologically very rewarding to cross things off as they get done. And crossing things off tends to motivate us to move on. The other thing is this: you have to start at #1 and you are not allowed to move to any other item on the list until #1 is finished. If you put the least favorite task as #1, and stick to this “rule,” chances are you will get the rest done.


10. Take a cold shower

This will definitely wake you up and will actually get your blood flow going.


11. Do not multi-task

This clutters your mind. There’s a great old saying – “Only one potato at a time”. You can only plant one potato at a time and you can only harvest one potato at a time. The same goes for tasks that require your focus.


12. Let in the light

There is something stimulating about having all of the blinds and curtains open, letting in all of the light you can. And if weather permits, open up windows. Fresh air keeps you alert.


13. Do something aerobic

When you feel yourself drifting off and you’re ready to go veg, do some jumping jacks or running in place. This will restore energy.


14. Do the visible things first

There is something motivating about physically seeing the results of our work that motivates us. De-cluttering your workspace just makes you more emotionally ready to get going; printing out that report or post you just finished, rather than only emailing it off, gives you a physical reminder of what you have accomplished.


15. Talk to yourself as you are working

If you can give yourself little pep talks while you are attacking those tasks, you can motivate yourself to continue. And do it out loud. Say things like “C’mon. You can get this done – just a little more to go.” Be your own cheerleader.


No question about it. It’s tough to motivate yourself when there are no others around you that you need or want to perform for. External praise and encouragement is a huge motivator. But if you can get into the habit of motivating yourself from within, you will have developed a skill that will serve you for a lifetime, under any circumstances. It gives you an independence of action that will serve you well.

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Can You Receive A Compliment Without It Getting To Your Head?



a compliment (1)

Receiving compliments gracefully isn’t as easy as it should be for some people. How about you: are YOU ready for someone to give you a pat on the back? To be pushed to doing more? To have someone give you a supporting hand? To be picked up when you fall down?

Sure, we may think that’s what we want. But is it what we need to develop, to grow, and to get better?

If someone complimented you on every little improvement you made while learning a new skill, would you not start to feel a bit marginalized? That perhaps they didn’t really think you could do it? What about when you do something that seems pretty easy and everyone made it into a big deal?


Receiving Compliments When You Are Not Ready For It

Why You Are Not Receiving Compliments

Developing new skills is never free of trouble. We all know the level of foundation that must be built to get from being a novice, before reaching greatness. In the learning process, we all know when we are in that frustrating stage of not being quite as good – but we know what we have to do to get there.

It’s in these moments that receiving compliments on your every action could minimize your efforts. That’s because if they truly knew you, people would be holding out for when you make that big, defining leap. 

As we overcome hurdles in our learning and development, friends, family members, and colleagues will know when the time is right to provide encouragement. They know that when that moment comes, those words will have the right amount of impact on you.

Think back to when you were growing up, playing some elaborate game. Perhaps you spent hours creating this game: building a fort, putting together things that the rest of your characters in the play could use. You pushed through despite the trials and problems.

It would have served absolutely no purpose for someone to congratulate you on every step (and misstep) along the way.  You would have lost your flow as you worked through the problem, constantly being interrupted – all while you were still trying to figure it out and understand where you needed to go.

Why You Are Not Receiving Compliments


When Receiving Compliments Makes You Content with Present Achievements

You might never have finished if someone patted you on the back early in that moment, content in the knowledge that you “thought up” the idea and that was enough. If everyone was saying you did great simply for thinking up something new, would it have compelled you to stop?

Maybe. Perhaps you would have stopped with that compliment.

As a parent, you learn when to encourage your children. Usually, it’s not when they show up, and not when they do what kids around them are able to do as well. It’s when they push themselves to do more. When they pick themselves up and still lose, when they try something new for the first time, fall over and fail, not sure if they should do it again.

Those are the moments when kids should be receiving compliments – NOT when they have done the same thing over and over again, or when they didn’t try their best but won anyways.

Kids know this. They can feel it when people give false compliments or encouragement because they did something they’ve always done. But when it is something meaningful, something they have worked hard for, they know the encouragement will be there to help them.

Why You Are Not Receiving Compliments

The reason you might not be receiving compliments or encouragement when you want to is because you haven’t earned them or don’t deserve them yet.

Maybe your coaches, leaders, parents, or other people who support you know you are not ready for it. Perhaps they need to see you making that next big leap in your growth and development.

Those compliments might not come today, tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year. But look at those around you – the great people you have chosen to surround yourself with – and you’ll see that they are waiting to give you that push. They are waiting for you to make it happen.

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3 Ways to Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart




when your dreams are falling apart (1)

I truly believe that dreams must extend beyond wishes of self-improvement; that its goal should be to contribute to the world around you.

The heart is a fickle thing. Imagine how many amazing things wouldn’t have been accomplished if great minds simply stopped when they “didn’t feel like it”.

It’s human nature. I’m sure that during the course of over 300 bank rejections, Walt Disney had days when he felt like giving up. But he didn’t. He kept going. Why? It was because his dream went far beyond himself.

Here’s how YOU can keep going – even if it feels like your dreams are falling apart.


3 Ways to Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

1.) Remember The “Why”

Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

Often times, I find that dreams extend far beyond the simple purpose of making one happy. For example, being a songwriter in and of itself does not make me feel happy and fulfilled. Imagine if my life’s work was to write songs that no one would ever hear. That doesn’t elicit any feelings of happiness or fulfillment (at least to me).

Seeing and hearing the healing effects that come from the songs I create for others to hear? Now you’re talking. Healing and helping others is the part of my dream that keeps it alive. It gives me purpose in this world that goes far beyond myself and my skills.

I’m reminded of the character Ebenezer Scrooge from Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. Scrooge’s goal in life was to have money – and lots of it. He set aside love and relationships for that dream. The result of this life goal was a lonely, cold, bitter old man.

I won’t ruin the whole story for the very few of you that may not have heard it. In the end, Scrooge discovered that what brought him fulfillment and happiness were community and generosity.

So what is the “why” to your dream? How is your dream going to affect those around you? Get beyond yourself. As many have said, YOU are your biggest obstacle to success.


2.) Take Off The Rose-Colored Glasses

Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

You know what I’m talking about. The “I’m going to make it big” and “I’m going to famous/rich/etc.” I hate to take a pointy realistic needle to your big ideas, but I’m doing it out of love. Here it is:

Your dream isn’t going to look exactly how you pictured it.

Take a minute to take that one in. Still here? Yes. Alive? Yes. Not Bleeding? No? Hurt a bit?

It’s OK. I know. I’ve been there. Dreams are vulnerable. We spend countless hours imagining what it would be like and how we will get there. But the truth is, in my experience, they have never turned out exactly how I have imagined. Why? We live in a world of people and circumstances that we can’t control.

Here is where the “why” comes in. The beautiful thing is that your works are a direct result of your heart’s intention…and what you put out into the world never comes back void. Here’s an example:

As a singer-songwriter, the common idea of making it big for my line of work is to have a hit song or perform in front of a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden (I’m more inclined towards Red Rock Amphitheatre, but you get the picture).

Let’s say that I work and strive tirelessly to do everything I need to do to reach that goal. I release a song, I tour around the US, develop a large following, get on the radio, etc. Along the way, I hear stories of how this song has impacted the people who have heard it. Stories describing how it brought healing, encouragement, and hope.

To go further, what if I never even make it that far? What if circumstances happen and I can’t tour? What if everything “falls apart”? What if I end up playing at open mics for the rest of my life? What if it doesn’t happen in the next year? Two years?

Does that change the fact that my song helped heal and open the heart of a broken and depressed Vietnam Vet? Or how it helped encourage an author to keep going and writing? Or how my song started a conversation on how to look past the labels overshadowing soldiers and their families?

It’s all about your perspective of success, my friend. To me, because my “why” and my heart’s intention are to help people, those stories above are my version of success. It’s what keeps me going. If I get to Madison Square Garden (or Red Rocks), well that’s just icing on top of the cake.

Keep going on your dream. Make a plan, and in the words of .38 Special, “Hold on loosely, but don’t let go.” Roll with the punches and understand that even greater things can come when things don’t go according to your plan.


3.) Make Your Dream Your Job

Keep Going When Your Dream Falls Apart

No, I don’t mean quit your job and have no income while you work on your dream. That’s an entirely different article (and completely up to you). I’m talking about treating your dream like it is your job.

For example, if you completely failed at a presentation at work, would you just quit and not go the next day? No! You have a livelihood and an expectation to show up. So why quit on your dream at the first sign of failure?

Treat your dream like your job. Make a plan, show up every day, and understand that it may take a while to see any results. I know many songwriters who wrote hundreds of songs before they wrote a hit. However, they never would have reached it if they didn’t take that first step, made a commitment, and wrote 100 songs first.

Dreams don’t just happen. They take work. So go get started!

My best advice under this theme is check out the book “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. It is by far the best resource I have discovered in my journey of living out my dream.

Here’s the deal. With every goal that I have set and achieved, I never sat at the end and thought to myself, “man, look at what I did”. Believe it or not, I was more overwhelmed with the thoughts of the journey that I had to take to get there – the good and the bad.

I would admire and laugh at the unexpected things that came. I would smile and enjoy the character it built, the person that I became in the process. In the end, the best thing about dreams and goals isn’t their achievement, but the journey that you take to get there.

Never forget that the dream in your heart was put there for a reason. You were made to make an impact on this world.

Enjoy the journey and never, ever give up. Keep going.

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