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How to Self-Motivate

Everyone needs a little push and that’s okay. Sometimes its parents, sometimes its friends, but we all really need to start pushing ourselves from within. It is important to do things for you and have the motivation of an activity come from you. Here is some advice and a few tips on self-motivation.

1. Time your Breaks.

If you are working on a task that needs to get done, taking short timed breaks will help you stay on task and feel less tired while doing the task. If you want a 20-minute break? Go on Netflix and watch an episode of “Friends.” Need a 10-minute break? Go on YouTube and watch some awesome make-up tutorials. Need 5-minute break? Walk around your hall, go outside for some fresh air or grab a coffee at Starbucks. If you time your breaks, you will feel as if you are accomplishing more which will motivate you to do even more. Go even as far as setting a timer on your phone to monitor how long you are doing everything.


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2. Make lists.

Always write down everything you need to get down each day, or each week. Physically marking off the task you just finished, brings a sense of accomplishment. When you feel more accomplished, you feel better about yourself and that leads to being more productive. Writing lists will allow you to see what needs to be done. By writing short lists, it will not allow you to blow off what is on the list. After adjusting to marking everything off your list, make the list longer and you will see the small stuff you used to “not have time for” becomes for natural and faster to do. This progression will open the door to getting more done, which in return makes you feel amazing about yourself.


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3. Set goals.

Goals can be short term or long term. For your short-term goals (maybe what you want to accomplish in the next few weeks or month), you need to have a plan of action. Plan out some steps on how you want to achieve these goals. If you are trying to lose 5 pounds, then plan out what snacks you’ll be cutting out of your diet and how much time each week you want to spend at the gym. For long-term goals, you also want to have a plan, however it may not be as specific because you cannot time travel and find out what the future will look like in 3 years. When you set goals, you are telling yourself you WILL accomplish it, and this causes you to actually want to accomplish them rather than just dreaming about what you want the future to look like. There are some apps that help you write down goals and keep track of them that may help you. “Productive-Habit Tracker” and “Done” are great for tracking short-term goals, while “Remente-Self Improvement” is great for long term tracking.  


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4. Reward yourself.

If you are not excited about what you have done, then no one else will be. By rewarding your progress and success, you get more excited to make more goals thus accomplishing even more. As you accomplish your short-term goals allow yourself an extra study break. Give yourself a few extra dollars to spend the week after getting an A on the exam you studied so hard for. Eat that pancake in the lobby of your commons because you were able to meet your exercise goal for the past two weeks. When you give yourself something to look forward to at the end of finishing a task or goal, then you are more likely to WANT to get it done. 


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5. Hold yourself accountable.

When you are unable to finish the list of things you needed to get done, accept that fact that you cannot add hours to the day, no matter how hard you try, and look back over your day to see where you can improve. If you cannot see how to better use your time, ask the friend that always seems to have their life together for their help. Remember that it’s not embarrassing and if they are truly your friend they will be overjoyed to help you. When you tell yourself that you weren’t able to finish, you can move on and fix what happened. Taking accountability for your actions will help you improve your day-to-day actions. 


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6. Keep your space clean.

Having a clean desk will trick your mind into thinking you have a clear life, a clean slate to work from. It may sound cheesy and not exactly advice on motivating yourself, but if you make it a weekly task to clean your side of the room, I promise things will start falling into place better. Plus, I bet your roommate would enjoy a clean room a lot more too. When you are free from the loose papers and trash that used to live on your desk, you have more space to write your to-do lists, a better work space to actually do the items on your to-do list, and a clean room to come home to after rewarding yourself from accomplishing your goals. SEE, CLEAN IS ALWAYS BETTER. 


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I hope this helps you self-reflect on what you need to do to grab your life and face everything head on. Your parents cannot always be the ones to tell you how to live your life to what your next steps should be; you need to learn to motivate yourself in order to be truly successful in the future.  

Miranda is a Junior at Southern Methodist University studying Economics and Psychology, looking forward to a career working within the federal government. She has lived in multiple differnet cities, including Pittsburgh, PA (home), Austin, TX, and Dallas, TX. She is a loving mother to an adorable French Bulldog named Stella. One way to never have a boring conversation is to talk about politics. 
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