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Bill Bergeman


10 Things Guaranteed to Motivate You to Take Action

When all else fails, and you can’t seem to get moving, fall back on one of these tried-and-true methods.

    1. Set up a deadline with consequences.

    It's one thing to have a deadline. It's a whole different thing to have a deadline that, if missed, will cause you loss or suffering.

    2. Think about your death.

    There is no greater deadline with a consequence than our own extinction. The following excerpt from Tuesdays with Morrie exemplifies how death can be a great motivator.

    “Everyone knows they’re going to die,” he said again, “but nobody believes it. If we did, we would do things differently.”

    So we kid ourselves about death, I said.

    “Yes. But there’s a better approach. To know you’re going to die, and to be prepared for it at any time. That’s better. That way you can actually be more involved in your life while you’re living.”

    How can you ever be prepared to die?

    “Do what Buddhists do. Every day, have a little bird on your shoulder that asks, ‘Is today the day? Am I ready? Am I doing all I need to do? Am I being the person I want to be?’ ”

    He turned his head to his shoulder as if the bird were there now.

    “Is today the day I die?” he said.

    3. Imagine someone you enormously respect is watching your every move.

    You know how you act differently when someone is watching you or filming you do something compared to when you are doing that thing alone? Well, you can mimic that feeling by imagining someone you respect watching you do the thing, or get motivated to do the thing. What would that person say if you were just laying around on the couch, or doing the thing but only with mediocre effort?

    4. Have an unshakeable ‘why.’

    If you have a deeply-felt reason for doing something, and you clearly understand that reason, then you will break through walls to get it done.

    If not, then we will always give less than our best effort.

    5. Fire up your favorite music.

    Kenny Loggins' Highway to the Danger Zone will get my butt off the couch every time!

    6. Get someone involved to do the thing with you.

    Otherwise known as an accountability partner. Are you not going to show up at the gym at 5 AM when you agreed to meet your friend there at that time? Are you going to skip your nightly 7 PM study session with your classmate that you promised never to miss?

    7. Broadcast to the world that you are going to do the thing.

    My personal preference is to keep my goals to myself, but sometimes one needs some serious external motivation. If you call your parents and friends, or post on social media, about some big goal you want to achieve, they are all going to be asking you about it. Are you going to tell them you decided to sleep in today and not get any work done on the thing?

    8. Allow yourself a huge dopamine-filled reward when you complete the thing.

    It doesn't matter what it is, just be sure it's something in which you love to indulge. An all-day That 70's Show marathon? An enormous slice of buttercream chocolate cake? Or, my go-to, a giant medium rare Angus beef burger with avocado, bacon, and pepperjack cheese!

    9. Get pissed.

    Not the kind of pissed that results from drinking too much.

    Is there a better short-term motivator in this world than getting truly, honestly pissed off about something? Obviously, keep the feeling to yourself - don't dump your anger on others. But if you can harness and direct that internal fire toward the thing you have to do, it can serve as an incredible motivator.

    10. Establish the habit of always moving.

    By practicing every day the art of moving even when you don't want to, you'll establish a habit of default action no matter how you feel.

    As the Buddha once said, "Good people keep walking whatever happens."

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