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5 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Do ANYTHING

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5 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Do ANYTHING @AdriansCrazyLif These are some very simple tips I've picked up over the years to motivate myself.

I think the hardest part of making any kind of lifestyle change is to motivate yourself to stick with it.  You can be trying to lose weight, clean up your house, get out of debt, or be a better parent, motivation IS the key to success.

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I don’t pretend to be any kind of expert on the subject, but I have picked up some pretty good tips on the subject over the years. Here are some of the best tips I use to motivate myself:

Don’t break the chain

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld is credited with thinking up this one.  It’s simple to do, but very powerful. Get a calendar and mark an X on it for the first day you are successful in using your new behavior. On the second day, add another X and draw a line linking them together. If you don’t do your behavior on the third day, you have to start a new chain on the fourth day. What you are doing is competing with yourself to see how many consecutive days you can get for your chain. It’s surprisingly motivating.

Picture the prize

I love this one because it’s so visual. Works well for both kids and adults. Decide on a reward – whatever you feel is appropriate for about a month’s worth of progress towards your goal. Can be an outfit, dinner at a restaurant, a CD, whatever you can afford. The find a nice full-color picture of the item and cut it into about 30 numbered pieces. You stick them in an envelope. Every time you have a good day towards your goal, you earn a piece of the picture. When the picture is complete, you have earned the prize.

Set a financial penalty.

I got this one from my former pastor. He was like any other father, sometimes he would get mad and yell at his kids and he wanted to change that behavior. So, he decided that he would have to pay them a dollar if he yelled at them. He had four kids and a pastor’s salary, so this was a really good incentive for him to change his behavior.

Another version I’ve heard is to give money to a cause you really dislike. That could be a very good motivator, but you’ve got to have someone to act as a referee to keep you honest and make sure you actually follow through on your donation or pay your penalty.

Enlist a Coach or an accountability partner to motivate you

This one is a little bit tricky because you have to find someone who is willing to be a little bit mean to you, or at least very strict with you. You don’t want a person who is going to cut you a break or let you off the hook.

I tend to be a major impulse buyer, so I have a friend who is a money blogger.  Before setting out on a shopping trip, I will text her with a summary of what I need to buy and how much I want to spend.  Knowing that I’m going to have to ‘fess up to her if I come home with extra stuff, is a powerful motivator.  Read my post on Teach Your Bank to Yell at You if you struggle with money issues.

Rig the System in Your Favor

The flip side of this is to get a partner to reward you rather than yell at you. I did this for my husband when he had been dragging his feet on finishing up some household projects. I had a $20 gift card to his favorite restaurant that I’d won somewhere, so I tacked it up on the fridge with a note that if he completed the projects by the end of the week, he could have the gift card to enjoy a nice lunch. The projects got done in record time.

One of my decluttering clients tried this with great success. Her husband had been after her to clean out their guest room for weeks. She asked him if he would take her out to dinner if she completed the project. He said he would be delighted to. She completed the project in just a few hours and then they enjoyed a nice dinner together, so it was definitely a win-win situation for both of them.

Power of Post-It Notes to Motivate Yourself or Your Family

Another systems tactic that is surprisingly motivating – Post-It Notes.  It is so silly how a little piece of sticky paper can be motivating, but it totally can.  Here are some ideas to use Post-It Notes to motivate yourself or your family (I’ve used all of these with great success).

  • Want your kid to brush their teeth or do a chore?  Stick a bunch of Post-It Notes on the mirror that say “I did it!”.  Every time they do the task, they get to pull off a note.  Instant positive reinforcement.
  • Want to stay away from something?  A simple Post-It Note on the fridge “I will not open this fridge after 9 PM”.  “Adrian is not allowed on this computer until 11 AM”.  “Johnny can only play this game AFTER he has shown Mom his completed homework”.  “This is a clean counter, you may not set ANYTHING here”.  It is just surprising how much effect little notes like this have.
  • Kids carrying snacks all over the house and leaving crumbs EVERYWHERE.  Make a little fence of Post-It Notes on the kitchen floor.  “No food or drink past this line”.  It’s like magic!
Disclaimer:  This post may contain affiliate links. Amazon Affiliate Disclosure – As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Helpful Books on Motivation

If you are really serious about how to motivate yourself – I have a bonus tip for you. I am the queen of self-help books. I have a whole shelf full of them, along with videos, CD’s and audio tapes from every motivational expert under the sun. However, the best one I have found so far is a new book called Change Anything.  It’s got some seriously brilliant tips for changing any type of behavior.

It’s definitely a book to read with a highlighter in your hand because there are so many simple and clever strategies.


The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Extra bonus tip to motivate yourself

I just found this on the interwebs the other day and I wanted to share it with you.  I draw these beautiful little intricate black and white drawings called Zentangles.  It’s fun and very calming, sort of like those adult coloring books.

This lady figured out a way to use them to motivate herself to pay off debt.  Every time she paid $25 on one of her credit cards, she got to color in one little section.  I thought that was a brilliant strategy!  Here is one of my drawings – I can see exactly how much fun it would be to color in one section every time you pay a bill.

5 Tips to Motivate Yourself to Do ANYTHING

I hope these ideas will help you. Be sure and drop me a line to let me know how you are getting on with it. Or if you have any great ideas to share also. I’d love to hear them. I am always interested in more great motivational ideas.

Photo credit:  Whitneylayne @ Fiverr.com

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Products and Services for Sale

Two of my top categories are organizing your home and managing your finances.  For me, these are top priorities for a happy and successful life.  So, over the years, I've put together a variety of resources to help you with these issues.

My Debt-Free Coaching

I've done debt-free coaching for hundreds of clients over the last eight years and I get a lot of joy out of helping people find simple and common-sense ways to dig themselves out of debt and learn to manage their money.  Check out my other website Start a New Chapter Consulting for more info and some great freebies.

Help with Your Blog or Business

If you are looking for any help regarding blogging, social media, or all things tech, you'll want to check out my other blog - Your Fairy Techmother.  I've been a full-time blogger and freelancer for a number of years, so I've gathered all my BEST tips into this helpful blog.

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  1. Great post. Not been over to your blog for a long time, I’ve often seen your posts in linky parties and they are always great, Some brilliant tips here. I’m a sucker for a self help book. I have read a few this year already, I just find them inspiring and motivational. I shall give your recommendation a go. I do like tracking things. I like the picture idea. Over from Saturday Sharefest 🙂

    1. Thanks for stopping by. I do enjoy sharing helpful tips with people. I’m a sucker for a self-help book too, and I figure if I even learn ONE new idea from it, it was worth the time investment. Hope these tips helped you.

  2. Someone was just asking me about how to get motivated after a presentation I gave about putting your house on a diet. I mentioned visuals, accountability, and starting small enough to build confidence. I love filling in boxes, so have to say the chain or the Zentangles would work for me:)

    1. Putting your house on a diet – what a great analogy. My house could definitely do with a bit of dieting. And I do love the Zentangle concept. These drawing and coloring books are all the sad lately.

  3. These are great tips Adrian. I think #2 would work well for me. Like you said, it works for kids and adults. =)
    Thanks for linking up at the Bloggers Brags party, I’ve pinned your post to our group board. I hope you link up next week too!

  4. Wonderful tips Adrian! Thank you for sharing! We all go through phases where we lack a little motivation. I love number 2!

    1. Thanks Karina – since you are doing fitness, feel free to share any of these ideas with your clients. I think sticking with an exercise routine is always the biggest test of motivation.

    1. Thank you so much. I love to share little Life Hack-type tips like this. I guess I’m always trying to game the system and find ways to stack the odds in my favor!

    1. I know. I found that one on the Internet and I think it’s brilliant. I actually found another one this week that I think I’ll add. You get one of those intricate black and white pictures that you can color on, and each time you complete a step towards your goal, you get to color in a section. Isn’t that brilliant?

  5. This is amazing! I really love all the suggestions you gave. I’m in a slump right now so I need to find more motivation. I like the idea of putting a finical penalty on it and find a reward. I haven’t done either of those yet and need to . Great tips!

    1. I hope these tips are helpful to get you out of your rut. It’s tough these days. We have so many things competing for our attention, so I find some of these little tricks really do help.

  6. Love the visual of “don’t break the chain”. What a great reminder to take it one day at a time!

  7. Love these tips! Great list. I’m going to look into that book, too… I’m such a sucker for Self Help material. Found you from the SITS Sharefest, and I’d love for you to drop by and visit my blog if you get the chance. Have a fabulous weekend!

    Diary of a Debutante

  8. This is an excellent article. I love rewards when it comes to motivation. I know ppl who have swear jars. They are beneficial in changing habits!

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