Strategies To Increase Motivation At Work

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Post By Anna Thiele, Deliberate Directions Leadership Strategist

Anna focuses on writing website content and hosting a “Leadership, No Homework” book club. Anna received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication, with a certificate in Leadership and Human Resources, from Boise State University. In her spare time, Anna enjoys rock climbing, traveling, music, and the Enneagram.

Oftentimes, work can become such a drag that it’s hard to remember the jazz hands and excitement that once emanated from your being when you first started the venture. What at one time gave you excitement and a laundry list of fun tasks is now the thing to have you hitting the snooze button for five more minutes of rest. So today, get back power by realigning yourself to the reason you began through seven helpful strategies to keep you motivated.

Regain power by realigning yourself with the reason you began.

In Mark Waldman and Ph.D. Chris Manning’s book, NueroWisdom; The New Brain Science Of Money, Happiness, and Success, define four pillars of success; motivation, decision making, creativity, and awareness. The motivation-and-reward circuit, the m-drive, is centered in the nucleus accumbens. Driven by instinct and curiosity, the m-drive releases a hormone called dopamine. This hormone causes man’s desire. Each brain is different, although getting your brain’s nucleus accumbens to release the perfect amount of dopamine keeps you motivated and active. Following are seven strategies to help you accomplish radical motivation.

Create a Pleasure Board

We all have days when even our best efforts seem forced. Creating a pleasure board can help you push through when your day is boring or unpleasant.

To start, list the most pleasurable experiences you’ve had. Include things like food you enjoy, meaningful personal relationships, rewarding physical activities, satisfying mental pursuits, vacations, and the most positive work experiences.

After creating this list, take a minute to experience and immerse yourself in the memory. Note how your body relaxes and let a smile show on your face. In the future, an additional way to utilize this strategy is to act on one of the more minor activities on your list. It’s essential to stick to small rewards because larger ones can turn off your m-drive, resulting in a less than desirable amount of dopamine.

Create a Curiosity Board

At times, the weight of the world can feel like it’s solely resting on your shoulders. With such a burden, it can be helpful to remind yourself of positive things. Try considering the weight with a different mindset using curiosity.

To begin this activity, make a list of all the activities, events, and topics that pique your curiosity. These can be experiences that have powerfully impacted you in the past or ones that you look forward to one day experiencing. Notice, while you write, how your mood improves and your expectancy increases. Mindfully observe the different thoughts and feelings that float into your consciousness.

Remember that remaining curious is exceptional for our brains, as the m-drive thrives on wonder.

Create A Vision Board

Having minimal reminders of the direction you plan to take your business can be extremely helpful, and that is where a vision board can be beneficial. It’s common to hear the phrase: “out of sight is out of mind.” Try creating a vision board to keep your goals at the top of your mind and remain motivated to achieve them. Don’t hold back and design this solely for you; instead, use an entire office wall to engage your team with a vision wall.

A vision board is underrated and underused but can provide many benefits if utilized. This board gets you or your team fully on board with the direction you are headed and provides a baseline for foundational questions to help you establish a team culture for your business. In addition, it is noteworthy to glean satisfaction from the dreams and aspirations you have for yourself after a stressful day. Create this board with goals you have for the next three years. Stay creative, and don’t limit yourself. If you can dream it, you can be it.

However, while this board is indicative of your end goal, it has been studied that if you don’t believe in the goals you’ve set, your m-drive won’t release the needed dopamine to motivate you. If this is the case, try a strategy called mental contrasting.

Try Mental Contrasting

If you have a hard time owning the goals you have set, you may benefit from mental contrasting. Some envision only their best work, but their brains don’t compute, leaving them unsure of how to move forward. Mental contrasting connects vision with reality by visualizing your inner and outer obstacles to achieving your goal. This mindset then turns desire into expectation.

Gabrielle Oettingen, a leading investigator in the study of visualization and goal achievement, strategized a solution to connect this using a concept she coined as W.O.O.P. (wish, outcome, obstacle, plan). Try W.O.O.P. if you are overwhelmed by your vision board goals and regain control over your future.

Create a Skills and Strengths Board

Large projects can sometimes leave us burnt out and unsure of how we bring value to the team. So, the next day you have like that, try to evaluate the situation by assessing your skills and strengths. Building self-efficacy is a guaranteed way to stay motivated.

Take out a sheet of paper and write down every unique skill, strength, talent, ability, and area of expertise you possess. In addition, consider what you have been good at in the past. Next, close your eyes and deeply relax for 20 seconds before opening them and mindfully gazing at your list. Now, ask your intuition to identify three other skills you have and write them down. Finally, repeat the process of how a best friend would answer this about you.

Remembering how you uniquely contribute to the team will increase self-worth and self-esteem. In addition, by seeing your talents and strengths, you’ll have a better idea of which avenue would be the easiest to pursue after a long day.

Create A Daily Commitment Sheet

Some people work well using daily to-do sheets, while others prefer completing tasks as they come up. However, it is wise to consider completing a daily commitment sheet in whichever basket you fall. It can be rewarding to see what you’ve accomplished for each day, followed by affirmations. It can also be an excellent way to track your accomplishments if you look forward to receiving a raise soon. And, of course, if you have trouble reaching your goal, the daily commitment sheet will help with that too.

Create A C.R.A.P. Board

The final board to help you stay motivated to achieve your goals, especially after a hard day, is a variation of cognitive behavior therapy. The C.R.A.P. board, designed by Mark Waldman, keeps your brain from ruminating on problems, fears, and weaknesses by instead having you clarify conflicts, resistance, anxieties, and procrastination you may have. Use the provided template to increase awareness and reframe your mindset to get motivated by challenges. Be sure to clarify your values, what your friends say about you, and to list ten conflicts, resistance, anxieties, or procrastination you may have about the day.


Take on tomorrow by taking on today. Happy motivating! Please let us know in the comments what works best for you.

I'm Allison Dunn,

Your Business Executive Coach

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