Using the Past to Motivate

by Staff Writer

Without motivation, nothing would ever be accomplished. Sometimes, it seems like motivation surges through your veins. Other times, it may be in very short supply or missing entirely. Thankfully, there's no need to wait for motivation to strike. There are plenty of ways to get motivated in order to get things done. Learn more about getting and staying motivated below.

Surround Yourself with Motivational Things

One easy way to get motivated is by keeping yourself surrounded with motivational things. When most people think of motivational things, images of motivational calendars and posters often come to mind. Those kinds of things can be very beneficial, but they often aren't as effective as past successes. By thinking of past successes and remembering details about them, you can get yourself pumped up and ready go with a minimal amount of effort. Doing this may not come naturally, but getting into the habit can help a lot.

What's so Helpful about Past Successes?

They always say that you shouldn't live in the past. One glaring exception is remembering past successes. Few things are as motivating as calling to mind a major past success. Why is it so motivating to think about the things that you have successfully accomplished in the past? There are many reasons:

  • If you did it once, you can do it again. Things that seemed insurmountable were overcome, and that can be very motivational.
  • After you achieved that past success, you probably felt wonderful. Remember that heady feeling can motivate you to replicate that success in the present.
  • As soon as you accomplished that major success in the past, you were able to cross it off the list. You can do that now in your current situation too.
  • Now that you can look back and reflect on the thing that you accomplished long ago, you can see and appreciate the benefits of getting it done.
  • In many cases, something that seemed like a big hassle turned out not to be such a big deal. Reflecting on past successes often highlights this phenomenon, which makes it easier for you to get moving right now.

Workplace Motivation: When is it the Most Important?

Motivation matters a lot in life, but it's especially important in the workplace. Getting motivated in the workplace can mean the difference between keeping your job and losing it. It can also mean the difference between getting a big raise or promotion and staying where you are. Motivation is especially useful in certain workplace situations. Top examples include:

  • Routine, mundane tasks are easy to put on the back burner. With an extra surge of motivation, you can push through them and cross them off the list.
  • Situations in which you are out of your element or comfort zone often benefit enormously from extra motivation. If you are dreading something, it's not so easy to get started with it. Motivation is sure to come in handy then.
  • There are often small, relatively unimportant things that are easy to put off or avoid doing. Procrastination can lead to trouble, so you should drum up some motivation to resist the temptation to wait one more day.
  • Some people work well under pressure, but looming deadlines have a paralyzing effect on others. This is a time when motivation is exceptionally important.
  • If no one is going to care about the results of what you're going to do, you may have trouble getting motivated. Try to remember that you're doing these things for yourself too.

Top Ways to Get Motivated

If you find yourself running on empty in terms of motivation, you're not alone. Everyone struggles with it from time to time. There are plenty of quick, easy ways to motivate yourself:

  • Make a detailed to-do list and follow it. Having basic directions can help a lot.
  • Just do it! Sometimes the hardest part is simply getting started.
  • Don't allow yourself to be overwhelmed by the scope of a project. Keep baby steps in mind. Remind yourself that you can always start again from scratch if you're unhappy with your progress.
  • Imagine the sense of accomplishment that you'll feel when you get the work done.
  • Remember that putting things off only makes the situation worse. Some progress is better than no progress.

How to Remind Yourself of Past Successes to Stay Motivated at Work

Out of all of the ways to get motivated, remembering past successes is one of the best strategies. How can you remind yourself of past successes or keep yourself motivated while you are at work? Surrounding yourself with the following things is sure to help:

  • Certificates – If you've been awarded certificates for various accomplishments, display them with pride. This applies to things like degrees and diplomas as well.
  • Glowing Emails – You don't necessarily have to hang them on the walls of your cubicle, but you should tuck away emails from happy clients and bosses in easy-to-access places. When your motivation slumps, get one of them and read it. It's sure to help.
  • Photos of Your Family – What could be more motivational than a photo of the people who depend on you? If nothing else, photos of your family will remind you of what you have to look forward to when the work day is done.
  • Motivational Merchandise – Motivational posters, calendars, plaques and other items can really boost your mood and spur you to take action.

Many of today's businesses use past successes to motivate employees. From employee of the month awards to regular pep talks about major victories, many companies are fully aware of the motivational aspects of past successes. You don't have to wait for your boss or manager to remind you of your own past successes. When motivation is sorely lacking, sit back and think about something amazing that you have accomplished. Before you know it, you'll be ready to get down to business again.


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