Your closet is a cluttered mess, your inbox is full of unanswered correspondence, you have a presentation coming due that you haven’t started.
You haven’t gone to the gym in a month, and you feel absolutely no motivation to change your attitude.
Worse, nothing excites you and your attitude is full-on negative. What you do feel is guilt, embarrassment over your sluggishness, and bewilderment at your lackadaisical attitude.
Are you just a lazy person? Probably not. Loss of motivation and a poor outlook can stem from many things. Stress, anxiety, mental and emotional exhaustion, and boredom are all things that can contribute to dwindling motivation and a less than stellar attitude.
The good news is that whatever the culprit is in your case, it is possible to turn things around and change your attitude to gain (or regain) positivity and motivation. You can use psychological tips and tricks that can help you to change the way that your mind looks at things and produce more motivation and a better attitude.
Why not try the following six psychological tricks on how to change your attitude and see which ones work best for you.
1. Give Your Negative And Unmotivated Tendencies a Persona and a Name
This sounds silly, but it works for a few different reasons. First, one way that you can get into a downward spiral is to engage in a lot of negative self-talk about your current attitude and lack of motivation. Visualizing these negative qualities as a separate persona puts you in the position to work on them without viewing these qualities as the sum total of who you are as a person.
This also allows you to use a bit of humor as a way to shake off negativity and lack of motivation. For example, if your friends want to go out for the evening and your first thought is that it’s going to be miserable, you can mentally tell ‘Misanthropic Mary’ to stop being such a killjoy.
If you are out at a restaurant enjoying a meal and find yourself mentally criticizing every little thing about the experience you can tell your inner critic to pipe down and enjoy himself. On the other hand, you can also look at this new persona as somebody who needs nurturing and understanding. This can be helpful if your current state is due to an overload of stress and anxiety.
Finally, you can acknowledge that your negative and unmotivated persona doesn’t want to do what needs to be done and then turn your focus to the other parts of you who understand what must be done. Then, get to work.
2. Find a Few Replacement Stories
When you notice your internal dialogue turning negative have few stories that you can use to replace your negative thoughts. For example, you could choose a memory of the happiest day you’ve had in the last year, planning the ultimate vacation, or be fantasizing about what you would do if you won the lottery.
By telling yourself a positive story, you take your focus away from the negative messages that you were focusing on. In addition to this, spending time thinking about very specific, happy things will elevate your mood, and provide you with a short-term boost to your energy levels. You may even find it easier to focus afterward.
3. Make Yourself a Punch Card
If you are a regular coffee drinker, you may have one of these floating around in your purse or wallet. You walk into your favorite coffee shop and order your morning beverage and the barista punches your card.
Ten lattes later, and you get a free coffee or other treats. Why not offer yourself some reward as an incentive for overcoming a negative outlook or lack of motivation?
Each time you complete a task in spite of not feeling motivated, make it through an experience without being negative about it, say yes to an invitation, go to the gym, display leadership skills, or win some other small victory over negative outlook and sluggish tendencies, punch your card.
Then, when your card is full, find a way to reward your accomplishments. You might be amazed how small rewards and something to look forward to can actually change your attitude.
4. Create a Positive Workspace That Works For You
Whether you are sitting in your home office working on your bills, at work at your desk, or working out in your rec room, the spaces where you do the work that you have the least motivation for should be filled with things that make you happy.
Just be sure to choose items that really do make you happy. Just because something is supposed to be upbeat and motivational doesn’t mean that it is motivational for you.
If you are more likely to roll your eyes at a poster with an eagle soaring over a mountain with the words ‘Happiness is Wanting What You Have’ on it than feel inspired, by all means, pick something else. The important thing is that you have a few things near you, pictures, photographs, comic strips, quotes that make you happy and keep you feeling motivated.
5. Change Things Up
When you were in school, you may have had one or two teachers who would spontaneously change things up in the middle of a lesson. For example, they might have been in the middle of a math lecture when they suddenly stopped to have everybody pair off to play math games instead. You may have also had a teacher opt to take everybody outside for the day.
Another teacher may have had a habit of rearranging the desks every couple of weeks. The reason that they did these things is because they knew that change, small or large, can result in renewed motivation and energy. This is something you can easily apply to your life.
Here are some examples:
- Grab your laptop and work on your deck or patio of the weather is nice
- Replace an indoor session on the treadmill with a jog on a nearby bike path
- Try one of those ‘distraction-free’ writing apps instead of your usual word processor
- Use speech to text to dictate something you are writing instead of typing
- Swap out your laptop for your tablet work from your couch for a little while
- Change the order in which you clean your house
- Take a different route to the grocery store
- Rearrange your office
6. Break Large Intimidating Tasks Down Into Smaller Ones
If you have read many articles on the topic of productivity, you may have seen this as a suggestion. It does work really well as a productivity tip. However, it also works equally as well when you try to change your attitude and regain motivation.
If you break jobs down that are big, tedious, or intimidating and create smaller tasks instead, you will find that it is much easier to work your way through them.
This is because the amount of time you spend on each task is shorter, and you get the positive psychological effects of completing one task which will help motivate you to move onto the next task.
Consider choosing one of these psychological tips to try out the next time you are struggling with a negative attitude or lack of motivation. If that doesn’t work, don’t lose hope. There are at least a few things listed here that can help you change your attitude to become more motivated, energized, and empowered.
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