Learn How to Motivate Yourself: Master Self-Discipline and Get Things Done | Catrinel Girbovan | Skillshare

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Learn How to Motivate Yourself: Master Self-Discipline and Get Things Done

teacher avatar Catrinel Girbovan, Process Improvement Consultant PhD

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
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Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

5 Lessons (32m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Motivation Misconceptions

    • 3. How to Spark Intrinsic Motivation

    • 4. Summary

    • 5. Conclusion & Class Project

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About This Class


Do you struggle with getting started on tasks that require your attention? Do you feel unmotivated to work towards your goals? Do you want to learn how to motivate yourself and get things done?

This class addresses all these questions and many others you may have regarding motivation.

The truth is, motivation remains an elusive concept to many of us and this is partly due to the many assumptions we carry about it.

This class will break down the common misconceptions we have on the topic and address what really motivates us as well as how to maintain motivation, but most importantly it will give you concrete steps to get started and accomplish the tasks that will get you closer to your goals!

Who is this class for?

No prior knowledge on the topic is required to take this class, although a desire to better yourself is a definite asset!

What will you learn?

a breakdown of the science of motivation

how to boost intrinsic motivation in both the short- and long-term

some tips on how to regain momentum fast to get tasks done

In the end, you will be better equipped to tackle any task having gained an in depth understanding of what gives rise to motivation.

See you in class!


Meet Your Teacher

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Catrinel Girbovan

Process Improvement Consultant PhD


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My Story 

I am a Performance and Process Consultant. Having first earned a PhD in Experimental Psychology, I rely on scientific evidence to bring you emerging trends, methods that work and resources that can help you create and live your dream life.

I currently help my clients create more balance in their lives by making positive changes and letting go of limiting beliefs in their personal lives and/or in their careers. I take a proactive approach by guiding people in tweaking their beliefs and habits in order to find joy and fulfillment in their everyday lives. 

 I believe every single person has something to offer and teach to the rest of th... See full profile

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1. Introduction: start where you are, is what you have. Do what you can Arthur Ashe believe you can and you're halfway there. Theodore Roosevelt. If you could dream it, you can do it all. Disney. To hell with circumstances. I create opportunities seriously, whatever the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve Napoleon health. It always seems impossible until it's done. Nelson Mandela. All these great quotes have one thing in common. They're motivational, their inspirational, the top into our desire to want to reach for dreams and to stop on nothing in their pursuit except for one little detail. They don't exactly tell us how to do that. Do they get it all fired up and excited? But then there's no actual step by step guide on how to get motivated to get things done. Now, in all fairness, and I think we can all agree on this. It is beyond the scope of a quote to do that. That job falls on us, and that's where this class comes in. I designed this class to take the guessing work out of how we humans get and stay motivated to get things done. This class does not assume any prior knowledge on the topic. It does require a desire to want to better yourself using some of the most effective methods out there. But before we even get there, we need to understand a little bit more about motivation. Most importantly, we need to top into the science behind motivation and address some of the most common misconceptions that we have regarding motivation. Lastly, we're gonna talk about some concrete steps that you can take an implement in your daily life so that you can start getting things done and getting closer to those goals that you daydream of. Let's get started. 2. Motivation Misconceptions: let's begin with a working definition of motivation. Motivation is what causes or direct someone to perform a behavior or to repeat a certain behavior. Motivation could be driven by other people or by events in which case referred to it as extrinsic motivation. But it can also come from within the individual. In that case, it is called intrinsic motivation. Both of these types of motivation are not mutually exclusive and can work together to motivate an individual. However, this class is mainly going to focus on producing and generating intrinsic motivation as we serve a direct role in motivating ourselves and therefore do not need to rely on external factors such as other people or events. So let's begin. There are a lot of misconceptions regarding motivation. Some of these air, based on misinterpretation of research findings and some are based on long held cultural believes that we have about human behavior. The goal of this section is to clear some of the most popular misconceptions about motivation and to give you a better understanding of the nature of motivation. One of the most persistent misconceptions I've heard with regards. The motivation has to be that some people are motivated while others are not, and implying that motivation is a static trade of character. Now I want to clarify that motivation is not, in fact, static. It fluctuates within an individual, so we don't either have or don't have motivation. Even when we talk about intrinsic motivation. Well, we do have is the ability to generate intrinsic motivation. You can grow it, and I'm going to teach you the different ways through which you can accomplish that in this class, the misconception that rewarding behavior boosts motivation and, therefore, performance. This is another long held cultural belief, and we still see it quite widely implemented in school settings and even some work settings as well. The belief that rewarding good behavior generates motivation now, unfortunately, rewards work twofold. They have been shown to motivate an individual in certain instances, but they've also been proven to hinder performance in other situations. So let's try to break it down, get to the bottom off what rewards can do for your behavior. Researchers have found that extrinsic rewards or external rewards can be effective for what they call algorithmic tasks. Those are task that depend on following a set of instructions down a single pathway to one conclusion. What that means is algorithmic work could include things like manufacturing simple computer programming, delivering packages or checking customers out at the supermarket. This doesn't undervalue the work itself, but it just requires a different type of motivation to accomplish it Now for right brain undertakings, we're talking about tasks that demand flexible problem solving inventiveness, conceptual understanding. Contingent rewards can be dangerous. In fact, studies have shown that when money is used as an external reward for some activity, subjects lose intrinsic interest for the activity altogether. And the same goes for Children. When they expect rewards, their motivation dips, whereas when Children didn't expect the reward, but they still receive one. This seems to have little impact on their actual intrinsic motivation. So it seems that it's very specific to contingent rewards. If you do this, then you'll get that. These are the types of rewards that tend to have a negative effect on motivation. But why is that? The if then rewards require people to forfeit some of their autonomy, and as human beings, we love our autonomy. We don't like when somebody else is in charge. We tend to rebel against the threat of loss of autonomy. It's just how we work. The other thing is that working under the motivation of rewards tends to narrow our focus. Now you're thinking, Well, that's a good thing, right? I'm not going to get this truck that I'm gonna focus on the task at hand. And indeed, it is a good thing when you're doing things like algorithmic tasks, it actually improves your performance. But when you're required to solve problems that push you to think outside of the box, this type of Nehring of focused actually hinders your performance. It just doesn't enable you to think outside the box. You're very, very narrowed into your focus and therefore you miss out on other ideas on being creative. Now there have been many negative consequences of rewarding people's performance in hopes of boosting motivation and performance. And some of these effects have been noted below. We've seen that they can extinguish intrinsic motivation and diminish performance. They have been shown to crush creativity, crowd out good behavior and, interestingly, also encourage cheating, shortcuts and unethical behavior. And they can become addictive, the top into reward center in the brain. And lastly bacon foster short term thinking, and this goes hand in hand with what I talked about. With regards to narrowing our focus, we tend to focus just on the reward and longer thinking about the big picture or long term , um, consequences of our behavior. You have to begin tasks when you feel motivated. This has to be my favorite misconception if there is such a thing. What people fail to realize is that motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. So getting started, even in very small ways, is a form of active inspiration that naturally produces momentum. So momentum is gained. Once there's action. You never begin with motivation. OK, shouldn't say never. There are times when the stars align and you are motivated and you begin a task and everything just feels great. But more often than not, we begin with nothing, and we just have to work towards gaining motivation. I really think that many people just need to reframe their idea about motivation and understand that you can't expect it to show up when you need it to show up. Okay, You need to begin without the desire and the excitement. To start, you just need to begin because you commit. You committed at one point or another to get something done, and believe me, it's gonna pay off. That motivation is gonna kick in, the more you work OK, but let go of the belief that its there or he needs to be there for you to get started. It doesn't have to be there, and most likely won't be the misconception that we are great at determining what motivates us and what doesn't. Turns out. We're terrible at predicting how engaging a task it's. And studies have found that when participants are asked to work on a boring task and to make a prediction about how interesting that task would be, the results are quite interesting now. In this particular study, there was also a control group that was asked to complete the boring task and Onley once completed to rate their engagement. Now, when researchers compare the results of both of these groups, what they found was that people's prediction prior to be getting the task was inaccurate. In fact, they predicted task engagement to be less than their actual task engagement. Now this indicates that people tend to underestimate their own power to generate intrinsic rewards when their face with boring tasks and the inaccuracy of our own motivational beliefs could partly explain why we struggle with beginning tasks now, once we stop over thinking about how fun, how boring, how hard a task will be, and we just begin most of us air noticing that, in fact their worries were unfounded. But it is a limitation that we need to be aware off. It's something that we I need to know, moving forward and not to rely on this idea that we're very good at predicting when motivates us because turns out we're really not. Now that we understand have been more how motivation works and what may have been holding us back in beginning tasks in the past, we can now turn our attention towards waste to boosting our intrinsic motivation, and that's gonna follow in the next section 3. How to Spark Intrinsic Motivation: How do you spark intrinsic motivation? Here's my first attempt at answering this question with what I call the general vague yet still valid answer. Now the reason I call the vague is because these factors require a long term investment and you're not going to see results right away. But there definitely something to keep in mind and to work towards incorporating in your life. First, we have ambition, mastery, purpose expectancy and observation. Ambition sparks motivation. It's a desire for something more now. Most people settle their ambitions too low, therefore they're just not motivated to pursue anything. So allow yourself to dream. Bake. You don't want to set unrealistic expectations for yourself, but you shouldn't shorthand yourself either. Allow yourself to dream and more importantly, make a habit out of it. You need to think about all those things that you want to achieve every single day to keep the flame going to keep the momentum going and, more importantly, aimed to create your own goals. So the sense of autonomy that we talked about earlier is so important because it boosts performance and increases intrinsic motivation compared to when other set goals for ourselves mastery as humans. We have this urge to get better at something, and this sparks motivation the desire to better ourselves. So never stop learning and improving purpose, which is a desire to do something in the service of something larger than ourselves, you know, bettering the world. That's another thing that sparks intrinsic motivation. Then we have expectancy, which is the belief that not only it's possible for you to achieve these things that you set out for yourself, but you also believe in your ability to achieve it. You expect that you have the expertise and the confidence, and all the resource is available to you in order to do it. So you need to believe in your own abilities. Lastly, there's observation. Now. The best way to explain this last factor is using an example. So think of a friend who loves something that you're not a fan off. So let's say your friend loves math or reading. And even though you initially are not a fan of these two activities, observing your friend enjoying something like this repeatedly may create a fictive internal reward, which makes you feel as if you also like math or reading or any other activity for that matter, and the researchers call this motivation contagion. Now. Some of us also noticed these effects when we listen Teoh uplifting podcasts or reading inspirational books, right, we get this just boost of motivation, internal motivation to just we want to get things done. And while all of these are great, this is a great way to boost internal motivation, and they're definitely gonna benefit you on many other levels. The problem is that they can lead down a slippery slope into what we all know as procrastination, because sometimes we just get stuck and we're never actually going to act on this. Internal motivation were not beginning anything. And at that point this becomes what some defy as passive inspiration rather than active, because the lock of action is just going to slow down your momentum. How do you spark intrinsic motivation? Here is my attempt at answering this question with a detailed answer. The reason This is a more detailed it's because it's more of, ah, hands on implementing steps and you most likely will notice significant changes right away . First off, discipline rely on discipline. Discipline means that you're just going to begin and you're gonna work with your limitations. And these limitations are the fact that, you know, and you understand how motivation works. Which means that you know, your brain doesn't always offer you motivation firsthand when you need it. And in that case, you're gonna have to rely on discipline, which means working out of habit at first and cultivating motivation as you go. So you need to change the perspective that you have on motivation and learn to work with it . Also, remember what we talked about at the beginning. Remember that some tasks seemed daunting and boring. But our brains are primed to overestimate just how difficult and daunting certain tasks are when in fact, once you're engaged in a task we reported to be much less difficult than we first anticipated. Again, I'm a huge advocate of working with her biological limitations rather than against them. Commitment refers to committing a small amount of time, toe a task and writing the Motivation train once a kicks in. Now they don't say that beginning is the hardest part for no reason. It is the hardest part, but it doesn't have to be so. Just set a timer for as little as two minutes and commit to working on that specific task. And what you're committing to is the potential of feeling uncomfortable for a short period of time until the time is either up or motivation kicks in and you keep going. Now two minutes is is less than a trip to the bathroom. Honestly, anyone can commit to that short amount of time to focus on a specific task. That's all you have to do two minutes, and you'll notice that in the end, it's not that bad planning. Given what you now know about motivation and the fact that you can't rely on it to show up when you need it to begin working on a task, then it should come as no surprise that scheduling your motivation is your next step. And what I mean by scheduling is when are you going to work? When are you going to begin something? Block it in your calendar and this is similar to something I addressed in my closet forming habits, which was that you could not rely on will power or motivation as we talked about to accomplish things because you're more likely to not not accomplish anything at all. You have to perform a behavior out of pure necessity rather than rely on your will toe. Want to get something done? And now you know why the will or the motivation to do something may not be there when you actually need it. And this is why scheduling so important if forces you into creating a necessity to get something done, and it removes the guessing work out of when you should get it done because you're unsure whether motivation is going to kick in at the right time or not. So make a habit of scheduling work in and then revert back to the previous point where you just set a timer for two minutes and you begin remove the guesting work. Don't overthink minimizing distractions when you have easily accessible destructions all around you. Then it becomes really hard to focus. So shut the door to your office, but your smartphone silent mode and try to minimize destruction to the best of your ability . Destructions are notorious for killing your momentum. Minimizing action steps refers to minimizing the steps between the time you decide to begin a task and actually starting it now this works in many contexts, and we talked about how setting a timer for two minutes could get you starting a task faster. But what about other contacts? What about motivating yourself to begin exercising more regularly? So let's work with that example and create a minimal step action plan. Now you can do one of two things. You can either prepare your workout gear, get your water bottle ready and plan your workout routine the night before, which requires a bit of extra work on your part. But you can leave all of that at the last minute as well. Now, what tends to happen without is that we get overwhelmed by the decisions to be made, which increases your chances of abandoning the task because there's just too many steps required now. The other aspect of this is that in order to create an easy path to the desired behaviour, you wanted to be free of distractions. So try to create again. This comes back to planning. Try to create an action step that is free from distractions. You want the process to flow easily and not allow yourself to overthink it by having to make too many decisions right before you need to begin a task maintaining adequate gold difficulty. It turns out that we work best when the goals we set for ourselves are challenging enough without overwhelming us. By their difficulty. We love challenges us humans, but only if they are within the optimal zone of difficulty. It turns out that task that are significantly below your current abilities are considered boring, and you're less likely to do them. But likewise, toss that are significantly beyond your current abilities are just discouraging again, I thought, encouraging you to actually begin working on them. So tasks that are right on the border of success and failure are incredibly motivating to our human brains. We strive on those, and we want nothing more than to master a skill just beyond our current horizon. So aim to create goals to challenge yourself, but not goals that you find discouraging. So if we work with our previous example of exercising more regularly, setting a goal like running a marathon right at the beginning when you're not even regularly exercising might seem like overreaching. No, it's not impossible. So don't want to discourage you. It's certainly not impossible, but you might want to start a little smaller and work your way up to the marathon, for instance, and the same goes for tasks. When you have a project to work on, you want to break it down into manageable or adequate difficulty, tasks or goals. Fair assessment of setbacks in order to maintain motivation to keep going, you also have to maintain a fair assessment of your own setbacks and try to focus on being constructive about self criticism. Be kind to yourself, and you're more likely to keep going and maintain a momentum. Now there's more on this in my class on surviving setbacks, which I encourage you to watch if you're struggling with providing a fair assessment of your own setbacks. Performance comparison. Now, we've all been guilty of this comparing ourselves and our performance to others and were often than not. This does nothing but crush her self esteem, not just our motivation. So my advice is, compare yourself to yourself, not others, because this doesn't just affect our motivation but her self esteem. Take such a direct hit and we start questioning our abilities altogether and remember just how important it is in maintaining motivation to maintain a belief in our own abilities. So I do encourage comparison. But compare your present performance to your past performance and stop right there. So highlight how far you've come keeping track of your emotions. Now, I'm only briefly touching on this topic because I do think it is important in addressing that we should all try to maintain good mental health. But it is beyond the scope of this class. So I'm just going to say that studies have shown that procrastination levels tend to increase when we're in a bad mood, and therefore a pessimistic outlook on life is not gonna help you Hardness intrinsic motivation. And that's because our emotions have a huge impact in directing or behavior. So try to remain open and aware to how you're feeling and aim to maintain a positive outlook on life. Now I'm aware that I'm overly simplifying a very complex subjects such as emotions which would require its own class. But this is just to remind you to take into account your mental health and how you're feeling. If you're struggling with cultivating intrinsic motivation, 4. Summary: if you ever find that you're losing momentum, that you want to accomplish a lot or rather, you actually have a lot to dio. But you can't bring yourself to even get started. I suggest that you try these quick tips to get you back on truck, and this is a great summary as well of what we talked about throughout the class. But it also includes some additional quick tips to get you out of that some. My first recommendation is the write down your Why why are you doing this now? Don't censor yourself, right, whatever comes to mind. Or if that is too vague of a question, write down your goals, your big dream, and be a specific as you can be next. I suggest you write down some positive affirmations or say them out loud or even in your head so you can use affirmations in all aspects of your life. But here's some of the suggestions. Some general suggestions I can I will end of story. I know exactly what I need to do to achieve success. I'm adventurous. I overcome fears by following my dreams. I feel powerful, capable, confident, energetic and on top of the world. I have already come so far. I use that fuel to keep going. I am healthy and strong. I am in charge of how I feel today and I'm choosing happiness. I know some of you may not like this one because it actually implies that you have to get something done. But it is two minutes. So set a timer for two minutes and just begin anything now, Preferably not a new show on Netflix, because in the spirit of trying to remain productive, we want to actually be working on the right task. But that's all you have to do is two minutes. And you know, when that timer rings, you can choose to either continue or just stop, but at least you'd be two minutes into a task. So that's better than nothing, right? Next, we have writing down your successes so far. Now, I suggest that you post that list somewhere so you can see it throughout your day, and the same goes for your goals. Write them down and look over them daily. This is going to help keep your focus in the right place and entice. You don't want to get things done. Next, I suggest you set a timer for five minutes and do a hit workout. Okay, It doesn't have to be high intensity interval training. It could be going for a walk doing some yoga. Any form of exercise would be great. And that's because exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues, and it helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lung health improve, you have more energy to tackle daily chores and get things done. Next. Why don't you go outside and take 10 deep breaths and be sure to count them? The goal here is both to get you outside because fresh air those wonders for us and her mood, but also to bring you to a more mindful state, which is achieved when you focus on your breath. Lastly, play some uplifting music. You can choose to dance or sing along to it. Your pick and you might think to yourself, What what does music have to do with motivation and getting things done? Well, it turns out that listening to the right kind of music uplifting music in this case can control your emotions, and we already addressed how important these are with regards the motivation and behavior. So compile music that fires you up and play some of those tracks, and you're going to see some positive effects from it, I promise. So we reached the end of the class, and I just want to quickly go over some of the main points we talked about with regards to motivation and building intrinsic motivation. And I would say that one of the most important things that we learned was that we can't expect motivation to show up when we need it. In fact, we need to learn to create a routine out of necessity to get work done. And by doing that, you will see that motivation is going to catch up to you. So create a schedule and even more so when you do create a schedule, try to create a path of least resistance between the time you decide you're going to get something done and you actually begin. And one way that we talked about you could do that is to use a timer for a short amount of time, where you commit to be somewhat uncomfortable until you get the momentum going and Then we talked about the importance of practicing positive thinking because their emotions have a huge impact on directing our behavior. And then we talked about the types of goals and tasks that we want Teoh achieve, and we want to aim to create goals and perform tasks that are right in the middle of difficulty level for ourselves. So we don't want to set up tasks and goals that are too easy, because we're going to find them boring and not get them done. Likewise, if we set goals that are just too difficult, we're going to be overwhelmed and never get started. And lastly, we talked about the importance regarding knowing when to use rewards to boost motivation. So remember what we talked about with regards to algorithmic tasks or task better. More. I don't want to say automatic, but don't require us to think outside the box and be creative in achieving them. In those cases, go ahead. You can use rewards. You're gonna probably boost your performance. But be very careful in using rewards. When you're trying to create content and be inventive in your work, that would probably be the time where you want to stay away from rewards. And lastly, I set this before and I'm gonna say it again. Do dream big and look at your goals and listen to inspirational talks and read motivational books. But don't forget toe act, right, because we don't want to fall into that trap of just procrastinating. And we have all these great ideas, but we're not getting anything done. So remember, motivation is going to catch up to you just get started, even if it's small steps. Okay, so thanks for watching. I hope some of these steps are things that you can implement right away. And I hope you're going to notice some positive effects on your performance and motivation . 5. Conclusion & Class Project: discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment. Jim Ron, I thought it be fitting to finish with a quote, having started with motivational quotes. Now notice, though how this quote doesn't say that motivation is the bridge between goals and accomplishment. I think we can all agree. The reason for that being is we just can't rely on motivation to be there at the very beginning when we need to start something right. We talked about that. Motivation is going to catch up with us, but in most is not going to show up when we need it to show up. And so I think that we should all strive to cultivate a work ethic that is centered around discipline instead. And so once you get disciplined, you no longer rely on something that may or may not show up like motivation. So I hope that you can take something away from this class and implement some of the things that we talked about in order to get things done and get closer to those goals that you set out for yourself. Good luck with that And thank you so much for watching for the class project. I would like it to create what I like to call a just begin template. I've created this template to help me get started on any task project or even long term goal. I designed it to address some of the main points talked about in this class that I know will get me going. When I struggled to begin working on something new, I plan on filling this out every time I'm working towards a new goal and looking over a daily to encourage me to just get started. You're going to see that I chose to include goals as well as motivational quotes and also a reason as to why I'm pursuing these goals. I also chose to tap into that emotion because as we talked about emotions, influence our behavior. And so I would like to see and describe how I will feel when Michael's air accomplished and also I chose to include a section where I talk about possible setbacks that I am anticipating in striving for these goals as well assim positive affirmations. Now you don't have to include all of the things that I talked about, but you can pick and create your own, and I encourage you to create your own template, using some of the information that we talked about in the class that speaks to you. And you can choose to do it on the computer like I did and have it ready to print every time you're working towards a new goal, or you can just write it down on paper. And so the class project is then to upload this template and shared with the rest of its students. Now you don't have to fill it out. That's I understand. That could be very personal, but I would love to see your take on what gets you started and what you choose to include in this just begin template.