Self Motivation Techniques

Tactics to keep your career change
motivation high

OK, you know that your career change plans are faltering a bit, so what self motivation techniques can you use to get the show back on the road?

Here are a few ideas for you to try if you know you just need a boost.

Reward yourself

carrot on stick

One of the good self motivation techniques is to use rewards as an incentive.

Choose something you can give yourself when you have taken a step forwards. This could be as small as a cup of coffee and a chocolate biscuit when you have made one phone call or it could be a weekend away when you have researched and chosen the training course you will take to prepare for your new career area.

Generally, small rewards for small steps are the most effective if you are feeling a bit stuck.

Try doing a deal with yourself. For example you will just make one or two calls or just 15 minutes of research to earn your reward. Often if you set a very small, achievable target like that, you find you get the flow going and you end up doing more than you originally planned.

Record your progress

On a long journey like a career change, there will be many small steps and successes along the way. They may not feel all that significant at the time and so it is easy to feel that you are not achieving much. This can leave you feeling discouraged.

One of my favourite self motivation techniques is to keep a success diary.

At the end of the day, make a note of at least three things you have achieved, three steps you have taken that will move you towards your goal. Do not feel that they have to be big things. Picking up a newspaper on the way home, scanning the job ads and jotting down some ideas that appeal to you could be an example.

Writing these actions down helps confirm that you are progressing.
And looking back through the actions listed in your success diary can give you a real boost when you are feeling low because you think you are getting nowhere.

Look for patterns

You may be feeling lacking in motivation now, but remember that you haven’t always felt like that.

So look back to the past to situations when you have felt motivated.
Relive those experiences in your mind’s eye. What was going on then? What gave you that energy boost? For example, was it that you had people around you to share your enthusiasm with? Was it that you were very clear about what you were trying to achieve? Or maybe you’d just had a good night’s sleep for a change!

Equally, review the times in the past when your energy has slipped. What were the influences then? Sometimes it can be something external like the weather. It is hard for anyone to feel positive on a cold rainy day!

What can you do to recreate more of the positive mood states and resourcefulness that you have felt in the past?

Talk to your ‘stuck self’

You realise that there’s part of you that is resisting change, that’s standing in the way. So what do you do about it? This is one of the self motivation techniques that gets you to look inside yourself.

Start by visualising that part of you. Make it as real as you can. What does it look like? What colour and shape is it? Is it a thing or a person? If it is a person or being, how it is positioned? Ask yourself what feelings that stuck part of you is communicating. (eg I’m afraid, I’m angry, I’m overwhelmed)

Then strike up a conversation with this ‘stuck part’. You need to find out what is going on for them. Ask questions like:

  • What are you afraid of?
  • What do you need?
  • What is difficult for you?
  • What would help you get moving again?

Allow yourself to have a dialogue in which you are gently curious and supportive of your ‘stuck self’ and see what emerges. Negotiate a way forward with them that will allow you to take some small actions but still acknowledge the feelings that are going on behind the scenes.

It is also helpful to think about your own attitude to change in general as this could be putting a break on your progress.

Allow yourself time out

No one is super motivated all the time. We all have ups and downs and need to find self motivation techniques to get us going again.

It is important not to beat yourself up if you are having a down day. They are allowed from time to time and they do not mean your career change plans will never happen. You do not have to be perfect. You are allowed mistakes or off days. All that matters is that you don’t let yourself get bogged down in that negative place.

So if you need to, occasionally take time out to wallow. Agree with yourself that you will be allowed to feel sorry for yourself for 15 minutes, an hour, a day – whatever feels right. In that time, let all the negative feelings you are trying to deny come out. Write them down.

Then when you are done, say ‘that’s enough now’, get up and get on. Put the list of negative feelings away in a box on high shelf and ignore them. Now that you have indulged yourself, determine that you will move on with your career change project.

Reconnect with your career change goal

Possibly the most inspiring of self motivation techniques is to take yourself back to what prompted you to make a career change in the first place.

What started you on this career change journey?
What led you to identify the new career path you are trying to pursue? Think back over the things you have discovered about yourself while doing the self awareness exercises on this site (Where Am I?, Who Am I?, Your Career Personality and What Do I Want?).

Think about the ideas you explored when you drew up your Spectrum of Possibilities.

Just ask yourself…

‘How will I feel if I stop now and just go back to where I was before?’

So if you are feeling that your motivation for your career change project is slipping, try some of these self motivation techniques to help you to get moving again.

About the author

Amy Thomas

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