Visual motivation techniques

Do you have problems self-motivating? Most of us do. And that is often because we are going about it in the wrong way. We tend to try to think our way around it. A nice idea, but it’s not very reliable! The human brain is masterful at talking itself in and out of things at the drop of a hat in order to suit our mood or situation.

This is why setting up a series of visual cues for motivation purposes is much more likely to keep you ready for action. Once you’ve put a visual reminder in place, you can’t debate your way out of it or conveniently change your opinion. You have to make a concrete choice; will I follow this through or not?

So how can you apply this yourself? Here are some examples of visual motivation cues that you can experiment with.

Stars

This might seem childish, but it really works! The method involves using a calendar and some star stickers to log your achievements towards a personal goal. For example, if the goal is getting fit and healthy, you can use different coloured stars for different achievements. For example, a blue star represents ‘I did yoga today’, a green star is ‘I ate healthily today’ or a gold star could be ‘I did a cardio workout today’.

This method is at its best when you have someone to share it with - a flatmate or partner who you share a calendar with. Whether your relationship is supportive or competitive, the camaraderie really motivates. Also, you can consider using an online calendar if you’re buddying up with someone far away.

Scales

In her book Feel the Fear and do it Anyway, Susan Jeffers talks about the tension between fear and power. She teaches that, in order to be fulfilled and empowered, we have to stay on the path to power. To do this, she suggests putting a sign up on your wall, showing a scale; fear on one end and power on the other.

Now, take a pin or make some kind of marker and place it on the scale where you feel you are at the moment. Are you in a place of power? Or are you letting fear dictate your actions?

Vision Boards

These are an all-time favourite with coaches and gurus. The goal is to create a collage of images showing your ideal life - and it has to be extremely optimistic! You can have fun with this. Search through magazines and cut out anything that appeals to you, from an image of laughing friends to a £1 billion dream house in the South of France.

You could even use Google images or social media to find images and construct an e-vision board to use as a wallpaper. The most important thing with vision boards is not to limit yourself - go wild, have fun. Stick a pet unicorn on there if you like. Nothing is off limits.

Quotations

“There is only one you for all time. Fearlessly be yourself.” - Anthony Rapp

There are many, many quotations out there that are designed to inspire and motivate. All you need to do is find ones that really speak to you. Make a list of powerful ones.

You might include song lyrics or a particularly inspiring line from your favourite film. Then, write them all up and get creative. You could make a poster full of them, or lots of little post-its with different ones on each. The last step is to stick them around you – choose places that you regularly look at like above your desk, or in front of the toilet!

Equipment

Someone I once worked with had the goal of getting fit at the local swimming pool. The pool was just across the road and he really wanted to follow through but, somehow, just didn’t. I advised him to find a visual reminder, in this case, his swimming trunks, to hang up in plain sight.

Every day he was confronted with the trunks, a constant reminder that he had a choice - to follow through or not. As soon as he set up this cue, making the choice to follow through became the natural decision!

Give them a try or come up with your own ideas!

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