Sticking with healthy habits can be hard for all of us. It can be even harder if you have a mental health challenge. Low mood, low motivation or lack of enjoyment can really sap your get-up-and-go. Getting support from a mental health professional is important, but a little extra help can’t hurt.
5 Surprisingly Easy Ways to Amp Up Motivation
Try these five tips to boost your motivation right now:
- Don’t Wait to Feel It. Not feeling motivated? Don’t wait until you are. Go ahead and do something little anyway. Often the feeling will come later after you get started.
- Start Easy. Of all the things you need to get started on, what is the easiest? Start there. That will get you on a roll to do more things later.
- Just Five Minutes. When a task feels like an overwhelming mountain, tell yourself, “I’ll work on it for just five minutes.” Give yourself permission to stop or take a break after five minutes. This way, you’re more likely to get started. Once you get started you will build momentum and get farther than you would otherwise.
- Good Enough is Good Enough. It’s great to have high standards but not everything needs to be perfect. Demanding perfection from yourself all the time is a sure way to squash motivation. Try allowing yourself to do just “good enough” on some tasks and get comfortable with a little imperfection.
- Give Yourself Credit. Deliberately acknowledge everything you do. Be kind and encouraging, not harsh. At the end of each day write down everything you spent time or effort on. It doesn’t matter how it turned out or how well you did. The act of acknowledging the time and effort you put in sparks positive emotions and boosts motivation.
Boost your Mental Health with the BoosterBuddy App
Add to these tips and jump-start your day with BoosterBuddy, a fun self-help tool designed by Island Health and a team of young people with the generous support of Coast Capital Savings and the Victoria Hospitals Foundation.
- Download BoosterBuddy to your smart phone or tablet
- Choose one of three buddies: Flitz the fox, Rasko the racoon, or Mallow the bunny
- Wake up your sleepy buddy everyday by completing three “quests”. Each quest is a real-life wellness activity that will have you:
- Check-in with how you are feeling each day
- Get started on tasks
- Follow self-care routines
- Increase real-life socialization
- Use coping skills
- Keep track of appointments and medications
- Look back over time to see how you’ve been doing
By putting in effort to care for yourself, you take care of your buddy too. Once awake, your buddy gives you words of encouragement. Keep going and earn virtual coins, level up and trade coins to dress up your buddy. Each daily boost keeps your momentum going.
Get your momentum going today. What are you having trouble getting started on? Ask yourself, “What's the tiniest, easiest thing I can realistically do about that right now?” Don’t wait; do it now!
Author's Bio: Lauren Fox is an occupational therapist with Island Health in Victoria, BC. She is a front-line rehabilitation clinician and the clinical lead for the BoosterBuddy mobile app project. She has fifteen years’ experience working as a mental health clinician and has recently been exploring the use of game-like approaches to improve motivation and engagement.