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Hacking Motivation: 7 Tricks from psychology

Written By

Aditya Shukla, Psychologist, Cognition Today

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Use self-affirmations like "I need to do this to achieve this" to tell yourself what you value and why you value it.



Develop a habit & get very familiar with what you have to do. Familiarity & routine make things feel natural & intuitive. Habits do not require motivation, because they are automatic.


It's your decision

Tasks that feel like your own decision get done much faster than tasks given by others.


Public commitment

Commit to your goals in public. We tend to maintain consistency in our attitudes and actions, particularly when we commit to them in public. Announce what actions you'll take, so you feel accountable.


Imperfect past tense hack

Say “I was working toward my goal” instead of “I had worked on my goal.” The continuous sense “ing” in the past tense primes the brain to engage in continuous thoughts and behaviors by reactivating old memory systems. The brain then acts like it is already motivated.


Encouraging people

Surround yourself with encouraging people. If their expectations of you are high, you’ll perform better. If other’s expectations are low, your performance may drop. This is the pygmalion effect.


Find the rewards

Learn to enjoy an activity, have fun, and be light-hearted. You may enjoy it for the rewards, or you may enjoy it simply because doing it feels good. Having fun is important.