Guest Pep Talk (Alison Kranz): Motivational techniques for the non-motivationally inclined.

I’ve been trolling the NoExNo spreadsheet and looking at everyone’s fabulously lofty, yet achievable, goals. Mine, by comparison is slightly less lofty: to watch only one hour of non-productive TV per day. So, you may be thinking to yourself, “Who is this poser that’s offering me motivational advice?” But, I assure you, I am (at times) capable of motivation and–most importantly for the case of this email–it doesn’t have to be much. For example, I’m running a marathon this December because I think it’s funny.

Believe me now? Without further adieu, I give you five surefire motivation techniques for when you’re feeling down-and-out. Or, hell, why not even when you’re feeling great and want to feel even better?

1. Obtain unsolicited flattery

Sometimes all you need for a pick-me-up is for someone to say something nice. Wondering how you can obtain those feel-good words without fishing them out of your friends and loved ones? Well, if the Internet is great for anything, it’s great for being praised when you want to be. Feeling down? Grab an emergency compliment. If you don’t like the one you get, take another. Wondering who’s the cutest? This site knows. Unsure if you’re awesome? Here’s the answer.

2. Take a break

Believe it or not, this motivational technique was born from my college drinking days (I promise there weren’t too many of them). My friends and I, traversing back home from wherever the latest shenanigans took place, would get tired of walking and yell out “break time!”, upon which we’d plop down on the sidewalk until we’d regain the strength to move again.

While this may not be the intention the proverbial inventors-of-break-time were going for, the concept is worthwhile to apply to more wholesome activities. As for me, I don’t think I would’ve gotten to the point I am in my marathon training if I didn’t let myself stop for five seconds every-now-and-then to take a picture on a run (for future blog use).

If you find yourself attached to your computer 24/7, try out an app that forces you to pull away. I bet your computer will be relieved. There’s Time Out for Mac and EyeLeo for PC. (I can’t attest to the veracity of either, but if you give them a try let me know what you think. Both are free.)

3. Make an “I forget but it’s awesome” playlist

I have a vast collection of music in my iTunes and a tendency to listen to one song endlessly on repeat. Eventually the song will fall by the wayside, left for a different tune or a different mood. What I started doing, however, is putting all these songs into a not-very-creatively-named “I forget but it’s awesome” playlist, which is now chock full of all the songs I at one time loved and never grow tired of hearing, but don’t always stumble across on my own volition. Now, anytime I need a little musical motivation, I turn to the tunes in this playlist. Start one of your own and get the beat going. Not enough time? You can feel free to take a listen to mine.

4. Tempt yourself

This idea was brought to me by the gods of the Internet eight years too late, but it’s a genius one nonetheless:

And can be applied to non-studying situations as well, although mine would look something more like this:

5. Resort to physical violence

It’s been reported that a fellow NoExNo-er is using fear as a motivational tool this month. If they don’t complete their daily goal, their friend gets to slap them straight across the face. No holds barred. Now if that’s not motivation, I don’t know what is.

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