Whether you’re facing a big meeting with your boss or the last half-mile of your evening run, staying motivated when you’re intimidated, nervous, or wiped out can be a huge struggle. Fortunately, there are easy ways to pump yourself up that don’t involve looking at corny posters of cats dangling from clotheslines. (Hang in there!) Here are five research-backed ways to stay stoked when life throws you a challenge.
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When people encouraged themselves in the second person (“You’re a rock star,” or “You’re going to kick butt”), they performed about 10 percent better on a tough task than people who tried to motivate themselves in the first person (“I’m a rock star”). That’s according to research from two U.S. universities. The study authors think it might have something to do with the way your parents and teachers instructed you as a youngster. Because you learned to respond to commands in the second person, your adult brain still reacts strongly to that type of language, the researchers speculate.