When you have motivation, it can lead to places of pure productivity where you experience momentum.
The Big Mo. Being in the zone. The Flow. Having a total focus or whatever other state you would choose to label it.
The new decade is only a few weeks old. And if your dreams, goals and intentions for the year ahead are already a struggle – or even a dim and distant memory – then these ideas are for you.
Here a few simple strategies that might be helpful in rediscovering your motivation.
Accept how things are
You don’t have to like the fact that your motivation seems to have packed its bags and walked out through the door. But you would wise to accept it.
Resisting the reality of your situation, shaking your fist at the sky and shouting about how things ought to be, it may feel good in the moment. But it isn’t going to help you.
If you were ever to find yourself stuck in quicksand, it wouldn’t be useful to pretend you weren’t there.
Add in that you are struggling against the elements and the quicksand is going to win… every time. Instead, appreciate the facts. Accept how things are. And focus your energies on somehow pulling yourself out of the sandy swamp.
Be nice with yourself
Ok, so now you have stopped struggling against what is, the next thing is to start moving forward again.
That means you don’t beat yourself up and talk yourself down. You forgive yourself for the fact that the motivation left you and work towards attracting it back.
Asking yourself the ‘why I am so useless?’ type of question would be better replaced with the ‘how can I change things this time?’ alternative.
The first puts you into victim mode and the latter puts you in a position of control.
Stay alert to your negative self-talk in whatever form it shows up.
Be ready to reframe it immediately. If your thoughts stray to any version of ‘oh, what’s the point?’ then come back at that with an ‘I can do this!’ type of response – and say it as you mean it!
Even if you don’t believe your own positive self-talk, keep on telling yourself anyway. Staying focused on the positives more means you are dwelling on the negatives less.
This simple technique can help you reignite your motivational fire.
Small steps in the right direction
Now that you have accepted things as they are and have chosen to work with a positive mindset, it’s time for ACTION!
Here are the small, simple and practical steps you can take to actually DO SOMETHING which might help to bring back your missing motivation.
1) MORE & LESS
Keep the actions simple.
For example, walk MORE & eat biscuits LESS.
Read MORE & watch television LESS.
Be grateful MORE & complain LESS.
Meditate MORE & waste time on social media LESS.
Think about your current reality.
What might be having a negative impact on your motivation?
Choose one area, for now, to substitute MORE of a ‘positive’ by choosing to do LESS of a ‘negative’. Then pick another area to work on that you can stack on top of your newly created good habit and soon enough you are creating positive momentum.
2) LIMIT TIME SPENT OBSERVING
Because every minute of your day that you spend scrolling through social media is a minute you are NOT living your life.
It is very easy to become discouraged and demotivated when you feed on a continual diet of other people’s seemingly wonderful lives.
Remember though that their successes, achievements and adventures, their exotic holidays, their perfect family life are all edited highlights of their very best bits. Yet, if you buy into this ‘reality’ and start comparing your ‘normal’ life to their ‘highlights reel’ then why wouldn’t your motivation levels be harmed?
So, cut back on the observation time.
Limit it to say 20 minutes a day.
See if that has a positive payback in YOUR LIFE, which after all is the only one YOU have to live.
3) DO THINGS BY HALF
Another way to take small steps along the road to regaining your motivation rather than attempting it in one massive leap.
This is about divide and conquer.
Let’s say you want the motivation to be healthier by cutting back on your alcohol consumption.
So, let’s assume you drink four bottles of beer each night, then still have two bottles of beer and two glasses of water. The same could apply to eating half as much cake and substituting with an apple.
Whether it’s the motivation to exercise, write a book, decorate the spare room, or anything else, by applying the ‘do things by half’ principle you are on your way.
You are taking positive action in small steps and creating momentum towards more motivation.
4) BE GRATEFUL
Use this technique to alter your perspective and so impact on your levels of motivation.
Oh, and before you think that you don’t have time for this, remember, you can practice bursts of gratitude in the time you would have spent observing other people on social media! This is so simple to do. Start by writing down 10 things you are grateful for right now.
The pen, the paper, the chair, the table, the light, the clothes you are wearing, the glass of water, your eyesight, your ability to write, you are alive!
There are millions of people who don’t have those things to be grateful for.
This basic act can change your perspective in a heartbeat.
By being consciously grateful for what you have means that you are not focusing on what you don’t have. Do this daily and in different ways.
Make a list of 50 things you are grateful for. Dwell on the ‘worst’ things that are happening to you right now and look for the ‘benefit’ in them.
Just repeat the word ‘Thank you’ to yourself for two minutes for no reason.
All these small exercises can help to form the habit of gratitude. This, in turn, creates the feelings of gratitude which can be powerful fuel your motivation.
One plate at a time
The sheer weight of ‘everything’ can often squash motivation.
Why? Because it’s very difficult to do anything when there’s everything to do.
Can you imagine how unappetising your food would be if you had to have the whole months’ worth on your plate at the same time?
So, in relation to you and your motivation what is the ‘one plate’ that you would choose to focus on? What is the task? The job? The goal? The thing that, if placed in front of you, on a small enough plate, you could begin to tackle it?
Once you know what it is, then break it down even further. Just as you eat only one mouthful at a time of the food from the plate. What needs doing, and in what order?
Then DO IT!
This is the stage where basic good practice in time management comes into play. Where you work to ditch the distractions. Manage the interruptions. Set out blocks of time to do your task, stay focused on what is right there in front of you to do in the moment.
It may help you to use an IF-THEN statement. Such as … ‘IF it’s Monday or Thursday between 7:00 pm and 8:00 pm THEN I’ll be working out at the gym.’
It’s important to celebrate the small successes as you go. To recognise your achievements. Note down and track your progress as all these can help sustain the motivation you have now created by taking action.
So, if you seem to have mislaid your motivation at the moment, then why not choose to interrupt the current pattern in order that you can find it again?
Remember, accept how things are, be nice to yourself about it, take some small steps towards positive changes and get busy… but in a way you can cope with, build on and keep going.