A New Year Alone Does Not Bring Motivation
One of my coaching clients asked me this the other day:
How do you and all successful people keep their motivation going, at a steady pace?
I love it when my clients challenge me. If I’m not growing in my work, if I am comfortable where I am, then what’s the point? I might as well be back at my stupid corporate job, doing mundane tasks and just getting through the day.
So I started thinking hard about what it is that I do to stay motivated not just for a day or week at a time but over the course of months and seasons and especially years.
I started to think of all the seemingly unrelated, silly and unconventional ways that I keep motivation alive so that like food, it can sustain me as I evolve and grow myself, my relationships, and my business. Because without good nourishment of your mind, heart and soul, you will feel like a robot going through the motions of life, and you are not meant to be a robot, my dear.
You can be tough as a Marine corps pilot – Hey, I’m reading the Great Santini by Pat Conroy and Bull Meecham is on my mind! – but you’re still a human being and you have got to feed the heart, mind and soul if you want to sustain yourself for decades to come.
Feed yourself with a daily dose of motivation.
So here’s a confession: I am NOT motivated all the time. Not by any stretch of imagination.
I have down days way more frequently than I’d like to admit. I have days when I feel unmoved to write a single word and that makes my daily writing challenge a wee bit challenging. I have days when I feel totally uninspired by myself, when I feel as if I have nothing to add to the universe, nothing to give to anyone, nothing worthy of sharing and spreading.
I have days when I feel empty, hollow and void of all creative energy. And you know what? It’s OKAY to have those days!
Remember: Just because you feel unmotivated at times does not make you an unmotivated person.
It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you don’t stop. ~Confucius
Steer Clear of Speculation and Focus on Facts
When motivation takes a leave of absence, become aware. Even tell yourself “You know, I don’t feel motivated right now. Let me do something about that.”
Recognize that you are just feeling unmotivated and get some perspective. This has the immediate effect of putting you into action-taking mode, instead of letting you wander into the negativity zone with all the things that are “wrong” with you. (Which is all of nothing!)
What helps ground me is when I ask myself what do I know for a fact? For instance, I know for a fact that I absolutely LOVE what I do, that I have a crystal clear WHY I do it and that there is nothing else I’d rather do at the moment than grow this platform, this message, this endeavor that I so believe in.
So I have no doubt that the direction I am heading and the path that I am following is right for me. That knowledge relaxes me. It may not motivate me into action but it relaxes me. I feel grounded versus lost and confused. I feel my fingers tightening around a pillar of support so I don’t fall into the bottomless pit of negativity, worry and stress.
Then comes the work of actual motivation and you have to decide what to do to make that happen.
The good news is that there is more than one way to motivate yourself. There are in fact countless ways you can motivate yourself.
So your first task is to get to know yourself so well that you know how you respond to each method of self-motivation. What works well for me may not work half as well for you, and that’s why this is a process of both self-discovery and constant experimentation.
They say motivation is like a shower. You need one every day to stay nice and motivated.
True as that may be, we can’t always run to a ready shower stall to get our daily dose of motivation using soap and running water.
The same thing that motivated you yesterday or last week may not work as well in this moment or tomorrow. So you need to tune in to yourself, to start a journey of self-discovery as you learn not one but many, many, ways to motivate yourself to get the things that you want in life.
Reminder: You can still grab The Positive Affirmations for Life program with more than 4 hours of audio affirmations for 7 life situations that impact your happiness and success the most.
28 Ways to Motivate Yourself Now
Remember, the irony of self-motivation is that you may not feel like motivating yourself one single bit. Do not listen to that voice for a minute!
If you give in to that voice, you’ve lost. Instead, get up right now, stretch, shake your body, move and learn how to motivate yourself with these 28 ways:
Note this list is not in any particular order. I recommend reading it through once and then picking out the top 5 that speak to you and start with applying those.
1. Get up and get moving. Movement motivates even if you’re walking around your house while stagnation disenchants.
2. Drink more water. Dehydration can cause more problems than germs! Hydrate that body with pure filtered water often.
3. Go for a brisk walk. Shut the laptop, put away the papers, close the office door and go for a walk. A brisk one.
4. Play with your pet. Or any pet. Time with animals has been shown to improve morale, happiness and yes, even motivation.
5. Change up your workplace. Change the environment where you work. Go work in a cafe or in another room or a co-working space.
6. Listen to a motivational audio. Find 5-10 minute motivational talk from someone who speaks to you and listen when you need it.
Audio books are great but a long book can be time-consuming.
7. Call an inspiring person. When you surround yourself with people who inspire you, you will stay motivated. Inspiration moves you to action.
8. Motivate someone else. When you feel discouraged or let down, focus on helping someone else and you will immediately feel the same effect.
9. Catch up on your rest. Are you sleep-deprived? Are you pulling in long days and choosing not to rest and recuperate properly? Fatigue kills motivation instantly.
10. Sleep. If you are so tired you can barely keep your eyes open, as I’m feeling when typing this right now in the mid-afternoon light, then take a power nap. Power naps are 20-30 minutes and they are rejuvenating.
11. Do something unexpected for yourself. If you’ve been neglecting yourself and your needs, it’s hard to stay motivated to do anything – especially if it concerns others. Focus on rewarding yourself.
12. Simplify and declutter. If you’re feeling the weight of clutter in your house or your office, you’ll need to simplify. Fast. This affects your motivation directly.
13. Develop a mantra. A mantra is a phrase that is your true essence. Mine is “I am doing work that makes a difference.” Come up with yours, write it up on your board and read it out loud every time you feel low.
14. Release your grip on the past. If you’re trying to stay motivated on what affects your future, but feel weighed down by the past, you will not move forward. Let go of the past. You don’t need it to build your dream future.
15. Collect quotes that speak to you. Memorize the top 10 inspirational and motivational quotes that speak to your heart. Create a repository of your own motivation “drawer” – digital or physical – and collect whatever gives you goosebumps. Refer to it when you need it.
16. Know your why. Get crystal clear as to why you are doing this project? If not, spend some time to figure out your why. The best reason to stay motivated is to be clear on why you are taking this path in life.
17. Stretch your body with yoga. Your body needs to be stretched daily. I’m not saying you must do 2 hours of yoga – which will put you in a state of complete bliss – but do stretch daily. Be religious about it like you are about brushing your teeth.
18. Brush your teeth. Yes, clean hygiene in your mouth makes you more inclined to do everything else. Go figure!
19. Floss your teeth. After every meal, floss your teeth and watch the difference in how it makes you feel.
20. Talk to your biggest fan. Mine happens to be my life and business partner, Andy Brock. Who is yours? It’s even possible you haven’t yet met your biggest fan but you have one out there. Be open to meeting this person.
21. Make a cup of fine tea. Whatever your favorite drink may be, there is a magical quality to a hot freshly brewed cup of fine tea. I believe in the magic of Dragonwell, Jasmine, Tie Guan Yin, and Sencha tea. It can shift my entire mood to one of positivity and hope.
22. Shut off your media consumption: Over-consumption can and will dull our senses and reduce your creativity juices to the point that you can feel completely unmotivated. Be especially wary of the adverse effects of consuming the news. Remember your motivation and your creativity are closely related. Nourish both. Turn it all off.
23. Meditate. Go inwards and inquire within if you want answers that are true – even if you may not like them. Affirmations have the magic of grounding and centering you, and reminding you what’s important in life. It gives rise to motivation.
24. Read or listen to books. Develop a habit of reading one book a month, then one book a week and be very selective in how you choose your books. Choose your books with a purpose. Mine is to educate, inspire, expand my horizons, and become a better writer. Reading books also makes you smart!
25. Wikipedia someone you admire. Look up someone you admire and you’ll find that their life has been full of hardship. Let that inspire you. Your role models went through dark times but it was their devotion to the manifestation of their dreams that pushed them forward and quite likely made them into the people that now you admire.
26. Write with a pen in a real notebook. In fact, get a nice leather-bound notebook and write in it daily. The act of writing is both therapeutic and stimulating and it can provide you with the escape from noise and distractions and help you tap into what really matters to you.
27. Do a handstand. Or five. If you don’t have a yoga practice, then at the very least, learn a simple inversion that you can do safely against a wall. When you invert your body, you reverse the flow of blood and you will feel a surge of energy and inspiration both.
28. Remember you are a remarkable, unique and brilliant. If nothing works, if it’s one of those days when your senses have taken a leave of absence and you can’t motivate yourself, that’s okay too. Just know that you are a remarkable, unique and brilliant human being. Repeat that to yourself over and over and over again. It might just do the trick.
There you have it! Do you have anything to add for the 29th way to motivate yourself? Share it in the comments. Stay inspired. Stay motivated because you are worthy of your dreams!