If you’re anything like me, you may find that there are days when your motivation tank runs dry. No amount of cranking the engine will get it going. The reason is simple really. You can’t run on empty.
I think I have hacked the trick for making sure my motivation tank stays full. Here are my top tips.
1. Don’t Wait Until You’re Running on Low
If you wait until you’re running on low, your motivation engine will cease. It doesn’t care if you’re on the metaphorical highway of productivity, cruising at 120 miles an hour. When there’s no fuel, you will crash. You not only endanger yourself, you also put those around you at risk. For example, you might miss deadlines, appointments, or get into an argument. The pain is not worth it.
If you fuel your journey on the opinions of others, you are going to run out of gas.
— Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience
What to Do
- Take frequent breaks away from your work.
- Spend time outdoors. Go for a walk or a run.
- Change your workspace. Either work from a park, a coffee shop or a different room/office for an hour or two.
- Rearrange your workspace. I sometimes rearrange the items on my desk.
- If you can’t go outdoors, bring the outdoors inside. This time of the year is perfect as you can get fresh blooms for very little or at no cost.
- Make sure you take one day off a week to recharge your batteries.
2. Control Your Thoughts
Thoughts are things. They may not be visible, but their effects can be seen. What starts off as a thought turns into words and words fuel action. The action you take then shapes your destiny.
Positive thoughts create positive things.
I used to think that destiny was an unchangeable blueprint set by the universe. That was until I learnt an important truth. Destiny is determined by the decisions you make, the outcome of your thoughts.
What to Do
Tame and control your thoughts by feeding your brain with the right material. What reading and hearing will affect how you approach life. Be selective in what you choose to allow in.
If unhelpful or demotivating information makes its way into your thinking space uninvited, don’t let it upset you. Dismiss it, press the delete button, turn the television off, or walk away from a conversation. It’s not rude — it’s called self-preservation.
If you’re unable to walk away from a draining situation find a way to repurpose the information. Use your creativity to make it work in your favour. I’ve written articles which were the direct result of situations which were designed to deplete my resources and motivation. I flipped the script and am earning from them by the knowledge I gained.
Take charge of your morning routine. How you start your day affects your mood. When you’re feeling positive and energised, it’s easier to feel and stay motivated.
Motivation starts the night before the morning after. Set a supportive pre-bed time routine such as relaxing, planning ahead and reading something motivational. I enjoy meditation and listening to soothing music. It creates the perfect environment for a good night’s sleep.
3. Trick your Brain
The brain is like a child. If you promise it a reward it will behave. Just make sure you deliver on your promise, otherwise it will stop trusting you, and refuse to cooperate.
Heart to brain talk: You and I need to go somewhere quiet, where we can talk and agree on things.
You want to build a good relationship with your brain, then when you need it to help you stay motivated, it will be there to support you.
What to Do
Reward yourself. The trick here is to identify the kind of reward your brain will be happy to receive. Keep it simple and uncomplicated.
I link unpleasant or daunting tasks with attractive but simple rewards. For example — I get to enjoy a hot chocolate drink with cookies after [named task]. It works really well for me. Quick wins on a regular basis add up to massive victories.
Keep the big picture in mind. Keep your vision board where you can see it either as a screensaver or on a wall.
Pay attention when the needle starts to dip and refuel. If you can’t top up completely don’t panic. Make an effort to keep yourself functioning at 50% or above. In other words - never allow yourself to run on empty.
- Don’t wait until you’re running on low.
- Control your thoughts.
- Trick your brain.