Do you wish you were more motivated overall? Do you wish you could sustain your motivation over longer periods of time? If so, you are not alone. It feels great when you are motivated and operating at a high level, am I right? Unfortunately, the reality is that motivation is not sustained at a high level naturally. It is inevitable that it will dip. How much it dips, and for how long it dips, varies from person to person.
Some reasons you could be lacking motivation are you are experiencing low energy, the task at hand feels boring, the task at hand will require you to experience some discomfort, the task at hand is unfamiliar and/or there is uncertainty, you feel overwhelmed, you are lacking confidence, or you are experiencing some emotional concerns such as depression or anxiety. The good news is that there are things that you can do to both dial up and sustain your motivation. If you are concerned you are experiencing emotional or mental health concerns, seek the help of a professional immediately. In other instances, rather than wait for the chance that your motivation may increase on its own, try one or more of the strategies below. The key with all of them is to be intentional and consistent.
Take care of your mind and body. This sounds basic but it makes a significant difference. If you are not fueling your body with healthy foods, you are more likely to feel sluggish and/or experience brain fog. In addition, exercise increases your overall energy level and releases “feel good” chemicals in your brain. Although it can feel hard to start, nobody regrets a good workout after it is done. Finally, take care of your mind by getting plenty of quality sleep and if you want to take it to the next level, practice mindfulness meditation regularly. For a quick, 5-minute mindfulness meditation activity, grab my free resource HERE.
Focus on your WHY (both positive and negative). If you are trying to do something new, you will experience discomfort. This is because your brain wants to stay with what is familiar and what feels comfortable. When the discomfort starts to creep in, you will want to be very clear on WHY you decided you wanted to do something new. Consider both the benefits of following through, and the consequences of not following through. Allow yourself to really visualize and feel both the pleasure and pain and use those feelings to motivate you to take action. The stronger your WHY, the more likely you will be to start, keep going, and show up, even when you don’t feel like it.
Focus on the positive and plan for the obstacles. As mentioned above, focus on the positive outcome you will experience if you follow through with what you said you were going to do, however, in doing that, don’t fool yourself into thinking that it will be smooth sailing along the way. When you are working towards anything new, you will experience obstacles and setbacks. The more you anticipate these and plan for them, the less likely you will experience overwhelm and give up.
Have consistent habits and routines. When you have consistent habits and routines, you don’t need to overthink things in the moment. You are also less likely to feel overwhelmed or to try to talk yourself out of doing something. Use the process in the next step to implement new habits and routines that will support you in achieving your goals.
Keep it short and simple when needed. Start small. When you are doing something new, your brain will freak out. The reason why most people who make new year’s resolutions don’t follow through is because they go from zero to one hundred and their brain freaks out. Remember, your brain likes comfort and familiarity. When you are making a change, start small and keep it as simple as possible. Once you feel like you are in a routine with consistent habits, you can add a little more and keep building on the habits and routines that you created prior.
Improve your external environment. Does your environment support your goal? Do the people around you energize you and support your goal? Consider what in your environment is a distraction, a temptation, or something that drains your energy. What adjustments can you make to make sure your environment is working for you.
Improve your internal environment. Just as important as your external environment is your internal environment. What you think matters so when you learn to manage your mind, you manage the outcomes in your life. Through my work, I have witnessed so many people’s lives change because they rid themselves of the faulty thinking patterns and limiting beliefs that were holding them back. When you notice a lack of motivation, ask yourself, “What am I thinking right now that is causing me to feel this way?”, then ask yourself, “What is another way I could be thinking about this that would result in better, more productive feelings?”. Continue to challenge your thought patterns, insert more helpful thoughts patterns, and let your brain go to work for you, instead of having it work against you.
Ask yourself better questions. Instead of asking yourself questions from a negative point of view, ask them from a positive point of view. For example, instead of asking, “Why can’t I do this?”, ask “What will it take for me to do this?”. Instead of asking, “Why don’t others support my goal?”, ask “How can I cheer myself on so that I don’t need to rely on others?”. Check in with yourself throughout the day and make sure the questions you ask yourself require empowering answers, instead of disempowering answers.
Have a mantra. The key to having a mantra is that it must be something you believe. For example, if you have been struggling to lose weight for years, your mantra probably should not be, “I will get to my goal weight effortlessly and in no time”. Your brain will reject that mantra immediately. Instead, you could say, “I am committed to eating healthy and exercising today”. Allow your mantra to energize you and help you show up as the person you want to be, while also making sure it is believable.
Take a break, energize, and go. If you are feeling stuck with taking action towards something, take a break. Do something to shake things up a bit and then come back to it. For example, if you are staring at your computer screen but aren’t really making headway with anything, get up and do something such as stretch, put on music and dance, grab some water, take a quick walk outside, or call a positive friend. Shift your energy and then get back to it!
If you are feeling challenges related to motivation, consider tying one or more of these strategies. Allow them to build upon one another rather than trying to do them all at once. Remember, your brain does not like to be shocked or overwhelmed. Another great strategy is to work with a coach who will offer you strategies more specific to your situation, who will hold you accountable, and who will help you achieve powerful mindset breakthroughs.
If you are interested in some more strategies that will help you clean up your internal environment (negative thought patterns and distortions), you can download my free guide to 5 Common Thought Distortions HERE. This guide will help you understand these thought distortions, why they occur, and offers specific strategies you can use to challenge and “undo” them over time. You can grab it HERE.