Are you zapped of motivation? Here are some tips that can help:
- A biggie in upping your motivation game is to focus on your emotions. If you are feeling depressed or anxious notice that…but resist judging yourself or deem your emotions are “bad” (there are no good or bad, there are just different emotions – humans are meant to experience the full array of emotions). This “noticing” of emotions is called mindfulness. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the person responsible for popularizing mindfulness practices in North America defines mindfulness as “the awareness that arises through paying attention on purpose in the present moment – non-judgmentally”. Practicing mindfulness has been evidenced to reduce rumination and stress, boost working memory and focus, decrease emotional reactivity, increase cognitive flexibility and motivation, and enhance relationship satisfaction, intuition, morality, immunity, help modulate fear (APA, 2012). Validating unpleasant emotions does not increase them; instead, it allows for them to pass (whereas numbing and suppressing them cause them to worsen and fester ☹).
- Practice gratitude. Why? Because procrastination happens more frequently when we are in a bad mood. The practice of gratitude shifts neuropathways in positive ways. For more on this see https://blacksheepcounselling.com/2018/01/gratitude/
- Build on successes. Start with making your bed. Okay, I imagine there is some groaning going on, but I am serious. We can use successfully accomplished small tasks to spur us to tackle bigger stuff (similar to a gratitude practice).
- Exercise regularly. Activity isn’t just good for your physical well-being, it also improves your mental and emotional well-being.
- Maintain good sleep hygiene. Try to go to bed at a consistent time and avoid electronic devices at least an hour before sleep.
- Stick to a schedule. However, allow for time to shift between “focus” and unfocus”. For more on this see https://blacksheepcounselling.com/2017/12/focus-exhaustion-try-unfocusing/
- Prepare for the next day. Okay, full geek-disclosure here: every night I prepare the morning coffee, put out the breakfast dishes, and any paperwork/materials I need to tackle the next day. I never leave the house rushed and I always eat a full breakfast (this starts my day with many mini-successes upon which I can continue to build on).
- Write Lists. I realize that list writing isn’t for everyone, but I personally cannot imagine living without them. Crossing stuff off the list feels so good!
- Keep your eye on the prize. Maintain reminders of what your goals are. In life we all have to pay our dues to achieve our dream. Don’t let the unpleasantness of the immediate scenario detract from your journey. Post motivation quotes or pictures in your home/office, create a visualization board, or engage in guided meditations to help you “big picture” your life. This can help you to recognize that many seemingly small steps lead you to your goal (yep, there is something to be grateful for!)