By Joan Swart, PsyD, Cognitive Psychologist
Are you highly motivated? Eager to get up each morning and see what the new day brings? Or do you feel less enthusiastic about its prospects? Maybe you feel you lack the energy and will to face another challenge or failure? If this is the case, it is likely that you experience one or more of these five things that kill your motivation. But, don’t despair, with relatively simple adjustments and attitude changes in your daily life you too can kickstart your motivation and relive the long-forgotten days of high spirits and joyful buoyancy again that you may long for.
Surround yourself with optimists and dreamers
Getting bogged down with boring tasks and influenced by naysayers and pessimists are guaranteed to drain anyone’s energy. Passion and motivation need regular sustenance and negativity blocks the positive energy by appearing to reduce opportunities for progress and success. Surrounding yourself with optimists and dreamers have the opposite effect. Their enthusiasm tends to be infectious and gives you constant reminders of what can be achieved if you believe in yourself and work toward your goals.
Dream big and plan to achieve goals
Without dreams and wishes anyone’s life becomes a monotonous drag from which it is difficult to escape and see, let alone experience, the uplifting moments. Without going overboard and letting dreams and wishful thinking distract you from possibilities in your real life, channelling your hopes and aspirations in healthy directions will help drive you to new heights. There is nothing that quite stimulate motivation like sitting down in a quiet space and visualizing how it will feel to accomplish a dream. At the same time, remember to use some of that reflection to formulate an action plan with small steps to lead you toward achieving those dreams.
Value your health and wellbeing
Feeling constantly drained and irritable is a sure-fire buzzkill. Although this is probably the easiest aspect of a lack of motivation to correct, it is most often ignored in modern times. Consuming too much unhealthy food and drinks, and enduring constant conflict in the competitive areas at work, home, and social events are enough for anyone to feel depressed, frustrated, or fatigued. Overwhelming feelings are associated with a lack of positive energy and to kickstart your motivation it is helpful to take a step or two back and focus on those things that contribute to your happiness and success. A good start is to take care of your nutrition. Limit your intake of refined sugars and processed foods, consume a consistent and appropriate number of daily calories, and, as much as possible, stick to the daily protein recommendation of about one gram per kilogram of bodyweight or more. Then, regular practice of exercises to moderate emotions like meditation, daily journaling, mindfulness, and yoga will help keep your moods under control.
Schedule joyful activities and reward yourself
Take time off! Always focusing on competitive and constructive activities can be taxing without some rest and relaxation with friends and hobbies. Schedule your weekly activities in advance and make sure to slot in some time to wind down and take your thoughts away from your daily stresses. Review your experiences and feelings afterward and repeat those events that had the most positive impact. Also remember to choose a reward for yourself when you have accomplished a goal. Celebrating success is a known positive reinforcer, which means that you are more likely to repeat similar achievements in the future when you kickstart your motivation in this way.
Engage rather than avoid
Psychology experts reckon that attempts to avoid something unpleasant is at the root of most personal distress. This means that, when you fear something – an object, a situation, an outcome – people often take far-reaching steps to try and avoid the possibility. Whether it involves withdrawal from social interaction, taking drugs or alcohol, taking risks, or giving in to urges to escape from the pressure, or another behavior that is unhelpful, more harm is likely done in the process. Instead, the best option is to identify and acknowledge those things that distress you and calmly and objectively question whether your thoughts about it are accurate and logical. It is said that your thoughts determine your destiny. So, many times, simply by challenging your negative thoughts about something, its negative power is reduced. You can also choose to expose yourself gradually to similar situations, thereby slowly building your confidence that you can handle it and be resilient.
These are five relatively simple adjustments and attitude changes in your daily life that are recognized to kickstart your motivation and help you achieve personal success to your individual ability.