Most people who know me would tell you I’m not one to let a lot of grass grow under my feet. I’m a pretty high-energy person, and don’t typically have difficulty motivating myself to get things done. Nonetheless, I recently found myself struggling to focus on what needed to get done for my business and do it.
I didn’t get terribly alarmed because past experience tells me this is a temporary state and will pass soon enough. I know I won’t stay here. What I didn’t like was that everything felt like such an effort, even though I love my work and it rarely feels like a chore.
I started to think about what was going on, and realized I had more or less hit the ground running around the first of the year, and hadn’t taken much time to come up for air. Add to that a snowier and colder winter than we’ve had in a while, and the fact that I hadn’t been away since last July, and I started to realize what I needed was a break. A change of scenery.
What I did after that was book a short trip out of the country to visit a friend for a few days. Just knowing I had that break to look forward to almost instantly changed my perspective, and my focus started to return.
I’m fortunate that I had a window of time and the ability to do that. That’s not always the case for me, or for anyone. That started me thinking on those things that are important for me to do when I start to lack motivation, or (maybe like now) have a case of spring fever.
- Move. Exercise energizes us. Exercise gives us power. The body and mind truly are connected. Moving our bodies changes our physiology which in turn directly impacts our minds and emotions. 5 minutes is all you need to get going. Run in place, do jumping jacks, pushups, or crunches.
- Listen. There is no shortage of motivational and inspirational podcasts these days. Have a library of these that you can refer to when you need a boost. Some to try: The Tony Robbins Podcast, the School of Greatness with Lewis Howes, The Tim Ferris Show, TED Talks Daily, Oprah Super Soul Conversations, Achieve Your Goals with Hal Elrod. The list is endless.
- Affirmations. When we’re feeling unmotivated, our thinking, mindset and self-confidence can start to diminish. Dwelling on negative thoughts only intensifies them unless we make a proactive choice to substitute positive, powerful thoughts. Start your work day by saying: “I choose to focus on being positive and productive today,” or “Today I will stay focused and productive without distraction.” Don’t take my word for it. Try it for yourself and see how you feel.
- Review your goals. Remember your “why,” what is the reason for what you are doing. How will your business, career, family or financial situation improve by you staying the course and accomplishing your objectives. Having a strong “why” is one of the most powerful motivators of all.
- Assess. What is really going on? It may be that you legitimately need a break after a long period of focused work. Lack of motivation can be masking a genuine need for a time-out, a need to refuel. Working more isn’t always the answer. The mind and body need times to rest and recharge to function at their best. Sometimes we really do need to change things up, take a break, get away for a weekend. Paying attention to what we need can enable us to come back better and stronger.
Motivational speaker and coach Tony Robbins uses movement, meditation, focusing on gratitude, and thinking about three things that he’s going to make happen that day, his “Three to Thrive,” as part of his morning routine to “prime” himself for the day. Try incorporating one or more of these the next time you’re just not feeling it. You might be surprised what adopting any of these simple hacks can do for you.
If you have any really great motivational hacks of your own, I’d love to hear about them. Comment on my blog below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.