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Motivation

5 Unusual Ways To Maintain Your Motivation

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5 Unusual Ways To Maintain Your Motivation

There are any number of posts, books and videos that will talk to you about motivation and offer all sorts of advice. Some of that advice can be useful, and some not so much, but what I want to talk to you about today are five motivational techniques that can be highly effective, but rarely get talked about.

Here are the 5 creative ways to maintain your motivation:

 

1. Understanding your core values

If you dont understand what your personal core values are, then you dont understand yourself. Values will drive your actions, define you as a person, and can be incredibly motivational. If used correctly that is.

Imagine you have a core value of freedom. To you, that means reaching the position of earning enough money so that you can become location independent. To achieve that requires some hard work and it may mean you have to get up a couple of hours earlier in the morning before going to your current job.

One morning your alarm goes off at 5.30am in the middle of January. Its bitterly cold and your heating has quit on you. You immediately focus on what you dont want to do, which is to leave your nice cosy, warm bed to start work.

And therein lies the problem. You are focusing on what you dont want. What if you brought that core value of freedom to your mind? What if you reminded yourself of its importance and how badly you want to be working from Bali, Italy or Thailand?

Suddenly you are exponentially more likely to get yourself out of bed and do the work because the importance is now front and center in your brain giving you a burst of well needed motivation.

 

Roy-Disney--Values
 

2. Visualization

You may be thinking, well visualization is hardly unusual Timand you would be rightup to a point.

Most people who employ visualization get it all wrong. They think of what they want and then zoom in on it with a laser like focus. Unfortunately, this has two huge drawbacks.

Firstly, for some people it can send the message to the brain that the goal has already been hit. Sadly, this can lead to a very subtle and often imperceptible reduction in motivation.

Secondly, people have a tendency not to visualize the potential (and inevitable) problems they are likely to encounter. If you are doing something really worthwhile, then its probably not going to be easy – life doesnt work like that. Ask Joel if he got this site to be where it is now without any stumbling blocks, making any mistakes or working hard?

If you visualize yourself breezing through to your goal easily, then when you do encounter difficulties your motivation will drop. Definitely employ visualization because its scientifically proven to help and can be very powerful, but when youre doing so, anticipate the potential problems too. See yourself dealing with them efficiently and effectively to make that far more likely.

“I visualize things in my mind before I have to do them. It’s like having a mental workshop.” – Jack Youngblood

3. Keep your blood sugar levels up

Your brain needs two things to create energy: oxygen and glucose. Unfortunately glucose depletes through the day and you start to become less effective as that happens. Your willpower dips massively, as does your ability to motivate yourself to do the work rather than taking the easy and more appealing option of chilling out in front of the TV.

You can boost your energy levels by drinking a high energy, high sugar drink or even eating some candy, but this is a last resort tactic and not something I would recommend.

You will indeed get a boost of energy as the sugar is turned into glucose quickly, but you will then get a crash between an hour and 90 minutes later causing a dip in motivation and a craving for more sugar to maintain the high.

So apart from the long-term negative health benefits of adopting this approach, its also not really effective as a long-term strategy for maintaining motivation.

The best way to maintain blood sugar levels it to adopt a low glycemic index diet. By doing this your body metabolizes the food into glucose at a much slower rate delivering it to your brain consistently, rather than in spurts. This way you avoid those surges of energy followed by huge crashes and the desire to just quit or binge eat.

 

4. Take regular breaks

On average your brain can stay engaged on one task for between 90 and 120 minutes before it starts to lose focus and thus motivation. When people push past this they start to get into the law of diminishing returns and their performance suffers – often without them even realizing.

Every 90 minutes or so incorporate a 10 to 15 minute break. Taking a walk or doing some light exercise is cool, as is doing a mini-meditation or even having a power nap. As long as whatever it is, takes you away from your task, you are going to return fresher, more motivated, and perform to a higher standard.

 

5. Get enough sleep

You may think that working into the small hours is a great idea. Especially if youre not an early riser and have a big goal or plan you are working on.

However, if that means you are only getting 5 or 6 hours sleep then its highly probable that over time you will see a drop off in your performance with the resulting dip in motivation.

A lot of people think they can exist on such little sleep, but very few can for anything other than short periods. Your brain needs time to reenergize itself. There is a growing amount of research that too little sleep can have long-term implications for cognitive ability and to stay motivated and on task. So get enough sleep.

“Sleep is the best meditation.” – Dalai Lama

I’m sure you have your own tricks for staying motivated and I’d love for you to share them in the comments below!

Tim Brownson is a Certified Life Coach, Life Coach Trainer, NLP Master Practitioner and International Best-Selling Author. If you would like a copy of his book 70 Amazing Facts About Your Brain and The Greatest 50 Motivational Quotes of All Time, as well as 2 others, click here.

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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Let Us Post

    Sep 15, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    Insight post here… I can’t wait to implement these new discoveries

  2. Leanne Regalla

    Sep 10, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    Timely post, Tim – I was just thinking about my core values yesterday, before reading this – although not in those direct terms ;).

    It’s good to revisit what drives us occasionally. Not that our core values change all that frequently but I think it’s good to remind ourselves of them every year or so… important things can sometimes get lost in the day-to-day details.

    • Tim Brownson

      Sep 11, 2015 at 12:00 pm

      Your right as we get older our core values tend to remain the same, although obviously they can change and they can be situational.

      I used to do mine about every 6 months, but I have done the process so many times with hundreds of clients that I drive myself nuts second guessing now, so I don’t bother!

  3. Keith Clarke

    Sep 10, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    I really like the idea of incorporating dealing with difficulties into the visualisation.

    I suppose the quote, “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect” goes for visualisation too. If you haven’t considered the obstacles, it isn’t a perfect practice 🙂

  4. Lynn

    Sep 10, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    Hi Tim,

    Great idea to include point #3 about keeping your blood sugar levels up. Definitely an overlooked factor for many of us. But you’re so right, makes a tremendous difference!

    • Tim Brownson

      Sep 11, 2015 at 11:57 am

      Absolutely Lynn (says the man who is sat drinking coffee!!!!)

  5. Jay

    Sep 10, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    Cool stuff, Tim. I’ve been thinking about the blood sugar-point for a long time, being an energy drink-addict. The days I do manage to stay out of the gunk and focus on natural foods it’s always a more steady motivation throughout the day.

    • Tim Brownson

      Sep 11, 2015 at 11:57 am

      I used to drink those too Jay, they do work, but the crash is horrible. I also found the residual effect messed with my sleep.

  6. Steven

    Sep 10, 2015 at 9:27 am

    Point 1 is very important to know. Knowing why you are doing what you are doing and having a firms grasp of awareness about that, thats key.

    • Tim Brownson

      Sep 10, 2015 at 1:31 pm

      Yep, I couldn’t agree more Steve, we need meaning!

  7. Elena

    Sep 10, 2015 at 7:15 am

    Excellent advice, Tim! I never thought about sugar connection. Chocolate and coffee seem to the trick for me 😀

    • Tim Brownson

      Sep 10, 2015 at 1:31 pm

      Chocolate also releases dopamine, but I really shouldn’t be encouraging you 😉

  8. Elle

    Sep 10, 2015 at 1:56 am

    The regular breaks really resonated Tim – I somehow get brain freeze if I simply keep going. Even though moving into the laundry room to put laundry on doesn’t seem much of a break, it seems a good place to get some new thoughts…lol. Better a mini-meditation, but sometimes chores do call my name!

    • Tim Brownson

      Sep 10, 2015 at 1:32 pm

      I go remarkably deaf when chores start calling me. Not sure if I should mention it to my doctor 🙂

  9. Mark Reagan

    Sep 10, 2015 at 12:17 am

    The point about visualization is huge. It’s so easy to just imagine the result and set up huge expectations (I know I do it know and again). Great points, Tim.

    • Tim Brownson

      Sep 10, 2015 at 1:33 pm

      Yep, no doubt some Law of Attraction supporters are going ‘noooooooo’, but I’ll stick with science!

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Welcome to our new normal. A time in our lives that a year ago we certainly didn’t see coming that most of us probably wouldn’t have chosen for ourselves; but here we are. As the days away from each other carry on and more and more bad news comes our way, it’s easy to lose your motivation and waste energy doing things that aren’t helpful like worrying and fighting with people on the internet instead.

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Figure out a way to do whatever that is, or a modified version of it if it is something that you aren’t able to do at the present time. Spending time doing what you love will get your mind off of anything that is wrong and allow you to find inspiration.

“If something is important enough, even if the odds are stacked against you, you should still do it.” – Elon Musk

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