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 don’t understand what your personal core values are, then you don’t 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. It’s bitterly cold and your heating has quit on you. You immediately focus on what you don’t 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 don’t want. What if you brought that core value of freedom to your mind? What if you reminded yourself of it’s 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.
You may be thinking, ‘well visualization is hardly unusual Tim’ and you would be right…up 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 it’s probably not going to be easy – life doesn’t 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 it’s scientifically proven to help and can be very powerful, but when you’re 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, it’s 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 you’re 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 it’s 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!
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The Guide to Staying Motivated While Working Alone
Working alone at home might sound like a nightmare to some, but as a fully signed up introvert, working alone at home is an absolute dream. No energy-draining small talk, no noisy distractions, just peace and quiet to complete deep and focused work. Well not quite. Working alone at home has more challenges than you might expect. Boredom, lack of focus and lack of motivation to name a few.
When you start working for yourself, you quickly realise that one of the biggest problems you face isn’t the job itself. Maintaining your motivation poses a potentially huge difficulty. Much of that difficulty stems from working alone, rather than in a traditional office setting. There is also the challenge of staying focused on the task at hand. With no boss or supervisor looking over your shoulder, social media can distract or cat videos interrupt you.
But the greatest problem by far is a simple lack of motivation. There doesn’t seem to be a pressing need to finish this project right now, making it far too easy to put it off until later. Left unchecked, a lack of motivation can cripple the work you are trying to accomplish. Over the past few years I’ve developed a few go-to tactics to improve my lone working motivation.
Here are some of the tools I’ve used to stay motivated and on-task.
These first few tips focus on using different tweaks in your personal work schedule to provide some variety and maintain your focus.
1. Include short breaks
My eye doctor once told me that for every 20 minutes of staring at a computer screen, you should look away and focus on something across the room for 20 seconds. This gives your eyes a chance to reset. Do something similar with the rest of your body; don’t just look across the room, walk, jog, or run across the room. Give your body a break, and try to reset your thoughts. If you don’t have the discipline to take regular breaks, use an app to remind you.
2. Block out an afternoon for social activities and networking
Set aside one afternoon a week for your social life. Friday afternoon works best for me. If you feel guilty about not working, think of it as a chance to network. Either way, be sure to spend this section of time with other people. Socialise and network.
3. View your personal schedule as your work schedule
A 9-to-5 job requires getting up every morning, preparing for the day, leaving the house, and commuting to your workplace. In other words, it requires going to work. You want to recreate the same rhythm at home. You may not actually need to leave your house in order to work, but try to stick with the schedule. Filling the old job timeslot with your new work helps to keep you motivated – you can’t clock out early!
These next few tips are little things you can do to trick yourself into staying focused!
This tip may sound cliché, but try listening to an upbeat song loudly whenever you feel unmotivated. It’s a simple trick, but a surprisingly effective one!
2. Have somewhere else to work for a change of scenery
When procrastination sets in, sometimes a quick change of scenery is all you need. If you work at home, going to your favourite café can be a huge help. Other freelancers I know have even gone so far as to hire office space outside the home, and rotate between the two to help stay on-task.
3. Love what you do
This is arguably the most critical point on the whole list. If you don’t love what you do, it will be hard to keep yourself motivated – particularly long-term. Sure, you may be able to push on through sheer force of will for a while, but sooner or later you’ll lose motivation entirely. Do something you genuinely enjoy, and you’ll find it much easier to stick with it for the long haul.
These last few tips are Industry-related!
1. Make sure you have fun projects
Not all of your work projects will be fun, but fight to make at least a couple of them fun. These might even be personal side projects, not particularly related to your main job. Or they might be in the same general field, but not your specific focus.
2. Attend industry events a couple of times a year
Nearly every imaginable industry has an organising body of some kind. Find the local branch, and use it to keep tabs on industry-related events. Attend some seminars, network, and maybe even glean some new tips and tricks from industry insiders.
3. Schedule at least one call a week to learn something within your industry
View this as an opportunity for personal development. At least once a week, try to learn something new about your industry. For me, this might mean calling a new tool provider to demonstrate their gadgets. Whatever your industry, try to expand your horizons a little bit every week. You’ll learn new methods and make new connections at the same time.
These tips worked for me, hopefully, some of them will help you out as well. Above all, strive to enjoy what you do, stick to a “work schedule,” and look for opportunities for constant self-improvement. With those ideas in mind, you’ll find staying motivated much easier to do alone or in a group!
7 Ways Yoga Effectively Motivates You to Achieve Success
Yoga is an appointment with your own self. It is time to meet your true self and receive a return ticket to your true nature that is bliss and happiness. You will naturally feel happy while doing yoga. Many people don’t realize they are in a distressed state until it’s too late. The same thing happened with me when I failed to understand my life’s circumstances. I was struggling with a lack of motivation, depression, insomnia, and maintaining my personal relationships, which eventually started affecting my physical health.
Last year, I struggled with depression and general anxiety disorder. I was constantly chasing after money, a lucrative career, happiness, and success. I was afraid that if I told my colleagues about my mental health issues, they would criticize me and eventually it would hamper my progression and I would not be taken seriously.
Last winter, my responsibilities in life increased in a short period of time, which created a lot of anxiety. It began to disturb my mood at home as I was unable to relax and felt low. I hated my own egotistical self because I was an extremely competitive individual as well. I always felt that I did not have the career of my dreams and I was not where I aimed to be. It felt like I was failing because I was not able to attain any of the goals I set in my own life.
I decided to share my emotions and feelings with someone who could potentially make things easier for me. I ended up explaining my struggles and mental illness to my manager. His reaction was amazing because he thanked me for being honest, and he introduced me to yoga. I am happy that I made this decision because it felt better after sweating it out in the Yoga workshop.
Yoga helped me in focusing on what I truly had, instead of on what I didn’t have. I learned how to embrace my competitive side and to use it in a way that pushed me to become a happier person. Yoga taught me that instead of wasting most of my life chasing after success and competing with others, I had to let life run its natural course. Happiness and success will then come to us naturally.
Below I have listed some reasons as to why yoga works effectively to motivate yourself to achieve success:
1. It Solves Your Problem
When it comes to challenges and tackling problems, yoga works amazingly. When you get on a yoga mat and begin to practice, you are made to deal with everything that comes to you and asked to face it gracefully. In turn, this increases your focus and patience levels, so that you will be able to face the mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical challenges at every turn.
2. It Lowers Your Anxiety and Stress
Yoga doesn’t mean that you will heal instantly, but constant practice can help you destress. The simple breathing and moving exercises can help a lot in releasing your tension and anxiety.
Yoga helps in stretching your muscles by relaxing them as most of the stress and tension is stored there. The breathing exercises energize your body by increasing the blood flow, which eventually refreshes your body and mind. The daily practice of yoga makes you aware of the surroundings by making you control your emotions and stress.
“Learn to relax. Your body is precious, as it houses your mind and spirit. Inner peace begins with a relaxed body.” – Norman Vincent Peale
3. Increase Your Focus
Yoga helps improve your focus through the breathing exercises you do during the yoga postures. It relaxes the body and mind so you can think clearly, and in time build up the ability to concentrate.
Yoga is focused on concentration, breathing, and the alignments. Additionally, yoga’s claimed to bring mental and physical relaxation by energizing the parasympathetic nervous system, and this is the reason why yogis sleep well at night. No wonder they have such a healthy and a stress-free lifestyle.
Real success comes when you use yourself to your full capability. It does not matter what you become, the only thing that matters is that you are living your life to your full potential.
If you want to be successful, then you must see everything just the way it is, without any distortion. Yoga helps you with just that. Through practicing yoga daily, you will start to see the results and live more joyfully.
5. It Boosts Your Health
Mental health affects your work and your physical health. Your physical health can drastically affect your work as it will make you work less and take more time off, which will lead to lined-up pending assignments.
Yoga helps your body with almost every physical problem. Yoga increases your blood flow, oxygen, and improves your circulatory system. All the postures of the Bikram yoga help to improve the flow of fresh and oxygenated blood to every part of the body and mind.
“Move your joints every day. You have to find your own tricks. Bury your mind deep in your heart, and watch the body move by itself.” – Sri Dharma Mittra
6. Gives Mindfulness and Makes You Present
Mindfulness teaches us to become more present at any given moment. It makes us more aware and conscious of our inner thoughts, feelings, emotions, and hence makes us strong enough to control our actions towards situations.
Practicing breathing in yoga teaches you to experience and live each moment to the fullest. Over time, yoga will help you live in a deep sense of fulfillment and inner peace, which will ultimately help you in making the right decision for yourself and your team.
7. Stay Aware and Positive
A yogi tends to have a balanced outlook on life. Yoga sessions of meditations, breathing exercises, and mindfulness will aim at making you conscious and aware of yourself. Additionally, it will open up new possibilities of understanding your true self.
Yoga also aims at making you a positive person, and the effects of yoga are not limited to relaxation after a workout but are exceptionally long-lasting. Yoga makes you attain the attitude of gratitude that helps you identify the brighter side of life.
To achieve success through yoga, you must adapt it into your day to day life because having good health is a basic necessity to live a happy and healthy life and no one but you can keep yourself healthy.
Have you tried yoga? If so, share with us how it’s positively impacted your life below!
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