So you’re burnt out and feeling down…I get it. You don’t feel like getting up at 4 am as I suggested and you would rather sleep in. Guess what? This problem can be solved quicker than you think. We all have peaks and troughs until we reach a level where there is no turning back.
This level that I am referring to is the one where you get chills down your spine. It’s the one where you are excited to wake up and wish there were more hours in the day to pursue your passion. People say to me all the time, “Tim how are you always super motivated?”
Answer: Well I am human, so I’m not always, but the majority of the time I am. It’s because I have made motivation a habit.
I see so many people walking around that are low on energy, unhealthy, failing, and look like they’re ready to give up. Unless you commit to a higher purpose and stop settling for your current circumstances, you are never going to be happy or fulfilled.
Below are 7 ways to get to an extreme level of motivation quickly:
1. Find that one thing and don’t stop until you do
At the crux of motivation is finding something that self-motivates you. We don’t need to use big, overused words like passion or purpose. Let’s take a more simplistic approach and just say that you need to find the thing that put’s you in the zone. The thing that you dream about all day and the thing that brings out emotion in you.
When something starts to make you feel all sorts of emotions, then you’re probably on the right track. What stops us from being motivated though is that we don’t search long enough. You have to try 100’s of things before you find the one that ticks all the boxes.
What makes it even harder is that finding your one thing changes over time. For some people, every two years they have to find that one thing again. Or, that one thing might morph into similar related activities. Either way, you have to stop being so soft and put some effort into finding your one thing.
“The moment you get a hold of your one thing, your motivation starts to hit an extreme level quickly without the need of outside forces” – Tim Denning
2. Practice being disciplined
If I had to pick one thing that stops motivation from occurring naturally, I would pick discipline. Your success is made up of tiny little steps that you perform each day. We all know what habits are and why we should choose positive ones. What we forget is that habits only work if we’re disciplined.
Discipline is saying no to sugar because you’ve got to prepare for a speech….discipline is saying no to social media until your energy levels start to run low….discipline is practicing your craft every day until you perfect it. By letting the small things get the best of you, you’re destroying your motivation long term.
3. Get into motion
Like the rest of you, I have times when I’m very unmotivated. The best way to combat this war on motivation is to get into motion. This means that if you feel tired or are lacking motivation, all you need to do is start moving. The best forms of movement are the gym, walking outside, bouncing on a trampoline, and even taking the dog to the park.
When you get moving your state starts to change, and you begin to feel different. As the blood begins to pump through your body, your previous mindset washes away, and a new relaxed one comes into play. From there, you can get back to working on that one thing I mentioned before.
If this method fails you, the other way to quickly recharge and change your mindset is a 15-minute power nap or some gentle meditation. With a refreshed mind, you’ll find it easier to focus and crush your goals to pieces. Try it out for yourself!
4. Try getting into new circles
Whenever my motivation is lacking, I get into new circles of people. The best way to break into a new circle is via a friend, work colleague, or attending an event. People help to shape your experience and to have new experiences you need fresh people around you.
By constantly having new people come in and out of your life (while maintaining your existing friends) you not only build your network but you find new ways to stay motivated.
“A new perspective will come through other people’s ideas and interpretations of what you’re trying to achieve” – Tim Denning
I’ve felt a little bit unmotivated recently, and I’ve practiced this skill more than anything else. It’s lead me to meet people I could have only dreamed of and to travel overseas in search of something new. The bottom line as always is that you are in control.
Only you can turn your motivation around, and it is always going to start with action. Make a new decision and become a lover of meeting new people. The other point to mention is that circles are different to people. When you break into a circle, you get more than one person to help transform you.
In high-powered circles, your life can literally be taken to a new stratosphere if you search long enough. I‘ve witnessed this first-hand, and it’s given me at least another ten ways to be motivated. It’s very hard to be down on your luck when you have champions around you.
5. Become a shining light on social media
Platforms like LinkedIn (especially) are full of people from all walks of life. The posts, comments, and conversation don’t vary a hell of a lot and can often center around negativity of some sort. By being different and choosing to be more positive than everyone else, you can quickly make an impact.
Once you make your impact, people will rally around you, and this will help raise your intrinsic motivation to an extreme level. It’s not hard to be different. Just be your vulnerable self and forget opinions.
6. Help someone other than yourself
I recently helped a friend of mine get into Harvard. It took a fair amount of time, and there was zero in it for me. So what! Out of service to others, you bring people closer to you. There is no way you could do a favor like that and not get something special in return.
The difference is that what you get back is typically via a different channel, so you don’t often know that it was that one good deed (like helping someone go to Harvard) that caused it. Stop trying to know why everything happens and learn to trust more.
7. When you feel motivated, create an anchor
Yes, I’m one of those losers that like watching auditions from Xfactor, The Voice, Got Talent, and any other tragic reality singing show. It’s not the stupid show and the lousy format that I like, it’s the way the rawness of the undiscovered artists giving their all makes me feel.
After an experience like this, the best thing you can do is to create an anchor in your mind. When you need some motivation, think back to these moments that made you feel chills down your spine. Hopefully, once you get the chills, you can re-create them through your passion and deliver them to others.
How are you going to become more motivated? What action are you going to take? Let me know on my website timdenning.net or my Facebook.
How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals
Time is the raw material of our lives. How we choose to spend it, shapes our life accordingly. So having the motivation to spend it on achieving goals is crucial to creating a life we want.
What is Motivation?
The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as the desire or willingness to do something – our drive to take action.
Scientifically, motivation has its roots in the dopamine pathways of our brains. When we do something that feels good, that’s dopamine kicking in. Our actions are driven by the desire for that reward (the good feeling).
Author Steven Pressfield describes motivation more practically. He says we hit a point where the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it. He sees motivation as crossing the threshold where it’s easier to take action than it is to be idle. Like choosing to feel awkward while making sales calls over feeling disappointed about a diminishing bank account.
However you choose to think about it, we all want to harness motivation to achieve our goals.
How to Get Motivated
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that most people misunderstand motivation. They think that motivation is what gets us to take action. In reality, motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Once we start a task, it’s easier to continue making progress. Like Isaac Newton’s first law: objects in motion stay in motion.
This means most of the resistance when working on your goals comes right before we start. Since motivation naturally occurs after we start, we need to focus on making starting easier.
4 Ways to Make Starting Easier
1. Schedule it
One reason people can’t get started on things is that they haven’t planned when to do it.
When things aren’t scheduled it’s easier for them to fall by the wayside. You’ll end up hoping motivation falls in your lap or hoping that you’ll muster enough willpower to get it done.
An article in the Guardian said, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”
2. Measure something
It’s easy to feel uninspired when you don’t know if you’re making progress or what you’re even working towards. That’s why you need to make your success measurable in some way. Starting is easy when you know exactly how much closer your current actions will bring you to achieving your goal.
3. Extrinsic motivation
This type of motivation is from external factors. It can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation consists of incentives like money, prizes, and grades. Negative motivation consists of deterrents like being fired, having a fight, or being fined. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t work effectively long-term, but it can work well in the short term to get you started on something.
4. Make it public
Keep yourself accountable by telling friends and family your goals, or even sharing them on social media. This makes it easier to start something because you’re pressured to not let others down.
How to Stay Motivated Long Term
When we say we want to feel motivated to do something, we don’t want to be pushed or guilted into doing a task. We want to be so attracted and drawn to the idea that we can’t resist not taking action. That’s why it’s important to build a foundation that will set you up for consistency.
These are 5 techniques that will help you do just that:
1. Stay in your goldilocks zone
The goldilocks zone is when a task is the perfect level of difficulty—not too hard and not too easy. In this zone, we reach peak motivation and focus.
For example, let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year-old. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become bored and not want to play. Now let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against Serena Williams. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become demotivated because the match is too challenging.
The Goldilocks zone is in the middle of that spectrum. You want to face someone with equal skill as you. That way you have a chance to win, but you have to focus and try for it. Adjusting your workload and goals over time to stay within your Goldilocks zone keeps you engaged and motivated long-term.
2. Pursue intrinsically motivated goals
Being intrinsically motivated to achieve a goal is when you want to achieve it for what it is. There are no external factors like a reward or the risk of being fired. The drive behind your actions is coming from within.
For most intrinsic goals we pursue them because they will enrich our lives or bring us closer to fulfillment. That makes these goals extremely sustainable long-term because they directly affect our quality of life and the things we care about.
3. Use “chunking”
Chunking is the technique of breaking down a goal into smaller short-term targets. By doing this you achieve multiple successes in your pursuit of the main goal. This triggers the brain’s reward system and drives you to keep going.
Traditionally, you may set a goal that you expect to achieve in one year. That’s a long time to commit without seeing any results along the way. By chunking your goals into monthly or quarterly targets, you get the consistent positive reinforcement you need to stay motivated long-term.
For example, instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in one year, try to lose 4 pounds every month for 12 months.
4. Be flexible
We’re all victims of circumstance. Things happen along our journey that we can either adjust to or quit because of. That’s why it’s important to have leeway and flexibility when you’re pursuing a goal. If you expect everything to go perfectly, the inevitable failure can make you disengaged and desireless. When you plan for things to go wrong, you make sure you can keep up for the long haul.
5. Pursue your goals in a sustainable fashion
Don’t lose hope when you’re not an overnight success. Overnight successes are the 1%—for the most part, they don’t exist. What we see as an “overnight success” is actually countless hours of work behind the scenes finally hitting a tipping point. Pursuing goals is a story of patience, persistence, and unseen effort.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a recipe for a drop in self-confidence and satisfaction. It also cultivates a mindset where you think you haven’t done enough. As a result, you may raise your expectations and put more pressure on yourself.
This is pointless because things worth achieving take time. So we obviously won’t compare to the things around us when starting.
Mastering motivation is a superpower. With that ability at your fingertips, you can accomplish your goals and shape a life you want to live in.
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