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Motivation

Motivation Has Died but Habits Have Never Been More Alive

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motivation is dead

Since I was a little kid, I have had problems with motivation. As a normal kid, I had poor persistence and concentration and slight frustration problems. If I didn’t get something from the first time, I dropped it. My mother used these simple words that would kill any kind of motivation for me.

She still uses them without realizing it. And I still struggle with motivation. The words were: “You must do so and so,” and my favorite! “There are just things in the world that need to be done, you can’t do whatever you want at any given time.”

I was angry. I was frustrated. I am still. And then I said to myself: “Well, you can’t do anything you want at any given time only if you don’t want what you are doing. So, maybe there’s a way to turn this around? Like, start doing and the desire will come?” And this was the beginning of my journey towards finding motivation.

Now, there’s no better way to kill motivation in me than saying that I should or must do something. It evaporates in a brisk second, replaced with overflowing annoyance. Though I do know how to kill it so easily, I still have no idea how to restore it.

Here are, however, a few observations that I have made on my path of struggling with starting habits and dropping them, trying affirmations and to-do lists, and more:

1. Motivation is a one-time solution, a habit is a lasting one

Motivation can work if you have one or two unpleasant things to do if your main problem is impulse. Then, motivation will become that impulse – to press “call” on your phone’s screen to call an unpleasant client or force yourself out of the comfy armchair to cook some dinner. But mostly, motivation stays what it is, an impulse. You still won’t be happy calling a difficult client next time and cooking dinner when you are exhausted.

“All our life, so far as it has definite form, is but a mass of habits.” – William James

2. Motivation has limits

There’s a good notion that willpower is a muscle that can be trained. More than that, willpower, like a muscle, can get tired. If you have been doing things you don’t like doing all day (or week, or month), there definitely will be a moment when your motivation won’t be enough to get things going. Remember that it is a resource and, as any resource, it needs time to restore.

3. We are hooked on the idea of getting everything without any effort

Why do people care about motivation so much? Because we want the buzz, and feeling of energy and pull towards our goals. In other words, we try to escape the hard work, as usual. If this sounds a little bit odd to you, think of when you have to form a habit. There will be lots of days when you have to go against yourself and actually make yourself do something you don’t like (the part I still struggle with the most).

Humans try to find the other way around. They try to start wanting something so much that the unpleasant nuisances of hard work won’t bother them, and they want to maintain this madness-like bliss forever.

As paradoxical as it sounds, if you are motivated, you don’t have to actually do hard work – you get to a state where the work you are doing isn’t considered as hard. The truth is, if you will manage to maintain your body in such a state 24/7, it will burn out faster than you will reach your dreamed success.

So what works? Here are a few things that worked for me:

1. Figure out what you truly want

Most of the time the lack of motivation is dictated not by laziness or natural inertia, but by the fact that the person doesn’t really know what he or she wants. If you think that you want to start a business, but actually you don’t, everything in you will procrastinate to its fullest. First of all, questioning your true desires and leaving hope, you will understand them the minute you decide to. Most of the time it takes years.

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

2. Improve 2% per day

All this about reconnecting with your inner self is great, but we still have to keep moving and do something, right? Then just improve 2% of something a day. For example, you’ve picked eating habits. Find out what activity is the easiest for you to start with. So easy that you were actually almost doing it, but not regularly.

For me, it’s drinking water. I would drink like a camel before a long trip to the desert without any reminders, my body is the greatest reminder. I fail, however, to drink a cup of water in the morning, which does help to wake up your body. Start with the easiest action, and your inner procrastinator won’t resist much. It won’t notice you are tricking him.

3. Form habits

And no, 21 days is not enough to form a habit. This highly depends on individual preferences and your attitude towards the habit, but the count starts from 60 days and more. Sounds discouraging, especially to our sprinter brains that hate long projects.

That’s why the previous 2% hack is so effective – improve just a tiny bit every day. It’s easy, since it doesn’t require a lot of your willpower, motivation or whatever you have there, and soon it will form into an undying and unbreakable habit of improving.

Habits beat motivation, and you know it, because everything you think you are doing “wrong,” you are doing habitually.

How have you found forming habits has helped your life? Leave your thoughts below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. cruzpaul

    Jan 2, 2018 at 8:27 am

    Much appreciated Hannah for this one. Extremely accommodating. Been having the issue of short inspiration traverse. This will be exceptionally valuable.

  2. Kate

    Nov 27, 2017 at 10:58 am

    Rationalization is the art of coming up with facts to defend something that is indefensible. The moment you can see through the smokescreen of your rationalizations and admit that something you do is compulsive and harmful is the moment you can start to take action.

  3. TANROSE Anomuogharan

    Jun 5, 2017 at 11:06 am

    Thanks Hannah for this one. Really helpful. Been having the problem of short motivation span. This will be very useful.

  4. Vicky

    Apr 22, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    hey there Hannah. Thats a lovely write up youve got for us all. its very educative and for all classes of people.
    indeed, if we want to see an improvement in our life, we’ve got to change and not be resistant to change. Cos we can’t keep doing same things over and over again expecting different results.
    am happy i got the chance to read your article

  5. carl melton

    Apr 10, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    I love the article Hannah.
    Habits are so hard to form and so easy to break – an old sports frind of mine used to say 6 months to get fit, 6 weeks to get unfit!
    Incremental change is really important if you want to get better at something you already do, but sometimes (like for example if you want to run your own business) you need to kick start things with something bigger!

  6. Nicholas Marchwinski

    Apr 6, 2017 at 2:40 am

    Great article Hannah. I really like the emphasis regarding building habits. I was an indiviudal who use to act purely on motivation until I realized how draining it was. Building habits are extremly important for implementing new objectives in your everday life, and i feel that you referenced that perfectly.

  7. jay

    Apr 2, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    thanks for wonderful article. I hope i can find my rhythm..

    • Hannah Stone

      Apr 4, 2017 at 8:36 am

      Thank you, Jay, I’m glad to share my experience.

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Motivation

Money Making a Difference – Examples of Billionaires Using Their Money for Good

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How billionaires use their money
Image Credit: Tony Hsieh

How many times have we wished to be in the shoes of a billionaire? People often daydream of having a ten digit bank account, and what they’d be doing with it. In an instant, we’d picture luxury yachts, extravagant sports cars, the finest wine and jewellery, and a whole lot of things which are difficult to pronounce. It is truly difficult to separate wealth and luxury. (more…)

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Motivation

6 Lessons You Can Learn from The King of the Jungle

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lessons you can learn from a lion
Image Credit: Unsplash

Do you watch documentaries on lions? If yes, then you must have seen that they dominate their territory and are apex predators. Lions are among the strongest animals in the world, and no one dares to confront or challenge them. They are called ‘kings’ because they have a touch of royalty in everything they do. From eating habits where 20-25 royal members dine at the same to conquering huge lands. A lion always has a bold attitude and lives like a true ruler. (more…)

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Motivation

The Guide to Staying Motivated While Working Alone

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how to stay motivated when working alone
Image Credit: Unsplash

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!

1. Music

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!

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Motivation

7 Ways Yoga Effectively Motivates You to Achieve Success

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how yoga motivates you

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.

4. It Helps in Redefining Success

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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