Motivate Yourself When Motivation is Hard to Find
I sometimes find it hard to motivate myself when the mercury drops, skies turn gray and the trees lose their leaves. On the most blah days, I’d rather wrap up in a blanket, turn on Netflix and stay inside by the fire. Realistically, however, that’s rarely an option and even if it is, there are certainly better ways to spend my time.
Do you know why the military requires cadets to make their bed first thing every morning? In his 2014 commencement address to the University of Texas, Naval Admiral William H. McRaven said that this simple achievement (well, as simple as perfectly-squared bed sheets with a superior breathing down your neck gets anyway) at the start of the day creates momentum. That sense of accomplishment motivates them to tackle their next task and then move onto the bigger agenda items.
It turns out that the secret to overcoming a lack of motivation might lie in our ability to find small wins. When energy is low or you find yourself procrastinating, try changing your perspective from one day to one moment at a time. It’s easy to become overwhelmed when we stare down long lists and complicated items that need attention, but if you bite things off in small chunks, you just might find yourself in a groove. Start with something easy, then get into the real meat of what needs done.
If that doesn’t work, or you find yourself losing steam, take time to focus on positive thoughts. Bear with me here. I get it. Sometimes we just want to wallow in self pity, particularly when bad moods strike. In those moments, relax, close your eyes even if for only a minute and envision how good you will feel when your work is done. Your negative energy may be caused by feeling overburdened, but if you can take time to refocus your mind, you might find that your outlook improves. Even better, when you lie your head down that night, you’ll sleep well and be better prepared for what the next day throws your way.