How I Did It: Motivation

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This is the second installment in a sem-regular blog series outlining the personal wellness and productivity tips I’ve tried and found successful from an amature level. This is, How I Did It.


 

Air is to the lungs and body what motivation is to our daily grind and overall success. Without it: Nothing. Motivation also happens to be the most frequently asked first question everyone seems to want to ask. How do I find it? How do I keep it? Can I teach others to approach their daily grind with the same level of enthusiasm? Truth is, I don’t approach every single day with the same level of enthusiasm; an even harder truth is I don’t even realize how motivated until I’m not anymore. I will say though, I think I do a fairly decent job at keeping my emotions in-check whenever I’m lacking any sort of motivation around other people. I face obstacles and challenges when it comes to motivation every single day, however, these five things often times save my livelihood and get me back on track:

Express gratitude and introduce myself to at least one new mindfulness habit. I’ve found that whenever I’m feeling an emotional disconnect from the tasks on my To Do list it’s more than likely a result of mental or spiritual discomfort. Making time to express gratitude helps lead you to a happier and healthier life; writing a gratitude note everyday, to yourself, can change your world. Keep track of the progress over a hundred day period. Mindfulness is really the practice of being present in your surroundings. If I feel unable to focus or less-than-motivated to even try, sometimes forcing myself to go for a walk (phoneless) and divert my attention to what’s most important: That moment. The result is always clarity and an eagerness to return to the love of my life. Work.

Take on pro-bono assignments or volunteer to another cause. Putting yourself into somebody else’s shoes is a great way to appreciate the ones you’ve got. Sometimes I’ll turn to pro-bono assignments to reinstate my faith in creativity; working with those who are incredibly motivated or passionate about their individual “somethings” makes me remember why I do what I do. Volunteering to a cause helping those who are a less fortunate than I am fills me with a humbling sense of gratitude; voila motivation.

Commit to a terrifying project or otherwise unrealistic deadline. There’s a saying I call on every time an associate or partner or friend comes to me with self doubt in the ability to pull something off. “Work scared,” I tell them, “Work like you’re not sure rent will be paid next month, or like the bank could come by anytime for that car out front.” If you’re anything like me, visualization mightn’t always be enough. So, the next time you’re feeling a little too comfortable in the now — commit yourself to something that’ll push you a little over the edge. (Just remember in the tough times that the deadline is only a few days away.)

Make room for physical activity, or {dare I say} fitness. I suppose my approach to that earlier mentioned “nature walk” is a little bit twofold: I’m no science major but there’s a direct correlation between blood-flow and brain power. Truth be told, separating yourself from work for as little as thirty minutes per-day will actually increase your energy levels, giving you a second wind. Our bodies adapt to higher energy output and create a surplus of motivation for you to continue exploring your passions and enjoying life. Though, it’s important to stay hydrated; dehydration can create headaches and muscle cramping – and all of that leads to overeating. (And, overeating leads to drowsiness. Remember?)

Shut down completely {temporarily}. Someone really amazing somewhere once gave me the opportunity to ask her one question in a Jersey shore town in 2013. I thought for a second and fired a run-on sentence at her depicting nothing less than global confusion. Her response? “If you don’t know what you’re supposed to be doing, do nothing at all.” Ever since, that has been my best-played Wild Card when people come to me stuck at the same roadblock. Doing nothing can be the hardest thing to do when you’re faced with an impending deadline. On the flipside, having the ability to separate one’s self mentally from a state of chaos makes you one of the strongest people on earth.

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