People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily. – Hilary Hinton “Zig” Ziglar
For a long time after I first heard this quote, I liked it but did not know how to express its validity or act on its message. But one day, it hit me. After a streak of unremarkable and unproductive days, I had an amazing day:
I kept happy and busy, cleaned the space around me, did some cooking, completed many long-pending chores, pampered myself, and had more positive interactions with others. It was great. But what was so different about this day than all other days where I had failed to produce such results?
Truthfully, nothing spectacular. I did not wake up with a brand new outlook, meet someone inspirational, nor watch or read something that changed my perspective. I had one moment where I decided to get up and do something that really needed to be done instead of watching TV. And once it was done, the result made me feel amazing, and that just made me want to do more. That accomplishment and the feeling it triggered gave me the momentum for a great day. Since then, I have had some good days and some bad days. That moment did not solve all my problems or give me unrelenting energy to face every challenge. Fast and effective as it was, that spirit dwindled away too.
So, I am trying to teach myself to keep up my spirit without waiting for something amazing to happen that will change my perspective. No one moment is going to solve the problem and also the same formula is not going to work its magic for me every day. I have to keep finding, or rather creating, reasons on a daily basis that take me forward. There are many ways to do this. Here are a few ideas that I alternate between:
- Small successes make me relish more. So I struggle harder. Take a baby step towards getting something done to feel good and productive. Make a list and start with the easy stuff first. Instead of deleting the completed task, keep the crossed out item on the list. Crossing it out feels great and then every time I see it, that feels good. It just gets better as there are more and more completed items on the list.
- If I have been productive and successful in the past, I have evidence of it. Looking at it brings back the good feelings completing those tasks originally triggered. Clean and organized space and the writing I have already done, as I look back on it, makes me want to do more and gives me the realization that I can live that way.
- Find ways to remind myself why I do what I do. I came home yesterday feeling really frustrated after an unpleasant situation with my boss. I turned to my journal and blurted out all that frustration. I felt calmer and then I asked myself why I was struggling so much. I reminded myself that I love the work I do and I don’t do it for that particular person. I do it for the betterment of the company and my own career, and I have reaped the benefits of that. It was silly of me to let the situation jeopardize my reputation and accomplishments to date, and give up on my work ethic.
- Reward yourself when things are done well – not in a counter intuitive manner like a buffet dinner for losing weight. You deserve it.
- Share positive influence with other people. Just getting out there to discuss ideas and inspiration is a great way to get motivation and figure out what you want to do.
- Sometimes, I am self-destructive or unproductive just because I am burned out mentally and/or physically. Pampering and taking care of myself is a nice activity to rejuvenate and get some energy. Recently, I have started getting massages and it is refreshing and pushing me to do more exercise to remedy muscle knots I did not realize I had.
- Meditation and writing are great for mental relaxation and clarity. Meditation clears the mind and makes me more aware of my physical and mental self. Writing has helped to clarify my thought processes. I can rationalize my thoughts and problems, find solutions, and even just vent it out. Then, with an improved frame of mind, I am more likely to make something of myself.
- Last but not least, I drew my future: check out this earlier post on a very simple and interesting strategy I learned to remind myself what I really want to be every single day.
See my full collection of Quotes for more thoughts and inspiration.