What to do when you need motivation
It’s cold outside, you want to curl up under the duvet, your energy levels are low. You have zero motivation, and you’re starting to worry that you won’t get out of this. Your mood is plummeting with the temperature, and as a result you are worrying. What can you do to motivate yourself?
Give in – rest
Ask yourself – ‘Do I really need to lay low for a while and rest?’ ‘Do I need to recoup my energy and recharge my batteries?’ Perhaps you are tired and need to use this as a time of rest – for a while! Therefore, set yourself a date for bringing in some energy-charging changes and put the nagging voices aside. Wallow in a brief hibernation. Recharging in the dark days of winter is OK. Read my Blog on the importance of resting for resilience and my Blog on self-care.
Momentum – let’s get going!
I for one, was busy over Christmas – with lovely things like family and food and not working. Motivating myself to work again has been difficult.
How do we get our momentum back?
Momentum is movement, and motivation is the beginning – the essential kick start! Our energy has been re-directed and we need to do things that are not instantly rewarding like work and the necessities of life. What we need is motivation, so let’s look at where this can come from.
There is the external motivation – the pressures that push and pull us -such as the need to eat, put a roof over our heads. There is also the striving for things like status and money and sex – powerful drivers!
The internal motivation – they are the most powerful motivators because they are the deeper level, and can, often without us knowing it, rule our lives. They motivate us to meet our basic and fundamental human needs (once we have food, shelter and safety) such as the need for connection, love and belonging, for intellectual stimulation and ultimately for self-actualization or self-realization.
Human Needs – they are what motivate us
The psychologist Abraham Maslow came up with a theory called ‘the hierarchy of needs’. It’s neat, although not strictly speaking a hierarchy, as we can move up and down at different times and in different ways.
These are our physical needs and are the most powerful drivers. The lack of any basic physiological need such as food and warmth will motivate us. We will go to any lengths to fulfill these needs seeing as they are necessary for our survival, as are safety and security.
Connection, belonging, relationships – these are essential for a happy life. Loneliness is a feeling that can – and should – motivate us to seek company and companionship.
Self esteem and the esteem of others are also vital for our psychological and emotional well-being. Self-esteem is earned through right action – the actions and behaviors that resonate with who we are – the ones that make us glow.
Intellectual and artistic stimulation
When the other needs have been met we focus on our inner life. We are motivated to find interesting company and to read, learn, experience art and music, films, dance … whatever makes you happy. For me a good book is as delicious as any food, a good film is satisfying in a unique way and music reaches the parts other art forms can’t, as it evokes all sorts of images and emotions. Making our home pleasing to us, being in nature and appreciating beauty – these are the sorts of activities that help make life worth living. The icing on the cake of life!
The Ultimate Motivation – Self-Actualization
These are some of the ways self-actualized people remain motivated – in the dark days and in the sunshine.
Accept yourself and others – for all the flaws!
Not only do self-actualized people fully accept themselves as they are – flaws and all, they also accept other people for who they are. They don’t try to change them.
Treat everyone the same regardless.
Nobody is perfect – there is no such thing. We are all prone to being self-centered, irritated and childish at times! Accept it!
Don’t expect things or people to be perfect. Accept the reality of the situation and don’t deny what is. Be in life as it unfolds.
This is a big one – don’t take anything for granted. Your life is full of things to be grateful for – no matter who you are. Sometimes, when we are low, it is difficult for us to see what there is to be grateful for in the world; but start with the little things and make it a habit to find things to be grateful for every day. People who are fulfilled have the wonderful capacity to appreciate again and again, the basic goods of life, with awe, pleasure, wonder, and joy – however stale these experiences may have become to others.
Solve problems – but live in the solution
Solving or dealing with your problems will become easier if you live in a solution – focused way. See the end, the outcome, and get on with the actions you need to take. As you become good at dealing with your problems, you will become motivated by a sense of personal ethics and responsibility as you help others. This will become a virtuous cycle and a source of joy.
Self-actualized people value their privacy and enjoy solitude. Take time for yourself – this is essential for personal discovery, recovery, cultivating your potential and remaining motivated.
Be open, unconventional, and spontaneous. It’s good to follow the generally accepted social expectations but don’t feel confined by these norms in your thoughts or behaviors. Have fun.
Embrace the unknown and the ambiguous.
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.” Einstein
“Self-actualized people are all quite well aware of how little they know in comparison with what could be known and what is known by others. Because of this it is possible for them without pose to be honestly respectful and even humble before people who can teach them something.” Maslow
Enjoy the Journey
The journey is just as important and enjoyable as accomplishing goals. Whilst it is important to have goals, things are not simply a means to an end. Look around.
Maintain a sense of awe and wonder
Moments of pure joy and elation can occur at any time, in any place, as we remain open to the wonder of the world.