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6 Questions That Help You Break Out of A Motivational Slump

6 Questions That Help You Break Out of A Motivational Slump

Even the best, most ambitious people find it hard to get things done sometimes. Motivation doesn’t exactly greet us every morning or even make attempts to show up at the front door and ring the bell. Many days can be a struggle to reach goals and meet deadlines. Occasionally, the motivation just isn’t there and we let the “slumpiness” take over our usually powerful and productive selves.

Well, there’s help. The first step to getting out of a slump is to discover why you’re in one, in the first place. To do that, you must ask yourself the right questions. Here are some questions to consider when you’re in a slump:

1. Are you tired?

Many times, when you’re lacking food, exercise, sleep, or proper nutrition, you will feel sick and tired. You need to work, but you can’t do so effectively until you take care of your body on a regular basis. And regular means being consistent.

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You can’t eat healthy for a week and then eat junk for the next three weeks. Your body will respond better to consistent care, than it will to sporadic treatments.

2. Are you in the middle of something?

Some say, beginning a project is the hardest. That may be true for many, but I tend to disagree. Continuing a project for any length of time is the hardest part.

Usually, you’re excited at the start and then there’s a mad dash when you get close to the end. In the middle, is where most of us lose it. It isn’t so much as packing for a trip or arriving at the destination, that concerns most of us; it’s how long the journey in between is, that causes us to quit or never even begin.

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3. What are you focused on?

Focusing on too many projects at once can ruin your motivation. You may think you are, but you’re not an acrobat. At least, I’m not. You only have so much time and so much energy to dedicate to any one thing.

If you focus on one thing and get it done before moving on to the next thing, you will feel better about each task and each one has the potential of being more successful. Multitasking is, quite honestly, a curse.

4. Who are you focused on?

Often, when you don’t know where to start or how to start, it can be a good idea to ask someone else, if they need help. A focus on one’s self can be draining. A focus on the needs of others or on someone else’s project may be just the impetus and fuel you need to refresh yourself and begin working on your own.

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5. Are you procrastinating?

Procrastination will throw you into a slump faster than you think. If you’re dreading something you know you should complete, you’re not really helping yourself by just thinking about it. After the dread is gone, the project will still be there.

If the dread stays around longer than it should, the project will still be there. The only way to “un-dread” yourself is to stop procrastinating and get to work. You will find that once you get into the project, the dread was all for nothing.

6. What is your confidence level?

Usually, when we’re in a slump, our confidence levels are very low. When you lack conviction, you usually don’t know when to move or what direction to move into.

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You’re scared to do anything because this will usually eject you from your comfort zone. The way to raise your level of confidence is to step out and do something. Appreciate your own abilities and believe that you can do the thing you set your mind to.

In the act of overcoming our “slumpiness”, we find ourselves, move past our limits, gain a little more ground each day, and become our own personal heroes.

“As you begin to live according to your own guidance and your own daring everything changes completely.” – Leonard Willoughby

More by this author

Daniella Whyte

Psychology Researcher

You Can If You Think You Can: 4 Ways to Build Self-Efficacy A Letter To My 50-Year-Old Self: On Grace and Getting Older Never Be the One Who Waits to Give Flowers 6 Questions That Help You Break Out of A Motivational Slump 6 Ways to Use Stress to Your Advantage

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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