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Last Updated on December 15, 2020

12 Changes to Make When You Feel a Lack of Energy and Motivation

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12 Changes to Make When You Feel a Lack of Energy and Motivation

Do you ever feel tired of feeling tired? It’s like you get up in the morning and instead of feeling rejuvenated like the people from the TV commercials, you drudge the sound of your alarm and hit it like Ted Williams hits a baseball.

The worst thing is that you have work that needs to be done and you literally can’t afford to slog throughout the day. But there are ways how you can fix that. Since your body is a holistic being, the change in one area will affect a plethora of changes in the other ones. So that’s why these changes will make you feel energetic and motivated to push the day.

The changes affect one of the four crucial categories of every single person:

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Intellectual
  • Spiritual

So let’s start to make these changes if you feel a lack of energy and motivation:

Physical

1. Daily walks

Most of us do work which requires us to sit for a long time in uncomfortable chairs. The human body isn’t designed for that. So take 10-30 minutes every single day and just go for a walk. It will help your body stay healthy.

And if you think you don’t have time for that, you can invite a person with whom you need to have a meeting and go for a “walking meeting.” You basically go for a walk and have the meeting in that kind of setup.

There are no excuses which would prevent you from doing this activity – it’s light, easy, and short. But at the same time, provides the much-needed boost to energy for your body.

2. Take a nap

If you think that the kids in the pre-school are foolish to take afternoon naps, you are missing out on a great energy boost. A mere nap of 20-30 minutes boosts your focus, lets your “smart” brain refocus and prepare you for more work that you need to do.

All the biggest performers in the history took naps because their work required immense amounts of cognitive focus which drains you of energy. That’s why naps are important.

3. Stretch

Sometimes, all you need is to stretch your body for two minutes. When you’re stiff, especially if you don’t exercise in the morning, your body still didn’t wake up. So it’s important to let loose all the body parts and allow a non-disrupted flow of energy throughout it.

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This will make the blood flow better, especially coming to your head which needs to focus on demanding cognitive tasks. So stand up from your chair and stretch yourself out because it will make you more energized. You can also try these simple stretches in your office.

Emotional

4. Eat what fills the head and the stomach

I didn’t put food in the physical part because for most of us, the relationship with our food is emotional and there is a big reason for that. The sugar-heavy saturated food makes us high at the moment but then comes the low and you lose all energy to do anything at 11 am which is absurd.

When you start thinking about food, start thinking about usability and pick the one which you can use the most. High fiber, protein food will fill your stomach but your brain as well and you won’t be tired after it.

5. Call a friend

Relationships play a major part in our lives. They are the main source of our happiness and our entire species is called a social animal. So when you get down and low, one of the best energy boosters is actually going into a social environment and just having a good time.

Social circles tend to pump the energy back into us even when we think we have no energy left for anything.

If you are at work and there are no “water cooler” talks around, simply call a friend on the phone and talk with him for a minute. Don’t message him, simply give a call and talk over the phone.

6. Play a game

Do you know that most CEO’s reported that they play games to be more productive. Sounds a bit paradoxical, but when you take into the account the nature of games, you understand the reasoning behind it.

Games are old as human civilization itself and even though we fail at around 80% of the games that we play, we still enjoy playing them.

Playing a simple game of, let’s say, Minesweeper can make you feel more productive and energized. So don’t think of games as energy wasters, think of them as energy amplifiers.

Intellectual

7. Play some music in the background

It doesn’t matter if it’s only white noise in the background or classical music or pop songs, music does wonders to us regarding energy and motivation.

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You know what works best for you and during which time and this only serves as a reminder that sometimes you need some music in life to make magic happen. Here’re some nice motivational songs you can try: 30 Inspirational Songs that Keep You Motivated for Life

P.S. I was listening to Dragon Ball- Cha La (German version) while writing this. There is just something super motivating, inspiring, and energizing in that song for me which forces me to write until my hands bleed.

8. Books

The stimulus provided by books help you regain focus for a longer period of time. So you should start reading some (if you already don’t).

In the beginning, people can’t read more than a couple of pages of a book without falling asleep. That’s perfectly fine because your brain is readjusting to the focus necessary to read through tens of pages of a book.

After a month of reading books daily (20 pages per day will suffice)[1], it will be way easier for you to stay focused and energized at work because you will have trained your brain to stay sharp and focused for a longer period of time.

9. Change frames and perspectives

Frames are a powerful weapon in hands of people who know how to use them. When you encounter a problem or a challenge which makes you stop before you even start, the problem isn’t in the task itself but in the way you approach (frame) that kind of task.

Doing a gym routine of six exercises with 4 repetitions each becomes way easier when you think about it in terms of levels in a game. You start a quest to level up your physical attributes of strength and stamina, and each rep brings in more experience which makes you level up at the end of the gym routine.

Whenever something brings your energy down or makes you feel unmotivated, try to look at it from a different angle.[2] When you change your relationship with a problem, it stops being a problem.

Spiritual

10. Meditation

Taking just a minute to breathe in and out, focusing and letting go of your thoughts through meditation and mindfulness can bring your energy levels back up in an instant.

Meditation has been used for thousands of years as a stress reliever, happiness bringer, and energy booster. If you are working in a crowded office, find just a minute of quiet and alone time to meditate and you will see major differences in your energy and motivation levels.

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11. “Get in zone” ritual

Most people today call it “flow”. It’s about finding the sweet spot between boredom of menial tasks and the anxiety of tasks for which we are incompetent.

When you get yourself in the zone, you distort time and gain massive focus and energy to do anything which is in front of you. Runners use the term “runners high” for this.

I used to be a gamer and I could sit in the chair for 10 hours playing the game without moving a muscle or even flinching. The immense focus and energy I summoned for that were incomparable with everything else in my life.

It’s not that we don’t have the energy and motivation, it’s just that we don’t have a clear path of summoning it (yes, I just used a gamer reference). Flow provides us with that path.

12. The power of now

Whenever we’re doing something, we are always thinking about the next thing that we have to. This makes us constantly chasing something which is in the future and is never quite here.

You are working on a task for a client at the moment, but you’re constantly thinking about the meeting that you have in three hours.

When you come to the meeting, you are constantly thinking about having to go to the gym in two hours.

When you come to the gym, you are constantly thinking about dinner with your wife and kids.

When you start dinner with your family and kids, you constantly think about the report that you need to send before you go to bed.

When you get in bed, you think about the things that you need to do in the morning as soon as you wake up.

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And this perpetual cycle keeps going and going until you are out of breath, energy, motivation to do anything.

The point is to stop and be in the moment — enjoy the power of now. It provides so much rejuvenation to simply look at a tree and think about nothing except that tree. When you live in the moment, it not only brings energy but conserves the one which you would spend thinking and worrying about the future things that you need to do.

Small Changes Bring Big Results

All of these changes don’t seem like a big deal when you read about them. But in practice, they make massive results especially if you can combine them. The big results come only from an accumulation of small things so the sooner you start working on them, the sooner you will see the results in bigger energy levels and motivation.

The small changes in the physical domain include taking daily walks, napping, and stretching.

The small changes in the emotional domain include eating the right kind of food, talking with friends, and playing games.

The small changes in the intellectual domain include listening to music, reading books, and changing frames/perspectives.

The small changes in the spiritual domain include meditation, getting in the zone/flow, and being the moment (having the power of now).

Small changes, big results.  What are you waiting for?

Featured photo credit: Seth Doyle via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Bruno Boksic

An expert in habit building

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Published on September 27, 2021

What Is Incentive Motivation And Does It Work?

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What Is Incentive Motivation And Does It Work?

We’ve all needed a bit of inspiration at some time in our lives. In the past year or two, that need most likely has grown. Who hasn’t been trying to shed those extra pounds we put on during the pandemic? Who hasn’t felt the need to fake a little enthusiasm at joining yet another Zoom call? Who hasn’t been trying to get excited about trekking back into the office for a 9 to 5 (longer if you add in the commute)? Feeling “meh” is a sign of our times. So, too, is incentive motivation, a way to get back our spark, our drive, and our pursuit of the things we say we want most.

In this article, I’ll talk about what incentive motivation is and how it works.

What Is Incentive Motivation?

Incentive motivation is an area of study in psychology focused on human motivation. What is it that gets us to go from couch potato to running a marathon? What spurs us to get the Covid vaccine—or to forgo it? What is it that influences us to think or act in a certain way? Incentive motivation is concerned with the way goals influence behavior.[1] By all accounts, it works if the incentive being used holds significance for the person.

The Roots of Incentive Motivation

Incentive motivation’s roots can be traced back to when we were children. I’m sure many of us have similar memories of being told to “eat all our veggies” so that we would “grow up to be big and strong,” and if we did eat those veggies, we would be rewarded with a weekend trip to a carnival or amusement park or playground of choice. The incentive of that outing was something we wanted enough to have it influence our behavior.

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Growing up, incentive motivation continues to play a major role in what we choose to do. For example, while we may not have relished the idea of spending years studying, getting good grades, pursuing advanced degrees, and graduating with sizeable debt from student loans, a great many of us decided to do just that. Why? Because the end goal of a career, a coveted title, and the associated incentives of financial reward and joy in doing something we love were powerful motivators.

One researcher who believes in the power of incentive motivation is weight management expert, co-author of the book State of Slim, and co-founder of the transformational weight loss program of the same name, Dr. Holly Wyatt. Her work with her clients has proven time and again that when motivation fizzles, incentives can reignite those motivational fires.

“Eat more veggies, exercise, keep track of my weight: These things and more DO work, but bottom line, you gotta keep doing them. Setting up rituals and routines to put your efforts on auto-pilot is one way. And along the way, the use of both external and internal motivators helps keep people on track. External motivation sources are those things outside of ourselves that help to motivate us. They’re powerful, like pouring gasoline on a fire. But they may not last very long. Internal motivators are more tied into the reasons WHY we want to reach our goals. In my State of Slim weight loss program, we spend a lot of time on what I call ‘peeling back the onion’ to find the WHY. I think the internal motivators are more powerful, especially for the long-term, but they may take longer to build. They’re the hot coals that keep our motivational fires burning.”

Examples of Incentive Motivation

In the way of incentive motivation, specific to the external motivators, Dr. Wyatt challenges her clients to commit to changing just one behavior that will help them reach their weight loss goals. Clients must then agree to a “carrot” or a “stick” as either their reward for accomplishing what they say they will do or as their punishment for falling short. Those incentives might be something like enjoying a spa day if they do the thing they said they would do or sweating it out while running up and down the stairwell of their apartment building a certain number of times as punishment for not following through.

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Whatever they choose, the goal must be something they really want, and the incentive must be something that matters to them enough to influence their behaviors in reaching those goals. Some people are more motivated by some sort of meaningful reward (a carrot) whereas, other people are more motivated by some sort of negative consequence or the taking away of a privilege (the stick).

Another example of incentive motivation is playing out currently with companies and government entities offering perks to people who get the Covid vaccine. Nationwide, offers are being made in the way of lottery tickets, cash prizes, concert seats, free admission to events and discounts for food, and even free drink at local restaurants and bars. The list of incentives being offered to the public to increase vaccination rates is pretty extensive and quite creative.[2]  These incentives are financial, social, and even hit on moral sensibilities. But is this particular incentive motivation working?

Remember that a key to incentive motivation working is if the individual puts importance on the reward being received on the ultimate goal. So, not all incentives will motivate people in the same way. According to Stephen L. Franzoi, “The value of an incentive can change over time and in different situations.”[3]

How Does Incentive Motivation Differ from Other Types of Motivators?

Incentive motivation is just one type of motivating force that relies on external factors. While rewards are powerful tools in influencing behaviors, a few other options may be more aligned with who you are and what gets you moving toward your goals.

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Fear Motivation

In many ways, being motivated by fear is the very opposite of being motivated by incentives. Rather than pursuing some reward, it’s the avoidance of some consequence or painful punishment that sparks someone into action. For example, married couples may “forsake all others” not out of love or commitment but out of a fear that they may be “taken to the cleaners” by their spouses if their infidelities are revealed.

Another example wherein fear becomes the great motivator is one we’re hearing about more and more as we’re coming out of this pandemic—the fear of being poor. The fear of being poor has kept many people in jobs they hate. It’s only now that we see a reversal as headlines are shining a light on just how many workers are quitting and refusing to go back to the way things were.

Social Motivation

Human beings are social creatures. The desire to belong is a powerful motivator. This type of social motivation sparks one’s behavior in ways that, hopefully, result in an individual being accepted by a certain group or other individuals.

The rise of the Internet and the explosion of social media engagement has been both positive and negative in its power to motivate us to be included among what during our school days would be called “the cool kids” or “cliques” (jocks, nerds, artsy, gamers, etc.). We probably all have experienced at one time or another the feelings associated with “not being chosen”—whether to be on a team to play some game or as the winning candidate for some job or competition. Social rejection can make or break us.

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Before You Get Up and Go…

Know that, especially during these challenging times, it’s “normal” and very much “okay” to feel a lack of motivation. Know, too, that external motivators, such as those we’ve talked about in this article, can be great tools to get your spark back. We’ve only touched on a few here. There are many more—both external and internal.

Remember that these external motivators, such as incentive motivations, are only as powerful as the importance placed on the reward by the individual. It’s also important to note that if there isn’t an aligned internal motivation, the results will more than likely be short-lived.

For example, losing a certain amount of weight because you want to fit into some outfit you intend to wear at some public event may get you to where you want to be. But will it hold up after your party? Or will those pounds find their way back to you? If you want to be rewarded at work with that trip to the islands because you’ve topped the charts in sales and hustle to make your numbers, will you be motivated again and again for that same incentive? Or will you need more and more to stay motivated?

Viktor Frankl, the 20th-century psychiatrist, Holocaust survivor, and author of the best-selling book, Man’s Search for Meaning, is quoted as having said, “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.” As important as external motivators like incentives may be in influencing behaviors, the key is always to align them with one’s internal “why”—only then will the results be long-lived.

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So, how might incentive motivation influence you and your behavior toward goals? Knowing your answer might keep you energized no matter what your journey and help to further your successes.

Featured photo credit: Atharva Tulsi via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Britannica: Incentive motivation
[2] National Governors Association: COVID-19 Vaccine Incentives
[3] verywellmind: The Incentive Theory of Motivation

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