Advertising
Advertising

Published on October 26, 2020

How to Increase Motivation When You’re in a Slump

How to Increase Motivation When You’re in a Slump

Before Bruno Mars became a fixture of every wedding playlist ever, he wrote the Lazy Song—a chart-topping ode to just chillin’. In this reggae-infused track, your mother-in-law’s favorite singer proudly proclaims, “Today I don’t feel like doing anything, I just wanna lay in my bed.”

How often have you felt like that? It’s such a common sentiment that religions dedicate entire days of the week to it. You might just need a rest. But what if you feel unmotivated every single day? That, my friend, is called a slump.

First, know that you’re not alone. A 2017 study found that 85% of employees are disengaged![1] We go about our tasks in the fog. Some of our days are so redundant that they could inspire a Bill Murray spoof.

In the past, the greats regained motivation through exploration. Before recording the White Album, The Beatles trekked through Northern India and studied transcendental meditation. Steve Jobs did the same, met a guru, and invented the iPhone. Prince Siddhartha left his royal palace one day to realize full enlightenment and became the Buddha.

But with borders closed all around us, the closest thing to wanderlust is grabbing a pizza across town—not quite as invigorating.

The good news is that you don’t need to live like a monk to get back on track. Motivation is everywhere around us; we just need to know where to look. This list is meant to help you overcome a slump—find the sources that speak to you, or just try each one for a day.

Here are ways on how to increase your motivation when you’re in a slump.

1. Unplug (but for Real This Time)

You won’t hear that much in the blogosphere where eyeballs mean dollars. But if you’ve stared at a computer screen for the last ten days, pause for a moment and change your surroundings. That work email or application can wait for a moment. Take your lunch to a park, or go for an urban hike.

Listen to the sounds of nature. Smell the plants and flowers. Feel how the wilderness teems with life. Focus on being entirely in the present moment, and you’ll realize the world didn’t suddenly end in 2020.

2. Put Some Motivation in Your Ear

If you’re stuck in a slump, I’ve found that all it takes is one rousing speech to change your mindset. Changing your mindset is a great way to increase your motivation.

Advertising

The right motivational content at the right time can transform your attitude. So, pop in your headphones, and do a Google search for “motivation.” There are thousands of speeches on YouTube, even mega-mixes of motivational speakers like Joel Osteen, Wayne Dyer, Les Brown, etc. TEDx has inspiring speeches by Dan Pink, Angela Duckworth, Tony Robbins, and more.

3. Give Back to Others

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. –-Mahatma Gandhi

When you’re hurting, the best thing you can do for yourself is to help others. It’s counterintuitive, but it’s true.

When you focus externally on making a difference in the lives of others, it provides you immense satisfaction, which can also increase your motivation. These acts of service make your problems look and feel smaller. Most importantly, you feel more empowered to overcome any challenges you face.

Try this: Go to volunteermatch.org and find a charitable opportunity that is meaningful to you. I promise that giving back will lessen the weight of your problems.

4. Call Your Most Positive Friend

We’ve all heard the adage, “you are the sum of your five closest friends.” It’s true because what our peers say affects us.

If you suffer from negative family members or peers, their cynicism will slowly infect you. Instead, drown them out. If your mother is pessimist-in-chief, tell her you to love her, and then cut her off! Spend more time with people that are ‘glass-half-full’—those that look for the upsides.

It doesn’t matter if it’s your best friend or that one girl you haven’t spoken to since high school. If you don’t have anyone like that in your community, join Facebook or LinkedIn Groups for positive thinkers. Attend a virtual Meetup of like-minded individuals. Don’t overlook the importance of your inner circle to staying motivated.

5. Find Your Creative Side

Creativity is an essential skill now and will gain more importance in the future. It’s one of the few things that can’t be automated, outsourced, or offshored.

One unseen benefit of the quarantine was that many people finally had time for creative projects. By invoking our imagination, we can often break through mental blocks at work. This can help us increase our motivation to do things.

Advertising

Have you ever wanted to write poetry, play an instrument, or paint? Stop talking about it and start doing it. Pull out a piece of paper or buy a starter kit online, and unleash your artistic side to break through your slump.

6. Create a Bucket List

In the 2007 film The Bucket List, two terminally-ill seniors played by Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson decide to live their best life before kicking the bucket—think sky-diving, traveling the world, taking a safari.

Sure, many of these things are out of reach in 2020. But there’s still plenty of life experiences you can check off. It’s a fantastic time to learn a language, practice photography, or get your start in amateur film-making. You can write that book that you’ve been putting off for years or train for next year’s marathon. You might rent an RV and explore the backroads of your country. The possibilities are endless.

7. Listen to Music That Moves You

There’s never been a better time to go deeper into your favorite genres of music or to branch out and explore something new. Start with a “Best of” list, like the Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Websites like Soundcloud and Spotify’s Discover feature for finding new artists. Genres like classical music help people focus and inspire their creativity. Most importantly, they can help you get out of a funk and back to being productive.

8. Start a Gratitude Journal

“The struggle ends when gratitude begins.”

-Neale Donald Walsch

Let’s take some lessons from this horrible pandemic—a simple but profound one: just appreciate everything that we have.

This isn’t our first crisis, and it won’t be the last. So, let’s take heart in gratitude for the simple pleasures in life. Appreciate that satisfying meal, the roof over your head, loving friends, and family. It’s easy to fall into the cycle of wanting more. Instead, build the habit of writing down three things you’re grateful for in your journal every day.

You don’t need to list a million items. Instead, go deep into why you cherish a few people and things that mean the most to you.

Advertising

9. Cherish Past Victories

Most people don’t chase their dreams because of fear. They don’t think that they have what it takes—talent, resources, connections—to accomplish their goals. The best antidote is to relive your own victory story.

Think back to a time where you did something that you previously hadn’t thought possible. Maybe you earned a promotion, got an A in a class, or gave a public speech. If it’s been a while since you stepped out of your comfort zone, go back to your childhood.

Remember how you learned to ride a bike when you were scared, made a new friend, or asked someone out even though you were shy. We’ve all overcome fear in the past. Let’s not forget it.

10. Jot Great Ideas Down

I’m sure you have dozens or possibly hundreds of great ideas each day. But life is a constant stream of distractions. We often forget about these ideas before we can give them a second thought.

Many comedians and artists get their best ideas in random moments—on the bus or waiting in line at the store. When a motivating idea or thought enters your mind or when you hear it outside, write it down immediately. This way you can refer and build on them later, rather than let them fall into the quicksand of time.

11. Sweat Out Stress

I am a firm believer that an incredible workout (and a delicious recovery meal) can cure almost any bad day. It’s no coincidence that so many successful people like to run or jog.

Getting into a physical state brings levels of mental clarity like nothing else. Can’t go to the gym? Follow home workout videos on YouTube or stream fitness classes on apps like Peloton. Prefer doing your cardio outdoors? Go for a run. Want to build muscle? Buy a pull-up bar or kettle-bells and get to work. Bad joints? Go for a swim in your nearest lake or ocean. Too cold? Go snow-shoeing or skiing.

The bottom line is that there are so many fun ways to stay in shape and get endorphins flowing.

12. Disable the Distractions

The average person gets interrupted once every 8 minutes. It’s no wonder that people struggle to stay focused.

My solution? Put your phone on do-not-disturb, or shut it off completely. Do the same for your desktop apps like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or email. If you’re in a noisy environment, get noise-canceling headphones or earplugs. Follow the Pomodoro Method and set a timer for 25 minutes. After one Pomodoro, take a 5-minute break, then start again.

Advertising

By reducing distractions and scheduling regular breaks, you will find yourself getting more done and going deeper into your work. You’ll thus get better results, creating a virtuous cycle of motivation.

13. Learn From History

Now sure how to become the best version of yourself? Follow those who inspire you. Maybe your idol is a parent or mentor—ask them about their past and find out how they grew to be the person they are today. Investigate the lives of famous people and find where their success left clues. Start with biographies or autobiographies. Finding inspiration will help you increase your motivation.

Last year, I read the autobiography of Phil Knight (founder of Nike) and the portrait of Alexander Hamilton. Whether you agree with their decisions or not, you can learn a lot from their stories, their wins, and their losses.

14. Just Breathe

The most important part of my morning routine is meditation. You’re probably familiar with some of the benefits of mindfulness, such as feeling calmer and better able to handle stress. Through consistent practice, I found that my mental clarity and focus improved, too.

We all have a ‘monkey mind’ that’s always on the move, like a monkey swinging from branch to branch. All of life’s distractions consume our thoughts, even when it’s unproductive. By meditating, we better consciously choose which thoughts to interact with. Through this practice, you also gain the mental space to operate at peak motivation.

15. Reframe Your Questions

Let’s say that you are de-motivated by a problem that seems impossible to solve. What you can do is invest a lot of time upfront framing the right questions.

In the Tribe of Mentors, author Timothy Ferriss encourages his readers to ask, “how would it look if this [endeavor, goal, etc.] were easy?”

In The One Thing, author Gary Keller suggests you ask yourself, “What is one thing I can do that would make everything else less important or unnecessary?”

Think about the problem you want to solve and ensure you ask the right questions. Also, consider if you have assumptions baked into your line of thinking. Remember: it’s always better to ask (the right) questions than to assume. These methods can turn a frustrating problem into an inspiring solution.

Final Thoughts

Everyone encounters a slump at least once in their lives, but what differs from person to person is how they handle it. There are many ways that you can increase your motivation when you’re in a slump. You can start with these 15 tips on how to increase your motivation to help you overcome that slump and be the best that you can be.

More Tips on Boosting Motivation

Featured photo credit: Tegan Mierle via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Chris Tubbs

Biz Dev Leader, MBA, Marathoner, Triathlete, and Writer for Knowyourbest.com

How to Increase Motivation When You’re in a Slump

Trending in Motivation

1 What Is Resilience and Why Is It Important for Success? 2 15 Simple Ways To Make Self Improvement That Will Change Your Life 3 How to Know Yourself and Seek Self Improvement 4 How to Get Your Life Together When You Feel Overwhelmed 5 9 Ways to Prepare for Change and Live Your Dream Life

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on November 4, 2020

15 Simple Ways To Make Self Improvement That Will Change Your Life

15 Simple Ways To Make Self Improvement That Will Change Your Life

Self-improvement doesn’t have to be big mind-blowing changes; it can actually be simple steps to improve upon what you already have to get you where you want to be.  However, what you will need is consistency, determination and wiliness to try some things that will stretch and challenge you.

Rather than setting your sights way off into the future, which leaves you feeling like you’ll never make it, you can start following these simple and effective self-improvement steps today.  So if you want to make an immediate impact on your life and are willing to take action, then keep reading— you’ll going to love these!

1. Be willing to work hard.

As with anything in life, if you want something, you’ve got to work hard to get it.  This doesn’t mean you burn the candle at both ends, leaving you exhausted and leaving your personal life in ruins.  It merely means that when you want something badly enough, you’ll put in the time to get there.  Action is what’s important here and the more ‘inspired’ the action is, the better the results in the end.

2. Make sure you have friends who you can talk to.

Sharing the load is important as with any self-improvement. If you can communicate with others and get feedback on how you are doing then that’s great.  We all need ‘cheerleaders’ in our corner to keep us going when times get hard, but you also need to have people who will tell you how it is even when you don’t want to hear it.  So make sure you have a good support network around you, especially those people whose opinions you respect.

Advertising

3. Adapt to your circumstances rather than over-thinking them.

Sometimes, we can hit a hard period. Perhaps you’ve lost your job or your partner has left you.  Instead of over analyzing the situation, learn to adapt to your circumstances and accept them as they are.  It’s not about making your circumstances into some kind of a drama; remember, what you focus on expands which means you’ll get more of it.  You then don’t become your problems and you’ll feel a lot less burdened by them.

4. Ensure that you use your time wisely.

Time is of the essence, some might say; whilst others will say that time is an illusion.  One thing we do know is that you have one life on this planet, so how you use that time is of the utmost importance.  So how can you use your time wisely? Only you know how to do that, but look at how you currently spend your days: do you sit working all day, get home, eat and then sit slumped in front of the TV for the rest of the evening?  Your time on this earth is precious, so isn’t it time to make use of the time you have left? Try something new, go for a walk, learn a new language or meditate but make sure it’s something you absolutely love.

5. Always be consistent.

A wonderful way to self-improvement is to make changes to how you do things.  For example, with your friends, are you always the unreliable one who bows out of an arrangement just before it happens? Or are you someone who starts a new exercise routine and then stops doing it 3 weeks into it?  Whatever it is and whatever you do, always be consistent. When you make a commitment, stick to it. It will improve your life immeasurably you’ll feel more confident and happier with yourself, especially because you’ll know that whatever you tackle, you’ll be able to consistently do it!

6. Go and find your happy place.

No, I’m not saying “place” as in popping to your local bar or restaurant and gorging yourself on your favorite drinks or food. What I’m saying is to find out what you love to do, what makes you happy and go there.  Your happy place is a place where you find peace, where you lose yourself and feel contented.  Meditation is a great way to find your happy place; it brings you back to you and ensures that you are always living in the present moment.

Advertising

7. Make sure you embrace all your emotions.

In life you are going to find that it throws you some difficult challenges, sometimes it will bring out your fears and lead you into uncertainty, and other times it will be joyful.  It’s important to embrace all emotions that come up in your life, embrace them wholeheartedly and understand why they are there and then let them go.  Try not to dismiss or resist them because remember “what you resist, persists,” so embrace them each and every time.

8. Always be prepared to step out of your comfort zone.

The idea of stepping out of your comfort zone for some people can leave you paralyzed with fear; however for any changing in your life, your comfort zone will always have to be stepped out of.  It doesn’t have to be something big, like doing a sky-dive or something just as crazy. However, it’s worthwhile to change something that you’d once have feared, like going to the cinema on your own or eating at a sushi restaurant when the thought of trying raw fish which would normally mean you running for the hills.

So try something new—it doesn’t have to be wacky, but it has to challenge you!

9. Be on hand to help others.

Whether it’s helping a stranger on the street or a family member or a friend helping someone else either in their time of need, lending a helping hand is a wonderful and simple self-improvement to make.  Giving to others is not only beneficial to those you are helping but also to yourself; it can give you a sense of purpose, of contribution and also takes your mind of your own troubles and worries.

Advertising

10. Live in the present moment.

A wonderful self-improvement tool is to live in the present moment, to live in the now.  It is within this moment that you’ll appreciate all that you have and see the beauty in the simplest of things.  Being mindful of your current circumstances and bringing your mind back to where it belongs will bring about a happier way of life instead of constant worry or stressing about the past or future—both of which do not exist. Only the present moment exists. When you get used to living that way, you’ll never want to go back!

11. Learn something new.

There is nothing so liberating as learning something new; it can lift both your confidence and self-esteem and give you a great reason to meet new people.  If you continually top up your brain activity by learning something new all the time, you’ll feel on top of your game and want to share the knowledge you have learned. There is nothing quite so empowering as learning a new tool in life that can either improve your circle of friends or raise confidence levels—or both!

Reading is also a great way to help you learn something new:

12. Exercise daily.

This seems an obvious one, but exercise is so important not only to your health but also to your spirit.  We all know that after exercise, the world can feel a brighter and more positive place, so why don’t we do it more often?  Exercise isn’t about getting the perfect body or losing weight; it’s more about feeling good inside and out!  With a healthy body comes a healthy mind—so start something today. Even if it’s just a daily walk, it’s better than staying on that couch, again.

Advertising

13. Go to new places, travel a bit.

I’m not saying go fly off to some far away distant forgotten land—although you can if you so wish. It’s more about going to new places and experiencing life outside of your own back yard.  Too many of us stay in one place too often. We only see the same people, the same streets and do the same things each and every day.  If you want to improve your life, get out there and see the world and what it can offer.  You can start by going to a town or city you’ve never been to in your own country and checking out the architecture, the landscapes and the people.  Anything new is good, so get out there!

14. Listen to uplifting music and dance.

If there’s one thing that can really improve your life and get you excited about it, it’s listening to great uplifting music and dancing.  When was the last time you really let go?  Let it all hang loose and got into a piece of music and let yourself go?  Dancing, like exercise, makes you feel great. It releases all kinds of emotions and can make you feel unbelievably good.  Self-improvement isn’t all about the serious stuff; it can be something as simple as finding new music, music that inspires you and makes you dance and have fun!

15. Get up earlier than normal.

This is the last one, and it’s last because it’s one of those self-improvement tips that we all know is a good thing, yet we seem to avoid it at all costs!  If you think about it, the earliest part of the day is when your brain is most active because it’s been turned off for the last 7 hours or so.  So don’t you think it’s best to get all those things above done in the morning?  Things like exercise, meditation and dancing, which can all be done in the first part of the day.  Take it from me: this early morning stuff can really get your day started with a bang!

More on Self-Improvement

Featured photo credit: Laura Chouette via unsplash.com

Read Next