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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

How to Increase Motivation When You’re in a Slump

How to Increase Motivation When You’re in a Slump
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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.” It seems Bruno Mars also needed help learning how to increase motivation.

How often have you felt this kind of desire to do nothing? 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? Well, that 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 a fog, and 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 some tips on how to increase motivation when you’re in a slump.

1. Unplug (For Real This Time)

You won’t hear this 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, breath in fresh air, and 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 the past year.

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 learn how to increase motivation.

The right motivational content at the right time can transform your attitude. 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. TED has inspiring speeches by Dan Pink, Angela Duckworth, Tony Robbins, and more.

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If you need another motivation boost on top of this, check out Lifehack’s Fast-Track Class: Activate Your Motivation.

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 improve 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 draw some boundaries. Spend more time with people that are always searching for the silver lining.

It doesn’t matter if it’s your best friend or that acquaintance 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 as you’re learning how to increase motivation.

5. Find Your Creative Side

Creativity is an essential skill 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 lockdowns 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.

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.

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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, and taking a safari.

Sure, many of these things are out of reach in 2021, but there’s still plenty of life experiences you can check off in order to boost motivation.

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 to run a 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.

Use 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 as you learn how to increase motivation. Achieving your goal will feel a lot easier with some inspirational music in the background.

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.

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.

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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 traveled solo. 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, so keep it at the forefront of your mind as you learn how to increase motivation each day.

10. Jot Great Ideas Down

You likely have dozens 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 or use them to create measurable goals.

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.

Exercise brings levels of mental clarity like nothing else. If you can’t go to the gym, follow home workout videos on YouTube or stream fitness classes on apps like Peloton. If you prefer doing cardio outdoors, go for a run. 

If you want to build muscle, buy a pull-up bar or kettle-bells and get to work. If you have bad joints, go for a swim in your nearest lake or ocean.

5 Best Workouts to Try at Home. When you exercise, you enhance your… | by Herbalife Nutrition | Herbalife Nutrition | Medium

    The bottom line is that there are so many fun ways to stay in shape[2] and get endorphins flowing, and it can help you as you learn how to increase motivation.

    12. Disable the Distractions

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

    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.

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    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

    If you’re not 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 learn how to increase motivation in the long run.

    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 by reducing negative thoughts. 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 can consciously choose which thoughts to interact with. Through this practice, you also gain the mental space to operate at peak motivation and inspiration.

    15. Reframe Your Questions

    Let’s say that you are demotivated 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 improve motivation when you’re in a slump. You can start with these 15 tips on how to increase motivation to help you overcome that slump and be the best that you can be.

    More on How to Boost Motivation

    Featured photo credit: Tegan Mierle via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    [1] Gallup: The World’s Broken Workplace
    [2] Herbalife Nutrition: 5 Best Workouts to Try at Home

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    Chris Tubbs

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

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    Last Updated on July 29, 2021

    How to Get Motivated Every Day When You Wake Up

    How to Get Motivated Every Day When You Wake Up
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    It’s Monday morning. The alarm goes off. Do you know how to get motivated at that moment? What’s the first thought that comes to mind when you open your eyes? 

    Are you excited to get up and go to work, or are you dreading the day and week ahead?

    Whatever your response may be, ask yourself this question:

    “What is it that makes you feel unmotivated?” What’s driving you to feel negative or positive about your Monday ahead? If you want to know how to get motivated, keep reading.

    The Two Types of People

    You likely know of people who have been doing the same thing for years and seem to not have any problem staying stagnant. Whether it be in their marriage, job, or personal endeavors, they seem to be getting along just fine without progressing towards anything “better.”

    On the other hand, I’m sure you also know of individuals who focus on the positive, goals setting and are constantly pushing themselves to greater heights. Be it promotions at work, building a family, celebrating marriage milestones, traveling more, or going to school again, these individuals seem to constantly progress towards something that improves or enhances their life.

    So what’s the difference between these two types of individuals?

    What you feel capable of doing comes down to one thing: motivation. It’s the force, or lack of, that keeps driving you forward to overcome challenges and obstacles to achieve your goals.

    Without motivation, you’ll give up after a few failed attempts, or even on the first tough challenge that comes your way. Or you’ll just remain where you are: unhappy yet not doing anything to progress ahead.

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    What Is Motivation, Really?

    Whether you realize it or not, motivation is a huge force in your life, and it needs to be harnessed in order to excel and actually enjoy whatever it is that you’re doing on a daily basis. If you find yourself thinking, “I need motivation,” there are specific steps you can take.

    Unfortunately, many overgeneralize the word motivation. We think of being either motivated or unmotivated as a simple “yes” or “no” state of being.

    But motivation is not a switch. As discussed in the Fast Track Class – Activate Your Motivation, motivation is a flow. To feel motivated, you need to dive beyond the surface. Just reading a motivational quote, being encouraged by your friends or mentor, or writing out a short to-do list won’t help you build sustainable motivation in the long run.

    You can think of the motivation that we want to achieve like the Sun (self-sustaining and long-lasting), which supplies a constant influx of energy to all life on Earth. Just like the Sun, your “motivation engine” has different layers, starting from the core and spreading out to the surface. The surface is what you see, but the real process is driven from the core (your internal motivation); and that’s the most important part.

    If you can create a self-sustaining motivation engine, you’ll be able to find more meaning in your life and enjoy every minute of what you’re doing, which will make your roles and responsibilities less of a chore. 

    Let me help you understand this motivation flow better by breaking down the motivation engine into 3 parts:

    1. Core – Purpose
    2. Support – Enablers
    3. Surface – Acknowledgement

    The Third Layer: Surface

    The outermost layer, also known as Acknowledgement, encompasses any type of external recognition that might give you motivation. It may come in the form of respect or recognition, such as compliments and praise.

    Or it could be emotional support through encouragement, feedback, and constructive criticism. It could also be affiliation, where you have mutual companions or buddies sharing the same goal or burden with you.

    One recent study pointed out that “rewards had a positive impact on work motivation but no significant relationship existed between reward and job satisfaction”[1].

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    Therefore, it’s important to recognize that rewards will motivate you, but they won’t necessarily make you happier in an undesirable situation.

    This is generally what you see on the surface when you look at other people. You see the external acknowledgement, respect, and recognition they’re getting.

    The Second Layer: Support

    In essence, the second layer of the motivation engine (also known as Enablers) is what supports your goals. They can magnify the motivation core you have, or speed up the momentum that you build. Basically, they create favorable circumstances for things to go smoothly.  

    If you want to know how to find motivation, positive enablers are key. This could include friends and family, or any support network you’ve created in life.

    The Innermost Layer: Core

    But what’s most important, and the true driving force behind your motivation flow, is the innermost core, your Purpose. Your purpose is what differentiates the motivated from the unmotivated, the achievers from the underachievers, the happy from the unhappy.

    Your motivational core is your Purpose, and it is sustained by two things: having meaning, and forward movement. With these two as a foundation, you’ll have a power source that will feed you motivational energy indefinitely.

    If you want to learn more about the Motivation Flow, join our Fast Track Class – Activate Your Motivation for free now!

    How to Sustain Your Purpose

    Having meaning is simple. If you want to learn how to find motivation, just ask yourself a question: Why?

    Why are you pursuing a certain goal? If the reason is vague or unclear, then your motivational energy will be the same. While motivation provides you energy to do something, that energy needs to be focused somewhere. So without meaning, there is no direction for your energy to focus.

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    Yet, having a meaningful objective doesn’t mean you have to change the world or have a huge impact on society. The secret to meaningful work is simple: it should contribute value to something or someone that matters to you.

    One study suggested creativity as one possible path to meaning, saying: “Many of the core concepts in work on the meaning of life, such as the needs for coherence, significance, and purpose or the desire for symbolic immortality, can be reached through creative activity”[2].

    Next up is gaining forward movement. In short, this means to just keep moving. Like a snowball, motivation from having progress creates momentum. So to keep this up, you have to keep moving.

    The good news is, your progress doesn’t have to be huge for you to recognize it. Small amounts of progress can be just as motivating, as long as they keep coming. Like driving a car, you may be really impatient if you’re at a complete halt. But, it lessens if you’re moving forward, even if you’re moving slowly.

    Creating a simple progress indicator, like checklists or milestones, is a great way to visualize your small (and big) wins. They trigger your brain to recognize and acknowledge them, giving you small boosts of motivational energy.

    This is why video games are so addictive! They’re full of progress indicators everywhere. Even though the progress is completely virtual, they’re still able to trigger the motivation centers in your brain.

    Find out What Drives You Today

    Why not take some time today and do a quick reflection of where you’re at now? Take one aspect of your life that you’d like to progress further in.

    For example, it may be your current job. Start with your why. Write down your reasons for why you’re in the job that you’re in.

    Then, think about your Motivation Core: your Purpose. Write down what it is within your job that gives you meaning, and what are some things that will help push you forward in life.

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    Once you have those points, it’s time to do a comparison. Does your current job help you make progress towards that purpose that you’ve written?

    If it does, you’re on the right track. If it doesn’t, or if you’ve realized your life isn’t going where you want it to, don’t panic. There’re tools that can help you get through this. The Actionable Motivation On Demand Handbook is one of those effective tools that can help you always stay motivated. Get your own handbook and never lose motivation again!

    Do your best to not focus on the negative. Review your goals and aim yourself in a positive direction, even if it means that you start small.

    Final Thoughts on Staying Motivated

    Happiness doesn’t need to be a vague term or illusion that you’re constantly chasing after with no end in sight. By finding your true motivation, you’ll be one step closer to realizing your happiness and finding meaning in everything you do.

    You may have tried many solutions to help you stay motivated and found that none of them really have any impact. That’s because they bring about incremental changes only, and permanent change requires a holistic approach. It requires more than just focusing on one area of your life or changing one part of your routine or actions.

    You want to make a fundamental change, but it feels like big, unknown territory that you can’t afford to venture into at this point in your life.

    The truth is, taking your life to the next stage doesn’t have to be this complicated. So, if you’d like to take the first step to achieving your life purpose, the time to learn how to find motivation is now!

    More on How to Find Motivation

    Featured photo credit: Candice Picard via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] European Journal of Business and Management: Impact of Reward and Recognition on Job Satisfaction and Motivation
    [2] Perspectives on Psychological Science: Finding Meaning With Creativity in the Past, Present, and Future

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