Advertising
Advertising

This Is Why Motivation Only Is Not Enough For New Year’s Resolutions

This Is Why Motivation Only Is Not Enough For New Year’s Resolutions

As 2013 winds down, a lot of people are getting ready for the new year by setting their New Year’s Resolutions. Finally, they are going to make the decision to lose weight, stop smoking, go back to school, save money, travel, spend more time with family, and be happier.

Yes, on January 1, 2014, millions and millions of people will suddenly find the motivation that has been eluding them the other 364 days of the year.

And…this year is going to be different! Or will it?

Advertising

Motivation won’t be the difference maker.

Every now and then I get asked if I do “motivational speaking.” I always cringe a little when this happens. Motivation is not what I want to inspire within people.

Motivation is a temporary emotion that comes and goes. We have an experience that provokes something within us that fires us up. It’s an awesome explosion that will quickly fade unless one major decision is made.

That decision is commitment and commitment will be the difference maker.

Advertising

I don’t know about you, but I can get excited about a lot of things. I’ve set a lot of goals in my days and every single one of them started because I felt motivated. However, the only goals I’ve followed through on and achieved are the ones I committed to.

Motivation might be the spark that ignites the explosion, but only commitment will keep the fire burning!

Commitment is a choice.

It’s true; commitment is a choice to be made. It doesn’t just happen.

Advertising

I always shake my head when I hear people say, “I have no motivation,” or, “I need to find some motivation,” like it’s some wonder drug that is going to dramatically change their lives. The problem is they haven’t made the choice to commit to whatever it is they can’t find “motivation” to do. When you make a commitment, it’s amazing how motivation is much more accessible.

Don’t half ass it! If you are going to set goals, don’t rely on motivation. Commit to your results!

The process of commitment.

I can only speak for myself, but it tends to be easier to make a commitment when things are meaningful to me and really align well with who I am and who I want to be, versus trying to commit to every explosion of excitement ignited by external influences. The challenge is knowing—I mean really knowing—what is meaningful to you. Not what society says should be important, not what your family or friends say should be important, but what you determine to be truly meaningful. Now, I’m not telling you to disregard what your family and friends say, but you have to make the final call and when you do it has to be true to you.

Advertising

Whether you have a hard time articulating what’s meaningful to you, or you just need to do some reassessing, there are some great exercises out there that can help you figure this out. For me it was reading The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People 13 years ago. I can honestly say it changed my life. No exaggeration.

What is meaningful to you?

I’ve put together a set of worksheets I use with my clients. In them I challenge their thinking by asking them some important questions:

  • On a scale of 1–10, how would you rate your happiness in seven key areas of your life?
  • What don’t you want in your life?
  • What do you want in your life?
  • How do you want to be remembered?
  • What is your Personal Success Statement?

At the end of the day, you have to decide what type of person you need to commit to being to reach your goals in 2014. Do you want to be like the masses and talk a big game only to fizzle? Or do you want to be one of the few that sets a goal, makes the commitment, and achieves success?

It’s your choice!

How committed will you in 2014?

More by this author

This Is How You Can Raise Confident kids And Keep Your Sanity Rewarded, Punished, or Ignored: What Do You Want to Be? Be Confident In A Way Most People Don’t Know 9 Things You Can Do To Be A Successful Leader in Your 20s 6 Steps To Be Healthy When Traveling

Trending in Productivity

1 Your Night Routine Guide to Sleeping Better & Waking Up Productive 2 74 Healthy Habits That Will Drastically Improve Every Aspect of Your Life 3 How to Increase Willpower and Be Mentally Tough 4 9 Daily Habits That Will Change Your Life 5 How to Influence People and Make Them Feel Good

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on April 19, 2021

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

Advertising

1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

Advertising

There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

3. Move Your Body

A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

Advertising

So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

4. Connect With Another Person

Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

5. Use Your Imagination

When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

Advertising

And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

Final Thoughts

Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

More on the Importance of Taking a Break

Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next