Sometimes we become bogged down by long work hours, energy-draining classes, or depressing circumstances. These situations can steal motivation and hide it in a place that feels impossible to access and we’re afraid we won’t find it again. If you feel like that ever happens to you, then here are three ways to recover and increase your motivation levels.
1. Envision yourself living your dream frequently. “Never lose sight of your dream” is common advice, this phrase is problematic because it is not concrete. Instead, envision yourself living your dream every time you’ve finished doing something difficult and unenjoyable (a long day of working under a manager who doesn’t value you). Train your mind to imagine what you will do on a day to day basis when you’re living out your ultimate goal.
“When I’ve established a successful freelance business, I will spend my time choosing the clients I want to take on and mentoring the young designers who I’ve chosen for my team.” Of course, in order to do this you need to know what your dream is, but we’ll save that topic for a little later. Envision your dream after a long day of work at a 9-5 you don’t enjoy or on a day with a light class load when you aren’t sure why you’re in college.
Now this is the key: don’t use this tool as a drug to nullify your discontent. It must be used as motivation to do or make something that will help you achieve that goal. Here’s the flow you’re going for – disheartening project or day >> envision day to day life living your dream >> DO one thing that will bring you closer to that dream.
2. Avoid relaxing to TV shows for more than 30 – 45 minutes a night. I am an advocate of turning on a show to give your brain a rest. However, I’ve known too many unfortunate souls who believe they need a rest at the end of the day so they turn on their current favorite Netflix drama to relax. The problem is, it’s 8pm and they usually don’t fall asleep until 12.
This effectively stifles all opportunity for self motivation to arrive for 4 hours every night. Here’s the rule that I try to stick to: watch only one episode a night. If I watch more than that, not only am I losing time, but more importantly, I’ve lost the opportunity to be motivated. So, keep it to one episode and you’ll find your motivation level steadily increase.
3. Have a doable side project. I saved the best for last. Having a side project will sky-rocket your motivation. During the day at work or school you’ll be more motivated and in fact, innovative. In your free time you’ll gain knowledge, experience, and confidence creating something for the world or just for yourself – not to mention possibly building something large that could turn into your full time work.
There is however, one caveat – Your side project needs to be doable from day 1. I live in Los Angeles, I meet a number of people who want to produce or direct films. Whenever I hear this, my heart breaks a little. They work a 9-5 but their “real dream” is to produce films. They tell me how they are writing a script and looking for funding. Undoubtedly some can achieve this. The majority however, don’t get anywhere for years because their side project is not doable from day one. There’s a question I ask people and I believe it is very appropriate for this scenario. “If you had to make something and get it out to the world by the end of the week, what would you make?” Your side project can bring motivation to your life only if it is actionable from day one. So think quick and make something!