Do you ever feel like your motivation has been zapped right out of you? At one of his speaking events, someone challenged motivational speaker Zig Ziglar saying, “Zig, motivation just doesn’t last!” Good ole’ Zig said, “Either does bathing, that’s why I recommend it daily”.
The truth is, motivation isn’t a magical formula. I wish there was a secret recipe where you could add a dash of this and a splash of that and boom, instant motivation, but unfortunately, it just doesn’t work like that. Motivation, just like anything else, requires some effort.
Too many people wait around until something or someone mysteriously motivates them. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, no one can make you motivated. While people or events can certainly give you a push in the right direction, true motivation has to be internally generated.
So when you’re feeling like a Hoover has just sucked the motivational energy right out of you, how do you get it back? Here are 7 ways to get your zap back:
1. Identify de-motivators. Sometimes the problem doesn’t come from not being motivated, it’s because something is de-motivating you. Are you working on a big project that takes you way out of your comfort zone? Are you managing a difficult relationship? Instead of always looking for things to motivate you, sometimes you have to find ways to minimize what’s de-motivating you.
2. Use your strengths. We tend to enjoy what we’re good at. Find ways to engage in activities that use your talents and strengths. Whether it’s building something, walking your dog, doing a puzzle, or singing in the shower, find ways to tap into your strengths.
3. Read something motivational. I keep a pile of self-help, feel good books lying around. Every day, I try to read something that helps me stay motivated. Chicken Soup for the Soul, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, or Attitude 101 are just a few examples of easy pick-me-up reading. Hopefully this blog gives you a little boost every now and then.
4. Talk about it. Keeping feelings bottled up inside tends to exacerbate the situation. While lots of people prefer to keep to themselves, at some point, talking through your feelings with someone that you trust can be really cathartic.
5. Exercise. I wish I enjoyed this more because it is one of the fastest and best ways to get “un-zapped”. It doesn’t matter what you do for exercise as long as you get your body moving. Our mind is pretty amazing and releases all sorts of feel good chemicals into our body when we exercise. When you feel de-motivated, it’s not always easy to muster up the energy to exercise, but the very reason you can’t is the reason you should.
6. Cut yourself some slack. Even the most motivated people get zapped every now and then. It’s ok to not always feel like Suzie Sunshine. Sometimes you have to give yourself permission to just be.
7. Take a break. While we can’t all take a month off to jet around Europe, everyone needs a little break. A 3-day weekend is nice, but it takes a little more time than that to really decompress. Whether a staycation or vacation, make sure you’re giving yourself time to unwind. Motivation is hard to maintain when you’re exhausted and burned out.
Remember, you can’t light a spark in someone unless one is lit in you. Passion and motivation have to start with you.