Do you ever struggle to get motivated?
Maybe you know exactly what you need to do, but when it comes down to it you just don’t have the energy?
I know the feeling.
Sometimes we have plenty of good ideas running around but when we sit down to make them happen, we just don’t have the willpower to follow through. From time to time all of us can get caught out; hitting the snooze button, opting for the unhealthy lunch option or get distracted by Facebook or Netflix.
But the issue isn’t necessarily that we lack intrinsic motivation.
A lot of the time it is that we’re stuck in a lazy or tired state, and just willing our way out of it isn’t going to work. In fact, it could just do the opposite, tiring us out and depleting our mental reserves, particularly if our willpower is low.
Luckily there are some pretty straight forward ways to get ourselves out of that state and get our motivation back.
Many of us struggle to get motivated not because of a lack of purpose, but because we simply don’t take enough time to recharge properly.
Willpower (and by association our motivation), acts like a muscle – and you need to make sure you are resting properly in order to start the day fresh and ready.
Here are four simple but powerful ways to make sure your body and mind are really recharging:
- Turn off all electronics in your bedroom and stay away from screens for at least two hours before you go to sleep.
- Don’t consume caffeine after 3pm, it has a half-life of 5 to 6 hours and has shown to disturb quality of sleep if taken even 6 hours before bed.
- Sleep with a blindfold, most people allow unnatural light into their room which can also disturb sleep quality.
- Spend regular time doing activities that stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system such as yoga, meditation, stretching and the sauna
Energize your body
Most people don’t realize that they are actually running at 50% of their potential a lot of the time.
Remember that our energy primarily comes from the food we eat, but we also get it from water and sunlight.
Make sure first and foremost you are eating foods that are easy to digest. Our body spends 33% of its energy on digestion, and only 12% on physical activity, so eating heavy and processed foods that are not easy to absorb will make you sluggish and not allow you the energy to perform at your best – this is why we experience food comas after eating too much.
Another trick to do this is to splash water on your face and wrists for around a minute. James Zacny at the University of Chicago found that because these areas have more nerve endings this energizes us and makes us more alert.
Watch or read something inspirational
A lot of people think that this is just another form of procrastination, but reading an inspirational biography or watching an inspirational movie or documentary can give you just the jolt you need to get started on a new project or just finish what you’ve got on your to do list.
It’s important here to be clear beforehand on exactly how much time you’re going to spend doing this. There’s a big difference between setting aside a couple of hours for a movie and spending the next week re-watching every episode of Game of Thrones!
Speak to someone
Sometimes all we need to get out of a funk is just to get out of our own heads.
When you’re feeling tired or lazy it’s good to talk to one of your friends or family members who are usually buzzing with energy.
As social creatures, the vitality of others can be infectious, and when we have positive social interactions our brains release oxytocin which helps motivates us to action.
How do you get motivated when you’re feeling lazy and tired? Let us know in the comments!
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Ben is a freelance writer, and the co-creator of Project Monkey Mind—a new blog for the 21st century solopreneur and young professional who wants to lead a more free and fulfilling life.