“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
~Philippians 4:13 (NLT)~
Even the most driven, purpose-oriented people—and entrepreneurs are certainly that—have days where it’s hard to be motivated. Sometimes, we have to drag ourselves around just to get any kind of momentum going at the beginning of the day. There may be things we are dreading doing, or we are just feeling emotionally drained and it affects our productivity. I have said it before but it bears mentioning again; remember that maximizing our motivation does not mean we have to be at full capacity in terms of busyness or tasks. There are some specific strategies that can help us get work done and still have time to really enjoy and savor life.
Here are some tips to help you stay motivated:
1 - Reward yourself: There is scientific evidence that rewarding yourself helps with motivation. According to Deborah Halmer at brainfacts.org, “Dopamine signaling in areas of the brain that process emotions — the amygdala — and regions involved in planning and reasoning — the prefrontal cortex — also creates emotional associations with rewards. It’s not the reward itself, but the expectation of a reward that most powerfully influences emotional reactions and memories.” In other words, even if it’s a small reward, we can get ourselves to do something easier—we just need something to look forward to afterwards. We can work with our own biology, the way God has created us, and help ourselves not just get things done, but enjoy the process.
2 - Change your environment: Willpower will always fail you. People talk about willpower all the time but if willpower alone was enough, people wouldn’t struggle to change habits (lose weight, quit smoking, start exercising, etc…) The key is changing your environment and changing who you are surrounding yourself with. It can also be very helpful to have a separate workspace from the places you usually hang out, to remind your brain it’s time to work, or even specific music that you play to get you in the zone. Even sucking on a peppermint can trigger your brain that it is time to work. Think about what adds to your overall wellness and productivity, and make that happen in your space. We have a greater opportunity to do that than ever before, with so many resources and with the time and space at home to create exactly what we want.
3- Work within your purpose: If you know your why and let that passion guide you, you will find that you are drawing from a deep well of motivation. It’s only when we lose track of our why that the motivation seems to wane.
4 - Do a task snowball: Spend just 30 minutes every morning doing small, quickly accomplishable tasks. These are not just any tasks - but ones you deem important. That will be different for everyone. Maybe it’s making your bed, unloading the dishwasher, answering your email, or brainstorming about your business. The tasks that I personally find the most helpful are the ones that will make a difference in my day-to-day life. So for example, I like to fix the little things in my house that have been causing micro-stresses - the cabinet door that keeps falling off the hinge when I open it, the dripping faucet at my kitchen sink, or other small annoyances that tend to eat away at me. The peace of mind I find after I correct those is glorious.
5 - Celebrate your small wins: every task accomplished is a victory! Sometimes we only want to get excited about the big moments, but especially during difficult times, all the little things we do are what create momentum and good habits. Every time we decide to make our bed instead of leaving it unmade or make a healthy meal instead of going through the drive-through—we are making a more beautiful life and contributing to our wellbeing. So let’s celebrate all the wins!
I hope that something here encourages and challenges you, and especially that you can keep finding your way and celebrating your wins. And remember, on the days that you are weary and can’t do all that you want to do, do something and let that be enough. Be kind to yourself on good and bad days alike. Maximize your energy and rewards. Get excited about getting the little things done. And as you make progress, know that you are building yourself an even more beautiful life, and that is something worth celebrating.
“Today is your opportunity to build the tomorrow you want.”