Lacking Motivation?–Follow These Steps

Sometime ago, one of my blog readers asked me this question:

I was wondering what do you do when your motivation level is lacking as well as your self esteem? What do you do to regain the motivation needed to move on with your plans and pursue your endeavors?

This is a great question and here’s my answer:

First of all, let me say that I am as certain of what I’m about to say as anything in my life – motivation comes from within you not from outside you. No one can motivate you but yourself. I’m speaking long-term motivation. Many years ago, Frederick Herzberg wrote about motivation and he said that others can motivate you but only in the short term. He called that KITA (Kick in the… Anatomy – that’s really what he called it).

On the other hand, long term motivation comes from within. So, that begs the question – how do you motivate yourself when your motivation is low? First, you should understand that everyone has to deal with this throughout their lives. I’ve never met anyone that was immune to this (I certainly am not). So, what do I do when I feel down?

Here are some of the things that have helped me:

  1. Minimize contact with negative people! That’s not always completely possible but do it as much as you can. At least do this for for a short while. I really believe that some people complain as though it were an Olympic event! Keep clear of them while you are trying to get your mojo back.
  2. Maximize time with people that refuel your energy! You become the five or six people you hang out the most with. Hang out with people that make you want to “do” and “be” better.
  3. Read/listen/watch positive things. If you are feeling down, read a positive book. Listen to a CD with a positive message. Watch something that makes you laugh! Surround yourself with some things you love to be influenced by. Let that in to your life as much as possible.
  4. Prioritize the things you want to do and must do. Make a list. I live by lists. The more I can get a handle on the things I need and want to do – the easier it is to tackle them.
  5. Eat the elephant one bite at a time. Take that list you’ve created and tackle some of that list EVERY DAY. If you really do this – you will be amazed at how much you get accomplished. The more you accomplish – the better you will feel. They feed each other.

There’s plenty more we can do to generate motivation but I believe the list above is a good start. Is there something specific you have had success with that you could add to this list?  If so, please share it in the comment forum below and tell us how it has helped you motivate yourself?  This is an important topic and I’d love to hear your ideas about it, as I’m sure other readers would as well, because we can all use a little good advice to motivate ourselves every now and then. Thanks in advance for your input.

10 thoughts on “Lacking Motivation?–Follow These Steps

  1. Great points Dr Ivan Misner, and I agree that motivation comes from within. When motivation is low it helps to step out of the small picture (the day-to-day) and remember the big picture – why are you doing what you do. Your bigger vision, your purpose (your why) and goals drive you. When you remember why you are doing what you do, you can find some new energy to keep going.
    Still not motivated? Let that to-do list (suggestion no. 4) be driven by a short term goal – what would you like to achieve in the next week or month that inspires you to act today. A small ‘win’ can be very motivating.

  2. Thanks for this guidance. Also “small win ” concept from Annette is very much to be followed. All this really puts more value to my BNI membership, proud member for more than 4 years.

  3. In 1990 I wrote a want list. In 1991 I lost the equivalent of £250,000: 2 Houses, income, savings, motivation. From my list I retained a villa in Spain, have owned three Range Rovers; have nearly paid for our house; successfully brought up my 37 year old son (Equally with my wife of 42 years); been a member of BNI for 7+ years; loved life and can’t wait York for 40 more years helping others. I’m not where I want to be yet but I’m happy where I am. I think waking up every morning is a great start to the rest of the day!!

  4. These are great ideas! Thank you for sharing, Dr Misner!
    I learned somewhere that others can only inspire us to motivate ourselves. Attending a BNI meeting is always inspirational! Whenever I feel unmotivated and the BNI meeting is days away, I go on YouTube and search for “Inspirational” videos. The choice of topics is very broad and I usually only need to watch one video to feel amazingly recharged! For example, one cannot help but feel motivated, after watching a 14 year-old boy with severe autism, who is close to disproving Einstein’s theory of relativity, speak about the power of thinking. “Stop learning for a while and start thinking!” he said.

  5. Whenever my motivation is low I will start visualising my goals. I will imagine what it will feel like to have achieved my goals and I will start to feel better.

  6. Thank you for the reminder! When we hear things it does not always ‘click’ but will at the right time! “What you think about you bring about”

  7. Thanks for this Ivan. If I recall you said “pick your battles” and this is also true with getting your motivation back. There are some instances in which we must also realize that the effort does not warrant the end result! So let those GO! (pick your battles) and work with and on those that make it all worth while! As with your suggestion of minimizing contact with negative people!

  8. Thank you for this timely message. A lot of folks seem to slow down in the summer. But, if you slow down in business, you are really going backwards.

    I would add one more motivator: help somebody else. It puts your concerns in perspective and naturally makes you want to smile. You might even find that that person can help you.

  9. Agree with all your point, Ivan. Let me focus on #3 for a second. We are bombarded by negative information it seems at times. We recommend listening to uplifting music while traveling in the car. There is just about any kind of music you want on Pandora these days. Our favorite is Celtic Woman.

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