Motivation has to come from within for it to last. At some point in our lives, many of us will resort to seeking motivation outside of ourselves; we look for other people or things to inspire us. Whether it be motivation to exercise or eat well and take care of our bodies or the motivation to succeed at work or even just to get up in the morning and go to work, expecting this to come from an external source is fruitless. We need to find and harness that drive from within.
Ok, that’s good and well. How do you find and harness that drive? Quite simply, when you love what you are doing, motivation comes far more easily. If you are living your life pursing things that do not excite you, inspire you, challenge you in a positive way and generally make you happy, then finding and maintaining motivation is going to be far more difficult.
Please understand that I’m not oblivious to the fact that the concept of doing what you love can seem like an impossible feat. We all need to make money to survive and sometimes our passions fall into less lucrative categories than the degrees we have completed and careers we have chosen. Most of us will have to ‘suck it up’ and do things throughout our lives that are less than desirable. Perhaps your job is a means to an end, which is fine, but if this is the case, then you are probably struggling to find the motivation to get out of bed in the morning to go to work.
If work feels like a constant battle and you feel like your creativity is being stifled or you are not feeling challenged, then no amount of self-reflection, introspection or positive self-talk is going to get you truly motivated until you make some changes.
The same principles apply to other areas of your life such as your health, fitness and overall wellness. Some people genuinely enjoy sweating it out in a gym on their own or going for a 10km run. Other people find the thought of pushing weights and running on a treadmill to be less appealing than a 24 hour labour.
Having a personal trainer may motive you, and there is certainly nothing wrong with having someone to keep you on track, in fact it’s great, but if you hate the exercises or environment you won’t stick with it. You may commit yourself to a month long diet, that helps you to lose weight, but if you are counting down the days until you are allowed to eat food you love again, you will fall straight back into old habits and likely pile the weight back on.
The key is to find something that you enjoy doing, or at least something that you don’t dread the thought of. Perhaps you loved playing netball, tennis or touch footy in high school – why not find a local team and have a bit of fun while expending energy. Maybe you loved to dance as a kid, so find an adult Jazz class or join a Booty Barre class and shake it while you sweat. Once you find something that doesn’t feel like an absolute chore, it will be easier to form the habit and the motivation to commit will be far stronger.
Remember, you are in charge of your life and how you feel about it. If life is not exciting you, then make the changes necessary for you to get excited. I have been there, unable to get out of my own way, expecting things to change around me. Nothing was going to change until I stopped waiting for other people or things to inspire me. I put time into getting back in touch with the things that inspire me, the things that motivate me, and my end goals. I took control, found and harnessed that drive from within and directed my energy towards the things that make me thrive.
So my daily juggling act includes working full time for a great Public Relations company, which requires a lot of time sitting and writing. When 5pm rolls around, it’s time for me to race to the Pilates studio to teach a room full of amazing women for a couple of hours which then gets me home close to 9pm when I eat a light dinner, work on The Joyful Juggler and my wine business Young Wine Lovers, before going to bed and waking up to do it all again the next day. When people ask me “how do you keep it up?” I say “because I love what I do.” Time management plays a huge part, as does prioritising, but if I didn’t genuinely love what I was doing, I would have burnt out by now and I certainly would struggle to stay motivated.
This week I want you to take some time to think about your life. Think about work, health, fitness and everything in between. Do any of these areas feel like a struggle? Are you dragging yourself through your commitments or are you owning them and giving your all? If the answer is the latter, then go you, keep doing what you are doing because you are living! If it’s the former, I want you to think about why you are not enthused. Then, ask yourself if there is something you could change, implement or remove from that area.
Your life is in your hands. You are the only person that can motivate you. Your happiness – it’s up to you!