I went for a run yesterday, in a new place, on a hot day, away from home. There were times on my run that I was discouraged because I knew I should be running faster, not as winded, or simply was hurting. But when I reached areas that were different I found myself motivated to keep going. Below is a list of five things that I find motivate me.
A Change of Scenery
A new perspective can give us a sense of everything being new, and when you need motivation new things can give you that. When we start a new project or join a new team we naturally have motivation. We are excited about the new thing and we jump in to contribute, even if it is similar to something we have done in the past. A change of scenery can be something as simple as rearranging the office so that you look at things from new angles, where the office just doesn’t feel familiar anymore. Changing the scenery gives me a sense of new beginnings, even if it is the same old thing.
Whenever I complete a project (and, yes, cleaning my house is a project) I always feel motivated to keep going. This can often spill into other aspects of my life. I enjoy playing guitar, so learning a new song is a fun accomplishment for me. I feel good about myself and that drives me to keep going. When I need to work on my car, even the routine maintenance of changing oil or brake pads, I feel motivated because I saw something to the finish. Let’s face it, our projects at work are often longer-term and that can get old. You sometimes just want the project to be over and you become complacent and even satisfied with mediocre results. Find another aspect in your life where you can accomplish something by seeing it through to a satisfactory ending and you just might find yourself with a renewed interest in what you have going on at work.
Music = Inspiration = Motivation
I enjoy all different kinds of music (except country music, you can keep your twang). I find something inspirational about music and different music with different emotion puts me in different moods; reflective, passionate, excited, even depressed. Listening to music can put us in a different frame of mind that can give us new views on old topics. We may even get inspiration which provides the motivation we need. Put on some music at work, or listen to you iPod with earbuds if you are in an open office. If you can’t do either of those things, make sure you have something on in your car on the way to and from work to give you the boost you may need.
It takes a while (give it at least a couple of weeks) but exercise is a great motivator. Whether you choose to do something mind-numbing and simply zone out or reflect, or you choose to do something engaging like a team sport, letting your mind work on other things or giving it a break while you challenge yourself physically is a great motivator. I feel recharged (mentally, anyway) after a great workout. I feel even better when it is something that throws accomplishment in there, like a sport. Keeping the body refreshed helps the mind. Studies have shown those that suffer from depression symptoms see a relief from those symptoms during and after physical activity.
I have a great wife that listens to me talk when I have something to say. She admits she doesn’t hold on to most of it because she doesn’t have a point of reference to most of what I am talking about, but she listens. This gives me a sounding board that I can at least hear my thoughts out loud. When talking to her I often find my perspective shifts or I can come up with different ideas than what I had before our conversation. If I wasn’t motivated to work on something before we talked, I usually have a little more “go get ‘em” after. Your support system can be anyone that will listen to what you have to say and give ideas when you need them. Parents, friends, neighbors, the guy on the street corner (not recommended), anyone that will give you a shoulder to lean on and help you get up when you are down. It is too difficult a society to try to stand on your own. Be sure to reciprocate when it is your turn to support others. You just may find that to be motivational as well.
So yesterday I when running (physical activity) in a new place (a change of scenery) while listening to my iPod (music). After the run I felt I had done relatively well (accomplishment) and then talked to my wife about my run afterwards (support system). So, I felt adequately motivated to get back in the saddle and start writing again.
We all fall off of our responsibilities sometimes; the trick is getting back to it.
What are some things that motivate you?