Amidst challenges and uncertainties, it’s common to experience a decline in motivation. The current global turmoil has left many individuals in the creative field struggling with a sense of diminished enthusiasm and optimism for the future.
The cost of essentials such as food and rent is steadily increasing, leading to a decline in living standards. There is a rising tide of unfavorable political figures gaining power worldwide. Simultaneously, dire warnings about environmental deterioration have left many with a bleak outlook, fearing a grim future for our planet.
In this context, maintaining focus on your work and embracing life’s opportunities can feel increasingly challenging. Indeed, as you witness the world seemingly unraveling, you might question the purpose of getting out of bed each day.
If you find yourself in this mindset, it’s entirely understandable. However, it’s crucial to remember that life is a precious, finite resource, and fixating on worst-case scenarios won’t enable you to make the most of it. In this article, we will provide practical advice to help you rekindle your motivation and steer toward a more positive path.
01. Shift your perspective
“I feel like there’s no hope for the future” – this statement, discovered on Twitter in 2023, could easily have been made in any previous decade.
So why do many individuals perceive the world as heading for disaster? Journalism plays a significant role in this perception. Bad news tends to dominate because, let’s face it, good news isn’t as captivating.
However, behind the scenes, humanity is quietly making substantial progress in areas like harnessing nuclear fusion, advancing electric vehicles, combatting discrimination, and moving towards a four-day workweek.
It’s largely a matter of perspective. To rebalance this perspective, you can follow websites like Positive News, which spotlight positive developments worldwide. Another approach is to reduce your exposure to news.
Unless you’re the actual head of state, there’s no need to constantly consume news updates on your phone. Limiting your news intake can lead to an improvement in your overall mood and motivation.
02. Recognize your emotions
Let’s be honest: is your belief that the world is on a downward spiral solely rooted in concern for others, or is there an internal component to it?
As you grow older, life can lose its luster, problems accumulate, and it may seem like everything is becoming overwhelming. This is often when you start being drawn to negative news stories in the media because they mirror a broader sense of feeling powerless or directionless in your own life.
In extreme cases, you might even become fixated on these stories and actively seek them out as a way to immerse yourself in your emotions. This is why modern clickbait is so effective, leveraging sophisticated algorithms to exploit this psychological need. If you’ve managed to avoid falling into this trap, you’re more resilient than most.
When you do find yourself caught in this downward spiral, the first step to break free is to acknowledge and understand it, accepting the emotions driving it and reflecting on their true origins. Is it solely frustration over injustice in a distant place, or does it also stem from a tough day at work? It’s usually a mix of both, and it’s essential to be honest with yourself about this reality.
In essence, there’s nothing wrong with experiencing periods of demotivation and discouragement; they are natural phases in life. However, attributing these feelings solely to the state of the world won’t help you overcome them. On the other hand, acknowledging your emotions and lack of motivation empowers you to process them and take the initial steps toward addressing them in a practical manner.
03. Channel your focus toward what you can control
The next step in improving your mood and motivation involves distinguishing between what you have control over and what you don’t.
This principle is at the core of several ancient philosophies, including Stoicism and Buddhism, and it’s for a good reason. While it’s easy to become overwhelmed by global and national issues, it’s crucial to realize that not everything is within your sphere of influence. Once you grasp this concept, you can better focus your energy on aspects of your life that you can impact.
In the words of the Stoic Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, your goal should be to “be like the rock that the waves keep crashing over. It stands unmoved, and the raging of the sea falls still around it”.
The Stoics offered practical advice on how to achieve this, advice that remains as relevant today as it was two thousand years ago. You can explore more about this on the Daily Stoic website and in Derren Brown’s insightful guide, ‘Happy: Why More or Less Everything is Absolutely Fine’.
04. Establish attainable mini-objectives
Here’s another reason why people tend to lose motivation over time. Frequently, we convince ourselves that if we could only secure that promotion, new apartment, or ideal partner, everything would be perfect. Unfortunately, our minds and bodies don’t operate that way.
In reality, once we attain what we desire, we often find ourselves feeling bored, dissatisfied, and unfulfilled once more. This phenomenon aligns with the age-old saying, ‘The chase is better than the catch’.
Why does this happen? In essence, evolution has wired us to constantly seek the new and unexplored. This innate drive has allowed our species to thrive and multiply exponentially by encouraging us to continually venture into uncharted territories and experiment with novel ideas. However, the drawback is that many of us spend our lives unable to settle down and relax.
Since we can’t change our inherent human nature, our best course of action is to work in harmony with it. Instead of fixating on a single significant goal, it’s more effective to establish a series of smaller, attainable objectives.
This approach ensures you always have something to look forward to, with frequent bursts of achievement and motivation providing much-needed boosts along your journey. These victories, no matter how modest, can stoke your determination.
05. Elevate your spirits
The challenge with all this guidance is that it may not instantly transform your mood nor motivation. However, when you’re feeling down, you often require a pick-me-up to kickstart your motivation. Otherwise, you can remain trapped in a cycle of demotivation and lethargy.
In such situations, Phil Stutz, a therapist featured in a Netflix documentary, offers some advice. He suggests that you can give yourself an immediate lift by focusing on what he terms your ‘life force’.
The first aspect to address is physical well-being. Demotivation frequently stems from neglecting essential elements like sleep, nutrition, and physical activity that are necessary for you to function at your best. Therefore, ensure you are consuming regular, nutritious meals.
Establish a healthy sleep routine: reduce screen time early, unwind with a good book, and aim for seven to nine hours of sleep, even if you don’t consistently achieve it. Additionally, engage in regular physical activity, whether it’s an intense gym workout or a simple walk around your neighborhood. The key is to avoid prolonged periods of inactivity.
The next step is to connect with others. This can easily slip from our lives, especially when working from home, but it’s crucial for our psychological well-being. Therefore, make an effort to call or meet up with friends and family members to enhance your mental health and improve your motivation.
Lastly, Stutz suggests reconnecting with your inner self: your emotions, aspirations, fears, dreams, and grievances. He believes that engaging in these practices will provide an immediate and substantial mental uplift. For more details, you can explore Stutz’s insights in the Netflix documentary featuring him.