3 Simple Keys to Staying Motivated

Staying motivated can be tough. We have never had more distractions in our lives as human beings than today. You can’t get away from your phone. You can’t get disconnected anymore. Your smart watch, your work computer, your Amazon Echo, they all keep you connected and distracted.

And then the blaming starts. Your phone was created by evil men who just want your money. Social networks were invented by evil men who don’t care about the damage they do to society. It’s our employer’s fault we’re not motivated.

We’ve never had a higher expectation of being… well… entertained by work. We expect our work to be motivating and engaging. We complain when it isn’t. We write medium articles about how employers need to engage us more, give us something meaningful to do. Change the world, and pay us more, and give us stock, and ping pong and free food, and THEN we’ll give 100%.

But do you want an excuse or results? If you want results, then the attitude you need is one of responsibility. Only you can get you what you want.

Here are the best 3 things you can do to get motivated and stay that way.

1. Engage in your work

There is only one criterion for work to be engaging: that you are engaged in it. It doesn’t have to be fun, it doesn’t have to be rewarding, it doesn’t have to change the world. You simply have to be engaged in the work. You alone make work engaging or not.

Ever hear the story of Joe Simpson? He was stranded on a mountain, alone, with no food and little water. In order to survive, he had to travel 5 miles back to base camp. Only he had one additional problem: his leg was broken. So he spent 3 days mostly crawling and sometimes hopping five miles across life-threatening terrain. How did he stay motivated? 20-minute goals. He would make a goal to try to get to the next boulder, or outcropping in the next 20 minutes. And he kept doing that. Over and over. Crawling isn’t inherently engaging work. But he found a way to make it engaging. He basically just used the Pomodoro technique.

2. Remove distractions

Can’t work with your phone buzzing notifications? Silence it, or even turn it off. Set restrictions for yourself. Uninstall that game. Close your office door if you have one. Use an addin that blocks websites you find distracting for certain hours. Turn your monitor to face the office so everyone can see you on facebook if you get tempted. Whatever you have to do, take efforts to remove distractions.

No matter where you are or what you’re trying to do. Whether it’s your job, your side business, a date, or spending time with your kids.

Remove those distractions such that the most interesting thing you have to do is what you need to do right now.

3. Consume motivating material

This may be a book, a podcast, an audio book, a TV program or youtube video. Try Gary Vaynerchuck, or Ben Hardy on Medium. Find whatever works for you, find a steady supply of it, and consume it at regular intervals.

Make it a habit. Especially when you’re feeling unmotivated. Turn to that material for a regular boost to your motivation.

It’s simple, but not easy

An amazingly wise, yet hilarious line comes from Dwayne Johnson — better known as The Rock — in the movie Central Intelligence. When asked by Kevin Hart the secret to how he was so fit and buff, he replied “I just did one thing: I worked out for six hours a day every day for 20 years straight.” And then he says the wisest thing of all: “I mean anybody can do it right?”