No matter how much you love your work, motivation ebbs and flows — and there’s plenty we can do to supercharge it. Here are 20 tips to ramp up your energy:
- Use your strengths, AKA what comes naturally. If you’re not sure of your strengths, ask close friends and colleagues or you can take an assessment like Strengthsfinder.
- Minimize or sweeten activities that don’t do much for you. Minimizing can look like delegating or finding ways to make these activities less time intensive. Sweetening looks like pairing something you like (a reward, a nice cup of tea, your favorite music) with something you don’t.
- Work with people whose values align with yours and who you connect with. Let the good vibes rule by seeking out people who resonate (without judging people who don’t). Bonus points if they inspire you.
- Get a great manager and bring your best to the relationship. Good management can make or break any job — just ask Gallup. Some relationships just aren’t meant to be — and managers are human. How you show up can make a big difference.
- Get your needs met, holistically. Work motivation is much more sustainable when we’re not running on empty. Between your work and your personal life, make sure you’re filling your cup.
- Take a risk to ask for what you want. Putting your head down makes you invisible. Appreciate what you’ve got, and strive for more. Accept the answer if you’re turned down, and find a path to a solution.
- Pay attention to your feelings and your gut. Interpretation takes attention and practice. They’re there to guide you.
- Set meaningful, inspiring goals that stretch you, and create accountability for achieving them. There’s lots of research showing that clear, specific and difficult goals are greater motivating factors than easy, general and vague goals. Use this to your advantage.
- Check your mental dialogue. Is it positive or negative, focused/intentional or not? Our thoughts are like internal coaches: They can leave you pumped up or create discouragement, pessimism, or confusion. Physicist David Bohm put it well: “Thought creates our world, and then says ‘I didn’t do it.’”
- Send encouraging or appreciative texts to others. Appreciating others can be a great way to self-motivate because it helps us as well as the other party to feel more positive and connected.
- Take breaks and have rewards or downtime to look forward to. Like interval training for your mind, coupled with clear goals breaks and rewards give you an edge that chaining yourself to your desk just won’t.
- Notice what you’re scared to try or do. For many people, fear creates a rush of excitement. Push your edge (to a healthy point) and reap the benefit. If you’re a comfort creature, know that doing things that scare you with adequate support will diminish fear next time and leave you feeling more confident.
- Regularly take stock of your achievements. Day to day we tend to forget the big picture of what we’ve accomplished. A sense of success and capability spurs the next achievement.
- Write a personal mission statement. Companies have mission statements, why not you? A mission statement acts as a North Star of what you stand for and why what you’re doing matters. Check out Melody Wilding’s guide.
- Create an annual and 10-year vision. Like mission statements, visions act as North Stars for you to steer to. Reserve a 10-year vision for your loftiest goals — embrace blue sky thinking. A 1-year vision helps you break it down into accomplishments that are still a stretch but more immediately actionable.
- Create a vision board and look at it regularly. Your approach can be similar to #13, and make sure your visuals are spot on — Pinterest and Google images are great for this.
- Visualize, dictate or write your vision regularly — in the present tense. For most people creating a mission statement, vision, or vision board is not enough. Remind yourself regularly of what life is like after the fact.
- Break big goals down by month and week. Big goals are hard to digest. Breaking it down into actionable steps within a short-term timeframe trains you to keep going.
- Forgive your failures and your flaws. Dwelling on the past tends to brew negative feelings and dampens energy. Process and forgive what you need to, with a spirit of compassion and curiosity or learning.
- Ask yourself what you would love to do, create, or offer the world today. Setting and following through on a simple intention, savoring wins big and small, is a great everyday empowerment tactic.
While these strategies work for many people in the right context, motivation is not one size fits all. Keep what’s useful, leave the rest, and tailor strategies to what works best for you.
Subscribe to my weekly newsletter for more work tips and motivation at caseyonder.com.