How I’ve Managed to Stay Motivated Day After Day

Over the last few weeks I’ve been sharing a number of practices on how I’ve managed to stay motivated and focused towards my goals. From finding Selfless Why’s and Setting Deadlines to Being Hungry and Being a Closer.

All of these are big picture concepts that you HAVE To have if you’re going accomplish anything. These ideas focus on what it takes in the long run to get it done. BUT, we also need to have a way to keep ourselves going in the midst of the day-to-day chaos.

With 3 kids and a dog it sometimes feels like all my wife and I do are laundry, dishes, dinner, diapers, sports practice, homework, and more… In reality, each of these things usually only takes anywhere from a couple of minutes to half-hour.

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The crazy part of all of it is how it comes at you all at once from every angle. How we have to go right from cooking dinner to changing a diaper to doing the dishes to getting everyone in the bath to the next thing and the next thing and the next thing…

This makes it extremely difficult to stay focused on any thing really. It’s easy to be highly motivated when you don’t have life asking a hundred things from you but when life is coming at you at 100 mph it can become very easy to suffer from fatigue.

This happens for others in different ways too. I see it all the time in the workplace where people go hard from 8-to-5 doing as much as they can in as many places as they can. Work is coming at them at 100 mph and then we they do get off at 5 o’clock they’re hit with fatigue. The last thing they want to do is go do more work on any goals.

photo cred: Abbie Bernet

When we tend to start these goals for ourselves, I’ve found that they typically occur when we’ve got some extra free time on our hands. A Saturday afternoon where we’ve been able to get caught up on chores and we’ve got some extra time in the day. These seem to be the times we start to come up with those new workout plans or that next project we want to start. When we have that free time our motivation seems to be at it’s peak.

But that motivation that we had on Saturday afternoon when we had all that extra free time is suddenly gone when 5 PM Monday hits. Monday has a tendency to come in and kick our asses and after the day is over we look back and say, “man… I really wanted to work on my passion project but today kicked my ass. I deserver a little rest…

The truth is… you don’t need that rest. The truth is you need your motivation back. You need that same motivation and inspiration you had when you first started putting this idea together on that Saturday afternoon… And here’s how you get it back:

Portable Inspiration

Portable Inspiration is the number one daily trick I use to stay focused every single day… time-and-time again… over-and-over… For me, that Portable Inspiration comes from my headphones.

I have a short playlist of clips that are extremely motivating for me and whenever I find that I’m starting to get distracted, starting to get off course a bit, or caught up in the day-to-day of life. I put my headphones on, I put my playlist on, and it brings me right back to that moment when I first started this journey.

photo cred: Jason Leung

Think of your Portable Inspiration like your compass towards your goals. When you start to feel like you’re getting off track, when you feel like you’re starting to doubt yourself, or starting to make excuses you need to get back on course and your Portable Inspiration should be your tool to get it done.

So what can you use for your own personal Portable Inspiration? My strongest suggestion would be to pick something that is:

1) Portable

2) Emotionally Inspiring

For me it’s my playlist. For you, it might be a picture of your kids, it might be a picture of yourself at a time where you were unhappy, it could be a song, or a podcast. It could be a scene from a movie or a paragraph from a book.

Whatever it is, it needs to be something you can take with you wherever you go so that you can pull it out as many times a day as you need to. Portable.

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It also needs to be something that triggers an emotional response for you. If it doesn’t give you that feeling in the back of your throat where it feels like you’re swallowing your heart, then it’s NOT going to be powerful enough to motivate you and guide you back towards your goals. It HAS to be EMOTIONALLY INSPIRING. I wrote that in caps so you understand how important this piece is.

So go figure out what your Portable Inspiration is going to be and find a way to keep it with you every day all the time and then… use it. When you wake up, use it. When you go to lunch, use it. When you get off work, use it. When life is getting crazy, use it. When life is getting shitty, use it.

And before you lay your head down to start the next day, use it.

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