9 Mental ways I keep myself motivated
Last week I shared 22 things help me stay motivated,
and many of you said you either recognize yourself in it or simply do not recognize yourself in it and would like to be that way.
The last post was mainly focused on all the physical things I do to motivate myself: food, working out, sleep, etc.
But it’s no surprise, that not only the physical part of it all is important. The mental part is just as important.
We can all recognize the following situations:
- That voice in your head is telling you to not do X
- That voice is telling you that you are shit
- That voice is stopping you from becoming who you want to be
- That voice is telling you to go for short-term dopamine
- That voice is making you lazy
- That voice is making you feel like a loser when you look in the mirror
- That voice is telling you are never going to make it anyway
I know that voice, I know it all too well. It’s your ego, telling you to just not change. Cause change is hard, it takes time and energy, and your ego doesn’t want that for you. It wants you to stay the way you are.
And I’ve realized something important: motivation comes from learning how to deal with that voice.
No matter how you look at it: you need a supportive and constructive way of thinking to get to where you want to go.
In this post, I will share several ways I have found useful to slowly silence that voice. The voice will always be there, but the volume button is in your own control.
#1 Sit still and relax every single day
Relaxing, and just being with yourself every day, is an important aspect to stay motivated. By sitting still, and just thinking to yourself for a few minutes or even up to an hour, will help you to clear your mind and think about the things that you believe are important.
We all have periods where a single thought, or multiple thoughts, seem to constantly be in our heads. It’s not easy to give these thoughts up, to not focus on them for a bit. And that’s fine, that’s just human.
The goal here is to not try to get yourself to focus on them. Let the thoughts flow through your head. By ignoring them, and ignoring the feeling they give you, you are only giving in to these thoughts. Right then, you only allow them to get the better of you.
Instead, think. Yes, really, just think. Let the thought run through your head. What emotions do you feel while you think about? Usually, the most obsessive thoughts make us feel extreme emotions: extreme happiness, extreme sadness, extreme anxiety or maybe even extreme regret.
Staying motivated is knowing that you can be that way. Knowing that you can obsess about these thoughts. And just piling them up in your own head, never giving into them, is useless. You’re making yourself a sleeping volcano, waiting for a moment when all these emotions get released all at once.
The next part also goes along with that.
#2 Share your emotions with others
I know, it sounds stupid and unnecessarily not man-like to do this.
But let’s be real: you’re not going to make it in this world just by being alone all the time. You need people around you that you can talk to.
When you have had a shit day, and everything inside you just screams ‘FUCK’ then that’s ok. We all have that. Nobody’s going through life without those days.
And it’s easy to just keep that emotion to yourself. To just let it be inside yourself while ignoring it and continuing with life.
But again, this shit will build up over time. And it will be pretty shitty when you have to go through life like that. One day all that shit will catch up to you and get dumped on you like a massive amount of shit.
So, when you have a shit day, just be honest about it to others. Whether you stubbed your toe and can’t squat for 2 weeks so you can’t live up to your own workout schedule, or that client didn’t sign the $10,000 contract after all.
Find people around you that you can be honest with. That don’t care that you have had a shit day. That will find a way to turn that shit upside down and get you out of it in the best way possible. Trust upon others around you to do so, as they are the perfect people to help you with that.
Part of staying motivated is to not let yourself get blocked by these negative thoughts. We all have these thoughts, we all have shit in our lives, and it’s better to let go of it as soon as possible instead of just constantly keeping it in your own head.
#3 Envision what your actions today will bring
Every day that you work on yourself is a good day. No matter what happens, no matter what may have stopped you that day. Every step you take is worth it.
Look ahead, with every step you take. No matter what that step may have been. Want to get that six-pack? That workout routine you do today will bring you a step closer. Want to start your own business? That motivational video by Arnold Schwarzenegger will bring you one step closer. Want to quit smoking? Skipping those two cigarettes today will get you one step closer.
The actions you take today are the sole base of the things you can do in the future. Every single step of it. And it’s worth taking that step today. Sure, one workout routine won’t give you that six-pack when you look at yourself in the mirror. But at least you took another step getting closer to those abs being visible.
Right now, I am in the process of starting to write a book about what the best people in their world are doing to get there. Olympic Gold medalists, artist, actors, entrepreneurs, investors, models, anyone who has become the best in their field. This is very much influenced by the Tim Ferriss Show and Tim Ferriss’ book Tools of Titans.
That’s not a one day process, it’s a two or three-year process. But I know that the actions I take every day will mean that in two or three years from now, I will publish that book. I’m expanding my network, talking to new people who can connect me, doing research on flow and motivation, reading interviews, reading books, all of that to make sure I get there.
Appreciate the process, experience every second of it. It’s never easy to get to where you want to go. If it was easy, everybody would do it. Get out of your comfort zone, ignore it, find ways to experience new things. That’s the only way you will ever get to where you want to be.
#4 End your days with reflecting on today
On top of that, make sure you end your days knowing you took the right steps to move forward. Reflecting on the good things you did today is a great way of realizing that.
For me, it’s writing in the Five Minute Journal every day. At the start of the day, and especially at the end, I take a moment to reflect on my life and to think about the things I am doing and that I have done today.
Which three steps that you took today are helping you become a better person? And how? Was it because you skipped the usual Maccy D’s today to grab a healthy meal? Did you read that article on Elon Musk instead of watching an hour of ‘funny’ videos?
The actions you take are important. By reflecting on it, you find a way in your brain to make it noticeable that those actions are truly making sure you are taking the right steps.
A good way to do this is to write those actions down. Use either a notepad or diary or a journal. Anything that will last a long time and will allow you to write down these things for at least 100 days. This allows you to look back every now and then.
Looking back is a great way to motivate yourself. You did 30 deadlifts today with 100kg? Well done, 50 days ago you could only do 15 at 80kg.
Help yourself to become better and write down your progress. Your future self will love you for it.
#5 Do the shit you don’t feel like doing
That laundry that has been laying there for 3 days that you’ve been postponing doing? Yeah, fuck that. Just do it. It takes you 5 minutes to put it in the washing machine. And another 15 to hang it up to dry and fold it.
Your brain thinks of a ton of barriers on why you shouldn’t do specific things. The more you give into those barriers, the more you will set up yourself to become blocked in the brain.
Every time you don’t do the thing you should actually be doing, you are training your brain to do the same thing in the future. Sure, now it’s the laundry, but in 3 weeks from now, it’s postponing buying new toothpaste. Or some other random thing that you should actually be doing.
Stop yourself from building up these barriers, you are only setting yourself up to discontinue to grow. That’s the last thing you want. Motivation comes from doing everything you have to do.
So keep yourself motivated, do those little tasks. You’re not going to be a functioning human being with a good business, reaching your own goals constantly if your room is a mess. It’s a reflection of the type of person that you are. Save yourself from it, save yourself the stupid humility that it brings along.
By doing the shit you don’t feel like doing, you will do the shit you should be doing in a better way. You won’t think of limits anymore. You will pick up that phone and call someone to mentor you. You will call that friend to go out on Friday night.
#6 Give your brain the rest it needs
Yeah, it’s cool to constantly distract your brain. To watch videos on the subway. To watch videos all the way till you can fall asleep. To again watch that Netflix series you love so much until you are tired enough to fall asleep.
But by doing this, you are just overloading your brain. Your brain needs time to relax, just like your body does after a workout. There’s no way to constantly keep working out and moving all day long, it tires you out.
And it’s the same with the brain. Just give it a break sometimes.
Sit still somewhere, letting the thoughts run through your head. Just let everything happen.
Many people believe meditation is great for this. You are just silencing the brain for a bit. 5 minutes, 10 minutes, maybe even an hour. It really just depends on how much time you have to do it.
If you waste 20 minutes staring at your phone after you wake up, stop doing that! Instead, get out of bed, put on some clothes, grab your phone and start meditating. Let your mind relax after you wake up.
Or, if you’re not much of a morning person, find the time at night, just before you go to bed. Silence the brain, let it rest. There’s no reason to constantly have your brain work hard. It tires the brain. It tires your thoughts. You’re not going to be thinking clearly the next day if your brain constantly gets distracted today.
#7 Stop worrying so goddamn much
Sure, this is easier said than done. There are tons of things you can worry about. But let’s be real: we would all like to stop worrying.
I’ll tell you a little secret: it’s not that hard to stop worrying. Why? Because when you fix the shit you are worrying about, you actually stop worrying.
That tax report that is late 30 days, stressing you the hell out? Send it out, and the magic ways of the brain will actually stop worrying. Don’t have money to pay the rent in 15 days from now? Stop worrying about it, fix it. Call your landlord and say it’ll be a bit later, or find a way to earn that money in 15 days. Are you not making the deadline for that project in 3 days? Work your ass off to make it or tell your boss it’ll be 1 day later. That might be hard, but it’s so much better than to just sit and worry about it. Work on your problems, because it’s ruining your brain.
#8 Help the people around you
Another great way to have a better functioning brain is to help the people around you.
Now, don’t just dedicate all your time volunteering at that local Salvation Army to make yourself feel better. That’s not going to fix it.
But, just as mentioned earlier in this post, when you have people around you that are having a shitty day, just listen to their problems and help them find a solution.
This is unbelievably valuable for your own brain. It helps you perform better. It helps you create hormones in the brain that will make you happy. There’s no reason to not be helpful anyway. If you help people figure out their problems and help them fix it, you’ll see that one day they will do the same. Just don’t expect it, that will only make you feel like shit when people don’t give into it. Not everybody is ready to be the same to you.
I have people around me with relationship issues, financial issues, lots of different personal problems. I take the time to listen to them. To find a way to help them whenever I can help. If I can’t help them right away, I will at least connect them to someone who will be able to. I have been doing this for a long time.
And just when I get into a shitty position, where life seems to be against me for a little bit, these people are there to support me as well. These people will think with me, trying to figure out a solution to the problems that were created. And let me tell you, that’s one of the most fantastic feelings that you will ever have.
#9 Surround yourself with people you want to be like
Let me start of this part with a short story I wrote earlier today:
You are the average of the 5 people you associate with most
I have read this quote dozens, maybe hundreds of times. You are the average of the 5 people you associate with most.
Come to think about it, who are the 5 people I associate with most? And what is the conclusion on the fact that I associate with them the most?
I believe asking yourself this question is the best way to realize who the right people and the toxic people in your life are.
To me, in the past, I would associate a lot with toxic people. They would make me a toxic person as well.
But I have also associated a lot with great people.
What differs a person from being toxic or being great?
I believe that’s something that is different for everybody. It is purely based on the things you want to accomplish in life.
To me, I want to make sure that today I am one step ahead of where I was yesterday. I need to constantly improve to go forward in life.
The toxic people in my life are the ones that aren’t doing that. They accept who they are and never allow themselves to bring any change in that.
The great people in my life are the ones that are also looking to improve. They accept who they are, look where they want to be, and take the necessary steps to get there.
That is what filters the toxic from the great in my life.
The question is: am I really doing that? Am I really making sure that I associate most with people that want to improve constantly?
Or am I still surrounding myself with people that have no ambition to change? Who stand still from where they are? That accept themselves as a person, know who they are and do not put the necessary time in to change?
Asking yourself that question every day: am I surrounding myself with the people I’d want to see myself be like when I look in the mirror. It is an important question to ask yourself.
Because at the end of the day, it is up to you to choose either of two: am I going to be toxic or am I going to be great?
You don’t always control the people around you. Whether you’re working a shit dead end job and have to be with your manager all day or your roommates are a pain in the ass.
But it is up to you how you let that affect you. If you have a lot of toxic people around you during the day, you need more great people around you at the times when you are not around them.
You need to protect yourself, your vision, your motivation, to stay there whenever you are not feeling like it. You need to find ways to constantly be improving.
Don’t let others get in the way of that. Don’t let them crumble down the bricks of the mental castle you have built in order to bring yourself to the next level. Don’t let them stop you.
Find ways to improve, no matter what you want to improve on. And don’t let other people stop you from doing so. It’s always up to you what happens to you, nobody else can ruin the fact that you are motivated as long as you don’t let them.