October 13, 2019

42. Getting and Staying Motivated

In Desiderata it says, “If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter!” This is not easy. In this podcast we’re talking about getting and staying motivated, keeping that energy flowing.

This is about not just getting out of bed in the morning and having energy for life. This is about when you’ve got something important to be done. Staying motivated to get it done when it gets hard, when it gets frustrating, when there’s other things, competing priorities, when you just don’t have the energy to get up and do it or do it at any time and all of a sudden you can procrastinate for days and then those days turn into weeks and months and this thing, this task, this job, this thing you’re trying to nail, you’ve made no progress on and as a result it starts to eat away at you a bit. You know you should be doing this, you should be doing this, but something isn’t happening.

The rhythm of life
We all have good days, we have bad days, we’ve got days where we jump out of bed and the energy’s there. There are other days, just the rhythm of life and you’re tired and you just haven’t got it. But we want to go beyond just the natural highs and lows of life.

When lack of motivation is beginning to eat away at your sense of self, it’s when you are a bit lost as to how to get fired up again. What we’ve found is motivation and to maintain it, is linked to your core values a lot. Because the core values is where your energy is coming from. That’s what’s actually firing you up.

Core values
And in many ways that leads to some of the frustration because as we’ve said in previous episodes, is even if you’re driven sometimes to do something that is very closely aligned with your core values, but you get distracted by other things that can really make you feel like you’re compromising your own self.

Many of us, we get stuck, we’re just stuck with this block in our lives. We feel as though we’ve dug ourselves a hole, we’re in this hole. Life’s just a blur and we’re just feeling that the energy has gone. So we’re talking about situations where you have an intention to act. You’ve saying, “I want to do this,” and you go, “I want to do it.” Or maybe you begin something but you don’t finish it and you lose that sense of momentum and development and growth. And it feels like … I would say when I lose on something that’s important to me, I feel like I’m not being the best man I can be. I’m not reaching my potential. Like, “Oh god,” it’s a bit of a hit too.

So what do we do?
And with all this, you just know. There’s this frustration. Part of you just wants to get up and get on going. Another part of you, you just haven’t got that particular energy now. So what do we do?

So what we’re going to list here is a set of around about 10 things that you can use to, almost like a bit of a checklist, go through and say, “Well, is this the thing that I’m not doing?” Because if you do all of these 10 things, we’re pretty sure you’d be just about motivated to the enth degree every single day. You’ll be firing on all eight cylinders, flying down the highway.

Link between goal – purpose and your values
So the first thing is if you think about the thing that you want to get done and be motivated to do, have you made a very clear link between that, your purpose, your values, and your vision and your goals? Now we talk about creating an action plan for yourself in the U Man framework, and one of the key things about that is, what is your personal vision? How does it link to your values and your purpose? What are the goals and the strategy for getting there?

If you don’t have that little action plan set up to begin with … It’s a core … You’ll easily lose motivation.

And not just see that as a one off thing. You’ve got to keep going back to it. Sometimes when we’re a bit lost, when the energy has gone, go back to your vision and your goals and often by going back you see there the actual answers there, what is not happening will be linked in there in some particular way.

Little mantras or sayings
Okay, so that’s point number one. Point number two is just to have some little mantras or little sayings in your head that kick you out of bed or get you back into play. There’s a couple that Greg uses every now and then. There’s a bit of the old Nike, “Just do it,” to get out of bed.

Share your goals – work with others who share your goal
We find when something comes from left field and stops us and things are hard, we feel in a hole, there’s nothing we can do about something. Share the goal with your team or friends. You’re not doing this alone. And often if you are trying to get fit and just getting out of bed’s so, so hard, but if you’ve got a friend who’s going to be knocking on your door at six o’clock and you’ve agreed that you’re going to go for a run with them, and that knock comes, that gets you out of bed.

And you’ve said, “I’m going to go with this friend of mine to the gym,” it is easier to meet this goal. Another example would be that Pricey goes every year on a six day hike. There’s so much work on, you’re really busy and you think – I can’t actually do it. Now when I commit to that hike with another couple of guys it becomes easier. I’m committed! Now a month out from the hike I might be going, “Oh God, I got so much work on, I can’t actually do it,” but then I’m actually committed, I’ve got a group and the hike’s going to happen.

Now that takes us to the fourth element, which is recovery. Now, you know what it’s like, some mornings you get out of bed and you just don’t have that energy to get things done. And it feels like the whole world is against you; you’re walking up hill, then compare that to other mornings and you get out of bed and you’re fully charged and you’re just ready to attack life, so to speak. And sometimes we push ourselves so hard. Even getting out of bed at 90% can cost you your motivation. It just makes life a little bit more difficult. So giving yourself really good recovery is so important.
Last week Greg had this horrible, horrible man flu. At the present time Greg is trying to get into a gym program with a really good rhythm. So Greg couldn’t get to the gym last week and it was starting to eat away at him a little bit. And then Greg reframed, he went, “You know what mate? Just relax. Your body’s not ready, you’re not going to do anything good there. Just let yourself recover.” And he didn’t go back to the gym until yesterday morning. When he woke up yesterday and he felt 100% charged and then he thought, “Now I can get back to the gym.” He had used recovery to get his motivation back.

How many times are we tired? We’re in this rut, we need a holiday, we need a break. We need just to get away. We’ve gone from one job, we haven’t had a break. We’ve started a brand new job and our body’s saying, “I just need time.” And often when you recover, the energy grows. The motivation does.

Short term goals
One of things we love about this too is, one of things that we find gets us motivated is to set short term goals. This is a great way of tracking how we are going. For example when Pricey goes hiking, often you’re hiking from eight in the morning until five in the afternoon. You’ve got your pack on and sometimes you just go, “Okay, I’m going to set myself a short term goal. I’m going to hike for the next hour.” Pricey was hiking in New Zealand a couple of years ago and the two guys he was hiking with set short term goals. The hike was really tough. So they actually had a block of chocolate and at the end of every hour they’d stop. We’d take our packs off, so we’d hike for 55 minutes, put down our packs, get out a block of chocolate and enjoy that break. Or they’d set the goal of getting to the next hill or landmark; we’re going to hike to that point. There is a great sense of achievement when you get there – you are breaking the hike down into smaller goals and these keep you motivated. Those little breaks, the hills et cetera, that was a fantastic way of keeping ourselves fired up.

Greg loves going to the gym and what he does is he tracks every session. He’s got months of future sessions coming up. Greg tracks every single one and puts in what he did at the gym and how it felt so he can track his progress over time. He looks back in six weeks’ time and see all the progress he has made.

Up Size up the goal
Another thing we like to do is to up size the goal. Because very often we find the goal is not big enough, it doesn’t excite you, it doesn’t motivate you. So let’s just say you can run 10 k’s, maybe you’re a bit of a runner and then you decide, “You know what? I’m going to go and do a half marathon.” But you can in your gut feel like, “With a few extra sessions I could probably get there.”

And it’s not enough. So you skip the odd session. You say, “I could probably still get there, maybe just be a bit slower,” but not if we made it a full marathon. Sometimes you just need to check that the thing you’re setting out to do is big enough that it requires you to be motivated.

And it actually stretches you. And when the up sizing of the goal is linked to your core values, the motivation’s going to be there. And then … okay, sure, you’ve got this fantastic up sized goal, have short, doable goals within that, “Okay, I’m going to run that particular marathon, but then I’m going to break that down into this, this, this, this,” and when it’s a short, doable goal, I then can achieve it. When I achieve it, my motivation stays up.

Now the next thing, and those of us that work in a big corporate world, type role or any busy job that maybe also has commitments away from work, it’s overwhelm. It can just suck the life. If you have to do so many things every single day, you’ve got 20 tasks to do before you even leave home. It just starts to suck the life and the brain doesn’t operate well like that. We often say it’s like ram in a computer. If you’re doing too many things at a time, running too many programmes, it starts to slow down and nothing runs well.

And you have a sense of being burdened. You’re burdened, it’s like there’s this blanket over you. You got 29 jobs which you have to do and you’re stuck like in the lights of a car. What we find then, when we are in this situation we say, “What are my priorities here?” So what we often do is say, “Okay good, let’s just focus on one. I’ve got all these things, okay I’m going to simplify my life, focus on one, make a priority list.”

Saying No
So that takes us also to just saying, no. If something comes across the desk that you know or into your life, you think, “You know what? That’s just going to overload me.” Say no to it.

Getting congruent

Every now and then you need to sit down and ask yourself, “Why is there a block on this?” And there’s two little questions that are really important. One is, “Is there an incongruency in this thing I’m trying to achieve?”

That is, has it got some negative consequences in other parts of my life I’m not happy with? Maybe it means you’ve got to spend more time at work. Maybe it means not enough time at work, maybe not enough time at home, maybe too much time at home. Maybe there’s something there for you that isn’t right. So ask yourself is there an incongruency?

And then also ask yourself, “Do I have a little fear about this?

Like a fear of the unknown, a fear of success or fear of something here that is blocking me to getting this done? And when you unpack that why, in the unpacking will be part of the secret to how to get out of the hole. How to get that energy flowing. When I actually understand why I’m blocked, often the answer how to unblock is within that.

Grow thyself
Sometimes we find too, that to continue to seek to better yourself is a great motivation. To keep the motivation up and to grow thyself, keep on saying, “Look I don’t want to just be happy with what I’ve achieved a week or so ago. I want to keep on stretching myself in every aspect of my own life. Can I can read a new book, meet a new person, join a new club, go on an adventure to a place I’ve never actually been?”
Keep on stretching, keep on growing yourself!
That’s so important, but also think about some of the lateral ways of learning. Maybe pick a thing you’re trying to learn. Sometimes you’re best to stop learning in that space, go and learn about something else completely different and you’ll come back and have a new energy or actually a new insight that’s a bit different and a bit new.

Give Back
The last little step, in being motivated and staying motivated is as much about achievement and trying to get things done. The problem is sometimes we get so focused on that, we forget why we do it all. And so we think there’s a really important time to stop every now and then, in fact, regularly, meditate on gratitude, perform random acts of kindness. Just go back to the basics about what it means to be human. Loving kindness, look after the people around you, invest in the people around you and all of a sudden you’ll find the energy comes flowing back into the body.

And it could be as simple as you’re on a train going into work and you’re feeling blah, you’re feeling overwhelmed. But you make this little choice. You’re going to walk into work and you’re going to greet every single person with a smile. You’re going to ask them how their weekend was. And you walk in and by going out of yourself to the other, the energy begins to then flow.

Getting and staying motivated is a real challenge in the modern world. We think it’s harder than ever, but it is a core important trait of being a universal man. Because we know in life it’s important to be able to get things done, hard things done. And that requires motivation, grit and determination. So this is an absolutely important topic. So what we want to ask you guys to do is we’re going to put all of the different, the ten things there up on the website in the post on universalman.org.

What we’d like you to do is go through and review those and the list and identify where this applies to you? What element of this list is where your block to motivation lays? Make a bit of a list and say to yourself, “Well this particular thing I’m trying to do, what’s the block for me and how can I overcome this?”

Share your wisdom

And the other thing we’d love you to do is say if there is a way that you find that gets you out of the hole, keeps you switched on, keeps you motivated, if there’s a technique that you use which works and we haven’t named it, we’d love you to share that with us, because we’re actually finding that as men, as we share this type of thing, we’re continually learning from one and another. And that’s your tribe and that gets you more more motivated yet again.

Stay legendary

Pricey and Grego