It is very easy for us to look at motivation and make it all about work. In part, because our jobs tend to demand that we find ways to motivate ourselves. Most of us aren’t doing something we love. Many of us are feeling like we should win the gold in the motivation olympics just for showing up and completing a shift.
It sounds dark, perhaps, but it’s true.
The extended effect of all this is that we’ll end up losing motivation in the rest of our lives. One of my children is working a job they aren’t happy with. This child has wanted to get out of the particular industry they’re in for a few years now. There are options, but they each require training, certification, and so on. Those would have to be earned independently. I’m sure this is a struggle we’ve all experienced or witnessed.
This child’s motivation has fallen apart under the stress of the job, maintaining a household, and so on. Where once they had outside interests, now their world is work, home, maybe a video game before bed.
Professionals call it a work-life balance.
I call it “Not letting work take over your entire existence.”
If you’ve ended up where my child is, I’m going to ask you to consider the advice I keep giving. Find and set a goal that has NOTHING to do with work.
Remember who you were before you let your job take over.
List the hobbies and interests you used to have.
Pick one, just one, to take up again. It doesn’t matter if you don’t think you’re good enough to make money on a hobby. You don’t have to. The payment for the hobby is your personal enjoyment of it. You do not have any obligation to monetize it!
Now, find all the things you’ve used for that hobby. What needs to be replaced?
Make a plan to replace those items.
Decide for yourself what your goal will be with your hobby.
Art? What if your goal is to learn a new technique? My challenge is capturing the effects of light. It’s much harder than it looks!
Writing? Would you like to write a short story? A novel? Keep a journal of your daily life?
Music? Did you let the practice time slide? When will you pick it up? Are you interested in a different genre of music than you’re used to?
Running? Very nice! How far do you want to run? Thinking about a marathon?
Weight lifting? That is a hardcore hobby! Where were you when you quit, and do you think you’ll move back up to it?
Science? Hey, don’t laugh, I have friends who have the crazy science lab in their garages, and they LOVE to entertain the neighborhood kids with their equipment, showing off all sorts of stuff about electricity, radio tubes (I think that’s what they’re called) and so on.
Whatever your hobby, set yourself a goal with it. Take it up. Give it space and defend that space.
When you set your goal, put it on a calendar and decide how you’ll reach it. You’ll be reaping the rewards in every aspect of your life, including having more motivation at the office. You might even motivate yourself into a new career or a better position!
P.S. Keep your focus on those goalposts by rewarding yourself when you reach one!
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