Thriving in the New Normal//

How to Regain Motivation When It Starts to Fade

It only takes 60 seconds to course correct and find our momentum again.

Halfpoint/ Shutterstock
Halfpoint/ Shutterstock

In a recent article in the New York Times about our collective struggle to maintain motivation and productivity seven months into the pandemic, Thrive Global founder and CEO Arianna Huffington offers some advice, pointing out the stress/productivity paradox. “Stress and anxiety kill productivity,” she says. “If you’re stressed out of your mind, you’re not going to be as productive.” Huffington suggests one way we can course correct when our motivation fades: taking 60 seconds to reset. The idea of a 60-second Reset is core to Thrive, and when we’re struggling to stay driven, it’s important to stay aware of the little things that help us regain that motivation to keep going.

We asked our Thrive community to share with us the little ways they reset when their motivation or productivity starts to dwindle. Which of these will you try?

Try a quick yoga flow

“I overcame cancer last year and the experience truly taught me about my own reliance. I’ve learned a few things to help me reset when I feel unmotivated, but one of my favorites is summed up by the mantra, ‘When in doubt, get your yoga mat out!’ There are so many amazing online yoga programs for free. When I feel unmotivated, I’ll grab my mat and do a short flow. It instantly resets my mind and soul.”

—Alessandra Sagredo, author and teacher, British Columbia, Canada

Put on your favorite playlist

“I find that the greatest reset is something that shifts your current state of being. My go-to way to reset is by playing my favorite upbeat playlist. The music uplifts me in real time and helps me regain motivation. No matter how I was feeling before, the music on my playlist transforms me so I can be productive, creative, and fun  — and the stress of the day just melts away. I have learned that overwhelm and joy can not exist at the same time in our thoughts so I choose joy, and my playlist helps me channel that joy.”

—Belinda Ginter, certified emotional kinesiologist, Ontario, Canada 

Try a visualization exercise

“The best way for me to find lost motivation is by doing a quick vision exercise. I pick an end date and imagine exactly what I want to be celebrating on that day. I can easily look to the last day of the month or even the year, and imagine the accomplishments I want to be proud of on that day. I close my eyes, and imagine the details of celebrating. All of a sudden, the goals I’ve set and the outcomes that are important to me come right to the surface and there is absolutely no way I won’t do the work to achieve them.”

—Jordan B. Jensen, business and leadership coach, Kirkland, WA

Make time for unplugged rest

“The best reset is sleep, but we can’t always take a nap in the middle of the day. I find that the simple act of unplugging rejuvenates me. I like to take a quick walk in nature or just do nothing. And I always take the chance to embrace a moment of rest. If I can glance out of a window, I allow myself to daydream, even if it’s only for a few minutes. It raises my energy levels significantly. ”

—Deb Rosman, author and uplifter, Madison, WI

Exercise during your lunch break

“Before the pandemic, I used to go to the gym during my lunch break, but once we shifted to working from home and the gyms closed, I lost that ability. Recently, I’ve started to take hour-long lunch breaks so that I can work out at home and take my dog for a quick run. While it sometimes means I have to work a bit later, it really breaks up the day, helps me reset, and prevents a buildup of stress that often carries from the morning into the afternoon.”

—Brandon Powell, mechanical engineer, Washington, DC

Hone in one daily goal

“Having been laid off for three weeks, my new job is to get a job. When it comes to regaining a sense of motivation, the best gift I have given myself is to make one goal to achieve each day.  I have shifted my mindset to not only be present, but confident, clear in thought, and authentic in what I can deliver. I’ve been reminding myself that I am not responsible for the decisions of others, but I can control how I respond to this loss.”

—Lanie Koch, store manager, Los Angeles, CA

Pause for a mindful stretch

“During the pandemic, I’ve really leaned into the two M’s: meditation and movement. Both help me manage my stress better so that I’m more present and thus more productive. I’m grateful to have incorporated meditation in my daily schedule since the pandemic started, and I find that taking a moment for a mindful stretch can help me reset. Movement can be as long as an online Pilates class and as quick as a one-minute stretch session. It clears my head, improves my mood and get the blood flowing!”

—Cindy Joyce, nonprofit executive search and HR consultant, Boston, MA

Sit on the floor and breathe

“I try to remind myself that  we do not have to wait for the next day or the end of the day to reset. If you start to feel negative thought patterns swirling, anxiety increasing, or motivation dropping, take a pause. One simple way is to take a seat on the floor, close your eyes, and connect with your breath. When I do this, it always helps me regain motivation.For two minutes, I inhale a four-count, and then hold my breath for another four-count, and then exhale. You’ll start to feel the shift within you. Set an intention before you get up to stay in the present, and to focus on what is right now.”

—Georgina Miranda, CEO of She Ventures, Denver, CO

Identify the intention behind the task

“When I find my motivation dipping, I ask myself, ‘Am I doing what I want to do or what I should be doing?’ The difference is that when I am doing something I want to do, it is coming from a place of creativity and excitement. When it is something I feel I should do, I have tainted it with the thought, ‘what if it’s the wrong thing?’ And there is often a fear of failure or perfection that creeps in. I then make sure I am bringing my own voice and uniqueness to the task so I can energize myself from the inside out.”

—Lori Milner; speaker, trainer, coach, Johannesburg, South Africa

Take a break for self-care

“When my motivation is nearly non-existent, it’s usually a sign that I need to carve out more time food self-care. I’ll schedule a block of time to hang out with myself and let myself intentionally zone out. I’ll take a bath, make a hearty meal, read a book, watch a show or film — whatever I’m feeling called to do that’s somewhat mindless yet nourishing. Once I’ve allowed the space simply to chill, my energy recalibrates and I can then handle my tasks with clarity and excitement.”

—Heather Reinhardt, writer, Los Angeles, CA

How do you reset and regain motivation when your productivity starts to fade? Share your tips with us in the comments.

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