Life is full of obligations, both to ourselves, and to the people we care about. But life also isn’t easy, and plenty of times you’re likely to find yourself struggling to do what you know you need to do, either due to a lack of energy, motivation, or various negative conditions that might affect you such as depression.
The problem is, if you live life constantly hampered by these sorts of issues, time goes by, and it goes by quickly. Unless you can get a handle on things, and find out how to push through and do what you need to do, you can find yourself falling behind in some of the essential areas of your life.
Of course, this doesn’t just apply to your obligations to others, but your obligations to yourself as well. If you always wanted to be a small business owner, or an author, or any number of other things, you need to be able to apply yourself and work effectively towards those goals, otherwise, they are liable to remain unachieved forever. And that’s a terrible thing.
Resolving and moving past these kinds of issues, and living a productive and powerful life, isn’t always a straightforward thing. It often requires plenty of trial and error and interventions at various levels. But it’s a journey that you have to embark on if you want to get the most out of your life.
Here are some tips for getting the motivation and energy to do what you need to do.
Get your diet in order, and find an eating style that makes you feel good and energized (there probably isn’t one size fits all)
People sometimes underestimate the importance of diet in their lives. When we think of “diets” we tend to imagine they’re all about weight loss or weight gain. Realistically, though, what we eat has a profound impact on our mood, energy levels, and overall health.
In fact, less than a century ago, there were a good number of medical and scientific professionals who believed that diet was largely irrelevant to many of the key features of human health and psychology.
If your diet is dialed in properly, you should have plenty of energy, plenty of motivation, and your mood should be in a much better place than it was when you were eating poorly. This makes sense when you consider the fact that every part of the body – including the brain – is fuelled directly by what you consume.
The thing is, different people, react differently to different nutritional programs, and it’s not clear that there is exactly a “one size fits all” for everyone when it comes to diet.
Experiment with a few things. Consider experimenting with a super low-carb ketogenic diet. Try a Mediterranean diet. Try a vegan diet.
Keep a food and mood log as you experiment with different diets, and see how different styles of eating affect you. Once you stumble upon a diet or eating style, that makes you feel your best, it can really be life-changing.
Be on the lookout for hormonal imbalances
Hormonal imbalances lie at the heart of a huge number of mood and energy issues, and can absolutely ruin people’s lives.
These conditions can be especially difficult to deal with because hormonal imbalances aren’t always easy to attribute to one straightforward cause. Our hormones are affected by our diet, our sleep, what we eat, medications we might be taking, or might have taken the past, our age, genetic predispositions, and so on.
In women, massive hormonal changes happen around the menopause, while in men, testosterone often decreases dramatically with age. Then, it’s also possible that you suffer from an imbalance in thyroid hormone, because of a familial predisposition to thyroid disorders, among other things.
If you suspect that you might have a hormonal imbalance, get down to an endocrinologist and arrange to get a battery of tests done. If you do have a hormonal imbalance, and tidying up your diet and lifestyle doesn’t seem to have made a meaningful impact on it, medical intervention may restore your vigor, energy, and mental clarity.
The recent rise in popularity in Testosterone Replacement Therapy for men, for example, isn’t just due to the fact that guys want to get buff in the gym. Low levels of this essential sex hormone are also associated with depression, reduced sex drive, low energy, brain fog, brittle bones, and all sorts of other negative conditions.
Use an effective system for recording the tasks and projects you need to manage, instead of simply trying to memorize them all
If you’ve got a million different things deals around the home, including damaged windows that require you to call in replacement window installers, a leaky roof, mold, and electrical problems, that’s tough. If you combine those woes with all the issues and obligations you might have in other areas of your life – the likelihood that you’re going to remember and deal with everything without writing it down is slim.
Whether you use a specially designed software program such as Nozbe, Remember The Milk, or Microsoft To-Do, or use a paper journal, creating an external record of all the different tasks and projects you need to manage can help to reduce the feeling of overwhelm, and give you the space and perspective you need to begin calmly and systematically tackling each task one by one.
A lot of what causes procrastination and a lack of motivation is the sense that we are just too snowed under with obligations to actually manage to handle them all. By writing things down, and seeing them presented to you in that format, you can work towards tackling things in manageable chunks.
Start getting more sleep
Sleep is a really big deal, and the sleep researcher Matthew Walker is happy to tell you all about it in his acclaimed book “Why We Sleep.”
On the first page of the book, the author points out that even just failing to get enough sleep, by a modest margin, for a week, will mess with your blood sugar so much that you would be classed as prediabetic by your doctor if he saw you in that state.
Sleep is also essential for proper immune function, and not getting enough sleep reduces your mental clarity, harms your memory, and causes organ damage and illness on various different levels.
If you’re lacking in energy and motivation, one of your first steps on the road to improvement and recovery should be getting more sleep.
Find your “passion” in life, and follow it
If you hate your day job and don’t have a fundamental overriding “passion” to drive you on in life, it’s hardly surprising that you find yourself dragging your heels, and lacking the energy and motivation to get things done.
Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams has written that he believes everyone should have one side hustle of sorts, regardless of whatever else they’re doing in their professional and personal life.
One of the major reasons he argues this point is because a “side hustle” allows you to explore a passion or interest of yours, and get excited about something, even if you’re frustrated by other areas of your life.
Simply having something to devote your energy to in this way can help to make everything else in life more bearable, and can give you the “juice” you need to make real progress.