When you are feeling down, depressed, rejected, or exhausted, it’s hard to find motivation. That’s the whole point of this series. I want to help someone kick it back into drive and move forward. I realized I need to establish early on with this book that most of the hard work to get motivated needs to happen when you are already running at full steam.
Let me explain.
Much of our lives we are on cruise control. Things are not terrible, but we are also not on the mountain top with joy or peace in life. We learn how to be content, but that leads to being in a rut.
Think about all the things you have been passionate about in the past. For me?
- Tennis, haven’t played in 5 years.
- Legos, all boxed up for years.
- Drawing, haven’t done that since high school.
- Programming of any kind, last code I wrote was December 2015.
- Writing poetry for my wife, last time was… well.. pre-engagement at best.
Here’s a little nerdy math and physics to illustrate my point.
Let’s say X is a point in space. Google Maps says it’s you sitting in your driveway and you are needing directions to work. Velocity or speed is the distance of travel covered over a specific period of time, we will say miles per hour. Acceleration is the difference of velocity over time.
So cruise control at 50mph is actually zero acceleration, slowing down and speeding up are negative and positive acceleration accordingly. (A YouTube video might better explain this) Coasting, therefore, is letting your foot off the gas and slowing down, but not as fast as if you hit the brakes.
For me, when I coast at my motivation, just doing the regular hustle, grind, paperwork, or expectations, I may feel I am keeping my velocity constant but more than likely I am actually de-accelerating. Over a long period of time, I’m in a rut, going much slower and truly lacking motivation.
Continue To Inspire Yourself
…even when it’s not needed. This is us ensuring our acceleration is not negative, maybe even a little positive. This is why I subscribe to so many church podcasts and get monthly audiobooks. It’s why I engage in forums and ask what may be basic questions. And it’s why I want to hear the story of others with their journey within the Church. Without it, I’d focus on the “stuff” which lacks substance and end up exhausted.
Change your goals regularly, even if it is small changes. Even better, be ruthless with your goals and, if you do not meet expectations, redefine the problem and solution or completely cut it. (We will talk about cutting a project in a later article)
Memorialize Why You Started In The First Place
Scripture talks in the Old Testament regularly about creating ebenezers as monuments for what God has done for His people. So every time they went by, they were reminded of God’s promise and provision. The New Testament has a single ebenezer in Christ’s sacrifice and the reminder from the Holy Spirit who speaks directly to our soul.
What ebenezer could you establish?
For blogging, my ebenezer is an email someone sent me that I have saved and I regularly look at it. They tell me how they almost left the church, read my article, went to their pastor with it, and asked for a 6- month break. Now they are a full-time paid staff. So good.
My ebenezer for a video game, Let’s Plays I record on YouTube is my son. I want him exposed to positive gameplay, which is why I do Minecraft Theology. I want him to be a nerd but a significant portion of online content is terrible with cursing and killing. So what I upload is for him.
For my writing with ChurchAndMentalHealth.com, I remember who I was before I started writing and as an audience member and reader, I had a sense of community. I belonged somewhere because they spoke my language. I want to do that for someone else. I want to empower, encourage, and equip others. I want to give back.
In the end, you need to remember what your motivation is. The best kind is intrinsic motivations to include wanting to be a great writer, support, or Christian. Extrinsic motivators are great too when you feel depressed, stressed, or lack sleep. A cheerleader in a friend, spouse, parent, or coworker is fine. So have the desire to do great things for your family, boss, and pastor. That is fine, but do not allow this to be your only source of motivation as they are not always available to offer this motivation to you. These ebenezers can be a reminder of the intrinsic motivation for you to keep pushing on.
What motivates you when you are too stressed and is it different than the motivations when things are going well?