How I overcome loss of motivation

I spent most of 2018 with my mind in a thick fog. The sudden death of a family member left me feeling shocked, depressed and struggling to function.

Coping with this kind of loss, it’s not surprising that I had no motivation to work on my freelance business. I’d had big plans for expansion in 2018, but they were quickly dropped in favour of attempting to get through the day.

Towards the end of 2018, I tried to rouse myself into working on my business (as opposed to in it), with zero result. Having spent months in a state of lethargy, I had no motivation to get started. I’d been letting things slide and not pushing myself for so long, I was stuck in a rut of my own making.

Cut to January 2019, and I was back to my big plans with a vengeance. So, what caused this big change?

For the second year in a row, I worked remotely for the month of January. Packing to go, I felt excitement for the first time in almost a year. Figuring out how to live in a new city (Medellin, Colombia), gave me a healthy dose of nerves. Exploring a new place that is lush, tropical and mountainous reminded me what joy feels like. And meeting the great people I shared this experience with helped me re-engage with life after months of feeling submerged in apathy.

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that putting myself in a new situation, with all the experiences and emotions that go along with that, helped me find my motivation again. I’ve been reminded that life can be just as amazing as it can be tragic, which has helped fill my motivation bank.

I’m hoping that you have not recently experienced tragedy, and you may not be able to (or want to) drop everything to work remotely for a while. But the point that I’m trying to make is bigger than that – if you’re feeling steeped in apathy, the key is to re-engage with life in a way that shakes you up, scares you a little, exhilarates you and generally reminds you what day seizing feels like.

This could be a winter hike or cross country ski session in your favourite park or nature reserve. It could be giving yourself with a new physical challenge. It could be a weekend away to the hot springs, or an epic high stakes poker tournament. Something you haven’t done in ages (or ever) that gets your pulse racing a little.

How long has it been since you felt a rush of positive adrenaline? If you’ve been keeping life in the safe zone, the answer is likely a while ago. But adrenaline makes us feel alive, and once we experience it, we start to remember how good challenging ourselves feels.

Which version of you is more likely to go after that big goal – the you that spent the weekend mastering black diamond ski hills or the you that hung out on the couch, draped in a fuzzy blanket, binge watching your favourite show? You know the answer.

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