Motivation when you only have yourself to motivate

Just a few short weeks ago I began a new journey into removing myself from the corporate world of business and employment, which has meant that I have had a lot of time on my hands. Not necessarily time to do nothing, but in making this change I’ve freed up 8-10 hours of every day with which I now have to manage myself entirely.

When I would work in the “9-5” regime, you have a clear goal set out for yourself every (week)day. Your goals are immediate as soon as you wake up. It’s get up, get dressed, get to work, and do as you are told – or if you prefer, do what is asked of you. To an extent, I believe that the human mind needs this kind of routine in order to function.

Having a clear goal each day already laid out for you makes things easier in a lot of ways, it removes the necessity to think about what you are going to do with your day as there is a business that needs to make profit with a plan so you better fall in line and help make that dream a reality.

Of course there is some people who are employed and lead more self-employed style lifestyles due to the necessity of their work. For a large section of these people, though, I still feel as though they are a pet on a leash that is given orders to travel around spreading the message of the business to match the business goals. These are paid evangelists. Some of these people have their dream job, and are spreading a message of a business in a self-employed style that makes it an ideal lifestyle for them. For most others, I see brainwashed individuals who are trapped in a consumerist cycle that keeps them hunting for more; that next client, that next big sale, that next big promotion.

This is only my opinion, you may be able to tell that me and corporate worlds do not get along so well anymore. It’s a world in which I undoubtedly have to partake in to an extent, but I grit my teeth quite a bit as I do so.

As I am now taking my own route to my own vision of a lifestyle for myself, which involves setting up a business, I am free to spend my time where I choose. Every single minute is up to my decision. Two hour lunch break? Sure. Long walk in the park that ends up being half a day? It has happened. Having this power over myself to make my own decisions on how I spend my time is liberating, but also a tricky minefield of distraction and boredom.

Often when we are at home we are in the relaxed mindset. So eating whatever I want and playing video games and watching a movie is the instant reactions I make in this environment. But these are a few of the distractions that I have to overcome each day, whilst I try to spend my time wisely.

Similarly, getting to sleep at a decent hour, and getting up at a reasonable hour is proving increasingly difficult. I’m no longer so completely drained from an exhausting day in a corporate job that I have more energy, and that energy lasts the entire day. Where I would previously get home by 7 and be ready for bed by 8, I’m now considering going to the park for a workout at those times just to try to use up some of the extra energy I have.

Motivating myself has always been a skill of mine. Through my stubborn determination and self-negative-reinforcement tactics (which isn’t a proud skill, but one that has worked) I have quit smoking, I have overcome significant mental health issues, I have overcome drowning debt, and others. It’s thinking back to those triumphs that remind me of the great things I can do for myself, but sometimes just getting up in the morning and starting the day is a challenge in itself.

These are just challenges, ones that require me to motivate myself into new positive habits and patterns. Creating reaffirming habits will aid the process, and remove the problem. Some things I am going to do to form new habits, and maximise my potential to motivate myself:

  • Get up early, no matter how many hours you slept. By getting up at the same time every day, with the sunlight, your body clock will adapt and eventually will wake you up at the same time every day – forming the habit and one part of a good sleep cycle.
  • Go to bed with sunset. In the summer this is a lot easier because the day/night cycle actually makes sense in England for once. But by getting into bed to sleep with nightfall, you are promoting the proper sleep cycle in your body. When darkness occurs, the body releases chemicals to make you drowsy – and so matching these together is the second part of a good sleep cycle.
  • Be active everyday. Even an hour-long walk is enough, but make sure you do something active every day. The body expects to be doing something active, so let it happen and promote a proper functioning body. This also includes trying to not sit in a computer chair all day. Get up, move, stretch, do anything.

These are essentially tips for creating a good sleep cycle, rather than specifically related to motivation. However personally, right now, my motivation is being affected by my inability to form a good sleep cycle. So this is where I will focus my attention, so that each day I will wake and feel the energy and motivation to take on my day.

Identify the things that are affecting your motivation, then create clear steps – based on research – to correct them.