Change Management

Motivation in Demotivating Circumstances

Everyone occasionally slips into a funk when they’re doing the same thing everyday, eating the same lunch, wearing the same clothes. Not because they’re avoiding decision fatigue like Warren Buffett or Steve Jobs, but because there’s nothing else to do. It often hits at transitional times in life – the last year of school, the 20th year in a job, or the first year in retirement. Sometimes we easily transition into the next chapter finding new and exciting opportunities around every corner. Sometimes the rut can get impossibly deep and be Just. So. Boring. Maybe even depressing. Day 378 of a pandemic. That’s a rut. The antidote is to pull out of the Netflix spiral and try something new.

Research has found that our overall motivation decreases as we age and part of this is due to the ratio of new experiences decreasing from the first year of life to the fiftieth, not to mention the ninetieth. To keep your mind healthy and your emotions buoyant we need to actively seek new experiences to enjoy. Or not enjoy. Fun is an excellent by-product of trying something new, but it isn’t a necessary condition. The act of breaking the rut is the point of the exercise.

Also, keep in mind that what was new yesterday could be old hat a week from now. One client decided to take up mountain biking last year but has recently discovered that the biking has become just part of his routine. What was his exciting new hobby is now just part of his grind. Time to find another new thing to try.

If you’re feeling that rut, here are 18 options to break the funk:

Change your routine:

  1. Go to sleep earlier.
  2. Eat dinner for breakfast.
  3. Go swimming instead of jogging.
  4. Hold your virtual one-on-ones while taking a walk instead of sitting at your desk.
  5. Be a tourist in your city discovering new neighbourhoods you’ve never visited.

Learn something:

  1. Take a MasterClass.
  2. Dive down a YouTube rabbit hole on the history of the Renaissance.
  3. Read non-fiction on a topic you know nothing about.
  4. Learn to meditate.

Cultivate a new hobby:

  1. Ukulele.
  2. Knitting.
  3. Slacklining.
  4. Frolf (yes, it’s a thing).
  5. Geocaching.

Get social again:

  1. Call an old friend.
  2. Host family game night on Zoom.
  3. Play distanced Bacci.
  4. Try outdoor distanced Pictionary.

A word of caution. When you decide to try something new today, please don’t go whole hog all at once. Quitting your job, leaving your spouse, or shaving your head are not recommended first steps. Though if you do shave your head, please send before and after shots.

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Written By:
Tara Landes

Tara Landes is the Founder and President of Bellrock. She has spent over 20 years consulting and training in small to medium-sized enterprises. A sought-after speaker on a wide range of business topics, Tara has delivered workshops and seminars at conferences and industry associations across Canada. Tara obtained a BA (Honours) in Political Science from the University of Western Ontario (UWO) and earned an MBA from UWO's Richard Ivey School of Business.

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