Summer is never the easiest time to stay motivated. Summer in the middle of a pandemic? It's a miracle entrepreneurs are managing to get anything done at all.
But when we recently asked our 2.7 million Twitter followers for their best tips to stay motivated, it's clear that lots of you out there are going to heroic lengths to keep productive. Creative and inspiring tips flooded in, including just about every hack and helper to get more done, including:
- Productivity playlists
- Energy drinks
- Expressing gratitude
- Keeping in touch with friends who keep you motivated
- Taking a walk when you get stuck
- Energy-boosting morning routines
- Working with the natural ebb and flow of your energy levels
- Faith or spirituality
These are all solid ideas and most (as you can see from the links) are backed by science. But even while it was clear we all have our own unique tricks and tips to keep going when we feel our energy flagging, there was one piece of advice that came up again and again and again. It's clear that, according to Inc.com readers at least, it's the one motivation secret to rule them all.
The all-time motivation-secret champion
Some folks echoed author Simon Sinek and talked about "focusing on your Why." Others recommended a vision board. Still others suggested setting aside time to reflect on the reasons you work so hard. But while their terminology varied, a huge number of commenters agreed that the most essential secret for having the energy to do what you need to do, is knowing exactly why you want to do it.
"By focusing on your 'why;' your reason for wanting what it is you want. The vision. The big picture. That keeps me #motivated especially when the going gets tough," coach and speaker Seila Chapman wrote, for example.
"Having goals are great but knowing why you drive to achieve them is the motivator," agrees founder Chad Brignac. "I find that motivation comes from visualizing the end game. Whether it's launching a business or taking your family to pizza as a result of working hard and earning a paycheck," agrees marketer Daniel Barron.
What's clear from reading the long thread is that we're all different. Paying careful attention to diet and exercise is essential to staying energized for some. Others can't get by without Bible study, daily meditation, or mind mapping.
The specifics of the ideal best motivation-boosting routine is as unique as the individual who needs it. But there is one truth that underlies this variation: At the end of the day, people only do what they truly want to do. If you haven't figured out exactly what you want and why, then there's no hack or trick that can help you. And conversely, if you have a deep need to create a particular kind of life or end vision, there is little that can stop you.
So if you're feeling drained and demotivated this summer, go ahead and read up on other people's hacks and tips. Something might strike a useful chord. But the most useful thing you can do for your motivation isn't to look outward for advice. Instead, look inward and get clear on what exactly you're driving toward. Once you know where you're going, the motivation to get there comes much more easily.