In this world of LinkedIn buzzwords and cringe-worthy Facebook advertisements (you know, where the greasy guy with glasses shows you first his garage full of Lamborghinis, then his bookshelf), it’s easy to become cynical about the self-help industry.
But the truth is that – though there’s no online course that can do the hard work for you – making intelligent incremental changes to your life can generate exponential results.
On that note: seven-time World Champion surfer Layne Beachley shared a piece of advice a couple of months ago that really got us thinking – and which we believe is more relevant than ever right now, as many people around the country are in lockdown or living disrupted lives.
It should go without saying that the most important thing anyone in lockdown needs to hear is, “It’s ok not to feel ok,” and that your mental and physical health should come before anything else (and reaching out for help, if you’re feeling down, is always a good idea).
However, if you are feeling ok with those two things, and are simply feeling bored, frustrated, or simply in a rut in light of the latest restrictions you are facing, there are three golden words DMARGE believes could help you look at your motivation (or the lack of it) in a new light, and to be a bit kinder on yourself (as well as to get more organised).
Discipline is better.
Better than pure motivation, that is.
Beachley took to LinkedIn on Tuesday the 8th of June to share this message, and it really stuck with us.
“Motivation is not reliable,” Beachley wrote on the professional networking platform.
“Motivation operates on the assumption that we need to feel a certain way if we want to accomplish great things.”
“A lot of people believe that, if you don’t feel motivated, you simply can not complete a task to the best of your ability – so we don’t even try.”
“We may attempt to motivate ourselves by drinking coffee, looking at vision boards but motivation may not come.”
“Unlike motivation, discipline is entirely within our control. It’s not always the most ‘sexy’ thing, but it is insanely rewarding. More importantly, it puts into motion a productivity cycle.”
“If we wait for motivation, it may never come. By choosing discipline, we give ourselves the power to create results of our own.”
“Discipline thrives on honesty and authenticity. With discipline, you can allow yourself to dislike a task, and commit to doing it anyway.”
DMARGE asked two further Australian icons for their thoughts on this (the interviews also occurred before the lockdown was put into place, or before the latest COVID outbreak in Sydney. We think they are useful nonetheless).
NRL legend and Lexus Ambassador Anthony Minichiello told us: “Given each day brings with it something new, it is to be expected that motivation levels may ebb and flow day to day. Life also loves to throw curveballs, often impacting our schedule or plans which in turn can impact our day-to-day motivation.”
“For me, this is most evident when it comes to my daily exercise regime. Health and wellbeing is a huge part of my life, so I try to incorporate several different sports and activities throughout the week, as I found variety helps my motivation levels.”
“I mix between tennis, a Minifit bodyweight workout, lifting weights at home, going to the gym to do gymnastics and callisthenics training, resistant band training or even just a quick 6-minute core workout. I like to give the body, and in turn my mind, lots of variety, so on days where I’ve had a busy one and may lack motivation, I am disciplined enough to get some exercise in, no matter how quick it is.”
“Following this routine, and making sure I stick to my goals, has become a habit for me. Fitness and working out has become a lifestyle for me, not a chore, so even when my motivation may be low, discipline kicks in to ensure I get the job done.”
Mini also told us: “I’m a lover of life, and I am lucky that my mindset often is a positive one. However, I can understand and sympathise with those who do have those down moments in life, especially given the problems the world is facing from the pandemic.”
“What I’ve learnt, especially because of COVID-19, is to always look after yourself and to champion self-care. The three simple things below are practices I implement in my daily life and are steps everyone can take to look after their mental health.”
- Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep consistently. Sleep has the biggest impact on our physical, mental and emotional health, yet it’s the one thing people forgo the most
- Hydrate your body. Most people go through their day dehydrated and don’t think hydration plays a role in brain fog. Prevent afternoon crashes and boost your concentration and energy by always starting the morning with 400 to 500ml of water
- Schedule into your diary every day, or even just once a week, something you love doing. Now, I’m loving tennis, so I make a conscious effort to put a time in my diary once a week, or every fortnight when the schedule gets a little crazy. It might be as simple as a walk, or just catching up with friends for a laugh, however, it is so important that we don’t disregard these little things, as they do wonders to improve our mental health
DMARGE also spoke to Australian big wave surfer, author, keynote speaker and Lexus Australia ambassador Mark Visser.
Mark told us when it comes to sustaining motivation, the biggest thing for him to keep “front of mind” is that “life is not linear.”
“Things never happen exactly the way we want it to, and when they don’t, it is very easy to fall into the trap of thinking we have taken a backwards step or have failed in some sort of way.”
“To be motivated and inspired is fantastic, but I think it is important to be present in each moment. Sometimes you just need to check in with yourself, you might need to take a day off, so you can see what’s really going on, adjust to a new game plan, and take stock of any key learnings or lessons to be taken away.”
“I find myself becoming impatient with things I’ve wanted right away. I often laugh when I learn or discover new information that comes through unexpected, and this completely reshapes the outcome of what I was wanting for the better.”
“Motivation may never always be consistent but accepting that life may throw you curveballs and being ok with this process in each moment requires discipline and a strong belief in yourself and your abilities.”
Mark also shared the biggest mental health lesson he learnt in 2020.
“Focus on what is right for me. It is easy to look over the fence and wonder if the grass is greener on the other side, and envy someone else’s perceived happiness. However, this thinking takes you away from what is truly important to you and distracts you from your path and your journey.”
“When I found myself getting caught in this trap, I forced myself to be present and ground my thinking. It is so important to follow your own passions, instead of seeing what others have and following theirs.”