It’s that time of year when we reset our schedules, goals and habits to try to live more intentionally and focused on what matters most to us.
But how do we stay motivated on these goals and habits that we know are important throughout the rest of the year? It doesn’t happen by default. Here are nine ways to increase your motivation in life:
1. Plug in to God.
The greatest motivation source in all of life comes when we put our faith in Jesus Christ, and walk with him. Paul spoke about the “energy of Christ which works so powerfully within me.” You gain a new excitement for life and your purpose when you are plugged in to Christ.
We plug in not just by claiming to be a Christian, but by actually walking closely with Christ each day.
We plug in and walk closely with Christ by reading the Bible; turning from sin and obeying the Scriptures; spending time in prayer, worship, and God’s presence; and through community in our local church.
Walk with God every day and you will plug in to the power source that never runs dry.
2. Quit Some Things.
Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”
Did you catch that? Throw off “every weight that slows us down” and “the sin.” There are some weights in your life that may not be sin, but they keep you from everything God has for you. Of course, this is referring to “weights” in your life that slow you down spiritually, but nevertheless, the principle applies to all of life as well.
You can’t do everything. You only have a limited amount of time and energy in life. Are you spending time on projects that are sapping your energy unnecessarily? Maybe it’s time to quit some things, so you can reserve your energy for what really matters to you, including the people and relationships in your life that matter most to you.
3. Recognize Your Limitations and Your Seasons.
It’s ironic that I’m writing this article right now, because I feel I’ve been struggling with motivation the past few months; partly because I’ve been in a busy season for too long, and partly because we have young kids and this stage of life reduces anyone’s capacity significantly.
But that’s okay. There are seasons when we won’t be able to get as much done, and that’s okay. It’s good for us to recognize the season we are in, and to embrace our limitations in life, and be okay with them.
4. Guard Your Margin and Stay Focused on the Right Things.
Because you have limitations, and because you can’t do everything, it’s vital to guard your margin. Constantly reassess your daily schedule to see if you are focusing on what is most important.
Leave space in your daily schedule and the projects you want to get done. The space, or margin, helps give breathing room.
It’s important to stay focused in life. We can’t do everything. We need to be selective about everything we say “yes” to, what we can legitimately accomplish and where we need to spend the majority of our energy each day.
We all have a limited supply of energy. At some point we will run out for the day. So we need to stay focused on our primary purpose and goals, and be okay that we can’t do everything all at once. Also, we need to learn to be okay not finishing our work every day. We need to be realistic about our capacity, and what we can actually get done.
We probably need to say “no” to more invitations, so we can say “yes” to the main things God is asking us to do.
5. Remember, What You Eat Affects Your Mood and Energy Levels.
Our health and nutrition are essential to our motivation levels in life. What we eat affects us. We need to understand the basics of nutrition, and be careful about eating too much junk food, sugar, caffeine and not enough nutritious foods.
If we train ourselves to eat and enjoy the right nutritious foods, it will significantly help boost our energy.
6. Wait Until Tomorrow to Worry About Tomorrow.
One of the great principles in the Bible to counteract the anxiety that naturally builds in all of us is Jesus’ words in Matthew, “Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow has enough worries of it’s own.”
Jesus was telling us to focus our energy on today, and what’s directly in front of us. New energy will be available for tomorrow’s challenges, after a good night’s sleep.
This isn’t a directive to keep us from planning for the future, but simply to focus on what’s immediately in front of us, and not waste our energy worrying or being anxious about everything all at once.
How much of your day do you spend worrying about the future? Take heed of these words, and keep them in front of you until you sense new motivation rising within you to focus on one day at a time.
7. Think About Who You Are Running With.
One of the greatest motivators in my life is time talking with my wife Michelle, or doing life with good friends in ministry from around the country. I have been so blessed by the friends God has placed in my life, and the team that has continued to build around Think Eternity. These close friends inspire me every day in the purpose God has for us together.
Are the friends in your life motivating you toward God and his purposes? Or are they toxic in their complaints, negativity or attitudes?
The Bible says, “He who walks with the wise will grow wise.” It’s important to build friendships with the right kind of people who will encourage you toward the right kind of attitudes and goals.
8. Read Something New.
Reading always invigorates me. I love to read new books. I often feel we are only one good book away from success in any given area of our life.
If you are struggling for new inspiration, energy or ideas, maybe you just need to set aside some time to dive into a new book. Inspiration often comes when we least expect it, and when we stop looking for it.
9. Take Some ‘Me’ Time.
Maybe you just need to take a break. The Bible highlights the importance of a “Sabbath” to lay aside our work and busyness one day a week to rest, reflect and remember God.
This past year, some friends and I read Emotionally Healthy Leader by Peter Scazzerro, and it impacted all of us profoundly. One friend and his wife began doing distinct breaks one day a week for “Sabbath.” He recently shared with me how transformational it has been. He doesn’t do any work, or even projects around the house. It is a day set aside to enjoy time as a family, think of fun things to do and relish life. Doesn’t just the thought of that fill you with excitement?
Taking some time off, planning a restful vacation (or “stay-cation”) or planning a regular day or weekend off will refresh you with new motivation to continue to live your life to the fullest. The main thing is to think about what refreshes you, what you enjoy, and what would be super fun, and to find more time to do those things.
This article originally appeared on Thinke.org.