Top 3 motivation and stress management strategies

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Two of the biggest challenges in times of change are usually motivation and stress management strategies. During the pandemic, I did my own research with my one-on-one coaching clients over a six-month period. Here are the reasons people came to me:

  • 28 times motivational challenges
  • 20 times stress management issues
  • 15 times loneliness and/or depression
  • 12 times self- and time-management challenges

This data may not be representative of the nation as a whole, but I am sure that motivation and stress management strategies are in demand right now.

I started developing combination strategies years ago when I faced challenges like “How to Travel the World for Free” and “How to Barter for Paradise” so I could later support coaching clients with a practical hands-on approach.


Here are my top 3 motivation and stress management strategies.

1. Set Goals. As simple as this sounds, it’s not uncommon for people to lose their goal setting during challenging times. Uncertainty can play a big role in this. 

By setting clearly defined goals, our focus and attention is directed toward the future and away from a current situation, which greatly increases motivation and lowers stress. I usually set goals with my clients in the following areas of life

  • Work
  • Health
  • Finances
  • Relationships/Social Life
  • Personal development
  • Interests/Hobbies/Leisure


2. The second step is usually to clearly define goals. A good aid is the SMART acronym.
It helps to define a goal from different aspects:

  • S stands for specification of the goal.
  • M for measurable
  • A for attractiveness of the goal
  • R for how realistic the goal is
  • T for the time-relatedness of the goal
  IoT security issues and risks

If you are able to answer these five aspects, your goal setting will be great, which will translate into an increase in motivation and a decrease in stress.


3. Set priorities and boundaries. We live in a (digitised) world of endless possibilities and options, which I think is really great. Many of my clients often tell me that they consume YouTube for hours every day because you can get an incredible amount of input on pretty much anything through many videos there. I remember the old days in Germany, where I was born in the 1970s and was a kid in the 1980s. We had three (!) TV channels to choose from and one newspaper. That was it!
As much as today’s world offers us many more opportunities, we also have to be self-responsible and set limits and priorities.
I always ask myself when I feel like I have too many things on my plate:

  1.  What is most important right now?
  2. What is most urgent right now?
  3. What should I leave aside so I don’t get distracted from my goals?
  4. What time-wasters might be interfering with my goal setting?

These questions usually help me a lot to set priorities and boundaries correctly and to stay motivated and stress-free to pursue my goals.


4. Workout Challenges. Many studies show that cardio workouts help our bodies produce endorphins and through this chemical reaction, our motivation and mood gets a boost. In addition to this, our stress levels are lowered by endorphins.

I am a trail runner and it has changed my life. After a 10K or 10-mile run, I always feel balanced and motivated. This lifestyle, in my opinion, is the ultimate reassurance to keep life balanced in terms of motivation and stress management. I try to incorporate goal setting into my training by setting myself specific running challenges throughout the year.
Last year, I challenged myself on the 10K during lockdown and improved from 53 minutes to 43 minutes. Although I didn’t meet my goal of 40 minutes for the 10K, the process was extremely helpful in keeping me focused and positive during the challenging spring.
I am currently trying to get as close to 3:00 minutes in the 1000 meters as possible. I managed to improve from 3:53 to 3:49 this month, but I still have a lot of hard work ahead of me to reach my goal – but that hard work is actually the key to keeping me motivated, stress-free, and in a good mood! I can’t wait to go back on the running track this weekend!

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What are your goals for the rest of the year?

Speaker and Challenge Seeker Michael Wigge

Award-winning motivational keynote speaker in the US and in Germany, Michael Wigge, specializes in documenting incredible stories about achieving victory over challenges. How to Travel the World for Free, How to Barter for Paradise (where he turned an apple into a Hawaiian dream home through his skills in bartering for bigger, better things), and How to Travel Europe Blindfolded are just three of his seven travel shows. He recently shared his amazing success stories on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (alongside co-guest Katy Perry) and also on the Today show. His TV programs and books have been broadcast and published internationally.
Based on his incredible experiences overcoming challenges, Wigge began CMW Coaching & Speaking in Colorado in 2013. His most successful corporate keynotes are Challenge-4-Change Leadership Success and Challenge-4-Change Sales Success. He currently delivers presentations in the corporate arena, on college campuses, and for private clients. Wigge’s corporate seminars support employees and leadership toward improving their motivation and stress management, time management, change management and resilience.

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