I’ve experienced a few major changes (and challenges) in the last year or so. I completed my second round of post-secondary education, survived growing pains in my business, moved across the country, and have a set of lofty goals I want to accomplish before the end of 2018. It’s been thrilling and terrifying. I’ve felt extreme highs and lows. I’ve seen new places and old places, all with fresh eyes and newfound mindfulness. I’ve felt overwhelmed by my to-do lists; overwhelmed by my dreams.
And quite a few times on the way to here, I wondered where I was going or if I was doing enough. In those moments, it’s hard to find motivation. The ever mysterious inspiration. Momentum. Whatever you call it—it’s tricky to nail down in a season of change. All I wanted to do was tear up each list, one by one, making my way back to bed where I’d wait for another day. As comforting as that sounds, I know it’s not the best option (I don’t think we can chalk this one up as “self-care”).
I’m no expert by any means when it comes to maintaining motivation in the trickier times, but I have learned a little bit over the past few seasons of challenge I’ve lived through. Here, sitting comfortably at my keyboard, wrapped in a familiar cozy sweater with a glass of red wine, I think I have a few tips to share with those of you who know the same feelings. Ultimately, I think that listening and living a little more intentionally has made all the difference.
You are what you think. You are what you eat, breath, sleep. You are especially the people you hang around with. Life has your back if you let it. I believe that happiness is a perspective, so when you are ready to be happy, you will feel happy. My first and most important trick when it comes to finding the motivation that eludes you is to believe that you can. Shift your mindset to include positive, present statements. It’s as simple as thinking “I can do this,” versus, “I’m not sure what to do.”
If you haven’t figured this one out yet, you’re in for a real treat. Rumour is it takes 21 days to create a habit. If you want my opinion, exercising regularly is a habit you will want to have!
When I feel unmotivated, working out isn’t the first thing I want to do. But even if I don’t want to, I don’t think I’ve ever regretted a workout. The science behind it shows that exercise improves focus, productivity, mood, motivation, relieves stress—so many perks to a little bit of regular movement!
Actionable goals are ones that include clear steps to track your progression, not those lofty ones you set at the beginning of each year. They are attainable, detailed, and often quite small.
When I’m not feeling motivated, I give myself some easy wins in the form of small goals to kick start things. These can be really simple: answer emails, create social media posts for the day, unload the dishwasher: check! (Or, drink coffee: check!).
Always. Write. It. Down. Hold yourself accountable by putting your pen to paper. Writing down our thoughts is known to help dreams become reality. This small steps makes each milestone a little sweeter when it’s time to cross it off the list.
This is where that self-care comes in! It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it shouldn’t involve wallowing your days away. It could be as simple as giving yourself the luxury of an afternoon nap, or clocking out early after a long week. Work becomes easier when you start from a place of rest. If you don’t feel motivated, just try to give yourself time.
Yes—step back from the problem. If you aren’t being productive, why waste your time forcing it? When you’re ready to face the challenge again really lean into it with your whole heart. It will probably work out better this time (after a bit of a rest!).
This is a big one that I’ve been working on. I wrote a blog a while back titled “How to say No (and not feel guilty).” It’s okay to say No sometimes. It’s okay to say No anytime you want to really. You have to act based on what’s best for you—not what’s best for everyone else in your life. If you aren’t feeling motivated by a particular task or project, evaluate if you even need to dedicate your time to this challenge? If it’s not a “Hell yes,” it’s a “No, thank you!”
When trying to motivate yourself, remember that everyone is different and each of our experiences are valid. While motivation might come easier for some, it’s a challenge for others. What works for most might not work for you, and that’s okay. There are plenty of tricks you can try to self-motivate.
If you’ve been following along for a while, you probably know that I love to hear from you too! How do you find motivation? Leave your tips and tricks in the comments below.
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