How to get — and stay! — motivated…
We’ve all been there at some point in our lives: A project looms on the horizon, but for whatever reason, the gumption to work on it just isn’t there. You should go to the gym, but you just don’t want to (the couch looks so much more appealing). Once again, you waited until the last minute to finish up a paper, and now your mind’s gone blank, the curser blinking aggressively before your eyes.
These are familiar scenarios, scenarios I’ve seen play out in my own life all too often. But how do we get past it? Past the waxing and waning of own own motivation and drive? Motivation, like creativity and athleticism, takes nurturing and tending to. If we let it fall by the wayside, it’s that much more difficult to pick back up again. Muscles atrophy, skills diminish.
Personally, I tend to have a lot going on. Between my 9-5, freelancing, and a personal blog, I have, as they say, a lot of balls in the air. And through the years, I’ve had many, many people ask me how I manage to keep it all going at once. My answer, always, is momentum. While rest and self care is undeniably, inextricably, part of the process, I’ve found that as soon as you allow one ball to fall, they all do. When you slam on your brakes, you create a traffic jam. When you… well… you get the gist. That’s not to say I haven’t created a traffic jam or two (or twenty), we all have moments when we feel motivation take its leave, when we’d rather bury our heads in the sand and pretend it’s not all happening and generally be irresponsible, if only for an afternoon. But that’s no way to live and no way to see progression in yourself and the work you do. To help us all stay at the top of our game, today I’m sharing 6 ways to keep your motivational boat afloat. Read on for my tips, then be sure to add your own in the comments:
Be prepared: Pack your lunch the night before, sleep in your gym clothes, put the coffee grounds in your French press ahead of time and fill up the kettle with water. Recognize all the barriers that you’ve placed in your way, and then work to remove them. It’s true, some obstacles may be inevitable, some may even be insurmountable, but half the time we place limits on ourselves that are easily dealt with, it’s just a matter of taking action.
Find your zone: Maybe you work well with music on, maybe you’re like me and enjoy zoning out in the ultimate silence of noise-canceling headphones sans-music – however you work or workout, being mindful of the practices that make you feel most productive will help set you up for success. On the flip side, if your regular routine just isn’t doing it for you, maybe it’s time to switch things up. Trade the gym or office for some fresh air, make a new and invigorating playlist, or try being a night owl every now and then.
Maximize your time: Whether I like to admit it or not, I’m a morning person through and through. Doesn’t matter if it’s fitting in a workout or working on a creative pursuit, those early morning hours are when I’m most likely to put my whole heart into something and have that creative energy flow freely. Words transcribe faster, workouts are easier. I know that if I put things off for later in the day, I’m not only less likely to actually do it (sayonara, workout) but the task at hand actually becomes more difficult. When you’re feeling motivation wane, look to your schedule and pencil in a few ‘dates’ for yourself during the time when you feel most at ease with the task at hand.
Just do it: Vow to do whatever it is you’re having trouble with for at least 10 minutes every day. Run, draw, write, cook, sing, dance… whatever… 10 minutes. That’s all it takes. More often than not, that 10 minutes will pass in a flash and you might even decide to push on a little longer. Do this daily, and soon enough you’ll have yourself a new, super productive habit.
Seek inspiration: And no, I’m not talking about scrolling through Pinterest for hours on end (guilty) or following more fitness accounts on Instagram. When motivation takes off, it’s up to you to go find it, and there’s a great big world out there that will help you do so. Instead of sitting behind a screen or opting to zone out on your phone, get out and see something new. Visit a museum or gallery, go to the library and poke through art books, make a workout date with a friend (and keep it!), borrow some cookbooks from a coworker or two. Get your senses tingling and your mind racing by experiencing something fresh and outside of your regular routine.
Recognize burnout: There’s a difference between losing motivation and burning out, the trick is to recognize it. It’s just as important to take creative breaks to re-calibrate and reinvigorate your mind as it is to take rest days from your workout routine to allow your body to heal and reset. If you begin to feel animosity towards your creative pursuits or your body shows signs of exhaustion, it may be time to take a break and give yourself the care you so rightly deserve. If you begin to feel truly burnt out, slow down and practice some self-care. Read (a book that has nothing to do with your job or practice, preferably), sleep, rest, do nothing. Watch an entire series of that one show everyone’s talking about. Giving yourself time to just be human will make you that much more excited to jump back in the game when the time is right.
+ How do you stay motivated? Please share in the comments!
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This was great. I’ve really being thinking about momentum the past couple weeks and it’s true, once I get in a groove everything is easier. I’m in the flow of productivity. :) Thanks!
This is going to help me so much! I’ve been trying to blog again and these tips were such a great help!
I especially connect with working early in the mornings. I feel so much lighter and motivated to get things done–but it’s the waking up part that gets me. I’ve found that scheduling my evenings to allow for enough time to “finish the day” really makes it easier to make myself get in bed at a reasonable hour and consequently wake up early enough to start a new day on the right foot!
This is going to help me a lot ! I really need motivation to continue my studies and my personal projects. Thanks !
I say try different times ,days, see what works give yourself a week or two to find it. Then like u said 10 min or 15 BUT DO IT.Life is short.
I just got a sewing machine and bike prior to my May B-day. Now I have to fit in these two. The day work PT, house stuff, bills to pay. Organize house and clothes. Market,Yoga, walk, sew and bike ride and water plants and walk dog.Back deck container gardening. Write, draw work w/Fleur. DAILY…LIFE
This was a beautiful read and very inspirational. Thank you for sharing this.
Lovely post, sometimes it’s hard to feel inspired or motivated. What almost always works for me is discovering new music on spotify and playing the heck out these new songs when I go out for drives. The beach is another source of inspiration for me as well as traveling to new places.
Simple but genuinely helpful – we all need a little push sometimes in order to keep moving.
These are some great suggestions. I run into the same problem with being a morning person. My husband is NOT a morning person and sometimes I wait around to start a task when he’s not up or ready to go. I find that if I hit about the 11am line, it’s not getting done. I have also been in situations where I just find myself getting nothing accomplished because I’m overwhelmed. Some of these times I just need to step away for a few minutes.
Great post ! Very motivational
My go-to method of staying motivated is remembering why I started doing something in the first place. Like with my blog…. I always think about how much I love creating recipes and sharing them with the world. It always gets me motivated again :)
excellent thoughts, esp the difference between lost motivation and total burnout. thanks!
These are fantastic tips. I love to productively procrastinate. When I lose motivation on one task – I do something else that I have been meaning to do instead. That way, I free up extra time for when I need to return to the original task! x
Thank you for producing this article, it really does make you think about how you do things and getting that mojo back in your life. Some great tips that I will differently start to incorporate into my daily like. Well done x
This is just what I needed today. I started a new job, the schedule is complete up to me. It’s been difficult for me to keep up with such an unstructured day, and my motivation has definitely flown the coop. I visited my fav blog this morning and found this super helpful post! Thank you for the inspiration.
Hi just discovered your blog and secrets . I love them. How can I start my own blog? Thank you so much for your motivations and ideas. Big hug
Oooooh I find many inspiring things on pinterest :D but the most inspiring is going out and looking around on nature, buildings and people.
Thank you thank you sooooo much!! You said the exact things I needed to hear. As artist it is so hard to get a hold on your self, your schedule, creativity, motivation etc.. but balancing these tools you wrote are definitely a great medicine. Thank you very much!
How I stay motivated: writing family, talking with inspiring people and friends, sitting on my floor and indeed do nothing!
Also window shopping, going to library’s, watching a docu someone told me about…etc
Simply allowing my self to do exactly what I want to do at that moment.
Good luck to everyone xx