Ahh the elusive concept of ~motivation~. Whether it’s motivation to work, to workout, or for school, motivation comes and goes. Particularly as we get deeper into the darker, colder winter months, it can be hard to get motivated. With the start of a new year (and new goals!), it seemed like an apt time to discuss how I stay motivated in all areas of my life—exercise, uni, blogging, etc.
Getting into the habit of doing things that are important to you is really more important than being motivated all the time. The truth is, some days you just won’t feel like doing the things you should do. They say it takes 21 days to build a habit—if something like working on a side project or working out becomes a habit, it’ll be much easier to stick with it even when you aren’t feeling super jazzed about doing it.
Now, obviously getting some exercise won’t help you with getting motivated to exercise. But I promise it will help you get motivated in other areas of your life! Even if it’s just going for a short walk, moving your body will help you feel like you can take on the world. That feeling will extend to other areas of your life as well.
Along those same lines, you need to make sure you’re taking care of yourself in order to stay motivated. You’re just not going to be able to sustain any level of motivation if you’re exhausted, undernourished, or dehydrated. Start with the basics—drinking water, moving your body, getting enough sleep, and fueling your body right—and motivation will follow.
Everyone’s ‘why’ for doing things is different. If you’re looking to get motivated to work out, your ‘why’ might be to lose weight, to feel better, or to improve your overall health. If you’re looking for motivation to do your PhD work, think about why you did a PhD in the first place and what you’re hoping to gain from it slash do afterwards.
Even if you’re just trying to figure out how to stay motivated when working from home, you’ll still have some reason for why you’re doing the work, even if it’s just getting paid! In that same vein, your longer-term career goals can also help you define your current work ‘why’. Check out this article for more information on setting and reaching your career goals.
I’m a big believer in celebrating small wins to keep myself going. For example, with blogging, hitting a certain number of monthly views, making an affiliate sale (no matter how small!), or getting positive feedback from a reader all keep me going when I feel like giving up.
Having someone to help keep you accountable can help you get motivated again when you’re just not feeling it. You can help cheer one another on when the other is feeling unmotivated and help each other succeed.
Sometimes we stop feeling motivated because we’re too stuck in the same routine. Now, I know I said routine is important, but sometimes you need to switch things up. This might be as simple as moving to a different room in the house when you’re working from home.
My partner (who does neuroscience) always tells me—your brain is just a bag of chemicals. Doing something a little different like going for a walk mixes things up and helps get you feeling motivated again.
At the end of the day, you’re not meant to be a motivation machine. No matter how motivated you are naturally, we all get burnt out. It’s okay to take a day off when you need to.
One of the most important skills I’ve learned is to be kind to myself and not push myself to the absolute limit. In the end, I get just as much done because I’m much more efficient when I’m feeling fresh and rested.
Don’t set yourself up to fail. If you bite off more than you can chew, you’re bound to come up short. This can cause you to lose motivation. Set realistic daily goals you’re likely to achieve; achieving small goals will keep you motivated.
It might just be me, but I find planning incredibly motivating. When I go through my Sunday planning routine (read more about that here), I feel ready to take on the world!
I first learned this one through exercise, but it applies to other areas of life as well. Just get started and do whatever you have to do for five minutes. If you’re still not feeling motivated, give yourself permission to stop and try again later. Chances are, once you start a task, you’ll start feeling motivated to keep going with it.
I hope these tips help you get motivated in the new year! How do you stay motivated? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!