A few months ago I fell into a pit of demotivation. I found myself avoiding tasks that I used to love doing and watching far too much Netflix; all while internally punishing myself for it. It was a vicious cycle — I would avoid going out with loved ones because I needed to work, but I’d be so unmotivated to complete the task that I avoid it and wish I’d gone out.
It hit a point where I knew I needed to take action. I started reading up on steps I could take to get back my motivation. I came across a quote from Mel Robbins that resonated with me.
“No one’s coming to push you, no one’s coming to turn the TV off, no one’s coming to tell you to get out the door and exercise. The bottom line is no one is coming. No one.”
I realized that many of us there are many reasons we can become demotivated — maybe our goals seem out of reach, we’re feeling burnt out or undergoing seasonal depression. At that point, we might find ourselves dreaming about our goals and waiting around for the day when everything falls into place. Mel Robbins gave me the push to change my headspace and realize that maybe we have to be our own pushers; our own makers.
I started changing my routine and trying to break some self-destructive habits. Through trial and error, it became clear that I didn’t need to make monumental strides to win back my motivation, but rather small shifts in my thinking. For some, these changes may seem obvious, and they are — in fact — obvious to me as I write them. However, the realization is different than living them out, which is the real chore.
Create Short, Obtainable Time-Blocked Routines
Creating a routine that you can stick to will help you feel more productive and accomplished.
The routine does not have to be elaborate, requiring you to define each day down to the minute — instead, try creating short, frequent habits. These obtainable, productive blocks will build up over time. This could be planning out your morning routine to set you up for the day or laying out your evening to be productive after work.
Start by laying out all of the things you have to do in a week, then identify the things that are most important to you. Once you’ve selected the things of highest importance, try to create mini-routines using each of these activities for each day, or every second day. Say regular exercise and a clean house is high on the priority list for you — try to marry the two activities. Work-out from home to save on the commute time, and do some chores during part of your cool-down.
Make Visualization Apart Of Your Routine
At the beginning of each week, take some time to close your eyes and visualize yourself in your week. Picture yourself accomplishing your goals and how that makes you feel. Think about what it took to make you feel this way. Getting in the right mindset before the week begins can help you start off your week on the right foot. By providing yourself with a roadmap, it’s easy to stay on track and monitor your progress.
It’s important to note that life happens. Things come up that are out of your control and can get in the way of your plans. Coming to terms with this and not getting deterred is a skill and takes time to develop. If you fall out of schedule, adapt and move your time blocks around. Your schedule will vary from week-to-week, so plan for this to happen.
Stop Looking at What Other People Are Doing
You cannot compare your life to someone else’s highlight reel on social media — you just can’t. It’s easy to become demotivated when you see milestones achieved by others. Remember that goals are achieved over time, through hard work, and there’s a process to every success. Comparing your process to the results of someone else can become draining. Frequent social media usage has been proven to increase anxiety, depression, stress, and variances in mood.
Harness your focus by actively deleting or signing out of your social media applications for periods of times — days, weeks, or months; giving you the space to feel refreshed and focused. Sometimes we don’t even realize when we’re measuring our own accomplishments against someone else’s.
Be Kind to Yourself When You’re Feeling Low
Contrary to popular belief, it’s very common to feel bogged down and generally uninspired by life. Not everyone realizes this is a very shared experience, especially with those struggling to be self-motivated.
Sometimes it’s better to listen to what your mind and body need at the moment, rather than pushing through tasks that are draining you. The worst thing you can be is mean to yourself, or guilt yourself when you’re feeling low. Recognize that this is all a part of the process, and taking a day here and there won’t destroy everything you have worked for. In fact, sometimes taking the time to reset can help you refocus on your goals and invigorate your self-motivation. Take a break, take a breather; it’s valuable.
Celebrate Small Wins
From a microscopic perspective of your daily life, it may not look like your efforts have amounted to much, but looking back on a year as a whole can prove huge strides made. It’s important to celebrate each of the small victories, along with the losses. Remember, many small wins add up to a big win over time. By celebrating micro-milestones, you’ll feel more inclined to continue down the path you’ve forged.
Prioritize Things that Energize You
Sometimes things just don’t serve you, and instead, suck your energy and can hold you back from completing other tasks. Prioritize your tasks so you get to do what you want. Now, there will be times when you need to push through and get the nitty-gritty work done, but being honest with yourself about whether or not the obligations that you select are for you is important.
Take some time to list out all of the tasks that you need to complete. Rank them in order of the ones that you want to complete, from most to least. Now rank them again in the order that will best serve you — whether it be financial gain, the blocking of another task, etc. Start with the tasks that overlap being those that you want to complete and those that will best serve you. By starting with these tasks, it will get the engines revving to complete the not-so-fun tasks.
The road back to self-motivation can be long and it’s easy to fall back into a slump. It’s important to recognize that, that likely will happen and that’s OK. When you notice yourself falling into it, remain mindful and allow yourself some rest and relaxation — step away and come back to your tasks.
Remember, be kind to yourself, prioritize tasks that energize you and keep laser focused on your goals.
Notable articles and videos if you’re looking for inspirations:
- For tips on building a morning routine, check out How I Hacked Time by Getting Up at 5:30AM.
- Schedule it so it happens: the art of time blocking: https://roadwarrior.blog/time-blocking/
- Gary Vaynerchuck: The Secret of Self-Motivation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1nzleNgDc8
- Mel Robinson The Secret to Self-Motivation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Lz0VOltZKA