I don’t know about you but entering into Month 5 of covid quarantine has made me feel stale. I feel a whole lot of sameness – same routines, limited resources, same same… The fact that summer is in full swing right now helps mightily, but not entirely. (Maybe I’m just suffering from the “lazy days of summer” syndrome.) Fortunately, I have been able to escape for a few days in nature. Instead of hiking to Target, I hiked in the woods.
I question why I am having such a hard time finding the energy to do what I have to do. These projects used to drive me and keep me full of hope and excitement. But that isn’t the case now and I’m not sure what happened. Part of the problem is when life is the same day after day, your motivation can take a back seat. If you’re going about your day through an apathetic lens, the effort to take on a task can be monumental. Discipline flies out the window.
When I’m faced with the decision to do a task, a little battle is going on in my head. “Just do it!” the cheerleader says. The rebellious, “What if I just don’t do it?” chimes in. Then what? A big zero. NO-thing. No changes. So what little motivation I have left is won over by reason.
What Is Motivation?
Maybe if we understand what the true definition is, maybe it will help us, oh, get motivated.
Well, first and foremost, motivation is something you do that makes you feel worthy, whether it’s from hard work and determination, or it’s just inherent. It’s not necessarily money-, or power-related, it’s something deeper within yourself that you take ownership. It’s a simple historical theory that makes sense. You perform (task) and are rewarded (with completion of said task); you don’t perform (task) and what happens? As mentioned before, NO-thing.
Another battle with motivation is the one inside your head. The “I’m such a loser because I should be doing this.” Or, “Instead of sleeping all day, I could be whipping up a new recipe.” Take ownership and replace the “shoulds” and “coulds” with “choose.” I’m choosing right now to sleep, for example. I am aware that if I sleep, dinner won’t be ready.
Give yourself a break. The fact that you are aware of this state is a beginning. Motivation can be a moving target. There is a lot of fluctuation involved — it’s not guaranteed that once you’re motivated, you’ll always be motivated. Knowing that it will come back might help it to re-emerge quicker when it’s ebbing. So keep at it.
Here are 5 steps to start making a positive change toward motivation. If you can just get to Step 1, you’re on your way. Before explaining these, first, try simplifying your life. Is there any area in your day-to-day life you can put aside, or easily complete? When you are satisfied, then you’ll be ready to complete this list.
- Baby steps. Think about one of the tasks you were dreading and pick that one to complete. Choose one simple step you feel you can attain to achieve that goal.
I know that when a month has gone by and I haven’t cleaned the house, suddenly I realize it’s so gross and it’s time to do something about it. But how overwhelming is that? This is the last thing I want to do! A baby step would be to clean one room at a time and not think about the other rooms. In a short time, you will see the difference, which could motivate you toward cleaning another room.
- Recognize your achievements. Even if it’s a small achievement (in your eyes only), it’s a win because you set out to do it, and you did it. Like getting back into exercising. Maybe doing 50 jumping jacks is monumental to you. Start at the beginning. Do 10, let’s say. After each success, bump up the goal, to 15, 20, 25, etc. Each increment is a success.
- Focus on the good and shift your negative thinking. Let’s take the jumping jacks, for example. Instead of focusing on how hard they are, recognize the benefits of the outcome. “50 is too hard, but I can do 25! I couldn’t even do 5 two weeks ago.”
Be aware of your negative thoughts. Write them down and think of how you can shift your thinking to positive ones.
- Thank you, Nike. Just do it (whether you want to or not). We talked about “sameness” earlier. Now we’re faced with a goal that we really don’t feel like doing. Do it on autopilot. Do it half-asleep! Do it while grumbling. Once you get started, you just may find yourself in the zone and wanting to do more.
- As always, don’t be too proud, and ask for help. Sometimes it’s easier to have a buddy who’s going through the same thing as you. Having a friend helps to motivate each other, which in essence, is motivating yourself. Grab a friend and do those 25 jumping jacks. Ask someone for a new recipe. Reach out to someone for advice on painting a room.
If that doesn’t work, reach out to someone who will listen and help you emotionally. Just talking about it helps to lessen the load.
No More Sameness
These days a lot of us are in a similar boat of sameness. Everyone is just trying to find ways to make their own lives as normal as possible in these chaotic times. If we can just make a dent in someone’s life, that, itself, is motivating.
Are you having a tough time getting to that task? If you need help getting motivated, I’d love to hear from you. Click here and fill out the contace form. We’ll set up a time to talk about what’s happening in your life and how we can work together.