Motivation is something that is not tangible, but is something that can get us going. We can be motivated by internal or external factors, such as an overwhelming desire to do something, or maybe just a deadline. Motivation is the excitement and the bit of pressure we place on ourselves to get things done.
So what happens when it runs dry? And believe me, it does run dry. The problem with motivation is that it’s not an infinite source of drive. Motivation runs dry, it tanks, and leaves us stranded on an island with no way out. We see the bigger picture, we see what we need to do to get there, but we can’t be bothered to get our butts up and off the island.
First Things First
The truth behind motivation is that it seems like we need to have it to get tasks done. When we don’t feel it, we don’t want to do the things we need to do. However, we cannot rely on motivation to get us where we want to be.
I’m not saying motivation is a myth. What I’m saying is that regardless of whether we feel motivated or not, we still need to do the damn thing. If you wait around for motivation to come and peck you on the head, I can promise you that you may end up waiting a long time.
The truth is, motivation will not see you through the whole journey. Motivation may be the key to what gets you started, but it most likely won’t carry you to the finish line. You cannot rely on motivation alone to see you through your goals.
So Now What?
So now that you know you can’t rely on motivation to get you to the finish line, I’ll tell you what you can do. Instead of waiting for motivation to come and light the fire, you can simply continue to do your tasks as scheduled without relying on motivation.
What do I mean? What I mean is that instead of waking up and not feeling it that day, and subsequently cancelling all tasks related to your goal, I’m asking you to push through. You don’t need to go through at full speed ahead, but you still do need to make an effort to get something done.
Why? Why are you doing things when you don’t want to do them? Hear me out. Sometimes our mind plays tricks on us and we overthink a certain emotion. We woke up and we’re dead tired, so now everything we have to do today we start to dread. We dwell on the fact that we’re so tired, and everything else becomes a blur. We’re so focused on that emotion, we don’t feel like doing anything at all, and then we cancel it all.
Now not everyday that this happens guarantees the next day will also be a write off, but it does have the potential to cascade. When we start to get behind in our tasks, we lose focus and the feeling that we can do it. The bigger picture temporarily becomes a blur as we scramble to catch up. We’re even more stressed, tired and miserable because we’ve fallen behind.
What do I do then?
On days that you don’t feel like doing anything, the best thing to do is something. Start with the easiest thing on the to-do list and see if you can get that done. If you can survive that, try the next easiest thing. The more things you do, the more momentum you gain, and you may be able to cross of more on your list.
What if I’m Really Stuck in a Rut?
This totally happens too. Sometimes we do get stuck in a rut, and even attempting to do something off of our list leaves us in a foul mood. Sometimes we just need to take some time to ourself and reset. Below is a list of things you can do to reset and recharge:
You may be in the middle of writing a blog post. You may be close to finishing something for a deadline. But you’re not feeling it. You’re miserable. You want it to be over. You don’t feel like it’s your best work. Take five minutes and step back. Completely remove yourself from the task. Stand up, walk around, go outside for a minute. Grab a glass of water or a snack.
Then come back to it. If you feel like five minutes was enough to clear your brain, and you can truly sit back down and work, go for it. If you still feel the same, or just don’t feel like you can continue at this time, then walk away for longer. Give yourself a break to be able to come back to it with full focus and passion.
Approach The Task From a Different Angle
Perhaps you’ve been working on similar tasks to get you towards a goal for quite some time. You’re starting to think you can’t possibly do one more task like the one you’re currently working on without screaming. Stop. Is there something you can do to reach your goal that is completely unrelated to what your working on?
Can you switch it up to work on something else? What else needs your attention to be able to accomplish the goal? Choose another task that is completely different from what you’re currently working on. This way, you’ll be able to still work towards your goal while maintaining sanity.
Are you in a rut because something isn’t working? No matter how many times you work at it, it just stays the same? Change it up. When we set our goals in the beginning, we often don’t account for change that occurs along the way.
It’s important for us at each stage of our goals to re-evaluate what is working and what isn’t, and how we can make improvements from there! Review your strategies and make plans to switch them up!
Change Your Scenery
It can be as simple as getting up and moving around, or moving your work space to a different location! Sometimes we get stuck when we stare at the same environment for too long. A change in scenery can be the little push you need to change your atmosphere and attitude!
Remember Why You Started
Sometimes we get caught up in the tasks and forget why we originally started. Something set your soul on fire to make you want to start this journey. Remember that something! Talk with a friend, revisit your earlier notes.
We can easily get swept up into how we’re currently feeling. It’s important to feel those feelings out and appreciate them. It’s also important to bring ourselves back into focus why we’re doing what we’re doing, and appreciate how far we’ve come. If you feel like giving up, read this.
Do Something For Yourself
Sometimes a small break is the exact change in routine we need to get ourselves back on track. Other times, we need to give ourselves a little more TLC. If you feel like you’re going in circles and still not getting anywhere, walk away and take the day off. Whatever task you have to complete, you can finish it later. It’s more important to check in with your mental and emotional well being so that you can continue to do your best work.
Spend the day doing things you love and enjoy, that have nothing to do with the task at hand. Return the next day with a refreshed mind and a sense of ability to complete the task!
Motivation is a great way to get started, but it won’t see you through till the end. You need to rely on yourself and your ability to work towards your goal every day, regardless of how small or large the task. When you’re really stuck in a rut, it can be hard to see a way out. This is when you need to take extra time and adjust your plan! It’s okay to take breaks, you need to look after yourself first!
Did this help? Did something else work for you? Let me know in the comments!