I know I’m not the only one who has days when I want to do nothing besides waltz around in my pjs, indulge in the finer things in life (aka pizza and ice cream), and binge watch my favorite TV shows until Netflix asks, “Are you still watching?”three different times. Sure, I might have planned on getting groceries and going to the gym, but the new Season of Orange is The New Black was just released and it’s too good to pass up.
But, like all parties, this one eventually comes to an end, and it’s usually when Netflix guilt trips me into being productive. So, I get up off the couch, sluggishly make coffee, check my email, get in the shower, make breakfast, call my mom, and do a hundred more things until it’s three hours later and I still haven’t actually accomplished anything. This is called lack of motivation, my friends, and I am not proud of it.
But, like I said, I know I’m not the only one who occasionally struggles with lack of motivation, so I’ve put together a list of activities and reminders for the times when your checklist of things to do is the last thing on your mind. Here are 10 ways to stay motivated to reach your goals:
1. Listen to blast your favorite throwback song
What better way to get yourself out of bed than to listen to your favorite jams from your childhood?! My friends hate me for this one, but my favorite song for a pick-me-up is “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton. You know, the one that goes: “making my way downtown, walking fast, faces pass and I’m home-bound,” *cue catchy piano*. I can’t help but sing along even as I read the lyrics, so you best believe when I play that song it’s to belt my heart out, rock the air piano, and toss my hair around. Did I mention my friends hate it?
In all seriousness, music has actually been proven to increase happiness, decrease stress, and strengthen learning and memory. According to a study done by Live for Live Music your “brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that leads to increased feelings of happiness, excitement, and joy, when you listen to music you like.” (Read more about music and motivation here!) It’s the perfect way to kickstart your mind and body so you can accomplish anything!
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2. Dance it out
Anyone catch my Grey’s Anatomy reference? 😉 When things get tough for Meredith and Christina, “Dancing it Out” is a way for them to release stress. 90% of the time when I am unmotivated to do something it’s because I’m so overwhelmed by everything else I have on my plate that I just shut down all together. Too much stress has a way of making me feel buried and helpless, so I end up doing nothing at all.
Dancing is a great way to release some of this tension! Just like music, it has been proven to increase happiness and decrease stress- the movement relaxes muscles, releases endorphins, and stimulates your brain, giving you the rush of energy you need to take on the world. Although my dancing is much better after a glass of wine, I’m always down for a solo dance party (clothing optional) while cooking dinner, singing along to Vanessa Carlton, driving to work, or even showering. You just gotta dance it out sometimes!
3. Go for a walk
And if dancing isn’t your thing, try going for a walk. Nothing is more awakening than some fresh air and good ol’ peace and quiet. Going for walks is a great motivator and stress reliever because it allows me to reflect on past challenges, current states, and future aspirations. Walking or jogging is my go-to activity if I need a breather from the stressors in life, or if I just need to clear my mind and spend some time outdoors.
4. Stop complaining
So much energy through out the day can be wasted complaining. I always try to be conscious of how often I complain because it’s easy to get trapped in negativity, and not only does it bring me down, it brings those around me down as well. Bottom line is this: if you’re unhappy about a situation, change it. But accept the things you can’t control and focus on the things you can. Turn your energy towards your goals and let it fuel your motivation and push you to do better!
5. Make a to-do list
I loove making lists, probably because checking off boxes at the end of the day is so satisfying. It might be my favorite thing to do besides organizing drawers (jk, no one likes doing that). Even though it’s fair to call myself the queen of lists, I am also the queen of making lists then staring at them because it’s so long I don’t know where to begin. So here’s a little secret if you have the same problem…
Split your list into three sections: the first being top priorities, the second being things you’d like to get done, the third being things it would be nice to do but if you don’t get to them your world won’t come crashing down. This makes it easy to split up your list into achievable sections. Focus on one at a time and you might just get it all done! It also helps to split it into sections the night before so you wake up in the morning with clear goals- visualizing your list is a huge factor in actually accomplishing them!
6. Write down your goals
Writing down your goals drastically increases your chances of achieving them because it allows you to reflect on them and give yourself clear direction. Not only does writing your goals down establish a destination, it helps you stay focused on that destination through all the bumps in the road. Some goals are hard to achieve, and writing them down helps you stay on track and stay accountable.
7.Remember the times you succeeded
Remembering the times you succeeded is a huge factor when it comes to motivation. It’s easy to get stuck in negative thoughts when you’re not seeing the results you expected or others are moving towards their goals quicker than you are. Give yourself constant reminders that you are on track and doing the best you can by remembering all the wins, no matter how small they are.
8. Don’t be afraid to fail
Neil Gaiman once said, “I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.” Making mistakes means that you are trying and working towards something, so don’t let your mistakes drag you down and take away your motivation- let your failures fuel you, and make sure you’re learning from them along the way.
9. Be realistic
Be realistic about what you can accomplish in a day, month, or year. Nothing will drag down motivation more than unachievable goals- it’s just wasted energy! If you set yourself realistic goals you will stay motivated to actually achieve them.
10. Take a break
If you’ve read through every item on this list and you still feel overwhelmed and exhausted, then chances are it’s probably time to take a break! Set time aside to give yourself a chance to regroup. Schedule nights out with friends away from other responsibilities and take days off to lounge around in your pjs eating entire gallons of Ben & Jerry’s! No one is perfect and everyone has times when they feel unmotivated. Do yourself a favor and listen to your mind and body- it’s okay to take a break sometimes.