Where do you find a genuine source of motivation to keep going?
When things are getting tough, how do you maintain high spirits? When you’re revising for mock exams - which may still seem a while away - how do you keep getting through those practice exam questions?
A new and big academic year has begun! With which comes multiple essays, study sessions and stress. But I’ve also found a new source of motivation. Not to toot my own horn but I was just sat having a slight panic (about the usual work load) when I received a notification. It was to read an article on ‘Body Language’. Realising it was a link to an article I had written for this blog, I nearly deleted the email notification (I find reading my own work a little embarrassing). But something made me stop and read the article. After having read it, I can confirm my spirits were lifted.
It wasn’t so much the content of the article which cheered me up; rather the impact it could have.
Someone might read it and find it beneficial. It might cheer their day up too! It was acknowledging a small success of mine which made me realise that I can keep going. Know that it is healthy celebrate your smaller successes. Allow it to motivate you to keep working; to become bigger and better. Nothing worth having comes easy, so don’t make it more difficult for yourself. You are your biggest cheerleader.
Maintaining your mental wellbeing is just as important as physical wellbeing. It’ll take time but start practising by talking positively to yourself. When you look in the mirror, ensure it’s only words of optimism which are conveyed.
But, what if all that ‘positivity’ stuff isn’t working right now? After watching YouTube videos about having immaculate routines and regimes, you’re only beginning to feel down about yourself. I feel you! Firstly, stop watching those videos. Don’t allow yourself to be affected by other people (as much as possible).
There is really no set next step. I do apologise. It’ll be different for every person, every time. You have to find what works for you. (Don’t worry if it takes time - I still haven’t found what works for me). Sometimes the best thing to do will be to go for a run. If you’re feeling lazy, it might be to take a bath. If you feel having a bath is going to be a waste of time, perhaps you should do something which is productive but doesn’t particularly require brain power. Something like washing the dishes? That’s quite therapeutic.
If it’s late into the evening, the best thing to do will always be to sleep and then start up properly the next morning. If it’s not quite late at night, then make sure to eventually get something productive done. If you had 4 tasks on your to-do list, try and do a couple before going to bed. Ultimately, doing the productive task will make you feel better. You’ll also sleep better knowing that despite your down spirits, you got some work done.
Most importantly, don’t feel guilty about the way you’re feeling. (It’s what I keep telling myself). Often you’re not running a sprint - you’re on a marathon track. Don’t burn yourself out too quickly. Know that some parts of the race will be more difficult than others. For example, running uphill is naturally harder. Applying that analogy to our daily lives, perhaps it’s starting a task which is the hardest bit.
Let yourself find it difficult - and try to get better every time. If you keep training for a marathon, eventually running uphill won’t be such a chore anymore. If you try to develop good working habits, you’ll begin to enjoy starting new tasks and finishing old ones!
Last piece of advice, if you have a task which will take you less than two minutes to do (i.e. taking your mug to the kitchen), do it straight away. Don’t delay it or it’ll hang over you and waste brain energy.
To the success of us all,