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17 People Share How They Stay Motivated in the Worst of Times

Staying motivated can be tough, even in the best of times. In times like we’re living in currently, it can feel downright impossible.

That said, we all still need to work and make money and be creative and clean our houses and raise our kids, even if the world is a hot mess. If you’re struggling to stay motivated enough to tackle all – or any- of these things, here are some tips and tricks for getting things done anyway.

17. Discipline, not motivation.

Motivation is bullshit, comes and goes on a whim, I think what you want to know about is discipline.

16. That lovely day when you can just sleep in and not stress.

I am always trying to hook future me up so life can be a bit easier rather than a constant slog.

If I get stuff done now then I can relax a bit more in the future and that really makes me motivated to keep pushing.

15. This is all really good advice.

Coffee.

Turn everything into a precise routine and make it more efficient than the day before (e.g. combining an audiobook with commuting to work before/after rush hour and using the extra time for a workout; making dinner with the cleanup in mind).

Sleep schedule with sleep hygiene.

And stop talking to lazy people, they will brainwash you into watching too much TV or being on the internet too much

14. A bunch of small goals instead of one bigger one.

Breaking down the massive task into bite sizes helps.

Wanna climb that mountain? Just take it one step at a time, focus on the next ridge, acknowledge and reward your progress with breaks/snacks, focus on the journey rather than the destination.

When you’ve reached your summit, think/talk about the tremendous accomplishment and try not to think about the next mountain.

While in the context of hiking, the principles apply to almost every task, no matter how big or small.

13. A routine is really the best thing ever.

The results.

Routines are the base to my happiness, so I push myself to do stuff.

For example, I wanted to start working out, so I had to reaaally push myself for the first few months, but once it became a habit and what’s more important – I saw my body looking good, it’s as normal as brushing my teeth.

12. You just put your head down and plow on.

I don’t wait for motivation anymore. I just do what I need to do.

Half the time the “I don’t feel like doing this” feeling goes away within minutes.

11. Anything that turns off your internet for awhile works.

Honestly, Concerta.

I always had trouble beginning tasks. Once I started them I could power through but always felt overwhelmed to start. I was an adult and diagnosed with ADD and Concerta literally changed my life. I am able to work, clean, take care of kids, stay fit, all because I’m not having trouble starting.

Even when I skip a day I’m able to do it all because good habits have been ingrained. Seriously, if you struggle with motivation maybe you have a brain like mine and can fix it.

10. Try to live in the moment.

It’s just a matter of bringing yourself back to the moment as many times as you have to when you realize your mind wandered off somewhere. I know that sounds overly simple, but I don’t know how to stay there…I just know how to get back there over and over again.

Anxiety has been a big issue for me until I learned to just see it for what it is– low level fear. If there’s no external threat, it’s either my biology or my thinking causing it. Generally speaking, though, when you get back to the moment itself, you realize there’s no threat, nothing to fear. Fighting it doesn’t seem to help me at all. Just accepting that it’s there, noticing it, lessens its power over me.

Also, if you haven’t read “The Power of Now” that might be helpful for you. I really got a lot of out that book.

9. Surround yourself with people who work hard.

Get a hard working girlfriend. My girlfriend works from home, is also studying a PHD and (pre lockdown) works for a charity on Saturday mornings. It’s a constant reminder to look at myself.

Now I’m not as motivated as her, she’s the inspiration but I have to find ways to motivate myself. I will say something like “okay, I have to watch this statistics lecture, then I can go on Reddit for 10 minutes.”

If you can stick to it, it works well. Having a super productive girlfriend makes you feel a bit more accountable to stick to it.

8. You don’t have to feel like doing things to do things.

The thing I realized is that motivated people don’t magically feel like doing things, they just actually do things. It’s action, not feelings. You know how you have a thought, “I should go do xx” and then you kinda push it off for whatever reason? Maybe you are waiting for a commercial, or to feel like doing it, or just another five minutes…

Act immediately upon having the thought. Try not to give yourself time to realize you don’t want to do it. I made it into a game– if I think I should do something, I try to immediately do it. It’s like jumping into a cold pool. By the time I realize I don’t feel like doing it, I’m already started.

I also heard a saying years ago: done is better than perfect. It’s constantly proven itself to be true. But honestly, Nike figured it out years ago. Just do it. It really is that simple.

7. Write down your tasks for the day.

I used to be a lazy sack of crap. I got a small whiteboard for my fridge and would write 10 daily tasks to complete every day. I started with easy things; Wash the dishes, vacuum, sweep the kitchen, etc. After 3 weeks, I added more difficult tasks: Hang up the clothes on the bottom of my closet, put in 2 applications for better-paying jobs, cook a crazy new recipe I found, wash the dishes for aforementioned recipe, etc.

By the end of 3 months, I didn’t even need the list anymore. The easy tasks just became a natural routine and the more difficult tasks didn’t feel so insurmountable.

That was six years ago. My house is always clean, and I have a well-paying job I do very well.

Anything can become normal habit if you stick to it and don’t give up. You’ve got this.

6. Make it a habit.

It’s really about making it a habit, getting up and being motivated to do something comes easier the more you push yourself to do it

5. Everything gets easier with time.

Read the book “tiny habits”. Motivation is unreliable. What you should aim for is making the task as easy to start as possible (ie put floss in visible sight and easy to reach if you want to do more flossing), find a logical place in your day to consistently do it (after you brush your teeth), and commit to doing the 30second version of it (floss one tooth). You are always welcome to do more.

Over time, it will be easier to do more

4. I’m sure this is true for some people.

Prison, it’s a pretty big incentive not to go back, I have a nice apartment good friends slowly building a support system no way I’m going give that up

3. There’s always a good book out there.

Read the book “tiny habits”. Motivation is unreliable. What you should aim for is making the task as easy to start as possible (ie put floss in visible sight and easy to reach if you want to do more flossing), find a logical place in your day to consistently do it (after you brush your teeth), and commit to doing the 30second version of it (floss one tooth). You are always welcome to do more.

Over time, it will be easier to do more

2. Getting started is the hardest part.

Step 1: “i’ll just do 5%, but i’ll do it NOW.”

Step 2: “meh, might as well keep going.”

Step 3: “wow, i’m finished! Now i’m motivated to do more!”

1. The power of goal-making.

I write out yearly goals, monthly goals, daily goals.

The power of habit, habit stacking. YouTube this.

Also, doing something for only 5 or 15 minutes to start. That’s how I learned to do dishes. Often, it’s not the task, it’s the daunting of staring that is awful. If I only had to wash five dishes a day, that’s what I would do. More often than not, I’d wash 10-15, but if I was in a bad mood, I’d only do 5. But I still set a goal and completed it, which gives you a lot of psychological momentum.

I’m definitely going to take some of these to heart!

What are you best tips for not totally throwing in the towel when you’re down and out? Share them in the comments!