Tips for Becoming and Staying Motivated

Motivating yourself can be hard – especially in a world where many are working from home and therefore are not engaging in different environments or prompts that increase motivation and stimulation. You may be operating with less structure as you blend both your home and work environment and are in less contact with others than you have been in the past. You may also be facing personal, stressful life events that require time and energy. All of this can make it hard to start and stay motivated. But motivation is essential. It’s what drives you towards your goals – therefore, developing a plan to help you start and follow through with your goals is crucial. While not always easy, below are some helpful tips for increasing motivation and staying focused on achieving your goals.

  1. Start your day with a daily routine. Get up, get dressed, and get ready. Studies have shown that a lack of structure and routine can increase feelings of distress and make you pay more attention to the source of your problems. Just because you are working from home does not mean you should do it in your pajamas all day. Have a coffee or tea, brush your teeth, and spend time getting dressed for the day. Having a regular routine can help you lower stress levels, form good daily habits, take better care of your health, and help you feel more productive and focused.
  2. Straighten up your home or workspace. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), the physical action of housekeeping, and the end result of a cleaner home, helps relieve stress, anxiety, and depression. If you have children, keeping a clean home gives them a safe and healthy space where they can play, do homework, and sleep. Even though it may seem like kids don’t mind messes (especially if they’re the ones making the mess!), and hate anything to do with chores, studies have shown that if a child’s space is cluttered, they will have a harder time focusing and can experience some of the same negative consequences of a dirty environment as their parents – such as feelings of anxiety and depression. Having an organized environment will give you a sense of accomplishment and can help to alleviate anxiety surrounding clutter for you – and your children!
  3. Stay productive. This is a tough one, but it’s important for staying motivated. Write a list of projects or tasks, whether they be for work or for home, such as tidying up a closet or making household fixes. Create new things to do as a therapeutic outlet by spending time on something you love but usually don’t have time to do, such as reading books or completing puzzles.
  4. Set SMART goals: Specific—set specific, clear, and well-defined goals, Measurable—make specific criteria that measures your progress toward the accomplishment of the goal, Achievable—develop goals that are attainable and not impossible to achieve, Realistic—be realistic but also challenge yourself, Timely—set a date for reaching your goal. What do you want to achieve in the next week, month, three months, six months or year? Write it down and get to work.
  5. Maintain your appearance by showering and grooming. While many of us are not interacting with others, this does not mean we shouldn’t feel good about ourselves. Even when we aren’t presenting ourselves to the public, how we dress has the power to influence our mental health and general productivity. The simple act of getting dressed first thing in the morning has been found to increase motivation to do other things throughout the day and increase our energy to want to do more things. So, try out that new eye shadow palette, get a haircut, shave your beard, paint your nails. Keeping up with your appearance is a good way to ward off feelings of low mood.
  6. Get exercise. Physical activity improves mood and reduces depression and anxiety. Exercise has also been found to alleviate symptoms such as low self-esteem and social withdrawal. Health benefits from regular exercise include improved sleep, stress relief, improvement in mood, increased energy, reduced tiredness, and improved cardiovascular fitness. Research shows that moderate exercise can increase your motivation to achieve personal goals and lead to an all-around healthier lifestyle.
  7. Seek out professional help if need be. It is not unlikely that challenges with mental health could pose a significant obstacle to motivation. That is nothing to be ashamed of. The more we connect with someone that can help us, the better.