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How to Stay Motivated (When You Really Don’t Want to do Anything)

I’ve heard will-power is like a muscle — the more it’s used, the more it grows. I think motivation is the same thing.

I’m of the firm belief that some people are born with a little more motivation in their system than others, but most people have the drive to achieve their goals. But, no matter how good our intentions are, we all fall into motivational slumps every now and then. Why do you think quote boards are so popular on Pinterest? Personally, I have so much I want to accomplish in the short time I have on Earth, but sometimes, all I want to do is watch another episode of The Bold Type on Hulu.I know it’s not getting me any closer to my dreams, but I can’t help myself. So when I’m feeling uninspired, unhappy, or unmotivated, I keep these ten tips in mind.

Whether you’ve lost that excited feeling about losing weight, finding a new job, or meeting new people, these tips are sure to get you back in your groove. Let’s get started!

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1. Remember your purpose.
The most important thing to remember when you’re feeling like you just don’t want to do anything anymore is to think about why you started. There’s a reason you’ve set goals for yourself whether they are related to your health, career, relationships or otherwise — What is that reason? Do you want to lower your risk of heart attack? Meet a potential life partner? Improve literacy rates in low-income neighborhoods? Any purpose is a good purpose. No matter how big or how small the impact may be. So remember yours during the down times, and you’re sure to be back on your feet in no time.

2. Take a break.
Believe it or not, sometimes we need a break to remind us why we keep doing what we’re doing. Read a book, watch a Netflix episode. See what your life is like NOT doing the thing you’re feeling unmotivated toward, and you’ll see why you need it in your life. I took two weeks off of blogging recently because I was feeling burned out, and it massively impacted how I approached it when I got back on the horse. I felt a renewed energy and the ideas flowed a lot more easily when I opened WordPress back up again. Sometimes, the best thing is to do nothing, and see how you feel.

3. Mix it up.
One of the best things for me to do when I’m feeling unmotivated is to change up my routine. Sometimes I’ll add something new, like reading an interesting think-piece in the morning, and sometimes I’ll just switch up the order I’m doing things, like moving around when I meditate or go to the gym. If you’re feeling in a rut, switch it up!

4. Find a new environment.
The best way for me to tackle my goals is to get out of the house. In high school, I did all my homework in my bed, so it was a super productive place for me for a while. But during my senior year of college, I was rarely home, so I was doing work in coffee shops, the library, or other common spaces around campus for most of my day. Now, my brain definitely recognizes that my bed is for reading and Netflix and a solid table is a place to work. When I step in a coffee shop, order my drink, and settle into a cozy corner, my brain automatically switches to productivity mode.

5. Make a to-do list.
The only way I get anything done is if I write it down. I process things a lot better when I actually physically put pen to paper, but some people prefer electronic lists, so find what works for you. I highly encourage you to break down your larger goals into smaller, actionable items, but try to avoid putting things like “Take a Shower” or “Brush My Teeth” on your list. (Make an exception if you’re struggling to find motivation to get out of bed — I’ve been there. I understand. Sometimes brushing your teeth is the most important thing to do that day, and that’s okay.) Try to have everything on your to-do list take you closer toward accomplishing your goals.

6. Make a playlist.
Take 20 minutes to find some pump up music that makes you feel like the best version of yourself. I throw some Hamilton, old school Selena Gomez, and feel-good country music all into one playlist and blast it as loud as I can when I feel a bad day creeping up. Nothing turns my mood around like dancing around like a crazy person in my room for a few minutes.

7. Tell a friend about your goals.
Talking to someone about what you want to accomplish will help reignite the fire inside your belly. I know when I start talking to friends about my passions, I’m reminded of why I love doing what I’m doing in the first place. Added bonus? Hearing about your friends passions in return will also fuel your motivational spirit and help get you back on track. Sharing in other’s passions and successes and being able to share your own is one of the best things about having goals.

8. Take a walk.
Get outside. It’s amazing what 10-15 minutes spent moving can do for your mood.

9. Find a mentor/someone to look up to.
No matter your goal, you can find someone who was once in your position — that is to say, at the beginning of a dream. It can be someone close to you like your mom, or it can be someone you follow on social media. If you do choose to find a mentor in someone that is a little more removed from you that you can’t actually chat with one-on-one, it’s important to remember that they were once in your shoes — dreaming of accomplishing their biggest goals one day. Everyone has bad days, but the people we admire stuck with it to make it to where they are today. See if you can follow their path a little bit, but don’t forget to make it your own.

10. Remember the bigger picture.
By sticking with it now, what will your life look like in 5 years? 10 years? Do you still want that life? Then stick with it. It will all be work it in the end. We all have hard days. All of us. But remember why you started in the first place. Remember where you want to go. And go.

Staying motivated is hard. It’s hard to wake-up every day and put your nose to the grindstone, but if you want to accomplish something, you know how important it is. Everyone gets unmotivated sometimes — it’s what you do when those times hit that make you stand out.

Do you have any tips on how you stay motivated through the mood swings and down days? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy adventuring,

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