One of the biggest struggles for most of us is staying motivated in life. Often times, it’s a combination of both having motivation and being able to stay organized in life. As my semester comes to an end and I’m reflecting on my past four years of college and the adversity I’ve faced, I wanted to share with you my personal tips on how I’ve stayed “motivated” throughout it all.
To be extremely honest, I don’t truly believe in motivation. I say this because I see motivation as a temporary feeling that lasts for two days, one week, maybe up to one month. For example, when was the last time you went on a diet and lasted for more than a month? Or the last time you promised yourself you would hit the gym 3x a week starting “this week”, but then gave up by the second week? Chances are, you probably felt motivated from reading, watching, or listening to someone do something similar that made you feel encouraged to take similar action, but after the feeling went away, you forgot about why you were doing it in the first place. Sound familiar?
I can easily admit to being a culprit of this too. At least in the past when I believed more in motivation rather than consistent discipline, goal-setting, and routine. Below I share a few tips on how to stay disciplined, motivated, and organized for all aspects of your life.
DEVELOP A CONSISTENT ROUTINE
- One of the common motivation issues that a majority of people have is being able to “stay motivated” to work out, eat healthy, wake up early, etc. The problem is that most of us keep thinking in a short-term mindset and seeing it only benefiting us in the short run or only wanting to do a diet for a quick fix. What I’ve learned over time, especially learning from my dear friend Mike U, is that you have to develop consistency first, EVEN if it means only doing it once a week at first.
- For example, if you want to “stay motivated” to work out a specific amount of times per week, then you have to start with a reasonable number. When I started implementing this strategy into my workouts, I first started at 3x/week even though I really wanted to be doing 4-5x a week. I had to make sure that I could ACTUALLY meet this minimum before gradually increasing it. So back in February 2019, I started with working out typically on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday because that’s just how it fit into my class schedule. By the end of March, I was always meeting the minimum 3x/week routine, so around mid-April, I decided to increase the minimum to 4x/week.
- My workouts simply became a routine and natural part of my life, rather than this “big deal” that I had to stay motivated to do. It also really helped that two of my workouts each week were Pilates classes, so those were scheduled + locked in to my calendar. If I cancelled less than 12 hours before the class, I’d be charged a fee, which not gonna lie, I ended up paying once But if you’re someone that wants/needs extra accountability, try doing workout classes instead where you have to sign up ahead and essentially almost be forced to go.
- The key takeaway is this: Start with a manageable minimum, nothing too crazy, but something that is not too far off from what you already typically do. From there, make it a consistent habit/routine and then add on or increase the level (of difficulty) after 4-6 weeks of consistency.
UTILIZE A PLANNER OR GOOGLE CALENDAR
- For the longest time, I always used a normal notebook type planner. My past planners have been the Day Designer, Erin Condren, and Lily Pulitzer. But ever since late January 2019, I began shifting to GoogleCal and now I only use GoogleCal to plan and organize my day/week/month. But it’s all about preference. I still love handwriting my plans down, but I typically will use a large wall monthly calendar (bought mine from Target) to look over my projects and events for the month.
- Part of my organized personality is simply that I love using a planner to just plan my life. So that has kinda been a given for me since high school. But if you’re someone that only uses a planner lightly or maybe not at all, I’d highly recommend it for getting more organized with life.
- Going back a little bit with the routine aspect of “motivation”, I usually plan my workouts for the week in advance or often times two weeks before. It helps give me a visual of what I have going on for the upcoming week and where I can fit my workouts in if I have a random event that occurs on a day I usually work out and etc. On my GoogleCal, I will color code it in a “sky blue” color and so when I look at my weekly and monthly calendar, I can see where all my workouts are, how often I’ve been doing so, and etc.
- When you put events and plans into your calendar, it allows you to visualize your life a bit better and forces you to make wiser decisions on how you allocate your time. This is SUPER helpful if you are a college student like me and your classes vary day-to-day and you want to figure out the best days to work, get a workout in, hangout with friends, and etc.
- Another big reason why I love recording my life into a planner is because when I am reflecting on my year or my routine for the past few months, I can kinda “audit” my calendar and see how I’ve been allocating my time. This helps if you put in the small events, like “Lunch with XYZ” to really evaluate whether your time is being used wisely and so forth. When I audit my calendar and reflect, I can objectively see where I can make changes or remove certain things from my life to improve and enhance my overall lifestyle.
Staying motivated can be challenging, but developing a consistent routine (like going to work M-F or taking classes on a specific schedule) is much more attainable to get the “lifestyle” you want. Let me know your own tips on how to “stay motivated” and organized!