Q: How do you stay so motivated?
A: I don’t.
I mean come on guys, I’m human.
I like netflix and retail therapy and mindlessly scrolling social media as much as the next guy, and at times I really struggle turning off the lazy switch. However, I don’t question my sanity when I’m caught up in an arduous routine and the motivation tank is dry. The thing that has to set you apart as a successful individual isn’t motivation, it’s perseverance and self control. Whether you have it (cool) or build it (me), it just becomes a vessel for making life that much easier.
Learning to say no
You want to know the the thing I couldn’t do in my late teens and early twenties? It was to say the word NO.
You want to know a (pretty) solid skill I’ve learned along this winding path? Its saying the word NO.
I’m not saying I have become a bitter old lady (at least not always) but in order to gain self control I needed to learn how to set boundaries and pursue actions that influenced my personal growth in a positive manner.
Sometimes, when there’s just too much to do, I miss birthday parties, nights out with friends, and even planned nights off I had scheduled for myself.
I’ve been around the corner when my “I really can’t, I need to study” line was mocked. I’ve even, to my face, been asked why I don’t have fun anymore, but it doesn’t bruise my ego or pressure me to go. Not everyone is going to understand or agree, and they really just don’t have to. Bettering yourself doesn’t require praise from anyone else, and they don’t have to see the bigger picture, you do.
I knew, going into this, that there would be alot of things I missed out on. I also knew that if I sacrificed a few years of fun for hard work, the rest of my life would be considerably more comfortable than if I had not. So most importantly, the skill I’ve made friends with isn’t just saying the word No all the time. It’s weighing the outcome against my sanity, and learning to be okay with having my education be a priority.
Weighing the benefits
Do you ever just have the feeling that you would rather be somewhere else, doing something else, instead of what you’re currently doing? I could think of a million other ways to procrastinate instead of keep working at times. I think about it on the long study streaks, or when I’m trapped in a lab performing redundant tasks that could be done another time. It’s tempting to sleep in, to take a night off when the week is long, and some days it’s looks appetizing to dip out of class early. But, what usually turns the tables is questioning my motives. I have to ask myself “Is it worth it?” “what would I really be doing with my time?” and “will it be beneficial?”
If it’s genuinely beneficial I may be convinced. But, if it’s going to put me behind (usually so), well…I’m learning my lesson on avoiding those consequences.
The best quote to remember – don’t leave for tomorrow what could be done today.
Tomorrow You will thank you.
Another remedy for toning down the laziness urge has been in trying to establish a routine, and combating procrastination beforehand.
The same routine, almost every day: gym, class, dinner, study, break, sleep, repeat.
We go to the gym early in the morning, thus I cant use it as a tool to procrastinate in the evening. I check my phone on study breaks, but if it becomes a distraction it goes in another room. If it’s still a distraction, I delete social media till after the exams are done. Half an hour is allocated to myself every night and I take one full night a week off (if possible) to do something not related to school. When I keep a routine, I keep accountable and balanced, and it has been a life-saver for battling my urges to procrastinate.
Treats give me life!!
I stand behind this idea – always have and always will, but the best way to keep on track is through reward. When the week is packed with exams and quizzes, halfway through the week I’ll stop for my favorite meal or snack on the way home. When I need to get up early to prep for a test, I grab my favorite coffee on the way to school. When I’m running low on fuel and know if I go home I’ll crash, I look for a new coffee shop and settle in. I’m very food motivated, obvi, but it can be anything. In the olden days if I got good marks on exams, I’d get my nails done or snag a pass to a workout class I had been wanting to try. When the weather’s nice I find a cute park to study at, or take the dogs on a walk for some fresh air to get my mind on track. I like movie nights, drinks at that cute new bar, or a new outfit I had my eye on. Heck, last semester I would just allow myself an hour to go wander Target every once in a while, and it did it for me!
You don’t have to spend money, just find something that brings you a little joy, and allow yourself to have it when you need a little pick-me-up or pat on the back.
While I might not wake up beaming with motivation every morning, I do find myself called to pursue my goals daily and I find ways to keep on top of my emotions. Sometimes there is background noise that attracts my attention, but with the right amount of focus and effort, it can be overcome. I firmly believe that everyone is capable and able of pursuing anything that their heart desires, all it takes is the right mindset, and the right tricks to keep the ball rolling. Keep on, my friends.
Until next time