Ms Motivator

Friday, July 8, 2011

Motivation is a really hard thing to find.

If you have it then everything’s great. If you don’t, then finding the motivation to do the things that help you get motivation can seem pretty hard.

Since I came back from holiday (3 weeks ago! Hah!) I’m struggling to get into the swing of things. My progress on Weight Watchers has been virtually non existent since the middle of May. I have a million ideas, none of which I’ve done much with, frankly I’m probably avoiding them, and I generally feel a bit, well, meh.

Just, meh.

I asked for suggestions on twitter yesterday and apart from shouting at people in the street (thanks BananaFudgeStud) and tea and chocolate (courtesy of Charlotteart) no one seemed to have any suggestions, which suggests to me there’s a lot of us that could do with some help. So today I am sharing some ways to get your motivation back (seriously, if I took my own advice I’d run the world by next week.)

These are all tactics I have tried at various times. Sometimes they work, sometimes not, but they’re all worth a try for those times when unmotivated days start turning into unmotivated weeks and you’ve really lost your way.

  • Plan

This is a tactic I’m using to try and kick my weight loss back into action, though I’m thinking it’s time to start applying it to work a bit more too! Whether it’s a day ahead or a week ahead, grab a piece of paper and write down what you’re going to do.

For Weight Watchers this has involved trawling copies of the new Weight Watchers magazine (WW kindly sent me one and I liked it so much I went out and bought the next issue!) for recipes to make, buying the ingredients and writing down when I’m going to make them.  I hate throwing away food so this has kept me away from the takeaway menu.  I’ve also got a stock of low fat ready meals in the freezer so when I get home late I can eat one of those instead of ordering a pizza.

For work it could mean giving yourself at least one set task to finish each day, or it could mean planning your day down to the last hour. Whatever works for you it can give you back some purpose and help you feel you’ve acheived something.

  • Do Something Different

Sometimes a lack of motivation is down to feeling like you’re stuck in a rut.  You do the same things, day in, day out and get the same results.  The first time you do something; whether it’s driving a car, making a cake or sewing your own clothes; you get a little rush of pride and excitement.  The 50th time you do it it’s just routine, you expect it to work and there’s no excitement.

Doing something different can give you back that little rush of acheivement and help you get back the motivation in the rest of your life. It could be related to what you do, or something completely different. If you’re a dressmaker, try a more difficult pattern, or try making your own pattern, or try knitting.  Whatever, just something that you’ve never done before, it doesn’t need to be climbing a mountain to make you feel a sense of achievement.

  • Give Up

Really, if you can’t be bothered, just don’t.  Sitting there staring at your computer screen desperately trying to force yourself to find the motivation to reply to your emails is helping no one.  Turn on your out of office and go play in the garden instead.

Read a book, visit an exhibition, just go for a walk, just do ANYTHING rather that doing NOTHING.  That way at least you’ll get to the end of the day feeling guilty for skiving and having a nice time instead of like a massive failure for not acheiving anything, and you must just gain some inspiration along the way.

Note: If you’ve used this technique 5 days in a row then it might be time to try another tactic….

  • Set Some Goals

This might sound suspiciously like planning, but actually it’s more about the bigger picture. A lack of motivation might be because you’re wandering through life without feeling like you have any purpose. Try starting with a montly goal “By this time next month I will have……

Made £1000

lost half a stone

Set up a new blog

Finished that dress I started 6 months ago”

Write it down and stick it on the fridge /mirror/ fish tank.

Once you’ve set a goal then your daily planning can involve little steps to help you get there rather than feeling overwhelmed by everything you have to do you can break it down into little steps.

  • Declutter and Reorganise

This is a tactic that can head dangerously close to procrastination, if you find yourself reorganising your stocking drawer when the problem was with writing an essay then it’s time to try something else!  It can, however,  also be a useful tool for making yourself feel organised and giving yourself a fresh start.

You could completely reorganise and declutter your work space, or something smaller might work.

Things to try:

Make a mood board – Whether it’s virtual or real it can help you focus your mind. Cut out or download photos and quotes that inspire you. Print it out, or put the finished product somewhere prominent.

Buy a Filofax or Diary – An exciting new toy for getting organised can suddenly make you feel like an organised and professional person again.

Print out a monthly calendar – Use exciting coloured pens to write in all the things you have to do and stick it on the wall. Admire your work, then proceed to ignore it just like you did your revision timetable, but with a renewed sense of purpose.

Frankly just writing all that down has given me a burst of energy and an urge to get things done.  I’m off to the seaside with the Glamour_ologist today to look at saucy postcards and eat ice cream, which I think is both the “giving up” and “do something different” tips rolled into one.

Have a fabulous weekend my lovely chicks and lets all start next week filled with vim, vigour and other things beginning with V (Vodka? Vicks? VINTAGE?!??)


13 Responses
  • Fiona - Straight Talking Mama
    July 8, 2011

    oh I’ve tried them all and you’re right they work sometimes and sometimes they don’t! Sometimes I think it’s harder being self employed as you only have yourself to motivate and no one but you is screaming for a deadline and if you have no motivation you’re not going to scream at yourself are you?!!

  • Perdita
    July 8, 2011

    Great tips!

    I try to break bigger tasks into smaller ones and celebrating each one, as I find my lack of motivation comes from thinking ‘OMG if I work all day I’ll never sort out this huuge job’ and not knowing where to start. It’s like planning but the key thing is for me to recognise (for example) that if the flat is a tip, what I actually need to do is tidy 3 rooms and clean the kitchen/bathrooms: 5 small tasks not one big one. I’m back from work, tidying the living room is ‘one thing done, yay’ rather than ‘oh but it’s just a bit of the housework…’ I don’t know if that makes sense!?

    I also find making an appointment to work with a colleague, contact or friend works, because you almost CAN’T do the meh thing as they are there too (unless it is the wrong friend and you bunk off down the pub ha ha). I often use this method at work- even marking exam scripts with a cuppa in the staffroom with a less experienced staff member works, for example, because I’ve got something to share/help them with, so I can’t be ‘meh’.

  • Diana
    July 8, 2011

    lovely post and exactly right about being motivated, great tips on trying to be more motivated and what to do to help you too. V for vodka does sound good, along with vintage of course 😉 x

  • Fi Phillips
    July 8, 2011

    Good advice there, although I think I do too much of the planning and not enough of the doing.

    Going through a major rehaul/rethink here too.

  • Mim
    July 8, 2011

    I just force myself to do things. Possibly my guilt at not doing things is my main motivator! If there’s something I really don’t want to do, I do that first so it gets done, then I’m free to do the more enjoyable stuff.

  • Insomnia
    July 8, 2011

    These tips came in quiet handy, because I lose my motivation very often. It’s very frustrating at times, but I partially have learned to deal with it.
    Good luck to u and ur weight loss!

  • Laurie
    July 8, 2011

    Such a timely post for me too, as I’ve just lost motivation in about every facet of my life. I hope a weekend of relaxing, sun and drinking copious amounts of alcohol can get me back on track!

  • Ally
    July 8, 2011

    Yey! This post couldn’t have come at a better time for me so thank you I found this really helpful and hopefully will be using many of these points over the next few weeks 😀

  • Hannah
    July 8, 2011

    My problem is I find something new to do and then I get bored because it becomes more a chore. I plan and plan things that I have to do but they always get shifted back – luckily I thrive on pressure!

    I do need to do a serious declutter before I move back to Liverpool though…

  • Paperdoll
    July 9, 2011

    Oooh, top tips, I’ve kinda taken up running (well actually jogging/walking fast) and am still in the process of re-organising my entire wardrobe, but I really should be finishing all the crafty/sewing projects I’ve got lurking around the place!!

  • Rebecca
    July 10, 2011

    Oh this is EXACTLY the post I needed to read right now (as I trawl blog-land rather than get down to work)! Thank you!

    I also had a lot of success with WW and often think I could bennifit by applying those principles to other stuff… maybe this is the last little push I needed? 🙂

  • Jenny
    July 10, 2011

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Perfect messages at a perfect time for me. You STAR! xx

  • The Style PA
    July 24, 2011

    I swear by my Filofax. No electronic or online diary or calendar can replace it. I keep all sorts of wonders in there – like gift or discount vouchers, tickets to events slotted into the relevant dated page and the business cards of the people I’ve met recently.