Do You Struggle To Stay Motivated? You’re Not Alone!

posted by Andrea | 03/16/2018
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Have you ever had a day where you practically jump out of bed before your alarm goes off, rearing and ready to dive into your to-do list for the day? You get the laundry started, get dressed, get ready, and start breakfast all before anyone else even steps foot out of bed.

Ahhh… those days feel amazing to me!

Then… there are other days when you hit snooze over and over and over again… shove PopTarts in the hands of your small people as they leave the house, and drag yourself to the bathroom to quickly get ready for the day, hoping you don’t forget something important since you never bothered to make a to-do list at all.

Believe it or not, bouncing back and forth between these 2 scenarios is very normal (potentially aggravating and annoying, but very normal!)

This is because motivation is NOT constant!

It’s impossible to stay motivated towards any of your goals 100% of the time — seriously, impossible!

There will always be periods of time (maybe minutes and hours, maybe months and years) when you just don’t have the energy or will-power to continue pushing forward, even though the goal you’re working towards IS really important to you.

I have personally experienced the highs and lows of motivation in so many areas:

Home renovation projects — we always schedule a few breaks throughout a long project, otherwise we burn out.

Gardening — I often take the end of July “off” because I’m tired of yard work and it’s so hot outside!

Cleaning — there are weeks when I do lots of deep cleaning and weeks when I hardly finish the bare necessities.

Blog work — there are months when I have SO many ideas I could write 5 posts a day, and other times when I’m struggling to come up with content for 5 posts a week.

Eating/cooking healthy foods — sometimes, I’m really gung-ho about trying new healthier recipes; other times I order Culver’s!

Planning fun activities for my kids — there are days when every activity we do together is Pinterest worthy, and other days when they get their TV fix for the entire week because I’m just too tired or have no extra energy.

There are days when I feel like I’m rocking it at life, and other days when I feel like I just want to quit everything and go to bed.

This is not because I have a wishy-washy personality, but simply because I’m human!

note: this is an old picture — I am not pregnant 🙂

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Let me give you a couple real-life examples…

Example #1: Getting Your Home Organized:

IN THE BEGINNING: 

You’re ready to finally get your home organized once and for all — YOU ARE GOING TO DO THIS!

You buy organizing products, check out organizing books from the library, read up on all your favorite organizing blogs, and set aside time to get to work.

You do the 15 minutes minutes a day, you fill up bags of trash, you take trips to the donation center, you monitor what comes into your house, you deal with paper immediately, you stay on top of your stuff, you put things away.

You have so much fun organizing different areas of your home with the cute new organizing products you just purchased, and everything looks great for a couple of days (maybe weeks!)

THEN: 

You get tired, you have a bad day at work, your kids keep you up all night, you’re busy with outside activities, and you just want to have a snack, watch a show on Netflix, and go to bed.

You notice that all the organizing you did the week before suddenly doesn’t look as nice anymore, and that you’ll have to eventually work on those areas again (seriously, why does the house not magically stay organized!)

You decide you’ll skip your organizing work for today… but just for today.

THE FALL: 

After a few days of skipping your daily to-dos and 15-minute pick-ups, you decided you’ll never get organized as it’s just “not for you” and you simply “don’t have time” to work it into your busy life.

You convince yourself that just because you had a few rough days, you’ll never be able to change your ways.

Sound familiar?!!?!

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Example #2: Eating Better and Exercising More:

IN THE BEGINNING: 

You’re ready to finally lose some weight and get healthier once and for all — YOU ARE GOING TO DO THIS!

You buy fruits and veggies, you stock up on protein powder, chia seeds, flax seed, and all those other trendy health foods. You pin 236 healthy recipes you are going to make, and buy a new cookbook that will help you cut some calories.

You join a gym, buy an elliptical on Craigslist, and wake up early to exercise before work. You make yourself a healthy breakfast and pack healthy lunches the night before. You skip dessert and opt for healthier snack choices.

THEN: 

You get tired, you have a bad day at work, your kids keep you up all night, you’re busy with outside activities, and you don’t have the time or energy to keep up with your new healthified eating plan or exercise routine.

You have a party or event with others and just have to try a piece of that cheesecake (and who can stop at one?) — not to mention all the amazing appetizers that were simply calling your name!

You decide you’ll skip your breakfast prep tonight and get fast food for lunch tomorrow to give yourself a break… just for one day.

THE FALL: 

After a few days of skipping your healthier foods and new exercise routine, you decide that maybe it’s not the best time in your life to put time and energy towards these goals. Maybe in a few years you’ll have more time and can focus on it then.

You convince yourself that just because you had a few rough days, you’ll never be able to change your ways.

Sound familiar?!!?!

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If you can relate to either of these scenarios…. guess what?

You are completely NORMAL!

Whether you’re trying to start a new business, wake up earlier, make more time for yourself, increase your productivity, or decrease your debt, there will always be times when you are super motivated, and other times when you’re not.

The important thing is to realize when you are in the middle of “THE FALL” and stop yourself from totally giving up.

It’s completely normal to have bad days (or weeks or months).

It’s completely normal to want to give up.

It’s completely normal to to have tons of motivation one day and negative motivation the next.

However, you can STILL continue working towards your goals, even if you get off track and lose motivation.

You can start by acknowledging that you’re going through a rough patch, give yourself a bit of grace to get through that difficult period of time, and then pick back up where you left off.

And yes, I realize this is not necessarily a SIMPLE thing to do… but you can do it!

The next time you’re feeling totally unmotivated towards your current goal (however big or small it might be), give yourself a little grace, but also, give yourself a time-frame of when you will pick back up again.

Once you get going again, your motivation will increase for a while and then you’ll most likely fall off the bandwagon again… that’s OK. It’s a cyclical process that is all very normal.

Just keep picking yourself up and get started again.

Over time, the “falls” won’t feel as hard or as challenging and it will become easier and easier to pick yourself up again.

And eventually… your current actions will become more habitual — which is the ultimate goal! 

What goals are YOU working towards right now?

Filed under: LifeWorkMisc.ProductivityGoals

 
 

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17 comments

  1. JJ

    03/19/2018

    I love this! YOU motivate and encourage!!! Thank you!!!

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  2. Jessica

    03/18/2018

    Thank you for normalizing this process! We all struggle with it to varying degrees during life, but can also feel a lot of shame around it and beat ourselves up. I work with college students and it is one of the biggest issues I see facing their success! My experience is that procrastination is always tied to my thoughts about how something might turn out. If I am worried things won’t go well–I won’t pass an exam or I won’t be able to maintain an organization system–then I am going to avoid taking action in the first place. Being aware of that has helped me to overcome it much more quickly! I just wrote about how to stop procrastination for college students: https://collegestudysmarts.com/how-to-stop-procrastination/

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  3. Krista

    03/17/2018

    Andrea,

    I have been reading your blog since before Nora was born and I don’t think I have ever commented but this post just hit close to home. I just started a blog myself and it is overwhelming. I thought it wouldn’t be as hard to come with ideas. I feel exactly like you where you have so many ideas and then you blank on what to write. This also is the same way with other things in my life, the eating healthy, the organizing, I feel like I am all in but then after a couple of days/weeks I lose it as fast as it came. Reading this makes me realize that this is normal and I just have to pick up, dust off and keep going! Thank you!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Krista,
    Yes, this shows up as your very first comment for me — thanks so much 🙂
    And yes, you’re normal! Just keep on going!!

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  4. Maria

    03/16/2018

    Andrea, thanks so much for writing this post. It’s encouraging to know that I’m not alone in my struggle to staying motivated, especially when it comes to diet and exercise. Also, this is the time of year in which I have a number of goals that I need to work on (spring cleaning, gardening, trip planning etc.) so this is very timely.

    I found the following advice especially inspiring:

    Over time, the “falls” won’t feel as hard or as challenging and it will become easier and easier to pick yourself up again.

    And eventually… your current actions will become more habitual — which is the ultimate goal!

    Thanks again and have a great weekend!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh no — definitley not alone! Everyone is on the motivation roller coster at some point! Just keep riding it through all the ups and downs — you’ll eventually get to your goal!

    [Reply]

  5. Lori

    03/16/2018

    Such an encouraging post! I really needed this today.

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  6. Melodie

    03/16/2018

    It helps so much to understand that it’s normal to ebb and flow. I listened to this podcast recently-it goes perfectly with this topic. http://www.kendrahennessy.com/podcast/015

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Melodie — I’ll add that one to my list!

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  7. JoAnn C.

    03/16/2018

    Thank you, Andrea for this post. I have been struggling with my motivation since my Mom died almost a year ago. i have “fallen” many times this year and sometimes I jump right up, other times I’m a little slower to rise. I’m sending this post to my brother and his wife who are think I should continue living the way I was when Mom was here. For twelve years I worked day and night to care for her, with no vacation time, no time for myself and no days off. They have been helping me financially for a short while and expect me to move quickly through my grief. They can’t understand how sometimes I get so much done in a day and other days I can barely brush my teeth. I AM A HUMAN “BEING”–not a human doing. There are many reasons we fall. We can’t live by others’ expectations and rules. Thank you again, you have made my day. Blessing to you. Happy Friday.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Oh my. I’m sorry to hear about your mom — it must be such a different daily schedule and routine for you now, and you probably experienced many more life changes than your brother and his wife as a result.

    I think we all grieve differently, so just continue to give yourself time and try not to take your brothers words personally. He might just be grieving differently than you are.

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  8. Lynn

    03/16/2018

    Thank you so much for this post Andrea! I needed this today!

    You are an inspiration. Have a wonderful weekend!

    Lynn

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    You’re welcome Lynn!

    [Reply]

  9. Chris

    03/16/2018

    I read somewhere recently (I believe it was about weight loss but could apply to anything) – that motivation will decrease, but what you need is discipline. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes — that’s a great way to put it!

    [Reply]

  10. Annette Silveira

    03/16/2018

    You are so right. I love that quote because it’s all about continuing to get up. A fantastic book about habit-building is Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin. So, so good!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Annette — I think I’ve even checked that book out from the library, but didn’t read it because I have a hard time making time to read paper books. I need to get in on my phone!!

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