Is Your Motivation Working for or Against You?

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Motivation is such a double-edged sword. There are all kinds of podcasts, conferences, and ebooks in every corner of the world, available in any language, that swear to help you get motivated to achieve your dreams. Most of the time, those external inspirations aren’t even necessary though, as the motivation to get the life we want is already there — it’s the whole reason for getting out of bed every day.

So, if the problem isn’t how to get motivation then it must be what to do with motivation once we’ve got it. This sort of realization is a beautiful catalyst for starting something, but it takes more to see it through to the end: commitment and organization.

burn outWithout organization, the great start to your endeavor will inevitably fizzle out, becoming weighed down by the overwhelm of a chaotic plan. And, without commitment, after the honeymoon phase of said endeavor, there will be nothing left to carry you through to the finish line. Just imagine this scenario with the hundreds of ideas that sprout up weekly! There’s absolutely no wonder that burnout is always waiting around the corner here.

Speaking of burnout, that’s the next step in this hectic cycle. Whether it’s the subtle burnout of one goal’s ambition or being in a general burnout state, nothing you want   is getting accomplished. That would be fine…if it wouldn’t trigger a bigger motivational wave to start in a few days or weeks, only to continue this exhausting surf!

Well, what’s the good news then? It’s totally possible to even out the waves. There’s no real secret or trick. It’s just one of the millions of things in life that require balance.

You know, that super elusive and beautiful thing: balance.

Working Against Everything I’m Working For

Whether it be at work, school, around the home, or even while playing a video game, most of us can relate to getting on a productivity roll and not wanting to stop. Putting in extra time, yielding great results, just having to get that one more thing done–it can be a great feeling to work extremely hard for something and achieve it.

motivation working for youWhen that becomes a lifestyle though, things can get hectic pretty quickly. We tend to look like an insect stuck in a house, flying everywhere and nowhere at the same time constantly. We probably start to feel like that poor thing, too!

This would be a good time to sit down and reevaluate your organizational approach. While it might sound very official with images of Post Its coming to mind, all I mean is having at least a tentatively laid plan as to how to get to the end goal.

If you’re “kind of” looking for a new job (you know what I mean), then take it to the next level. How many applications can you comfortably manage to send per week? What’s the total month’s goal, in case there’s an off week where you got less done and need to be flexible on the weekly goal? Which day will you sit down and plan the rest of the week to see what times you can fit in to send out applications?

Stay with me here! So, if there’s at least a tentative plan laid out for your project, you have a clear direction to take action on, which is important for maintaining momentum. Once we get stuck not knowing where to go next, it’s definitely time to hit the drawing board.

Slow Down to Speed Up

It’s the hardest to do sometimes, but slowing down is often one of the best things for staying on track. Taking a minute to relax and reevaluate my current and future courses of action has proven to be the only guaranteed way (that I’ve found) to make sure I’m constantly on a steady path.

Sitting still can be foreign at first, for sure! Here are some small things you could try to get a few moments of stillness throughout the day:

  • Tea- Seriously. Try one of those teas or coffees you’ve been eyeing–except this time, really taste it. 
  • Guided meditation/exercises:  There are awesome, short guided meditations, workouts, and stretches to fit into your schedule. Plenty of them are even two minutes or less! It just gives a moment to realign with the self.
  • Affirmations: They can be fun! Find some that match your specific goal set (confidence, stress, etc.) and go for it. It’s totally okay to add a personal touch, and recommended.  Something as simple as, “You’re doing the best you can,” is a powerful self-message. 
  • Write out your weekly goals in a bath! First of all, it’s relaxing. Secondly, it’s hard to get too lost in thought while taking a bath.

Hopefully those few little things are doable for you because they can turn a dull day into, well, a sunny one. One of the most freeing realizations to ever come my way was that my happiness is 100% my responsibility.

If something works, do it! So, find a few little self-care options that pique your interest and go wild. Finger painting also works.  

Work Smarter, Not Harder

At the end of the day, it’s always best to work smarter, not harder. If anything sticks, let it be this: sitting still is the only way to really know how to continue forward. There are endless ways that people find time to be mindful. And, Hey! The more that mindfulness muscle gets worked out, the easier it is to use.

You got this!

What do you do to keep your foundation strong and your motivation cared for? Tell me in the comments below.


About the Author

Whitney RobichauxWhitney Robichaux is a freelance writer and copywriter for hire in Chicago who mostly spends her days trying to keep warm. She has a deep passion for self-improvement and connectedness, but she writes on a variety of other compelling topics. Tell her what you do to stay motivated on Twitter at @WriteWhitney and work with her at  

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