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Finding Motivation in an Un-motivating Time


I am an individual who thrives on routine; I, for most of my 22 years, revolved my life around my schedule, my motivation stemmed from this routine. Take high school, which I’m now five years out from, for example. During these awkward teenage years I made sure to continue the same routine every day, leaving the same time, getting the same coffee order, sitting outside the same locker until classes began, where I then lived my life from bell-to-bell. When in college, my schedule was more flexible, yet I thrived on having 9:30a.m. classes, allowing myself to maintain that same schedule that gave me motivation to get certain things done. But I also found motivation in the things and people that I cherished the most: my friends, my family, the parties that I wanted to go to but NEEDED to get my work done prior to going.

My life was not one big circle of work, despite constantly freaking out about my next assignment due, but these many factors allowed me to find the motivation to do the things I wanted, to have hope that once I am done I will be free to relax

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But how can I find any inkling of motivation during these difficult times? I feel as though I am stuck in a perpetual Groundhog Day due to the Coronavirus Pandemic continuing on for months, with no end in sight. Not only has the rest of my senior year been stripped from my grasp, but so have my friends, my social life and most factors that give me motivation to not lay around all day constantly eating out of boredom and watching just one more YouTube video (which is what I tend to do now). Finding what really matters in life is hard if every day seems to be another day of stay-at-home. While I won’t outright decree that there seems to be no hope, the repetition of days allows the mind to think in this way. It is easier to find solace in bed than to sluggishly go about the day knowing COVID-19 will still be here tomorrow, and the next day, etc. This is not just the case for me, but for most people around the globe. Even tasks that I’ve neglected to do seem to have little relevance.

Everyone seems to be having that problem of finding motivation. But there are some ways to combat it, reliving it rather than completely solving it. As maintaining motivation becomes increasingly difficult, we must find ways that work for ourselves to bring ourselves back to reality, and not the world of lying in bed watching Netflix.

One way that can help to find motivation is to wake up at the same time every day. Waking up at this same time can allow for the routine that many people are striving for, the thing that they need to get their day moving. I know for myself, waking up at the same time forces me to get my day moving. Within this bit, waking up early also tends to have the same effect. I know for me, if I sleep past a certain time, I’ll feel as though my day has been lost, even if I accidentally sleep until 11:00 a.m. And while I do find that it can be difficult to wake up early, sometimes you just need to force yourself from your slumber.

This is not a plea to wake up at the crack of dawn, but instead a suggestion to get up even a half hour earlier. According to TheLadders.com, spending even a few minutes getting up early allows you to carve out a better routine for yourself, allowing for more motivation. Because it is easier to realize how much time there really is in a day, you will become more motivated to get whatever you want done. But what do you actually need to get done?

That’s where setting goals comes into play. By setting goals, even if they include minute details throughout your day, you have an idea of what you want to accomplish rather than need to. Dr. Albert Bandura states that “goals are a symbolic representation of what you want to move towards.” Yes, these goals might include getting work done, but by including your own personal goals for the day, you increase your motivation to do said-activities.

This personal rewards motivation is referred to as Intrinsic Motivation, as mentioned by Dr. Goleman, meaning behaviors are done for the purpose of the self or from inspiration within. Personally, I have found the greatest success in setting personal goals.

For one, I find that I cannot concentrate if I’m focusing on something for so long I cannot focus; by setting personal goals, I can determine what responsibilities I have while also focusing on myself. Focusing on oneself can serve more meaning than anything else. What can I do for myself?

These general two changes have made a huge impact in finding my own motivation to get through the day. While only two aspects of one’s life, these two make the most major impact on motivation. From here, individuals can set their own tasks and motivating moments. I know for some exercise helps to increase motivation, others might be reading, writing, or any other fulfilled achievement. Even calling friends for five minutes can bring about this social function we crave for fullfiment.

This is different for each person. There is no one way to find motivation. But what I can say is that by imparting these two factors, motivation becomes easier to find, even in this repetitive Groundhog’s Day. When motivation is achieved, the days go by quicker, yet, at the same time, they become more fulfilled and satisfying.