How to Maintain Your Motivation

In your course studies, daily chores, and work duties, the drive to be diligent can become an obstacle.

By: Miriam Bird & Jake Hreha

In your course studies, daily chores, and work duties, the drive to be diligent can become an obstacle. Avoiding the work is not a solution, and procrastination only produces additional frustration and stress. How can we maintain motivation in every area of our lives? Here are a few tried-and-true tips!

Staying motivated can be difficult. Sometimes we feel full of motivation and ready to make big accomplishments. Other times we lose motivation and feel bored or uninterested in the work we are doing. Whether you are looking for motivation in your personal life or professional life there are specific strategies that help you stay motivated.

Positive self talk, positive affirmations, and other similar practices are popular today. These can be good for a short period of time but often don't help you in the long term. You may have goals such as getting your dream job, improving your everyday life, or losing weight. Your motivation needs to be found in a sustainable way that continues to help you moving forward.

How To Stay Motivated in Life

First, we must recognize how we are motivated. When we “walk through the motions” in our work, we may be relying on our extrinsic motivation. This motivation includes tangible rewards such as receiving a paycheck in our jobs, diploma in our studies, or praise from others in our relationships. Depending on external stimuli for motivation can disconnect us from the power and purpose of our work.

Intrinsic rewards, on the other hand, are another source of motivation. Intrinsic motivation includes external and personal interests such as fulfilling your purpose and calling in life or working on a hobby for enjoyment.

Both extrinsic and intrinsic motivations are equally valuable and must be included in our work. To refrain from procrastination and maintain healthy motivation, consider this series of practical habits and steps.

Take Time to Reflect

Rather than pushing through a task, take a productive break to reflect. When we feel a lull of energy in our work, reflecting on the reasons why we started can refresh us. Feel empowered by how far you have come and all the hard work you have accomplished.

  • Journal about your mindset regarding the tasks at hand and about the strategies that have worked best for you in the past. Check out Terra Brown’s work journaling prompts or Amber Lea Starfire’s motivation prompts.
  • Don’t be alone! Discuss your progress and current process with someone who can hold you accountable. A support system is important.
  • Review the goals that drive you towards high expectations and self-discipline.

Establish Rewards

Before diving back into your work, plan ways to implement rewards in your work. Celebrating the milestones and small victories establishes a natural motivator for yourself. You can also customize these rewards for yourself and your needs.

  • Plan productive breaks during your study time or workdays. You can designate a time to focus on your tasks and reward your progress with a brain break. Check out Pomofocus, an online and mobile app timer that customizes your work and break time.
  • Establish traditions in your daily and weekly routine. You can consistently reward yourself, like buying your favorite caffeinated drink on Mondays or spending your lunch breaks with your friends.
  • Dedicate time to your hobbies. On the weekends, spend time focusing on life-giving moments that are not associated with your work.

Now, It’s Time to Restart

You do not have to start your tasks from the beginning, but creating a renewed and strategic plan of action can help you become productive and motivated.

  • Organize your planner or to-do list. What should be the top priority?
  • Enlist someone to help you reengage with the task and the progress. Consider a friend, coworker, fellow classmate, or professor who can be your accountability partner.
  • Create new short-term and long-term goals for yourself that will help you be more disciplined. Check out Zanna Keithley’s prompts for goal setting.

Maintaining motivation is a discipline, and time is valuable. Be encouraged and empower others who are discouraged in their work, studies, or personal lives to take time to reflect, reward themselves, and restart their tasks with a balance of extrinsic and intrinsic motives. Learning to stay motivated is a great practice for better mental health.

Miriam Bird

Copywriting Assistant, IWU-National and Global

Miriam Bird assists with content development for IWU–National and Global, capturing student stories and journeys. She is currently a student at IWU–Marion, studying elementary education.

Jake Hreha

SEO Copywriter, IWU

Jake Hreha is a graduate of Ball State University, where he majored in advertising with a concentration in media presentation and design. He is passionate about design, and in his free time he enjoys cycling, traveling, and reading.

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