Motivation, Such An AggrAvation

Here we are, half way through the New Year. I know I’m not the only one struggling to stay on top of everything, struggling for the get up and go, struggling for motivation. One thing that has helped keep me going is staying organized by writing down my to-dos and my routines. I’m a mom, I have a million things to do every day and there’s always something at the end of the day I’m forgetting. Here are the main five pieces of advice I have and the five ways I stay motivated throughout the year, especially in the first few months. 

  1. Write out a physical to-do list

It always seems so much easier for our brains to process what we have going on for the day when we can see it all written out. Not only is it a good way to keep track of everything, but it’s also super gratifying to cross off each task as you complete them. 

  1. Write out a morning/evening routine
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Same as above, having your goals for the day written out is the first big step to making sure you get all everything you need finished. I find it helpful to get together a solid morning and evening routing, allowing yourself plenty of time to get yourself established in the morning and also to wind down in the evening to help relax your mind for a restful night. 

  1. Leave yourself notes of inspiration or reminders
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Even a simple post with a kind motivator of ‘You’re doing great!’ can be a great reminder to be kind to yourself. I have a white board up in my office that I use for my daily tasks. While it was empty one day, my husband wrote on it ‘Remember to love yourself, too.’ and it warmed my heart so much that I’ve left it up for the last month. Every time I look at it, it’s a reminder to slow down and make sure I’m taking care of myself too. 

  1. Don’t overload yourself 
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While we have so many aspirations, it can be easy to overload ourselves. As I talked about in my post about resolutions last week, the best thing to do is set realistic goals. Stepping stones that can help lead you on your journey to your desired finish line. Great things take time and we can’t compare our chapter one to someone else’s chapter fifteen. Going at your own pace and taking large goals one step at a time helps you to stay motivated and not get quickly burnt out. 

  1. Treat yourself!
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After a long week, or just a long day, of accomplishing your goals and checking everything off your to do lists, we’re exhausted. Something I love to do afterwards is treat myself. Taking a few hours of relaxation to binge a new show on Netflix or indulging in a nice dessert, or your favorite take out when you don’t feel like cooking. Whatever your heart desires. It’s important to treat ourselves, we work so hard every day that rewarding ourselves is one of the most important items to cross off our weekly to-do lists. It gives us something to look forward to and also reminds us to love and take time to care for ourselves. 

Habits you set in the beginning of the year can set the tone for the entire twelve months. Having healthy habits and productive routines in place already puts you steps ahead from where you started. Staying motivation is a struggle but staying organized and focused is the key to success. 

New Year. Same Me?

The infamous New Years Resolution. You have to admire the human spirit. We look at the first day of a new calendar year as a fresh start. A new opportunity to leave the past behind us, to drop all of our old habits overnight and step into a whole new way of being. It’s ambitious, it’s overwhelming and 9 out of 10 times it doesn’t stick. We cannot become new people overnight without putting in the work. Let me say that again, we cannot form new habits and become new people overnight without putting in the work. Creating a skincare routine will not eradicate the demons that are hiding in your soul. Showers are basic hygiene, not self care. It’s deeper than all that. 

Humans are creatures of habit. We will choose to sit in the same seats throughout an entire semester of class. We choose the same coffee mugs in the morning. We choose the same meal when we order food. There isn’t anything wrong with this, it’s just how we are by nature. This is why our New Year’s resolutions don’t typically make it into February. Losing weight isn’t about going on a diet for two months and then falling back into unhealthy habits, it’s about completely changing your mindset and lifestyle, which is hard as hell. Especially after the year we just had. 2020 was testing enough as it is, why push yourself even further?

I decided I was going to push myself. Every year I make a New Year’s resolution and most of the time, I don’t follow through. Even last year, I pledged to read more books. And while I read significantly more throughout the Spring than I did the year before, I didn’t complete the 25 books I set my heart on. This year, I set resolutions but I chose things that I was already doing. I know, that’s not technically a resolution, but we’re allowed to do whatever we want.

1. Make time for books, whether it be reading them or writing them. 

2. Cut back on single use plastics.

3. Love myself. 

That’s it, just those three things. But those are huge, lifestyle changing commitments. Especially that last one, that’s the hardest of the bunch. Honestly, using less plastic is going to be the easiest, and I’ll go more into detail on that in a future post. 

The reality is, it’s not the date on the calendar that puts us on a better or healthier track of life, it’s us. We hold all the power. It’s looking inside yourself and deciding you want to change. You’ll never accomplish anything that you don’t truly want and wanting it is already half the battle. 

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Last year was tough, but it was a big eye opener for many of us, and I think with the arrival of this new year, it’s the perfect time to take the lessons we learned in 2020 and carry them with us. The idea that we are all human beings who deserve love, protection and justice. The idea that we can slow down and cut back, take time to analyze how we are treating our planet. If 2020 didn’t completely change you, I can’t explain it. I am definitely taking 2020 with me as I go forward. If we leave it in the past, then we can’t take what we learned with us. We need to learn from our hard times. We need to keep saying Breonna Taylor and Vanessa Guillen’s names. We need to keep considering the health and existence of other human beings. Compassion is never a bad trait. Educating and bettering yourself is never a waste of time. As Oscar Wilde said, “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.” 

To come full circle, the idea of a resolution is great, but it needs to be something obtainable. Something that will improve your life and most importantly, something you’re ready for. Brew yourself a pot of coffee, take your time, and step into this year with the lessons of your past and kick some ass. You create your own destiny, you decide who you are and what kind of person you’re going to be. We’re all on this journey of life, some of us are just getting started and some have been on this path for years, so be kind to your neighbor because you never know which part of the voyage they’re on.