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Motivation for 2018

POSTED January 16, 2018

Motivation is powerful, yet a tricky beast. Sometimes it is really easy to get motivated, and you find yourself wrapped up in a whirlwind of excitement. Other times, it is nearly impossible to figure out how to motivate yourself. We have this common misconception that motivation arrives as a result of passively consuming a motivational video or reading an inspirational book.You don’t need much motivation once you’ve started a behavior. After you start, progress occurs more naturally.

Reflect on the previous twelve months and write an honest review of what went well, what could have gone better, and what you are working toward. Celebrate the hard work and important decisions you have made over the past year, while also taking note of where you failed and how you can improve. Although you should highlight your victories, it’s not about comparing yourself to others or picking a winner because perfection is unattainable. Make an annual review and see yourself for who you really are; think about the type of person you want to become, try new things and stepping out of your comfort zone.

Start small, make resolutions that you can keep. If for example, your aim is to exercise more frequently, schedule three or four days a week at the gym instead of seven. If you would like to eat healthier, try replacing dessert with something else you enjoy, like fruit or yogurt instead of seeing your diet as a form of punishment. Don’t get overwhelmed and think that you have to reassess everything in your life. Instead, work on changing one thing at a time. Remember that minor missteps when reaching your goals are completely normal. Don’t give up completely because you ate a brownie and broke your diet, or skipped the gym for a week because you were busy. Everyone has ups and downs resolve to recover from your mistakes and get back on track.

You’ve been working hard all semester, with projects, tests, labs, and whatever extracurriculars and other obligations you have going on. Maybe you’re still as starry-eyed, impassioned, and ready to roll as you were at the beginning of the semester, but chances are that you’re starting to feel a little run down and a little less motivated to put down school related keystrokes. You’re not lazy or a bad person for this, burnouts happen to the best of us, however studious and hardworking we may be. Those essays and tests still have to be taken and written, with motivation or not. Take a break, take a breath, do whatever you can do to make you feel ready and energized for semester testing.

Maybe you aren’t the most flexible. Maybe you have trouble relaxing when you know you have a stressful week coming up and have to study all the time for testing. All the more reason to reap the benefits of practicing yoga or meditation, on a regular basis. It’s easy enough to turn your room into a tranquil meditation spot and for as few as just ten minutes daily, you can carve yourself out well-deserved relaxation and mindfulness.

Change is hard and you’ve probably noticed that. We all want to become better people: stronger and healthier, more creative and skilled and better friends or family members. Even if we get really inspired and start doing things better, it’s tough to actually stick to a new behavior. It’s more likely that this year you’ll be doing the same thing rather than performing a new habit with ease. It is easier to take action and feel a bit insecure at the gym than to sit and experience self-loathing on the couch. It is easier to feel awkward while making the sales call than to feel disappointed about your dwindling bank account. This is the essence of motivation. Every choice has a price, but when we are motivated it is easier to bear the inconvenience of an action than the pain of remaining the same.

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