How I Find Motivation On My Days Off


A challenge I’ve faced since moving back home after graduation is finding the motivation to really do something with my day when I, mostly, have nothing I have to do. Sound familiar? For awhile, I did nothing but relax. I woke up at 10 am pretty much everyday and maybe strolled to the gym, with some TV and snacking in between. This was great until I remembered that I am a 22-year-old with a college degree

It can be difficult to find motivation to keep working on your goals when there is no deadline or someone pressing you to do more. Why work hard when you can binge-watch Keeping Up With the Kardashians, right? Eventually, I realized I was keeping up with Kim and Kanye better than I was keeping up with my own life and knew that I had to get off my butt and do something that would, in the long run, be beneficial.

It didn’t happen overnight but over the past month or so I’ve found doing the following have allowed me to be more productive (functioning), motivated person and have brought me closer to my goals. If you’re stuck in a rut similar to what I was experiencing, my tips may work for you!

1. Wake Up Early

Yes, this one kinda blows but only at first. It’s an important habit to start getting into for a lot of different reasons. Firstly, if you’re going to eventually get a job, you’re eventually going to have to wake up early. Sorry kiddies. Secondly, it’s going to be difficult to accomplish everything you set out to do in one day if you aren’t out of bed and ready before 12 pm. Many businesses close between 4 and 6; you’ll only stress yourself out by trying to squeeze everything into that small of a time frame. It also just, in general, feels great to be up and about early. I find that just accomplishing small things, like making breakfast and checking emails, before everyone else is motivation in itself. If you need more convincing, check out these slightly more official sources here, and here.

2. Have a Routine

Part of the reason I believe many of us were able to accomplish (most) what we needed to do during college was due to the fact that we all had a routine. Mine was usually: gym, shower, class, study. Having this routine every day didn’t really ever leave me the option to just not do anything during the week. It’s important to find a routine while you’re at home because it will not just give you a plan for the day, which is important when you don’t have a job or anything “essential” to do, but it will help you form good habits that you can carry long term. A routine becomes a routine because of repetition, if you create a routine that sets you up for success and you do it every day, you should find that your life mirrors your efforts.

Having trouble finding the motivation to commit to a routine? Write it out. Plan exactly how you want to spend your day. When you catch yourself not following it, think of what made you get off track and try not to make the same mistake next time. My current routine looks something like this:

7 am: Wake up (sometimes it takes me a few minutes to get out of bed)

8- 10 am: Workout at the gym, relax in the sauna, grab a coffee.

10 am – 12 pm: Eat Breakfast, Shower, Check Emails, Read the News

12 pm -4 pm: on busier days it may change, but this is usually when I try to write new articles, apply to jobs and reach out to try and network with people. If I need to run an errand I try and do it here.

5 pm – 7pm: Eat Dinner and do an *intelligent* activity such as reading or working on my (future) career.

7pm – Sleep: Whatever I feel like doing (aka watch my trashy reality TV)

3. Exercise

If you can’t tell by now, all of my techniques somewhat overlap. I wake up early each day to get a workout in and you should too. I’m sure you’re sick of reading about of all the benefits of exercise (more energy, weight loss/maintenance, better concentration, better sleep, etc.) that are posted everywhere online, so I won’t reiterate what everyone else is saying. All I can say is think about it. With all the benefits it can’t hurt to try? You don’t have to run 6 miles or slave over weights for 2 hours at the gym to have a worthwhile workout. Walk the dog, take a dance class, clean the house – whatever get’s you moving is great for you!

Incorporating exercise into your routine, no matter what type or at what time, will help you succeed in your other goals by giving you a sense of accomplishment and pride for taking care of and bettering yourself. I personally find that finishing a work out is great motivation to keep working hard the rest of the day.

4. Set New & Realistic Goals for Yourself Each Day

You can’t save the world every day and that’s ok. Each morning, or the night before even, create goals that you can realistically accomplish that day. Some days it might be as simple as “go to the gym” or “call an old friend”, and other days it might be “apply to 5 jobs” and “clean out my closet” (yikes). The important thing is that you meet these goals!

How will setting smaller goals each day help you reach your bigger, long-term goals? Setting tiny goals holds you accountable for making small steps each day towards your end goal. It’s easy to rationalize not doing something productive one day because, like I said, you can’t (for example) get your dream job in one day but you also can’t get your dream job if you never do anything to set you up for success. To start, set up two goals you think are reasonable and do them! Seeing the results from your small, every day actions is often all the motivation you need to keep at it!

Have any of you struggled to get motivated also? What are your tips? Did you try any of mine – how did it work out?  Let me know in the comments below!


One Comment

  1. Great tips! I try to do the same! When I work M-F 8am-5pm, I like to pack my lunch and gym clothes the night before. This way I actually have something healthy to eat and am not forced to buy cafeteria junk if I’m running late. And having my gym clothes already ready motivates me to actually go after work!

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