Like the moon and the ocean, many of us go through times of waxing and waning, ebbs and flows. One minute we're feeling ready to take on the world and the next we're crawling back under the covers to sleep away our indifference.
I was in a huge slump a few weeks ago, not feeling motivated to do anything. Not even the things I enjoy most. I didn't want to write or read or workout or hang out. I felt sooo sleepy and only wanted to take nap after nap. When I wasn't sleeping, I was spending mindless hours playing computer games.
Why do I feel like this? Where's my passion, my motivation?
I don't know why I fell into such a rut; perhaps it was just time for me to slow down or hormones or the season or what have you. Whatever the case, the slump passed and one day I woke up ready to take on the world again. Okay, maybe it wasn't that dramatic, but I got my motivation back and that was enough for me.
So what's a girl to do when she gets down in the dumps or falls into a rut? You could wait it out if you feel that's necessary, but if your lack of motivation lasts longer than you'd like it to, here are some simple tips to get your determination, motivation, and passion for life back. (p.s. If you feel you might be depressed, please see a doc!)
1. Don't take yourself so seriously.
Sometimes a lack of motivation stems from our need to be perfect. If you have a project that you're working on or something you'd like to accomplish, but can't seem to find the motivation to start or finish it, it might be because you're afraid it won't be good enough. And if it's not good enough, no one will like it. And if no one likes it, you're a failure.
But let's get real here. Let's say you accomplish your goal and it actually sucks and no one likes it. Will the world end? Will people stand around and mock you endlessly? Will you never ever produce anything good for the rest of your life?
It's all a bit dramatic, isn't it? Honestly, life will go on, you'll go on, and you'll continue creating or doing whatever it is that you dream of doing because you like doing it. When you let yourself off the hook, even just a little, your goals will feel lighter and you'll be able to accomplish your thing with more happiness and less stress.
2. Set (very) small goals.
Pick one thing off your to-do/want to-do list and do it for five minutes. Seriously, set a timer and tell yourself you only have to do that one thing for five minutes, then you can go back to napping or binge watching Shameless. It's a win-win because you accomplish something and you might find that you want to continue said goal past the five minute mark.
3. Ask for help, join a group, set deadlines.
I've been talking about writing (and finishing) a novel for months, but I never "got around" to it. I realized that what I needed was a group to keep me accountable. I needed deadlines and feedback, so I joined a writing workshop. Every week I had to turn in five pages, which was a small enough goal to accomplish and gave me the drive to do it knowing the pages would receive feedback. The workshop's over now, but I'm still working on the novel because during those 10 weeks I developed a writing habit and the discipline to continue.
Perhaps joining a group would help you too. And if not a group, a friend to support you and keep you accountable. You can do the same in return and everybody wins!
4. Do something different.
Getting out of our comfort zones can shake up a rut. That might mean doing something as big as taking a road trip or as small as writing at a cafe instead of the bedroom. A change of scenery can work wonders and experiencing new things can invigorate your mind. So try a new restaurant, take a different route to work, plan a weekend trip to some place new, or check your local events for something intriguing. Shake up your routine!
Sometimes what we really need is a few quiet moments to rest and reflect. Life is busy, loud, crowded, and full of to-do lists. It's no wonder we want to throw up our hands and say "Forget it!"
Take five or 10 minutes to yourself, close your eyes, and just sit there. Listen to a guided meditation, some soft music, or the sounds around you. Let your thoughts drift and your body relax. This is your moment.
After a good meditation session I feel so refreshed. Give it a try and see if it makes a difference in your mood.
6. Don't beat yourself up.
Most importantly, don't beat yourself up for being "lazy" or "wasting time" or whatever negative things you tell yourself. These things happen. Life is up and down. Things come and go. It's a balance, really. When you find yourself void of motivation, take it easy, give yourself some slack, and remember that this too shall pass. Take each day as it comes and do what you can with what you have. Cliche or not, it's all true. Now give yourself a hug and step into the day. You've got this!