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How to Stay Motivated during Challenging Times

Updated: Oct 30, 2022

Life gets busy.

Life is uncertain.

Life can get challenging.

Life gets stressful.

This March marks the two year anniversary since the COVID-19 started impacting Canada. In March 2020 we had our first community outbreak, first Covid related death in BC, state of emergencies, lockdowns, and travel bans.

The last couple years have not been easy.

Today is different. We have adapted, grown together (or apart), and decided to continue living our lives despite the challenges and uncertainties. And right when we feel like the world is stabilizing, conflict arises in Ukraine and Russia. When will it end? Will it end?

Still, we need to continue doing our jobs, taking care of ourselves and our families, and supporting our communities.

Overwhelmed? Stressed? Unmotivated?

How can you stay motivated during these challenging times?

It is your own responsibility to create intrinsic motivation for yourself. Do not wait for others to do it for you.

I take a different approach than just recommending a 10 action checklist. Create something for yourself that actually works for you!

Here's a quick exercise that will take no more than 10 minutes:

1. Name and explain the challenge that is holding you back (what is your barrier)

  • Who, what, when, where, who

2. Define what you need from yourself to break through this barrier (what will motivate you)

3. Develop an action plan with a deadline to get what you need (make a 3 step plan)

  • How can you solve this problem?

4. Follow through on the action plan ASAP (get moving)

5. Review, reflect, and repeat (be objective)

What worked? What didn't work?

What did you learn?

Here's an example:

I am feeling stuck and tired because I have too much work and not enough time for myself. I feel this way daily especially in the evenings. I am not feeling motivated to wake up in the morning. I am not giving myself enough time to rest. It is the worst when work gets put on me in evening and the weekends.

I need more time to focus on myself do things I enjoy. I need to get my mind off work and my eyes away from the screen.

I will give myself a 20 minute break in the afternoon at 3:30pm to go for a walk. I will communicate to my colleagues that I will be offline and away from my desk. I will ask for help. I will do this today.

Go do it.

It felt great to take a break. I ended up being more productive after this break as well. I can continue doing this daily. Next time I'll block off my time in my calendar. A small break really helps my re-energize.

Play with this exercise. It's an experiment. Any action is better than inaction.

We need to continue to take care of ourselves and our own needs.

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