April 29, 2017
advice articles
Staying Motivated
via Flickr user Michael Pollack

Staying Motivated

“RJ and Will after watching you all these years I can see that you both are extremely driven and motivated to reach your goals/dreams. You usually get what you want. How do you keep yourself driven with all the obstacles that come your way?”

Emanuela

I’ve gotten this question quite a few times over the years, and it’s a bit of a tricky one to answer. I’ve always been the kind of person who’s really goal-oriented and driven. Even as a kid, I was always working really hard to try to get good grades and succeed at all my extracurricular activities. Will is the same way. As a matter of fact, he’s one of the few people I know who’s even more goal-oriented and driven than I am. It’s one of the things that I’ve always admired about him. So when it comes to both of us being driven, a lot of that has to do just with our personalities, which I know doesn’t really help a whole lot of people out there. “How do I stay motivated?” “Have a certain personality type.” No. That doesn’t work.

But I’d be lying if I said that we both didn’t have moments when we had trouble getting/staying motivated. We all have moments when we’re not feeling it for whatever reason. Maybe we’re tired, maybe we’re in a funk or just in a bad mood…it’s human nature to have those moments when you’re not feeling it. Luckily for us, we have a massive source of inspiration waiting at home for us. When one of us isn’t motivated, it’s usually the other one that helps pick us up and get us motivated. That is not to say that you have to be in a relationship to be motivated, but there is most certainly something to be said about surrounding yourself with the right people. Having a reliable support system is one of the best ways to keep yourself going and motivated. This can be as simple as having one person around who you can count on to keep you going. It can be a partner, a family member, or a close friend. Although hopefully you have more than one person you can potentially count on for that as well. Ideally, you’re already making it a point to surround yourself with people who build you up. If so, this helps provide a nice sturdy safety net you can land in should your motivation ever plummet. That support system can even be an online one if you need. I know that most of what kept us motivated to daily vlog was all the messages we were getting from you guys, the subscribers.

This chest day is kicking my ass almost as much as Zion Canyon did…

A photo posted by RJ Aguiar (@rj4gui4r) on

If you’re not there, or if you simply don’t feel like troubling your peeps for help, there are also individual resources you can utilize. Hopefully, if you’re working towards a certain goal, you have at least one specific objective in mind. Say your goal is to exercise more and get in better shape. That’s a great goal to have, but a bad objective in terms of actually motivating you to do it. It’s too vague. So instead, you’d have more specific objectives like “work out at least three times this week” and/or “run at least two miles a day”. It’s the whole “eating an elephant one bite at a time” idea. The key is to break it up into steps and then follow them. This is more of a strategy than it is inspiration, but having concrete goals helps you better visualize when they’re completed. Plus I always try to give myself small rewards for completing certain objectives, which is another large part of keeping myself on track. There’s also inspiration you can hopefully draw from. Maybe it’s a person who’s story you admire. Maybe it’s a song or a movie or a proverb. The point is to find something, anything, that inspires you to keep going whenever you hit certain slumps. And if you’re not exactly sure where to turn for inspiration, look back at what made you want to set this goal in the first place.

But even after all of that, there are still times when you can find yourself feeling burnt out. Sometimes, we’re so busy working towards our goals that we forget to stop and let ourselves rest every once in a while. So it’s no wonder that we have trouble finding motivation whenever those moments of fatigue hit us. That’s okay. You’re allowed to take breaks and let yourself rest every once in a while. They’re a normal and healthy part of productive life. All the different productivity books have cute little euphemisms for this: “refilling the pitcher”, “sharpening the saw”, “charging the battery”, “refilling the tank”… The only problem is that these moments of fatigue can hit us at rather inopportune times (like right before finals begin). Luckily, whenever I reach those points, the simple knowledge that I will be able to rest to my heart’s content once I finish that last stretch is the only motivation I need. But there’s a line you cross when you’ve definitely started “resting” too much, which is why it’s good to give yourself a time limit beforehand. For me, it’s usually one day or a weekend. And if you’re smart, when you’re plotting out your goals, you can try to schedule yourself rest times at certain intervals. In fact, while you are working towards your goals, it’s important that you’re constantly looking after your physical and mental health, because you need to take care of the vehicles that are going to carry you towards your objectives.

Nature can make you feel so small and yet so powerful at the same time.

A photo posted by RJ Aguiar (@rj4gui4r) on

But all in all, one of the biggest sources of motivation out there is simply having the right goal. If you can’t bring yourself to care about a certain goal that you’ve set for yourself, despite all your best efforts, then maybe it’s not a goal you need to be setting for yourself. I mean, we all need to go to work/school and fulfill certain obligations that will likely never inspire us. But there has to be at least one thing you do that makes you feel stimulated. If not, then it’s time to search for that. If there’s one thing you do that you love doing, even if it’s a side project or hobby or whatever, then that can be something that helps propel you through everything else in your day.

About RJ

RJ is a blogger/vlogger/writer and the other half of the NotAdamandSteve duo. When he's not making videos or writing stuff online he's usually working out, traveling, telling you factoids you never asked for, working out, or spending quality time with his new husband and German Shepherd.

2 comments

  1. Thank you for taking the time and the helpful advice. I’m really happy that the website returned. You and Will have always been inspirational. The website is also a great place to return too and read something interesting, smart and thoughtful.

  2. Thank you for this OMFG. like this really is a great article. It hit all the bases and was totally realistic about some of the pitfalls of self-help. I used to be very driven, and I’m working towards that “personality” again, so thanks again for writing this RJ!

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