How To Find Self-Motivation In Tough Times

Trying to find  self-motivation in tough times is, well…tough. And COVID-19 has definitely brought on some wide-spread challenges for people trying to maintain their self-motivation. This pandemic has turned our work life upside-down numerous times, with multiple balls being thrown into the mix, increasing the juggle. The combination of this as well as the general weight of isolation and lockdown’s, has us all feeling very…blah. 


But how can anyone blame us? According to Relocate Magazine“44% of employees under 35 years old say that a lack of motivation has been hindering their performance at work since the start of the coronavirus outbreak in March, according to new research by management consultancy Lane4”. 

The paradoxical problem to this, is that we need our motivation now more than ever before. Job loss is scaling to massive proportions, businesses are closing down, and the economy crashing. We need to perform optimally in order to maintain job security. 

How To Become More Self-Motivated?

If you’re told that there is a  “get it fast” remedy for how to find self-motivation, treat it like a fake watch – not to be trusted. Motivation waxes and wanes. It is like the tides of the sea. It comes, and it goes. This is life, unfortunately. However, I can tell you that what you’re about to read will add tools to your ‘toolkit for life’. And if you are persistent with these practices and use them daily, you’ll find yourself wading through the mud of un-motivation far easier, reaching the other side sooner.

How to find motivation in tough times

1. Return To The Basics - Why Are You Doing This?

What is the reason you do what you do? Is it because you’re passionate about your work? You’re saving to provide a better life for your family? Wanting to create a worldwide movement? You may not be finding everyday work particularly enjoyable right now, so make sure you remind yourself of this core reason daily. Stick it up on your wall, or place it in your sock drawer, in your car, or anywhere visible. 

How to find motivation in tough time s

2. Set Easy-To-Achieve Goals

Don’t get ahead of yourself. Don’t let the overwhelm of your to-do-list get you down…start simply. Ask yourself what the bare minimum is that you need to complete today, to feel you were productive. Maybe it’s only 3 time consuming things, or maybe it’s 5 small boxes to tick off. Whatever it is, make sure that you’re confident no matter the disruptions or mishaps, you can at least tick these off. Chances are that once you’ve completed these tasks, you’ll feel a boost of energy and find the enthusiasm to complete more. 

If you’re at a loss for where to start, check out these 5 templates to help plan your business goals.

how to find motivation in tough times

3. Change It Up A Bit

Sometimes a change of scenery does the trick. Tired of sitting in your at-home office, staring at the same old walls? Get out and find a small (Covid regulated) Coffee shop that will allow you to do your kind of work in peace and quiet. 

You can even go a step further and book yourself away for a couple of days to work at a different spot. Splash Inn B&B is a paradise of its own, aimed at accommodating business people and their needs. They also have a wide list of activities for the area, meaning you can choose your work spots and find some exciting things to do during your breaks!

How to find motivation in tough time

4. Put Your Stresses Into A Little Box

You know how we’re usually told to think outside the box? Well, this time I’m telling you to embrace the box. The box is your friend. But…only if it’s a small box. When you’re feeling overwhelmed by tasks and have no motivation to complete them, break them down into steps (aka little boxes). Discover what the next right thing to do is, and simply start there. And only once you’ve done this first step, you should move on to the next.

How to find motivation in tough time s

5. Take A Well Earned Break

Yes, you need a break. And yes, you deserve it. Be generous with grace, and remember that things are particularly tough right now. Tasks that you might have been able to cope with previously, can be incredibly overwhelming in our current time. 

Sometimes, 5 – 10 minute breaks every hour can be more effective than taking one long break.

How to find motivation In tough times

6. Combat The Negative With The Neutral

Studies have shown that the best combat for negative thoughts is not positive thoughts. It is in fact, neutral thoughts.

Positive thoughts tend to be outlandish and unrealistic. Instead, return to the facts of the matter. So when you hear yourself saying , “Oh my word, that presentation went so bad. I wasn’t nearly prepared, I looked like the biggest fool , I’m going to lose my job, I can’t even cope with being a parent right now,  let alone bringing in money…” Stop that thought-train right there! Pause, and get back to the neutral. It wasn’t the worst day of your life, it was just a bad day. You’re not a fool, you’re exhausted and over-extended. You just need to ask for a little more time on this project. 

How to find motivation in tough times

7. Know Your Supportive Network

Lockdown has us all feeling lonely. In fact, the Southern African Labour And Development Research Unit did a study revealing that our nation is experiencing “low levels of emotional well-being during the COVID-19 related lockdown, with no less than 72% of young participants revealed to be having depressive symptoms.” 

That’s a whopping number, if you ask me. To combat this, you need to lean on your supportive connections. Speak to them, and stay honest if you’re over-loaded or need some time off. If these stats can tell you anything, it’s that we’re all experiencing this heaviness in some degree; you’re not alone. I for one have found myself constantly surprised by the support and grace I’ve received every time I needed to put my hand up and say that I’m not coping. It might surprise you when you realise that what you’re feeling is the experience of many. It’s rather comforting, I think. 

boosting energy levels

8. Renew Your Energy Wells

We’ve all got things that act as ‘energy well’  rejuvenating us when we’re run down. Think about it ; is there a place, a hobby, a practice, or an experience that you find very relaxing, yet rejuvenating at the same time? 
It could be as simple as putting your bare feet on the grass, going for a swim, listening to some music, sitting in stillness, meditating or going for a run. It could be cooking, writing, reading, or listening to a good podcast. Find these things, and write them down. Be sure to find time during the day, especially when you’re asking how to find self-motivation, to return to these things. Often these activities are great at boosting our energy levels and make us feel fresh again. 

How to find motivation in tough times

And Lastly...Just Ride The Wave

Alright, so you could be doing all these things, ticking the boxes off and still feeling totally unmotivated. That’s totally fine! I have it all the time, and the truth is, often you need to ride it out. If I could switch on that motivation-button for you, trust me I would. But there is one thing I can tell you: be consistent. Keep doing these things daily. Most importantly, keep creating your list of bare minimums that you have to get done for the day, and ticking those off one at a time. You might still be riding out the wave of un-motivation, but eventually … you’ll push through. Eventually you’ll start to feel a flow going, and the light will appear at the end of the tunnel. 

There is no quick fix that can be applied to this. And if you’re told that there is, I’d advise you treat that information the same way you’d treat a fake watch; with suspicion. Motivation is a process. A work of art to be mastered. But once you master it, you’ll know yourself well enough to know the drill next time the ‘slump train’ rolls by and you find yourself seated in the front row.

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