How to motivate yourself as a twenty-something: learning from our lockdown experiences
It seems that many of us twenty-somethings have had very similar trains of thought through this lockdown period, along the lines of:
- I love working from home; I don't really like my job so this is a welcome break from dealing with my annoying boss
- It's so nice to chill and relax, no need to make an effort with my appearance
- I'm going to start baking/ painting/ blogging/ reading/ insert interchangeable hobby here because I have spare time and everyone on instagram seems to be doing the same
- I'm going to go for a walk everyday and try some online fitness videos; I'm going to come out of lockdown with a six pack!
- I'm loving the new me, I'm a changed person and can't wait to continue the rest of my life like this
- Working from home is actually quite difficult to stay motivated
- I miss getting dressed up to go out and seeing my friends
- I've eaten my bodyweight in cake - how are people on social media actually getting FITTER and SKINNIER during isolation?!
- Getting a bit tired of the same home-workout videos, maybe I'll do them just every other day instead of every day..
- A bit sick of this now, get me back to work
- What am I doing with my life; I don't even really like my job and I'm not really sure where my career is heading; am I where I'm supposed to be in life?
Now while we can all laugh at this, it's only because we identify with it so strongly. And actually, this cycle of behaviour is very similar to how most people go through life.
How many times have you felt a bit stale about life and decided to learn a new skill, or start a diet, maybe because you've seen somebody else doing it? You've really given it your all for the first few weeks and then slowly relaxed back into your old habits and routine. And then you begin to question and doubt yourself, and return to that same stale feeling, like a never-ending cycle.
This is because we are so used to instant gratification these days and expect instant results. We no longer know what it means to consistently discipline ourselves with the goal of long term future benefits, because the minute we don't see instant results, we get fed up and lose motivation.
The key to maintaining focus and motivation to achieve a goal is understanding WHY you want to achieve it. The stronger your 'WHY', the easier it becomes to commit to what you want.
If we're honest with ourselves, most of our initial motivation to create new habits during lockdown stemmed from not having anything else better to do, which when you think about it isn't the most awe-inspiring reason to do something.
If somebody asked you tomorrow to take on an extra 2 jobs to your current job, so that you were working all hours of the day, how long do you think you would last? Probably not that long as you have no motivation to sacrifice your work-life balance; sure you would be earning extra money but what good is that if you have no time to spend it?
Now imagine you are a single parent with 3 kids to house and feed; suddenly your 'WHY' becomes much stronger and you would do anything you need to in order to put food on the table. It's not that you weren't capable in the first scenario, rather simply unmotivated.
Aurora Leighton are strong believers that you really can do anything you put your mind to, if you want it badly enough. So if you really want to succeed at something in life and achieve a goal, you need to establish your 'WHY' and you need to make sure it is a good one. Your 'WHY' needs to create a burning desire within you, where you have no other option but to succeed.
A good way to work out your 'WHY' is to respond to each answer you give with another 'Why?'. For example:
Because I want all of the money I make to be mine and I want to have a work-life balance. Why?
Suddenly your 'WHY' goes from just 'not wanting a boss' to a far greater reason of being able to spend time with the ones you love and enjoy a work-life balance without worrying about job security.
A fantastic book to read that talks a lot about how important it is to create a 'burning desire' to succeed is 'Think and Grow Rich' by Napolean Hill. While this book focuses on financial success, the principles apply to any goal you wish to achieve. It teaches that when you really want something, each 'failure' is not a reason to give up on the idea, but a lesson on how best to try again, removing the 'stale' feeling that we would normally experience when we don't feel like we are getting anywhere.
If being in lockdown has brought you to contemplating whether you're in the right place in life for you, have a think about what it is that you really want, and most importantly WHY you want it.
You'll either confirm to yourself that you're doing the right thing for you, or realise that there's something else out there.
Either way, you'll have an answer, and hopefully, a newfound long-lasting motivation to achieve whatever it is your ultimate goal is. You've got this.