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Finding Inspiration: Staying Motivated

Student smiling from across a table

Let’s be real — burnout is real. Most days the last couple of weeks, I woke up exhausted and unenthusiastic about having a full day of school, work and commitments. It’s like my brain starts running on a hamster wheel thinking of all the things I need to get done. But I just keep telling myself “one day at a time”. Even if my Google calendar hurts my eyes to look at, I try to reset with a moment of gratitude every morning.

You’ve hit that mid-semester lull that requires an extra dose of motivation. You could choose to stay in a slump and drag your feet to campus, begrudgingly going through the motions of day, or you could find ways to stay motivated and renew your drive. Let’s choose the latter together!

Remember why you’re here

Many times while trying to do homework I’ve stopped typing, closed my eyes and asked myself “does this assignment really matter?” And so begins the internal battle of deciding to close my computer or keep typing. Maybe it’s just me or maybe you know the feeling all too well. No, the world won’t end if you don’t do an assignment, but following through with the work you’ve committed yourself to will set you up better for the future and train you to be a dedicated, focused and hard worker.

Sometimes you might get lost in the day-to-day grind and lose sight of your purpose and goals. Check in with yourself and ask some grounding questions: Where is your time being spent? Why are you doing what you’re doing? Why are you at Boise State? Why did you pick your major?

Going back to the root of your choices can help you get a clearer vision of where you want to end up. When challenges kick in, let them motivate you to check in — not check out.

Reward yourself

If no one has told you recently, you’re doing a great job! Being a student isn’t easy, so be kind to and reward yourself for the hard work you’re doing. Sometimes, incentivizing yourself with a treat or a brain break after you finish a certain amount of work or a certain number of hours could be the little push you need to get through.

One of the most motivating things for me this year has been my “goodness jar”. I write down all the glimpses of goodness I see in my life on little slips of paper and drop them in the jar to be opened at the end of the year. Seeing the jar fill up on the not so good days is a motivating reminder that keeps me looking for the good in each day. Recognizing bits of goodness throughout the day helps me get through the long ones.

Mark your calendar with something to look forward to, whether it’s a weekend outing with your roommates or a trip. The hard work is worth it when you have something to be excited about. Currently, I’m looking forward to the spring break California Coast backpacking trip with the Outdoor Program. It’s only 25 days away, but who’s counting?

Relax your brain

It’s important to allow your brain to have a break to avoid working in overdrive (or the hamster wheel effect). Trust me, I’m no stranger to sitting on my phone after a long day and calling it my “brain break”, but this doesn’t actually do my brain any favors. Think of how many other things you can do during the time you spend on your phone. For example, you could enjoy your hobbies that you feel like you never have time for. Sometimes I have to put my phone in “phone jail” to give my full attention to something else (aka the nightstand drawer).

Make room for the things that refresh you. Sometimes that requires factoring them into your schedule or setting aside a day of the week where you allow yourself to do what you love. One way I’m practicing that this year, is by setting aside time on Sundays to go on a hike or long walk.

I’m one of those people who can’t sit for too long. I have to incorporate movement into my day so I can stay focused and motivated, whether it’s working out at the Rec Center, choreographing a dance to a song that’s stuck in my head or taking a walk on the Greenbelt. Even taking the long route to school or work opens the opportunity to run into friends and soak up more fresh air.

Recently, I was frantically trying to find something in my nightstand drawer and I came across a little card that must have been from the person who lived in my rental before me. It read, “Lovely, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Prioritize filling yourself up.” I took it as a sign to collect myself and I hung it beside my bed as a constant reminder.

I’ll leave you with a piece of advice: make sure you’re being filled up so you can stay motivated to pour out.

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  • Molly

    Molly

    Content Writer