14 January 2018


Motivation is one of those things you either have in a day or you simply don't. But that's not to say if you wake up in a I-really-can't-be-fucked mood that you have no hope and should just try again tomorrow. I like to pride myself on being a pretty motivated person (when I'm not a depressed slump but yakno how it is). Whether it's a Monday or a Sunday, my alarm is set for 7am and I'll be up and active by 7.30/8 at the latest. I rarely have a day where I don't have some kind of plan or list in place and, whilst to some of you I'm sure that sounds like hell, I actually love it as being productive is one of my most favourite feelings.

So because of this, as well as a couple of friends saying recently that they're feeling a bit down and unmotivated recently, I wanted to share some of the best things you can do to start and stay motivated everyday, from little daily changes to improving your mindset all together.

Make a to-do list (no shit sherlock). But I mean a specific to-do list. Think of it more like a plan. It needs to be manageable and completable, not a ridiculous series of incredibly difficult tasks that no one could possibly achieve in one day. And on that note, I’d advise making a weekly list initially. When writing a list, most people tend to put down the same number of tasks whether it is to be completed on one day or over a whole week. If you make a weekly one, you automatically focus on the main priorities of that week, meaning once that is split up into 7 days, it’s a lot more achievable. Just think, if I were to write a combined list of everything I’d ideally like to get done in one day over one week, I’d have about 40 things to do and you can imagine how well that would go.

Still on the note of to-do lists, write the weeks to do list on a Sunday ready for the next week. On the Monday you will wake knowing the exact plan of action for that week and, if divvied up from Monday to Sunday, you will know which handful of tasks to complete on that day. And even better if you can, I like to tick off one of the tasks on the Sunday too as this starts me off already on the right track.

This one is painfully cliché but I can’t pretend it doesn’t work for me. Find some kind of visual, whether it’s a stimulating image or an inspirational quote that really gets you going and set it as your phone background. Mine is currently a quote that reads:


Everyday I will end up looking at that quote God knows how many times, and it reminds me to do something, whether it is big or little, that my future self will be grateful for. It also means that when I head to bed, put my phone on the side and I read it again, I think of the things I did to complete that task and feel glad knowing it wasn’t a wasted day.

Work out (and write down if it helps) what your goal actually is. You need a motive to be motivated, so clearly think about what it is you want to achieve, what specific steps you can take to get started, and focus on that for a few minutes before you start. If it’s something you desperately long for, it will also get you excited about the prospect of achieving it and we all know excitement is something that fuels motivation.

Look at other people achieving what you want, but don’t use it as a reason to feel sorry for yourself and that you should be ashamed because you’re not there yet. Look at them as an example. It’s proof that someone has been able to accomplish the goal you want for yourself, that it’s actually possible, and that there’s no reason it can’t be you too if you’re willing to put in the time and effort like they have. If the information is available, also make notes on ways they got to where they are and start looking into how you can do these too.

Bringing it back to daily tasks, do those little things that you know get you in a positive mood. For me, I know I will have a productive day if I get up early, make my bed, head to the gym, and have a healthy breakfast. Even if I then don’t do anything on my to-do list for a couple of hours, I know I’ve started the day in a good way (and have already done one thing my future self will thank me for, those squats were hard today but you’re welcome future peachy bum) and can easily pick up that motivation again at any point.

Similar to points three and five, look at anything that you take inspiration from. If you’re a creative person, type in your goal or related terms into Pinterest and feel inspired by that. If you’re a book worm, read your favourite quotes or a bit from the book that makes motivation flow through you like a lightening bolt. If you’re an exercise enthusiast, look through old pictures and at yourself now to see the amazing progress you’ve made and picture what you can achieve in even more time. If you’re a music lover, put on that playlist that gets you pumped and ready to get shit going no matter where you are or what you’re doing.

Spend five minutes clearing your space, both mental and physical. If you have things on your mind, dates to remember, people to reply to, tasks you mustn’t forget, spend a few minutes just writing them down on a piece of paper and clear them from your head. You can go back after you’ve completed your tasks to organise these thoughts into diaries, texts or to-do lists, but for now just get them out of your brain. Be sure to also do the same for your work space. Clear it of old mugs, stray pens, and piles of unseen-to paperwork and start fresh with a clean desk.

Stop procrastinating. Easier said than done, right? Actually no, not at all. Put simply, procrastinating is getting distracted therefore focus is the elimination of distraction. Whatever your distraction, whether it be your phone, computer, friend, pet, etc, put it somewhere out of sight. I don’t just mean on a table next to you. I mean put it in a box and put it under the sink (not advised for the friend or pet). Literally remove anything you can be distracted by and start. Go and sit on the damn bathroom floor if you need to.

Just fucking start. Like, literally just start. Starting can be the hardest thing of all so even if you only write one small paragraph of your essay then stop or you only roughly trace out the design you need to create then stop or you only make a list of three easy exercises you want to do then stop, the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll finish, the sooner you achieve something.


hat, old
jumper*, lotd
trousers*, miss pap
boots and belt, primark
watch, fit bit

Olivia Madeley

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