Sometimes, you simply don’t feel motivated to do anything at all. All you want to do is lie down on your bed and just continue your sweet dreams. This happens to everyone once in while. Everyone will experience the urge to resist getting up from bed, refuse to face reality, and refuse to do anything. All you want is one day off from your hectic lifestyle.

Once in a while, we will feel demotivated. Suddenly, all the sources of motivation that keep us moving forward seemed to just vanish. Or maybe, one incident indirectly kills off all of our motivation. It can be a critique from your boss, a rejection from someone, or just because the day isn’t going well for you.

This is what we call life, which is always filled with both ups and downs. While having negative feelings is unavoidable (we humans have emotions right?), there is always something we can do for ourselves to make things better and lift up our mood.

Let’s take a look at the lists of things you can do to stay motivated:

1. Remind yourself of  your Goal.

There is one famous saying which I’m sure you had seen or heard of in the past:

“When you feel like quitting, remember why you started”

When you feel demotivated, think back to your goals and dreams. Look back on your New Year Resolutions or maybe even look back on your bucket list, the key here is to remind yourself what you want to achieve in the future. It’s to remind yourself why you started in the first place, to remind yourself what you are living for.

We all have something we want to achieve. As life hits us hard in our faces, it makes us lose faith in ourselves. We start to doubt ourselves and forget our initial goals. We start to lose our direction in life. By looking back on our goals, it reminds us why we are here in the first place.

2. Write down your goal.

If looking back at your goals doesn’t lift up your mood, then you might want to try writing it down.

You will be more committed towards the goal if you write it down. By writing things down, it also makes the things easier to remember. (For more detailed on how writing things down helps us remember it better, read this.)

It doesn’t matter if you write it down 5 times in your notebook or writing it down on a post-it note and sticking it onto your desk, whatever works. The key, as mentioned, is to remind yourself of your goals, to remind yourself what you really want to achieve, to give you a sense of purpose in your life.

Writing things down won’t waste much of your precious time, who knows if this simple action might change your life?

3. Practice positive self-talk.

“I’m the best!”

“I’m good. I’m special. I am who I am.”

“I can do it!”

Whenever you doubt yourself, or you’re feeling down and hopeless, say these positive sentences to yourself. Clear the negativity in your mind by filling it up with all these positive sentences.

When everyone doubts you, you have to believe in yourself. When no one praises you, you have to praise yourself. Practice positive self-talk every day to motivate yourself. You will be amazed how a few simple words can give you a natural dose of energy for the rest of your day.

4. Have a nice breakfast.

Nothing makes you feel better than having a good breakfast. Either a cup of warm coffee with bagels or a healthy smoothie with bread and eggs, always serve yourself the best breakfast every day.

Always remember to start your day right. Make sure you consume enough carbohydrates, fibre and protein in your breakfast. A healthy and delicious breakfast provides the energy you need to start the day right and will definitely boost up your mood, especially when you wake up moody. Remember, no matter what, never skip the most important meal of the day – breakfast.

5. Take a cold shower.

Indulging yourself in a cold shower will definitely wake you up. It will energize you throughout the day. You may find yourself shivering, but it is actually beneficial to our health. According to Lizette Borreli from Medical Daily, one of the reasons taking cool showers is good for our health is it increases our alertness. It increases our heartbeat in order to keep our bodies warm, hence energizes us for the day.

6. Ask yourself these questions.

“What if today is the last day of your life?”

“How bad do you want to succeed in your life?”

Take a few minutes and think about it. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow. So, it’s important to live life today to its fullest and to fully utilize every second we have today.

The second question is to know how determined we are. How much effort are we willing to put in, to succeed and to achieve our dream? This question makes us rethink how we will spend our time throughout the day. It influences whether we slack through the day or hustle through it.

7. Meditate.

Most of the time that we feel demotivated, it’s because our minds are messing with us. The negativity, the self-doubt, the uncertainty, the lack of self-confidence – these are the thoughts in your mind which demotivate you. You need to get rid of them, and one of the ways to do just that is by meditating. Meditating frees up your mind from these harmful thoughts.

For beginners, just sit down and focus on your breathing for 5 minutes. As you get familiar with the process, you may slowly increase the time you spend meditating. (Here are some practical tips for beginners on meditation from ZenHabits.)

8. Read a book.

Reading a book will definitely change your perspective on how you view the world. This is especially true for non-fiction books which never fail to give us new perspective on how the world works.

The knowledge we gain from reading books affects how we perceive the daily life. Sometimes, one short story or one simple sentence is all it takes to motivate you to do your best for the rest of the life.

9. Do something you like.

As we getting busier with our jobs, we tend to forget to strive for balance between work and life. We tend to focus on the tasks we need to get done as an employee or a student. We almost forget about ourselves. There must be something you would like to do for yourself every day right?

It can be watching the latest series on Netflix, or going on a walk with your spouse. It can also be having a nice meal in the restaurant which your friend recommended to you last week. Just do something that will brighten up your day. When you are busy with all the overwhelming tasks you face on a daily basis, don’t forget about yourself.

10. Smile.

If you think you don’t have the time to do the things mentioned above, then smiling is the thing for you. Smile when you’re awake, because you know the day is going to be great. Even if you feel moody, force yourself to smile too. Smiling actually lifts up your mood and increases happiness as well.

Smiling won’t take much of your time. Now try this, say “Cheeseee”. If you noticed, you actually formed a smile while you were saying “Cheese”. It isn’t that hard, right? Even if you don’t feel like smiling, all you need to do is say “Cheese”.

You might argue that is not a genuine smile, that it’s a fake smile. Well, yeah, that’s true, but according to Forbes, faking a smile also improves your mood and reduces stress. Remember this quote:

Fake it until you make it.

11. Think about the past.

When you’re feeling down, don’t hesitate to think about your past to get motivated. Think about the success you had in your past, or maybe, think about how you got through the hard times in the past.

Remember the awesome times you had when you overcame obstacles? No matter how bleak the situation was, you still got through it. Remember the time when you were so proud of yourself?

Keep in mind that you can still do it again. Learn from yesterday’s failures and build on yesterday’s success.

“Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday’s success or put its failure behind and start over again. That’s the way life is, with a new game every day.”

– Bob Feller.

12. Listen to motivational music.

We all know that listening to music will affect our mood. If it happens that you aren’t feeling motivated today, go ahead and listen to some uplifting music. It can be any music as long as it lifts up your mood, since different people have different taste of music. It can be your favourite song, or maybe, the soundtrack from your favourite movie.

One of my favourite soundtrack which motivates me through hard times is Time, the soundtrack from the movie Inception, composed by Hans Zimmer. It’s in my opinion, an absolute masterpiece. If you still can’t think of any good music, check out some masterpiece from Hans Zimmer.

13. Exercise.

Sometimes, one of the reasons we feel demotivated and devoid of energy is because we overwhelm ourselves with too much stress. You have been living a stressful life for such a long time, and now it’s exceeding your limit. It’s time to eliminate your stress.

Suit up in your sportswear and running shoes, and go for a 30 minutes jogging session. Or any other type of exercise will do – swimming, basketball, football, or even weightlifting.

14. Have a short walk.

If you don’t feel like sweating too much but want to engage in physical activity, go on a short walk instead. Maybe, you can have a short walk with your spouse and children around your neighbourhood and enjoy the warmth of family.

Or, if you’re still single, walking around the park and enjoy the beauty of nature isn’t that bad of a choice either. Take your time to enjoy the moment and relax. Let go of all the pent-up stress in your mind.

15. Learn to celebrate the small wins.

Learn to count the small wins and you’ll stay motivated all the time.

“Happiness doesn’t come from big pieces of great success, but from small advantages hammered out day by day.”

– Jim Rohn

Why do we end up burning ourselves out so much even when we’re doing something we are so passionate about? It’s mainly because of the fact that, most of the time, we tend to focus on the big achievements we made instead of the small ones.

As we know, great success or huge achievements are long-term goals. It is going to take time to achieve it, to make it happen. Just like how the Great Pyramid took 20 years to build.

Throughout this process, burnouts, self-doubt and the feeling that you have lost your way are somehow unavoidable. To stay motivated throughout the process, one must learn to be grateful for the small achievements and one must learn how to celebrate the small wins by rewarding themselves.

16. Praise yourself at the end of your day.

Perhaps, now you’re overwhelmed with information on how to motivate yourself. You don’t know where to start, or which one suits you the best.

So, here’s a simple one, praise yourself at the end of your day. It can be before leaving the office or before going to bed. If you’re performing well on that day, don’t hesitate to compliment yourself as a reward.

“Well done. I have performed so well today!”

If something went wrong, try to look it from a positive perspective.

“At least, I have survived this bad day. Tomorrow will definitely be a good one.”

“At least another bad day has been crossed off from my life.”

In the end, it’s a matter of perspective. Always try to end your day with positivity. Never carry the negative feelings – demotivated, down, self-doubt – to the next day. By practising this, at least, you’ll carry a positive energy to motivate yourself the next day.


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