HOW TO STAY MOTIVATED AND PRODUCTIVE even if things don’t go your way

Hi Wonderful,

First of all, it is important to realise that it is ok not to feel great and to feel demotivated now and again. It is ok and it is humane.

There is so much pressure to be on our A game all the time that we feel guilty or we give up if something, even something really small does not pan out the way we envisioned it. But let me tell you the biggest truth:

Most of the time things / situations / people will not turn out the way you want them to or envisioned them.

...and that is ok. Life is a learning process. What matters is your reaction to what presents to you. You may have planned an activity of creative writing or meetings, going to the gym or cooking a healthy meal but woke up the next day sick. Maybe this would actually be your first day of starting a new habit and you getting sick just postponed your awesomeness.

Naturally, some people would wake up feeling demotivated, sad and like disaster has knocked on their door. However, there is still something you can do to turn this around and stay motivated.

Celebrating That Things Do Not Go Your Way and You Get To Learn From Them

Your first step is to celebrate it! Yes, celebrate that you are human and that you have received what you have to learn. The most productive thing you can do, and that requires no physical energy at all, is to ask yourself what is the take away from the situation, what is there for you to learn? What could you have done differently?

  • If your plans were obstructed by a sickness, it may be that you should have taken better care of yourself and define what that means for you moving forward.

  • If your plans were obstructed by a cancellation of a last minute, should you have confirmed 24 hours in advance? Think practically about some of the actions you could’ve done.

  • If your plans were obstructed by your kid being sick, same thing, ask and think what you could have done better or differently. If you couldn’t have done anything better or differently, this means you have done your best and so be ok with that. There will always be things that are out of our control, the easiest and the quickest way of recovering from them is to accept them and move on.

  • If your plans were obstructed by the weather, what can you change to adapt to the new conditions?

Learn from every situation. It will come in handy.

Do Something Anyway

Another way to stay motivated is to actually do something. I know this sounds counterintuitive but when I don’t feel like exercising, I still exercise and that keeps my motivation level high. You don’t have to do the exact exercise programme you were meant to. You can do a light movement instead, such as in bed ab exercises or 15-minute yoga instead of a 30-min run. This will fuel you to do something else afterwards and by completing small tasks you stay both productive and motivated.

Remind Yourself of Why You Need To Do Something

Let’s also not forget the reason you actually decided to take up the new habit or achieve your goal. Remember it. If you have a strong reason, you will not care what happens or what gets in your way. You will just go for it. You may take the longer route, have to go through diversions because there are roadworks on the shortest route but as long as you keep your eyes on the prize, you will get there one way or another.

Enjoy That Things Do Not Go Your Way

And most importantly enjoy the ride, enjoy the journey.

“When you set out on your journey to Ithaka, pray that the road is long, full of adventure, full of knowledge but keep Ithaka always in your mind” - C.P. Cavafy

I always joke more and laugh with myself more when things do not go my way. I do my best to make that day one of the best days for me. If I am missing a super productive day because I am run down, instead of getting frustrated about it, which is ridiculous as I can’t change it anyway, I just do small things that move me forward and take the time to do things that I otherwise would not have the time to! I think that is the key, enjoy the day! It will never come around again. So, do things in the day that you always wanted to but did not have the time to.

  • If your plans were obstructed by your kid being sick, then spend more time with the kid in bed reading them stories, joking and making them laugh. This will not just help you feel better, be productive as you are spending quality time with an important member of your family but also build beautiful memories for you.

  • If your plans were obstructed by the weather, then do something romantic you have seen in movies and you always wanted to do. When it rains heavily in London, which is quite often, I always pour a cup of tea to myself and watch and listen to the sound of the rain for 5 mins before heading to do the work I need to do. For me, this is a romantic gesture that gives me a bit of a push to move on.

  • If your plans were obstructed by a sickness and you are in a position to read a book, then read a book that you were always meant to but did not have the time to read. This will rejuvenate you and as soon as you are better, you will make things happen.

Do An Act of Kindness

My last way of staying motivated is to do an act of kindness. Maybe it is the fact that showing kindness makes us happier, boosts our immune system, lowers depression, triggers creativity or boosts our mood or all of the above, however, even after the smallest thing, the smallest act of kindness, we start feeling better and get an uplift in energy and appetite to do more. Say thank you or compliment someone, buy a coffee to a homeless person, make a coffee or tea for a colleague, anything you can think of and see what more you will be inspired to do.

Next time things do not go your way celebrate it and figure out the lesson, do something no matter how small, remind yourself of your why, have fun in the process and show kindness.

...and let me know what changes.

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