Getting Motivated and Staying Motivated

By Gabrielle Rente
Elm Staff Writer

It is amazing how many times we can say to ourselves “I don’t feel like it.” These five words signal to everyone around us that we lack any motivation, and for a college student, the consequences can be dangerous. We say “I don’t feel like it” on a Sunday afternoon to an essay that is due Tuesday, and Monday nights of chugging coffee on the quiet floor of Miller library until we pop a blood vessel. Sometimes a motivational cat poster isn’t enough to get us out of bed.
According to a blog post by Kyle Eschenroeder, a business entrepreneur behind the start-up professional company StartupBros, there are several factors that kill motivation. These not only hinder our personal drive, but also our productivity.
Poor Health: Sleep deprivation and an unhealthly diet will compel you to “bum around” and procrastinate because you have no energy to motivate yourself. Eschenroeder recommends exercising, “even if it’s only for five minutes.” Get yourself moving and keep your mini fridge stocked up on healthy snacks.
Ingratitude: It can be hard to get anything done if all you can see are the things that “should be” there. To combat this, Eschenroeder recommends making a list of everything you’re grateful for. Then make a list of the worst tasks you are facing right now. Once on paper, these problems have a tendency to appear less daunting.
Envy:  When we are envious, we are blind to what we have. This takes your focus away from your own life and what really matters. One way to kill envy is to notice when it happens. Do you feel jealous when others succeed. It’s okay to admit it. We’ve all had our moments. Facebook is a distraction that can hinder productivity.
Feeling Overwhelmed: When we have too many plates in the air, it’s difficult to keep them all spinning, and once one falls down, we’re less likely to pick it back up. Eschenroeder says that lowering the bar for yourself is a good starter for minimizing stress. We are human and only come with two arms.
Loss of Meaning: This is especially true if the assignment you’re working on is in an un-ideal field. We tend to ask ourselves, “What’s the point?” Think back to the reason why you started the assignment in the first place.
No Stakes: If you have no skin in the game, then the game seems rather pointless. When you’re working on a project, keep in mind the consequences you could possibly face by procrastinating. Cramming in words for an essay or lab report at two in the morning is not enjoyable.
Now that the killers of motivation are expelled, how do we remain inspired and productive? AsapSCIENCE YouTubers Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown put together a list of tips to help their viewers stay motivated.
Get Some Rest: This ties back to one of the motivation killers mentioned by Eschenroeder. According to Moffit and Brown, willpower is an exhaustive resource suggested by some studies known as Ego Depletion, and catching enough Zs will ensure that your willpower remains high. That means being able to resist temptations like binging on Netflix or sugary foods. When you feel good, you do good.
Get Started: Moffit says that the Zeigarnik effect “nags us until we complete a task that we’ve already started.” Even when you say, “I don’t feel like it,” just do it anyway. Creator of College Info Geek and graduate of Iowa State University, Thomas Frank, posted a video on his blog saying, “Give yourself permission to create imperfect work.” Just starting on a task means you’re more likely to finish.
Take Breaks: Taking a break every now and then helps you focus better. Moffit and Brown suggested using the Pomodoro technique by working for 25 minute intervals with scheduled breaks. A good way to take a break is to stretch and refuel on a snack.
Break Up Your Day: Brown says that he likes to break up his day into different tasks. This means doing a task involving creativity for about an hour, and then moving onto something involving communications or logic. This makes it easier for your brain to focus on what the assignment requires.

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