The Motivation Inspo That Helped My Winter Funk
I am just going to be straight up with you. For a week (okay, make that two or possibly three) in January 2023, my motivation was nowhere to be found. Getting dinner on the table and walking the dogs felt overwhelming. On a scale of 1 to 10, my productivity was clocking in at a meager 1 when I typically hum along at a 7. This was certainly not the first time I've experienced a post-holiday, long-gray-winter funk. Nevertheless, I spent several days allowing myself to buy into the myth that tomorrow, yes, tomorrow!, I would feel like getting back to a normal rhythm of work and exercise and interfacing with the larger world. Then one evening, a student reached out needing a last-minute session that would remind me that this notion that tomorrow surely my motivation would return was indeed a myth – and a trap I had fallen into many times before.
Robert* was working on a scholarship essay and explained that during the summer after the COVID-19 pandemic began, he'd had an epiphany. He realized that his life was not headed in the direction he wanted. He wasn't getting the grades he wanted and had gained a lot of weight. He realized that if he didn't start making different choices, he would have limited options for college and he would likely not make the basketball team that fall. His willingness to be vulnerable and share this story was incredible to me; the fact that he was self-disciplined enough to lose more than 40 pounds and bring up his GPA by an entire point was even more impressive. What he said next shook loose my funk: he talked about how he had found the energy and determination to keep going by taking action.
Emotion follows action.
Motivation follows action.
Banking on a mythical jolt of energy that
may arrive tomorrow isn't the cure.
The next time I find myself in a tailspin of lethargy and aimlessness, I will remind myself to take action, just like Robert did, one small step at a time.
* Student's name has been changed.
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