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How To: Stay Motivated

A lot of times, we find ourselves in a difficult position. We may be working at a job that makes us feel unmotivated, or be stuck in an otherwise difficult life situation that doesn’t seem easy to transition away from. For a lot of travel-lovers, this includes the strong desire to travel, see the world, do new things, all while maintaining a “normal” lifestyle. It gets confusing, complicated, and it leads one to wonder: how do I stay motivated when things aren’t exactly as I want them to be?

It takes a lot of work, but I believe there are five major points to consider.

1. Make a plan.

For some people, the advice to “make a plan” seems ambiguous and otherwise unhelpful. For people like myself, writing down “to-do” lists is a normal practice. While you can’t always know which direction your life is headed in, there is a lot to be gained from understanding what you want out of your situation, what you need to do to get there, what might be out of your control, and what mindset you need to adopt.

The last point, regarding a “mindset”, is an important one. Often times, we struggle with the idea of a difficult situation as we forget to internalize one important thing: this is temporary. Not every situation is permanent, and it should be emphasized that “bad” predicaments are most definitely going to be temporary as long as we work towards a solution. With this mindset, it’s entirely possible to overcome the hurdles we face.

Regardless of what you want to change in your life, you can’t do much without first understanding your “needs”, your “desires”, and the bonuses that might come with all of that. We all need to compromise on some things, but it’s my belief that a major problem for a lot of people is a basic lack of direction or knowing what you want. For that reason, noting your ideas, your desires, your values, and your vision, is an amazing way to start. I’ve personally benefited from it, and continue to make this a part of my life!

2. Prioritize.

Some people want to have everything in life, without understanding that without sacrifice (in some aspect), there cannot be gain in another. This doesn’t mean you should look at your situation from a “lose to gain” perspective, but that you need to look at it from a “work to gain” perspective. Despite your urge to watch 5 hours of television, it might be more beneficial to sit down and practice a hobby, or research something you’re interested in, or read! Learning how to prioritize is extremely important for any level of success.

A major factor in prioritizing is learning how to prioritize/manage your time. If you make time for your ideas or plans, there’s definitely a much clearer path to your goals.


Staying motivated on a Portuguese trek.

3. Understand your strengths & weaknesses.

Although this is an obvious one, it’s important to address. There are some people who love the idea of “travelling a lot”, but they absolutely hate having to adapt to different environments. However, to travel for a living, or to live in a different place or culture requires a lot of flexibility and tolerance. This might mean that despite your strong urge to travel a lot, you might not actually be suited to consistent travel.

Despite this, there are ways to appreciate your strengths, and perhaps learn how to overcome certain weaknesses that pertain to your desired lifestyle. You might not be fluent in the language of the country of your choice, for example, but are willing to devote your time and efforts to improving your language skills. You might also understand that despite having some shortcomings, you are willing to change your means to transforming these negatives to positives.

In short: your strengths and weaknesses play a major role in the type of life you want to live. Being realistic about any shortcomings, strengths, or potential for growth is beneficial!

4. What do you want your life to look like in 2-3 years?

There tends to be this idea that we should all have a “five year plan”. While this is true for many, it might help to understand where you want your life to be in 2-3 years. It’s a shorter amount of time from now, meaning that it will come much sooner than 5 years will, but that it’s not so distant in the future. Therefore, regardless of your “live in the moment” mantras, you’ve possibly thought about what your life would look like in 2-3 years. Maybe you haven’t consciously created an ideal lifestyle, but you might have thought about the things you’d like to achieve by then.

For many people, 2-3 years away means more financial freedom, or a better body. It could also mean making bigger commitments, or travelling more. It depends on the person, but the point is: you should start asking yourself some major questions. Where do you see your life heading in the next 2-3 years? More importantly, where do you want to see it heading in 2-3 years?

5. Who will be with you in 2-3 years?

This one is entirely dependent on the type of person you are, and what situation you’re in. If you choose to envision your future alone, you might not have as much to consider. However, if you see yourself with someone (whether you are presently with someone or want to be in 2-3 years), you have more to think about. Even if your mentality is to simply see yourself working on a pursuit with friends, it’s also important to understand that this is a goal you have in mind, and that you simply can’t do it all alone.

Regardless of your current situation or your desired situation, understanding your needs, thoughts, wishes, and hopes is all very important. If you find yourself stuck in a cubicle that you hate, despite wanting to living in Rome, you have to ask yourself some major questions and see if you’re willing to risk your current state of life for something a bit less predictable. If you’re currently living a life of travel but have a strong yearning for something more stable, you have to begin asking yourself why this is, what steps to take to transition, and how you want your life to look in the near future. If you’re somewhere in the middle, you might have other priorities to consider.

We’ve all gotten to the point of feeling unmotivated at certain times, but when that happens, we have to ask ourselves: why? All it takes is to question your motivations, desires, current life, and current priorities.

Don’t sit back and hope for the best. The only way to get ahead is to reflect on the present, to be grateful for what you have, to enjoy your current moments, to understand what makes you tick, and to finally think ahead. Life is far too short to pursue ventures that make you feel dissatisfied with yourself. The future doesn’t begin in the future – it begins now.

2 thoughts on “How To: Stay Motivated

  1. I was emailed the notification for this blog post, and it couldn’t have come at a better time! As I’m sitting here thinking about wanting more, there it was! Thank you for putting your thoughts out there.

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