Let’s Chat: Staying Motivated

Comparison is the Thief of Joy by Carrie Waller(image by Carrie Waller of Dream Green DIY)

After your positive responses to my post about creative ruts, I decided that today I’m officially starting the column ‘Let’s Chat’. Each post for this column will be about a certain topic; I’ll share my tips and would love to hear from you in the comments. I think there’s a lot we can learn from one another and I can’t wait! Okay, let’s do this:

Now that the holidays are over, I’m finding it a bit hard getting back into the swing of things. I have big dreams for my business and how I’d like it to grow this year, but the day to day has been ROUGH. Not only am I a bit distracted, but I find myself pushing to-do tasks back a day or two, even though I have the time to do them that day. Of course I think this is just a sign of post vacation blues, but it leads to a bigger question. How do you stay motivated? Here are my tips for staying on track:

1. Give yourself time… and don’t feel guilty. I’ve noticed that after small breaks in the day that I have a natural tendency to get back to it. I know it’s hard not to feel guilty about taking time for yourself when there’s a mountain of work, but it really does help. Even treating myself to a walk mid-day helps me refresh my mind instead of letting it continue to burnout.

2. Actively look for inspiration. Part of being motivated is feeling inspired about the work you’re doing. If you’re hearts not in it, it’s easier to think ‘what’s the point’. Surround yourself with things that inspire you. Go to a museum, buy or make something just for yourself, make an inspiration board. Do whatever keeps those creative juices flowing.

3. Give yourself a pep talk. This may sounds cheesy, but it’s really hard to do work when you feel down about yourself or what you’re doing. Remind yourself why it is you’re doing what you’re doing. If that doesn’t work, instead of looking at anyone else’s work, look back on past work and see how you’ve progressed. You kickass. Know it, own it, get shit done. A little positivity goes a long way.

4. Treat yo self. If all else fails, make a rewards system. Or at least watch this Parks and Rec clip.

What helps you stay motivated?

  • Monique

    I love your chatty blogposts! You are so inspirational :)


  • encouraging! For me Christmas break was a time of list making and goal setting and now I’m left feeling a little overwhelmed. I started out at 8am making a list of goals for the day and scheduling it. Definitely helped!

    • I know exactly what you mean Julia! It’s so great to dream big, but then the execution always feels a bit overwhelming. I love your method of making a list of goals right in the morning. I’ll have to give that a shot :)

  • Carrie Waller

    This is GREAT motivation! I totally feel ya on the rotating to-do list…I’m glad I’m not the only one who does that!! P.S. Thanks for sharing that pic! Glad you like =) =)

    • Oh girl, if only you saw how many items I pushed back this week. Yikes! And I absolutely LOVE that picture of yours (the project too).

  • Such good advice!

  • Juliana Amado

    I loved this column. I learned to take breaks as a teenager, priate was in school. I always I charged too much, and when it did not make breaks at school, my grades were lower. Then I realized I needed some rest the mind to produce better, and brought it to adulthood. Today, these breaks are sacred to me, always take a walk at lunch, for example.

    Two things that motivate me, reading and traveling. The literature exercising my creativity, and while traveling, I know places, cultures and habits of mine, and it helps me to create different things, and consequently, be happy with what I produce.

    • Aww yay, I’m so happy you like the new column Juliana! It’s amazing what a break here or there can do. I’m impressed you were able to figure that out so young! I still struggle with it a bit.

      Yes to reading and yes to traveling! A fresh perspective is everything. Thank you so much for sharing :)

  • Maritza

    Love these tips. All good reminders. Just this week, I found it helpful to take a break and go to the craft store to walk around and be inspired. I got tired of staring at the screen (read: Pinterest) :)

    • haha I know exactly what you mean! Pinterest can either make me feel really hungry or down on my work sometimes. The craft store is the perfect destination. There are so many possibilities and projects out there just waiting to be made!

      Thanks for sharing Maritza!

  • #4. Always.
    Basically like #3, I keep a Pinterest board of inspirational quotes, and whenever I go and read through it it gets me PUMPED (sounds so corny). It’s like an e-peptalk. Of course it doesn’t always give me new ideas, but it helps me remember that the struggle is necessary, though I hate it.
    I’ve been feeling the same about the day-to-day being rough lately. I think after the holiday overload it’s especially more difficult to change gears back to “normal”. Comparison is the devil for sure, but I’m getting the sense that a lot of us are feeling this way!

    • Glad I’m not alone in my love for Parks and Rec, Amy! A Pinterest board of inspirational quotes is genius! It’s so easy to beat yourself up, sometimes all you need is a reminder to get back on track.

      Your work is amazing! Can’t wait to see what you come up with this year :)

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  • Aileen@AtHomeInLove

    Yay! Love this idea for a column and I’m super excited to hear what you have to chat about :) Ugh, burnout. I find that getting outside and even taking a weekend totally off can be really helpful to make me feel refreshed and re-inspired. Also, a coffee date and a good chat with a friend can be really motivating too! What’s not motivating? Comparing myself to other people and feeling like everyone else has it WAY more together than me. The quote you picked here is one of my favorites. Such a good reminder…comparison is a joy-killer.

    • Yessss! That whole comparison thing is a real killer. And it’s so easy to do. If only there was an app that filtered out content that makes you feel like this, ha! I guess staying off Pinterest is always an option…

  • Caitlin Bacher

    One thing I do is look for “small wins” on my To Do List. Once I get the ball rolling I’m good. Sometimes the hardest part is just getting started. I’m so excited about this series. It fits in perfectly with my Self Care board for creatives on my Pinterest board. Thanks, Rachel!

  • Guuuurl, the timing for this post couldn’t be better. Isn’t it so hard not feel guilty for giving ourselves time?! I have so many goals, dreams, and projects for my blog this year that I’m down right overwhelmed (I’m talking deer caught in the headlights here). So I’ve challenged myself to at least complete the #100happydays challenge on Instagram and find even a kernel of creative happiness and motivation everyday. And isn’t that “treat yo self” clip just the best thing ever!! Makes me LOL every time :)

    • Yes, I’ve see your post on Instagram! Totally love them, and what a great way to get your head in the zone. I think looking at the big picture tends to be a bit overwhelming (always seems like there’s miles and miles to go), but necessary. At least once a year when we’re making resolutions :)

      I think you’ll do wonderful things this year Enid. Let me know if I can help in anyway!

  • This post is perfect timing for me too! after the holidays and a very very busy month prepping for my first comic con, i found myself totally unmotivated to do much of anything. this week has been the worst, altho i can’t NOT make something, i still work on things here and there but i am not sticking to my to do list at all. at first i felt guilt but now i am just letting myself rest for a bit because i know i was overworking for the holidays and the big comic con. i just hope i get back on track soon cause there’s work to be done!

    • Yes, I totally know what you mean! I was pretty lax for the last few weeks because of lack of motivation, and honestly, I only recently found my way back. You’ll totally get there! And if it takes longer than usual, don’t beat yourself up. That only makes things harder, ya know?

      I hope you’re well!

  • I recently made a post about this on my own blog. It was more geared towards people really finding and embracing their creativity and not questioning themselves so much. Just taking in the enjoyment of crafting instead of comparing themselves to others crafts. Your great insight is so in line with my own creative motivations!!! Love your sight. And love the remind to always Treat Yo’ Self… even to a batman suit every once in a while ;)