Motivating the Unmotivated

Teens, adults struggle to stay successful, focused

Magen McMillian, Staff Writer

To Do List
Illustration by Magen McMillian/Photo by Lindsay Gogniat

A pandemic spreads worldwide. It affects almost everyone and anyone. It seizes humanity with an iron grip and refuses to let go. Society calls it “discouragement” or “unmotivation”. It affects children, teenagers and adults alike. No matter the age, demographic, social status–even social media following–people get unmotivated and exhausted. But staying motivated, especially given the times, remains important. It feels hard to start or finish anything sometimes, but staying motivated and finding drive helps lift one out of negative phases in life.

While taking breaks and giving oneself a rest from the busyness of the world is important, staying motivated to finish schoolwork and apply oneself is equally essential for success.

Everybody experiences a funk now and then; they last a day or sometimes months. They come in several forms, but they most commonly leave people feeling discouraged and unmotivated. These funks draw one in as time goes on. The further one falls into the hole of unmotivation, the harder it becomes to climb out. Even getting out of bed seems hard, even impossible sometimes, but once the first step is taken, it gets easier to take more steps out of the funk. Staying active and motivated helps keep these dark and negative phases away.

Easier said than done though. To keep driven, try making a to-do list. A simple first step, but a really important one. Just creating a list and looking ahead in the day makes the tasks seem less daunting and scary. Add small, easy tasks to the list, like make the bed, feed Whiskers. Once finishing an easy task on the to-do list, crossing it out feels satisfying and seeing the list shrink becomes a motivation of itself.

First try completing at least one task a day. Then, move on to two. Then, three. And so on.. Even during breaks–or during an unpredictably long quarantine–finishing projects helps get one out of bed and helps stimulate the brain. With no schoolwork, it becomes easy to waste away the days with Netflix, video games and Twitter. Try cleaning the bathroom, or playing with a pet or cooking lunch instead of ordering fast-food or delivery. The days become more distinguishable and less blended together this way. Plus, it helps to ease back into the routine when break ends.

While the temptation of completing nothing all day and staying in bed is strong, a day becomes a week, and a week becomes months or a year. Try creating a to-do list, finishing easy tasks to help stay motivated, and give rewards when all the boxes become crossed out. Simple additions to a person’s day like this hold the potential to help one stay focused on things they can control as well as help them continue to feel a sense of accomplishment in a time where people struggle to find it.