You don’t have to tell me. I know staying motivated can be a real pain in the ass.

Like when you’ve got a project at work that you really really don’t wanna do and can’t seem to make yourself start.

You find every excuse possible. (I need to get to inbox zero first. I need to wipe down and sanitize every surface on my desk first. I need to rearrange my entire office first. Oh, look, a cat video I haven’t seen…)

So how do you keep on keeping on when the going gets tough? When it seems like the universe and every single force within it is against you? When life hands you a double shit sandwich with a side of shit slaw?


Here are five ways to stay motivated when eating clean, working out, or doing anything remotely resembling work is the last thing you wanna do.

Do a Little

What’s one thing that’s going to keep you moving forward? Maybe it’s opening a Word doc. Maybe it’s creating an outline. Maybe it’s just free writing some ideas.

Do that. And then see what happens.

My guess is you’re going to get in the zone and the motivation to keep going will come easily.

If not? Switch gears. What’s another step that will keep you moving forward?

Maybe it’s buying a cute little water bottle. Maybe it’s keeping that water bottle on your desk. Maybe it’s filling that water bottle before you leave work for the day and commence your two-hour slog of a commute.

Remember How You Feel

There are those of us that do some of our best work under pressure. I don’t know about you, but I still hate how I feel in those moments.

Like, submitting a proposal five minutes before it’s due. Even if that thing looked slick…holy sweat stains, Batman.

Do you honestly like feeling stressed and sweaty and on edge? I mean, you do you. But I’m more into ease and flow these days.

So which state do you prefer? Remember that. Chase that feeling.

Look to the Future

You don’t have to whip out your crystal ball or anything. But think about an hour from now, a day from now, a week from now, a year from now.

Are you going to be glad you buckled down and hammered out that department budget? (Probably, because maybe there’s a line item in there that just so happens to be a raise for yourself, you sly dog, you.)

Are you going to be happier if you hire that intern even if you’re jealous of how she effortlessly pulls off the socks with sandals look? (Yep, because she’s going to make your life easier.)

Are you going to be less stressed if you ask for help trying to figure out formulas in Excel? (Totally, because you saved yourself time now and the next time you’ve gotta bust out one of those stupid spreadsheets.)

It’s like that old meme that’s been floating around since memes became a thing: “I totally regret that workout,” said no one ever.

Remember Your Why

Not your superficial why. Your real reason why.

This isn’t stuff like: Make more money. Look hot in my power suit. Turn heads at the next big company meeting.

Why do you want to make more money? So you can go on a vacation? Why do you want to go on a vacation? So you can relax and reconnect with your family?

It takes about five whys to get to the actual why, by the way. Keep asking yourself why until you get to the real reason behind why you do what you do.

And once you find that why? Always keep it close and remember it whenever you really really really don’t want to take that after-hours leadership course.

Or go to the grocery store at 8:30 on Sunday night.

Barter With Yourself

This is a trick that always works for me. When I really don’t feel like working out, I tell myself, “Just go for ten minutes. If it sucks like crazy, you can come home.”

And 99% of the time, those are the best workouts.

I don’t make any grand plans to work out for 90 minutes. I just get dressed and get out the door. 

Those first steps are the majority of the battle, anyway.

So tell yourself you’ll do that thing you’re majorly avoiding for 10 minutes. And take it where it goes.

What helps you stay motivated? Do you have a favorite song or playlist? A sunshiny, feel-good inspirational quote? Share it below!