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  • Jenn DeWall

How to Find Motivation to Get Out of a Rut

Jenn DeWall, Workplace Happiness & Resilience Speaker and Consultant


Do you have the Winter blues? Are you struggling to take action?

Resilience tips
Find Motivation

This has been me for the past few months and it hasn’t been easy. 


Whether you struggle with mental health, the winter blues, or just not feeling motivated, I want to share some advice with you that was recently shared with me on how to get out of a rut. 


So here goes. If you’re struggling with taking action, motivation, or feeling stuck here are three things you can do. 


Find motivation. Motivational energy can be built in a few different ways. You can write down your goals and reflect on them first thing in the morning to build excitement. You can also build motivation by connecting with your “why,” your reason for doing something, for example, to improve your quality of life or feel more accomplished. This approach is great, but for me, it was not working. No amount of looking at my goals was helping, and if that’s you, keep reading.


Seek inspiration. There is so much inspiration around us in the digital age. You can quickly search for inspiration on any social media platform or web browser. I like to search for people who have overcome similar obstacles or challenges. It helps me feel less alone and gives me hope that I too can persevere. 


Seeking inspiration from others can also help guide us in our own decision-making. No, I'm not talking about comparing yourself or judging yourself against someone’s perceived accomplishments or beautiful social media profile. I’m talking about looking at these individuals and asking yourself, “What can I learn from them?” If I do want to be more like them, what actions would I need to take? How can I grow? This is helpful for me as when I’m in a rut I tend to compare myself, judge others, and then get discouraged. Instead of judging, I lean into a growth mindset, what can I learn from their success instead of getting triggered or discouraged by it. The growth mindset approach typically ignites enthusiasm and inspires me to take action toward my goals. However, lately, I found that even this was not very motivating. It’s hard when you’re stuck in a rut to take action on big goals. If that’s you, keep reading to find out what worked for me.


Take action. I’m not talking about huge actions, because when you’re stuck in a rut it’s exhausting to even think about big actions. I’m talking about small actions, like brushing your teeth, getting dressed, or organizing one drawer. What’s been helping me take action lately are two things. One is setting a time limit. Mine has been 10 minutes. For 10 minutes I focus on taking an action that might be stressing me out or needed for self-care, like going for a walk, doing a chore, or getting ready for the day. This helps me build a sense of accomplishment and can often inspire me to take more actions beyond the 10-minute time frame.


The final closing thought I will leave you with is this. If you’re feeling stuck in a rut or overwhelmed, try practicing this mantra: "just do the next thing.” Don’t focus on doing it all at once, just do the next thing. Sometimes that is the easiest way to take action.


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