Letter from the Editor: Push Past It – Life doesn’t stop when you lose your motivation

It’s 6:44 a.m. Your alarm clock has been going off every 10 minutes for almost an hour. You keep hitting snooze. Getting out of bed is an option, but you don’t want to.

It’s 7:47 a.m. You have class in 13 minutes. You’re already running behind, but you still hesitate at the door for a moment. Your professor doesn’t take attendance, so you wonder if it’s worth going today.

It’s 8:28 a.m. You’ve made it to class. Your professor is talking, but you have no idea what (s)he is saying. You only have two things on your mind: how much you don’t want to be in that class, and how much you would rather be back in your bedroom with the door locked.

It’s 3:30 p.m. You’ve survived all of your classes for the day. You have a project due tomorrow, and you haven’t even started it. You consider working on it, but decide to just wake up early in the morning and put something together right before class.

It’s 10:30 p.m. and you’re in bed. You’ve decided to go to bed early tonight. After all, you’ve gotten a lot done today.

Right?  

If you’ve never had a day like this, you can stop reading this piece right now. I applaud you on your self-motivation and tenacity, but this is not the opinion piece for you.

This is for the rest of us who sometimes struggle to do things that we need to do but don’t want to do.

As a warning, this is not going to be a warm and fuzzy piece. I’m not going to tell you that these days happen to almost everyone and that it’s okay to be overwhelmed, tired and severely lacking in the motivation department. You’ve probably already read more than enough of those. Heck, I wrote one about eight months ago.

This one’s a little different from my usual tone when it comes to issues of motivation.

My message is simple: Just get it done.

At the risk of encroaching on an athletic brand’s trademark, I’m going to tell you to think about that thing you’ve been dreading doing, and just do it. That might not be the motivation or encouragement you want, but it might be what you need right now.

We are getting close to the end of the semester, and with each passing day it gets harder to be motivated to do what we are supposed to. We think about Thanksgiving and Christmas and the eventual end of the semester, and with those warm thoughts, any motivation we had to accomplish literally anything leaves us.

But, we still have responsibilities, and life is not going to stop moving just because we think that living it is exhausting sometimes. So, just get it done. Get up for 20 minutes, pick a task, and get it done.

I say all this completely understanding that “just doing it” might not lead to the best work you’ve ever done. And that’s OK. We can’t be 100 percent perfect 100 percent of the time, and when your heart isn’t in something, it’s hard to do it really well. But at least you’ll have a starting point. You’ll have something to build off of. You’ll have less to do later, because you would have already done something.

Give it your very best effort, even if your best isn’t as great as it normally would be. Maybe today your 100 percent is only 60 percent of what you’re actually capable of. That’s still more than zero, so do it anyway.

They say life is short. That’s a lie. Life is the longest thing you will experience on this side of eternity, which means it is way too long to spend frustrated and miserable. You have 24 hours in every day, 365 days in a year and about 50 or 60 more years left of your life. You have at least 292,000 waking hours to go. Spare two of those hours to get that work done, even though it feels awful and you don’t want to. After that, you’ll be able to curl back into your bed without any guilt or anxiety of what you have to do when you wake up.

Pushing past the hard stuff is part of taking care of yourself. Taking care of yourself isn’t always fun. It’s not always a cute self-care activity like taking a long bath or treating yourself to some retail therapy. Sometimes it is hard. Sometimes it’s gross. Sometimes it is forcing yourself to catch up on that work you’ve been ignoring and reminding yourself to pay those bills you’ve been pretending don’t exist. Sometimes it means finally tending to those dishes that have been piling up. Sometimes it means reaching out to a professor because you haven’t been paying attention and you’re behind. Of course, it would be a lot more fun to just journal it out. But that doesn’t always help in reality.

So, just get it done. Take this little bit of harsh, reverse-encouragement and get it done. I know you don’t want to. But you need to. And it’ll be a little better once you do.

Perfect it tomorrow. Put your heart into it next week. For today, just get it done.

Asia Burns, Editor-In-Chief

Leave a comment

All fields marked (*) are required