As someone who struggles with depression and anxiety, sometimes life can feel like a little too much. It seems that there is always cleaning to be done, a school assignment to be finished, a family emergency to take care of and that can become very overwhelming. When I get too overloaded I tend to shut down and scroll on my phone instead of tackling my list of tasks that I have for that day. Now, before I continue, there is nothing wrong with taking a day off! We all need those days where we reset ourselves for the next day. However, when those “do-nothing” days turn into a whole week, it can be hard to not feel frustrated with ourselves.
I’ve recently learned the importance of celebrating progress, which has been especially helpful when I am in one of those slumps. It is easy to hold off celebration until we’ve turned in that paper, or until we’ve reached a certain number of followers, or until we’ve cleaned the entire house. The problem with this reasoning is that when we don’t meet those expectations we can view it as a big setback and then we can become increasingly unmotivated to continue. A couple of weeks ago this exact thing happened to me. I created a post that didn’t receive as much attention as I thought it would. I got frustrated and starting believing that maybe it was not worth it to continue writing publicly. However, with the help of my husband, I started to look at the progress itself. I might not have met my goal of viewership, but my writing was improving and that allowed me to have the motivation I needed to continue.
Harvard Business Review has an article that discusses this same problem but in a work environment. When people accomplished those big goals, like increasing revenue for the year, they were more motivated and happier in the work environment. On the other hand, when they did not achieve those goals, they felt unhappy, unmotivated, and unsatisfied with their work.
So how do we become more motivated?
We need to start celebrating little moments of progress rather than bigger accomplishments or goals. For example, let’s say that you need to clean your home. You might start with the dishes, but then you get overwhelmed with all the other chores that you need to do so you end up procrastinating the rest of them. What might help you stay motivated is celebrating your progress in completing the dishes! You’ll feel happier with yourself because you got a task done and then you might feel enough motivation to vacuum the living room. Even if you only got the dishes done that day, you will go to bed feeling more accomplished and happier. We all deserve to feel that accomplishment, especially when dealing with a worldwide pandemic!
Some days will just be down days and that is okay, we may not be able to think this way all the time. The important thing is to start to celebrate the small moments of progress we have as we strive to reach those bigger goals! I know that when I do I feel a lot happier and more motivated to keep going. Let me know what little moments you celebrate today in the comments. We can all cheer each other on!