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They say life is a marathon, not a sprint. And, as endurance goes, keeping yourself motivated can be a challenge from time to time. There can be set backs, barriers, down turns, and many other things that may dampen your morale. Well, fear not! Here are…!

5 Effective Ways to Stay Motivated

1. Take a Break. What? Really? Already?! Yes. Take. A. Break! Many times, motivational burn out occurs because you haven’t balanced out your cognitive faculties. Banging your head against the same wall can get old quickly. Moreover, doing so can make you lose perspective as to why you are doing what you do. In fact, taking a break was an inside joke during graduate school for me. I always found a way to divert my attention away from my work and towards something else. However, I was very disciplined as to how I did this. Most of the time, I would take 15-20 minutes as a “pre-game break” to studying. After which, I would lock myself in a study room for hours and hammer out huge sections of material. Suffice to say, it works. And, it helps you to…

2. Remember the Why. Going back to your original passions, interests, and the heart of each reasons to why you began this journey in the first place is an honest way of introspective clarity. Remembering your first love or the reason for your drive when you began is a good way of recharging the batteries. It also helps you dig your mind out of the present clutter. Remembering the reasons behind what you do helps you take a step back to see the big picture. It gives a deeper meaning to what may seem like tasks and will place them in your mind’s eye as the stepping stones toward success.

3. Enjoy the view. As you take a step back, make sure you also appreciate the view. Take a good look at where you started as well as how far you’ve come. It’s tempting to get frustrated at the direct barrier in front of you. In the same way, it is easy to forget about how many accomplishments you’ve made and how many obstacles you’ve overcome just to get to this point. Whatever is stifling your motivation, it is but another obstacle which you will conquer. And, all the great things you’ve done, they are part of the story of your success to which you will add.

4. Go Exercise! Sometimes, the body and the brain need an entirely different source of stimulus. Exercise. Not only has the news media been regularly highlighting academic success in K-12 as it relates to physical activity in children, there is much to be said about how this affects us as adults. Personally, I view exercise as a keen and full-proof way of giving the brain the best chance it can have by pumping it full of fresh blood and fresh oxygen. There is something healing about exercise that allows so many systems of the body to recover faster than its sedentary self. Therefore, if you’ve already taken a mental break, maybe its time for you to take a physical one as well.

5. Help Someone. I find that generosity and altruism is a great source of motivation. There is always someone who is suffering worse, enduring more, and trying to bound over obstacles which would put your own worries to shame. Helping someone else, even for a small concern, is a wonderful way of reminding yourself that in all that you do, your success means most when it helps others. While helping someone may be slightly divergent to your immediate goals, it is a way to redeem a part of the human experience which goes beyond finishing the task. It brings back more than reason. It re-centers us on the meaning of what we do.