Winter Blues and COVID Got You Down? Jumpstart Your Motivation with These Evidence-Based Tips
COVID had an immediate adverse effect on three areas of your life that are essential for motivation: autonomy, competence and relationships. Autonomy is the ability to control what you do, when you do it and whom you do it with. Likewise, intrinsically motivated behaviors (e.g., competence and relationship building) are generated by the sense of personal satisfaction they bring.
Shorter days, winter storms and COVID have all but wiped these areas from our day planners, but the good news is there are evidence-based ways to feel more motivated—even in the face of COVID—today.
Get motivated with these tips
If shorter days, colder temps and the never-ending pandemic have got you down, following these research-backed tips help you feel more motivated:
- Create a daily ritual
People thrive on predictability, routines and rituals. A ritual is any predefined sequence of actions characterized by rigidity and repetition. Over time a ritual can make behaviors automatic, like setting out your running shoes by your bed at night. Rituals also help free mental energy, allowing you to focus on other things that require more time and energy.
- Create cues
Creating cues in your physical environment will help keep you on track. If you’re working from home, for example, it’s important to designate a workspace. This will help you feel mentally prepared to work when you enter that space. It can also help you disconnect from work when you leave it.
- Reward yourself
Rewards are intrinsically motivating, especially when you need to tackle undesirable tasks. For example, treat yourself to your favorite show or music while you run on the treadmill, or indulge in a small, satisfying treat while tackling more tedious tasks at work.
- Find reasons to smile
Finding ways to cultivate positive emotions every day can improve focus, motivation and productivity. So be sure to take time out to text a friend, watch a funny video or enjoy a hobby. Small moments of positivity can lead to improved work performance, social relationships, community involvement, and even income.