Woman jumping up in celebration outside

With so many things to do and possibly a desire to do nothing at the same time, staying motivated can feel like a real struggle. Taking care of ourselves during times like these is especially important and can look different for everyone. If you’re hoping to get motivated, try out some of these ideas.

1. Find your energy

When days seem to be nothing but repetitive, finding ways to do the same thing differently can feel tiring. Make a list of things that get you energized.Think about what you look forward to most during the day. Is it video chatting with your family/friends? Listening to music? Whatever those things are for you, use them to recharge.  

Doing things that get your energy flowing can be great mood boosters. Whether that’s going on a run, talking to your best friend or putting on your favorite dance playlist, find the ways you get fired up. Getting yourself excited to do those things can help you stay motivated. 

2. Make it a challenge

Another way to stay motivated is by taking part in different challenges with others. Whether it’s your friends, roommates or family members, having an accountability partner or group can make all the difference. 

Before taking on a challenge, set specific intentions and measurable goals. Unsure where to begin? Take a look at some examples we’ve put together to help you get started.

Resources for fitness/cooking challenges

CU Boulder Rec Classes
The Rec Center will still be conducting virtual fitness classes. This can be a great way to connect with fellow Buffs and get your exercise of the day. 

If you’re looking for great easy recipes this is the place to go. There are a lot of DIY projects and decorating suggestions as well. 

There are plenty of challenges on this platform for you to try. Whether you want to stay active, take up yoga, you can try almost anything virtually.

  • Fitness. There are plenty of platforms that let you track your fitness. Sign-up and  invite your friends to a step challenge. You can also check out CU Boulder Rec Center meditations on YouTube. Or better yet, join the CU Rec Center's Trail Running Competition!
  • Cooking. Challenge your friends to see who can eat at home without take out for a full week. Or who can create the most interesting version of Mac & Cheese with ingredients you already have.
  • DIY projects. From room decorations to arts and crafts, let your creativity shine. Choose a DIY craft/project online and see who can finish the fastest. Or challenge your friends to see who is the most creative with using only supplies you have on hand. 
  • Sewing. No better way to take on a challenge than making clothes you’ll actually wear. Try to see who can sew a scarf the fastest. Or, better yet, join the CU community by challenging your friends to sign up and see who can sew the most cloth masks for critical CU employees.
  • Reading. Consider starting a book club. Choose a book to read with others and set up weekly meetings to talk about it. Set a goal to finish the book within a month.

Remember, you’re not expected to have the strength of Wonder Woman or be the next contestant on Chef’s Table. Try out the challenge (or challenges) that will feel fun and exciting to you.

3. Stay curious

One of the best ways to stay motivated is to stay curious. Give yourself the chance to try things you’ve always wanted to but never had “the time” to do. Maybe it’s learning your favorite song on the piano or finally learning the basics of coding. 

Have you always wanted to know how ice melts? How about how duct tape works? Or who invented the word chair? How big is our universe? Be curious about anything and everything. The important thing is to try the things (or learn the things) you would have otherwise never had the time for.

Having a reward system may help you stay motivated. Reward yourself for completing a specific task. For example, if you do a load of laundry, clean up the kitchen or organize your bathroom, then you can spend time trying something new. If you are studying, set a timer to study for 30 minutes with no distractions and once accomplished try out your dance moves for a quick TikTok video.

4. Practice gratitude

In times like these, it’s important to try and keep things in perspective. Reflect on the aspects of your life you are thankful for and remind yourself of these often. Here are some ways to get in a gratitude mindset.

  • Journaling. Try setting aside five minutes several times a week or every day if possible to get writing. If you’re not sure where to start, try reflecting on how you feel, writing three specific things you are thankful for today or three things that would make tomorrow better. For more tips on journaling check out 6 ways to protect your mental health during a crisis
  • Focus on things that bring you joy. Focus on doing things that make you happy, and do them often.
  • Celebrate the small things. If you cooked your first meal or finished your study session on time, celebrate it. The more you focus on the little (and big) wins, the easier it will be to find things to celebrate. 
  • Consume positivity. It can be difficult to block out negativity when it seems to be everywhere, but reading and listening to positive information can make a difference in our mood. Here are some podcasts we recommend. 

Staying motivated while social-distancing is hard. Some days you may be really motivated and other days not so much. What matters most is that you are kind to yourself and remember, we’re all in this together. 

To get more ideas on motivation, connect with other CU Boulder students and Health and Wellness staff, attend Let’s Chat session online.  

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