A few weeks ago, one of my friends messaged me asking how I always stay motivated and full of energy. She wanted to know how I could be so willing to take on a lot of tasks, move to a new city, and tackle an internship without losing energy or being too intimidated by the scope of it all. The answer isn’t an easy step-by-step formula. Sometimes I don’t even know how I do it all. But I sat down and came up with a few “secrets” to how I stay motivated, how I’ve built a life I love, and what actually happens behind the scenes.
Not all days are easy days.
The first secret here is: I do get tired. I have days where I don’t want to get out of bed, or I don’t feel like reading the assigned chapters or even going across the street to buy groceries. But it’s important not to make these days a regular occurrence, or to let them get you down. Because everyone has days like that. The difference is made when you decide to push through. The biggest obstacle you face is always yourself and overcoming these speed bumps. Don’t hit a bad day and think you’ll never amount to anything–always, always, always try again.
Fake it till you make it.
This probably isn’t something you wanted to or expected to hear, but it’s true. Quite often, I doubt myself. I have a huge case of imposter syndrome. I’m living a life I only dreamed of a few months ago, so it’s weird. I feel like I’m living someone else’s life, but I can’t hide from that. People expect things of me, and if I don’t know what I’m doing or how to do it, I act like I do until I actually know how and I’m confident in my abilities. Another secret I’ve learned is: most people are in the same boat; we’re all just figuring things out as we go along. And that’s okay.
Just do it.
You can’t “fake” anything until you’ve actually made the leap and tried. It’s scary at first. What if you mess up? What if you fail? If you don’t at least try, you’ll never know. My biggest piece of advice to people who want to do something is to use Google and research everything. There is so much information at your disposal, and with a few keywords, you’ll know about programs, opportunities, and application deadlines—and then you get to work. It will be overwhelming. But once you start, it’ll get easier.
Have your end goal in mind.
It’s easy to get discouraged or loose motivation when you’re working on something that seems pointless and uninteresting, like an assignment for a class you don’t like or a monotonous task at an internship. But if you finish that assignment and you do that task, you’re one step closer to doing the thing that you actually want to be doing. If you don’t take these baby steps to get there, you’ll never arrive. This also applies to times when you have (what seems to be) a monumental task in front of you: if you break it down into steps, if you set mini deadlines for yourself along the way, the monumental task turns into something manageable.
Surround yourself with people who believe in you.
This is something I have recently realized is absolutely crucial. If the people in your life do not actively support and encourage you in all of your endeavors, no matter how crazy they seem, you need to fix that and find people who do. Because sometimes, your discouragement is more than something “baby steps” can fix and you feel like you’ll never get anywhere. Find people you can turn to who will help you pick yourself up again, who believe in you when you don’t believe in yourself, and who cheer you on when you finally succeed. These will become the most important people in your life.
Remember that there are more hours in the day than you think.
It’s possible to accomplish a lot of different things in just one day—as long as you use your time wisely. I know, I’m guilty of wasting time myself. I’m writing this post an hour before my deadline–but I’m still managing to get it done. It’s important to sit down, write out everything you need to do, figure out a schedule, and actually stick to it. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you keep a calendar and stay on task.
Don’t limit yourself.
If you want something, the worst thing you can do for yourself is give into the fear of failure, the worry that you’re not good enough. While these are things that I very much struggle with, giving into them will trap you and prevent you from seizing new opportunities for yourself. If you don’t put yourself out there, you’ll never get anywhere new. When I was applying to internships in Boston, I applied to three different theatres, including one that was my “reach”—one I really wanted, but didn’t expect to get. But five months later, that’s the theatre where I’m interning. If I had been too scared to apply, I wouldn’t be here right now. Failure and rejection can hurt, but they are also important vehicles for growth and self-improvement. Don’t let them stop you, because you never know what you’re capable of until you try.
Building a life you love doesn’t happen over night—it takes time. But with a little perseverance, and a little uphill climb, it’ll become a reality. And don’t forget: you’re always changing, you’re always growing. If you feel like you can’t do something today, you can try again tomorrow. And the next day. The important thing is to never give up.
What have you done to build a life you love? Let me know in the comments below!