Can’t motivate yourself? Try doing it for someone else.

At the start of the pandemic back in March I made big plans to keep my step count up as best I could. I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I was used to walking to and from work for half and hour each way and then walking around the office, so most days I hit or came close to my 10,000 steps without thinking about it much.

Pre-lockdown steps

My goal was to walk before work to trick my brain into thinking I was in work rather than just rolling out of bed into the living room. It worked for a little while, then I got complacent. But the weather was nice and I’d go out for afternoon walks most days. I haven’t come close to 10,000 steps on a workday since I started working from home though.

And now the weather is turning, it’s colder and windier and wetter and the days are getting shorter. So many a morning I looked out the window and saw the rain and just went straight to the laptop without considering going out first. Surely it would be fine!

Except it wasn’t fine. Over the last few weeks I’ve been feeling my lack of outdoor time and it has been affecting my mood. And while intrinsically I knew I need to look after myself, I found it incredibly hard to motivate myself to actually do it.

Luckily, I have a friend who is also a coach. Our latest coaching conversation only lasted about 30 minutes, but the insight I gained was so helpful to me I felt I needed to share it with you all, hence this blog post.

In my session we talked about all the things I knew I should be doing and how my bad mood affects my partner who feels bad for not being able to make me feel better. And while I don’t always love myself as much as I wish we all could love ourselves, I do love him, very very much. So I reframed the task in my mind from “I have to go for a walk every morning to look after myself” to “I want to go for a walk every morning to look after myself so my partner doesn’t have to worry about me”.

You see, I care deeply for and about other people and supporting them and bringing joy into peoples’ lives is what drives me. So reframing my to do in this way as something I’m not doing merely for myself but for someone I care so much about has given me a much needed motivation boost.

And I am happy to proclaim that the next morning I didn’t think twice about going for my walk before work.

Picture proof I sent to my coach from my walk on Friday

So if you’re stuck and can’t seem to do something even though you feel you should do it for yourself, try thinking about who may benefit from you doing it and then do it for them. You don’t have to tell them, they never need to know.

If you’d like to try coaching to get someone to support you in opening your perspectives, leave a comment or reach out via the contact form!

Word of the day

How’s everyone’s pandemic going? I decided that the middle of the lockdown in Ireland was a great time to move in with my partner. It was, but more on this another time. What that decision led to was me clearing out my apartment and so back in April I stumbled on a barely used notebook. It had lots and lots of blank pages, so I thought why not put them to good use?

I had also just purchased some colouring pens and since I’m not much of a visual artist, but I love writing and colours, I decided to try to “paint” one word for each day. Either as a mantra for the day or as a reflection of the day I’d had. And so for the past 5 months I have been writing/drawing a word into this journal for each day, so now there are only FOUR empty pages left in the book.

The words and drawings range from creative to bland. My artistic capabilities were put thoroughly to the test. One thing I didn’t do was judge the pictures, because I wasn’t trying to win any awards with this, I was just trying to have a creative output and end up with some fun memories.

I am very happy that I tried this new medium for my creative outlets. It’s been great having one thing that I did out of habit each day, which made me reflect on my day and evaluate which word best described the day I’d had. And now I have a little picture/word book to look back on which will forever remind me of that time I made it through the first months of a global pandemic, including a lockdown! It even comes with some good reminders to be playful and every now and then slow things down:


Now that I’ve reached the end of the notebook I have dug out 2 other journals I have neglected in the past. One is halfway full and has blank pages, the other one is lined. My plan now is to fill the one with blank pages first but to pivot slightly and start writing/drawing a word each day of something I am grateful for that day. Once that notebook is full I’ll move on to the lined one and make it a proper gratitude journal. I’ll still use my coloured pens though and maybe I’ll even draw a picture every now and then.

How are you staying creative during the pandemic?

I’d love to hear from you. What are your tips on keeping the creative parts of your brain active during the current strange times? Leave some comments below!