Want to Get Motivated? Think Small!

Focus on the short-term to jumpstart your motivation!


By Sarah Wright, LPC
Trauma-Informed Services Training Manager, Great Circle


How Do You Normally Get Motivated?

Do you picture that first cup of coffee to get you out of bed? Or do you think bigger and see a long-term goal? Do you envision crossing the finish line of a marathon to push yourself to lace up your running shoes each day? Or does planning that vacation make it easier to get through a hard day's work? Maybe counting down the days till graduation helps you get through another textbook.

But in these uncertain times, vacations and marathons might be postponed, and graduation may feel far off in the distance. When our long-term goals start feeling more abstract, it’s more difficult to be motivated by them. But a change in perspective could give you the boost of motivation you need, plus help you adapt to our current circumstances so you can feel fulfilled well beyond today. And not just when you’re accomplishing something big, but on your average Tuesday!

Change your perspective by intentionally asking yourself these three questions every day:


1 – How Can I Grow?

As human beings, we are all on a journey to evolve into a fuller version of ourselves. It is the process of going outside our comfort zone and challenging ourselves each day so when we go to bed we have changed in some small way.

You don’t need to take a leap out of your comfort zone, you can just take a step. Wear a little bolder outfit than you’re used to, talk to someone new, go to a fitness class you haven’t been to before. These small challenges add up to create big changes.


2 – What Can I Give?

Your knowledge, your resources, your story are what make you uniquely you. Those experiences make you well suited to give back in some way. Maybe it’s reaching out to someone you know is struggling by sending a card, a text, or making a quick phone call. It could be volunteering at an animal shelter, donating to a food pantry, or taking on a community project like gardening. Contributing in a way that only you can allows you to feel a part of something. Sometimes self-care means caring for others.


3 – What Can I Celebrate?

Carve out some time to reflect and look for moments you are grateful for. Not every day will have a milestone or a party, but each day has something worth celebrating! Even during a pandemic, folks are recognizing the value in spending more time with their loved ones. Instead of being consumed by an often fast-paced world where we tend to jump from one activity or place to the next, we now have slowed down enough so we can appreciate the small things. Even if today isn’t a birthday or the first day of a new job, you can still get excited! Celebrate your connections with a good chat, the sunshine by getting outside, or just the end of a long day by relaxing on the couch with a favorite movie or book.


Micro Motivation – Think Small! 

We value resilience at Great Circle and work daily to help our clients develop the ability to adapt to change or bounce back from setbacks a part of their therapy and personal growth plan. Being resilient also can help you meet your goals.

When our sole focus is on our long-term end goal, we run the risk of letting bumps in the road throw us off track. But if we create short-term goals along that journey, we are better able to manage a bump and take the next step toward the end goal. It’s the “micro motivation” we need to find fun and fulfillment along the way, and help us stay energized to keep moving forward. Having a one-day-at-a-time mindset will help you bounce back, even during difficult times. 


Sarah Wright is the trauma-informed services training manager at Great Circle and a licensed professional counselor.