Do the motivation with me


Despite coming up with a (great) idea for this blog post several weeks ago, I still left it until the day before it was due to write it. Why? I simply lacked the motivation/had other things to do. Well, there’s always something else to do, isn’t there? And this happened even though my chosen topic was, in fact, motivation. Not a great start.

Every year when the dark, January days arrive, I attempt to hibernate until spring. It’s not just the lack of light in the UK at this time of year but also the pressure that I put on myself that I must achieve more goals and how I can make this year better than the last. These are quite scary thoughts to have when it’s so cold and dark and so I go into self-denial and duvet-mode. Before I know it the daffodils are out but I’ve missed two whole months and haven’t even begun to tick off my goals for the year. I decided that this year I would need to stop burying my head in my duvet and get motivated.

I began by trawling the internet for advice on self-motivation and then asked a few colleagues as well. I came across a few general themes to the advice. Here are some of my favourite tips:

1. Energize yourself. If you don’t have time for a run listen to some energizing music. Skipping over the run (maybe I’ll go tomorrow), some music suggestions were ‘Eye of the tiger’ and ‘I will survive. Not really my taste and more likely to irritate than motivate me but I get the point and I can easily put together my own energizing playlist for my morning commute (or tomorrow’s run). Perhaps I’ll include Kylie Minogue’s ‘Do the “motivation” with me’.

2. Reward yourself! This is a great one. I keep treats on my desk for the moments when I finish something on my list. But the reward doesn’t have to be edible or tangible, sometimes just knowing that I’ve made progress on my goal list, whether it’s saving a few pennies, running an extra mile or seeing a new work project go live, is enough to spur me on.

3. Live fully in the present moment. When you live in the past or the future you aren’t able to make things happen in the present. Hmm … sounding a bit like a therapy session now. But actually, if you can focus all your energy on the task in hand without any distractions you might find something quite interesting in what you’re doing. You can always worry about the future tomorrow – on your run.

4. Make it fun! This is easier said than done but there are ways. When searching for new teaching material, for example, there are hundreds of websites with a wealth of entertaining stories, videos and pictures. Some of them are educational, too! Or you could turn your task into a game, even if it’s just with yourself. Me: 1 – duvet: 0

5. Don’t leave the things you hate till last! Oops, I seem to have put this last on the list. There are a few people in the office who use sticky notes for their lists, writing each ‘to do’ item on a separate coloured sticky note so they can simply whip it into the bin when it’s done. I’ve taken this idea one step further by writing the thing I hate most on a colour I hate the most – the luminous yellow one – so that I can get it out of my sight as fast as possible.

 Right, must get on. After listening to ‘Eye of the tiger’ (OK, so it did work), I’m now pretty sure that this year I will run a marathon, learn the guitar and write a whole novel.

Check out some of our activities on Macmillan English Campus if you want to talk to your students about motivation, inspiration or inspirational people:

A great explorer! (MLA000752) – Pre-intermediate
A great British leader (MLA000650) – Upper Intermediate
CAE Paper 1 Part 2 What drives entrepreneurs? (MEP004986) – Advanced
BEC Vantage Reading Part 2 Staff motivation and duvet days (MEP005063) – Advanced


Leave a Comment