14 ways to boost your motivation

Have you ever felt lost, discouraged or stressed about work?

Are you facing your first burnout and have lost all enthusiasm?

Would you like to learn a few tips to increase your motivation?

I’d like to share some powerful advice that really helps me keep a positive outlook about life and work. The aim of this post is to help you get up early every day, sit at your desk with a big smile on your face and achieve your prime objectives.

The idea of writing this post came up after a conversation on the subject at hand with one of my subscribers, who was feeling a bit dispirited. Just like her, we all have our days sometimes and I think it’s a great idea to have some ready-to-use tips every time we feel low, confused or negative.

It’s a topic that I consider extremely important for teachers and I really like to talk about it. That’s why this post is a bit long. I really couldn’t stop writing!

Therefore, although I’d recommend you to read it thoroughly, I’ve made a list of tips with headings in bold letters in case you just want to read quickly and stop at those that more draw your attention.

Here is my TOP list:

1. Find your purpose

Your purpose is basically the reason why you do what you do.

You must dedicate some time to define and visualize your goals. So, sit alone, play some relaxing music, grab a piece of paper and let your imagination drift away…

Go forward some 5-10 years into the future. Ask yourself: How do I look like? What do I have? What am I doing? What have I accomplished? Which experiences have I accumulated? And then: How do I feel about myself after having done all that?

Allow yourself to dream big, don’t hold back. Let your thoughts run free and listen to your heart. Just apply a drop of common sense to be realistic as well.

Pay attention to the details. You must have a clear vision.

Having a clear vision will give you clarity and will show you the way. You will be more confident and you will try every day to prioritise those actions that will bring you closer to your dreams.

When we don’t have a clear vision, we just get by, we do the same things every day, which means we never change. Years pass and we never fulfil our dreams just because we never try.

Maybe your dreams seem unattainable right now, but as long as they are realistic enough, you can start walking towards them. Imagine what you can achieve in a few years if you start taking small actions every day.

I assure you that if you dedicate just one or a few hours every day to make your dreams come true, you will be able to accomplish anything you want.

Stop from time to time to review those dreams. Check often if the path you’ve taken is the correct one and make the necessary adjustments.

Every time you feel down, remember your purpose. Remember the joy and happiness it will bring to your life when you fulfil it. It will always be worth going on!

If you need some ideas of what you can achieve as an online teacher, you can read my post about “15 reasons why I love teaching online”

Define and visualize your purpose
Define your purpose

2. Stay present

Now, let’s not become obsessed with the final goal, let’s walk towards it but let’s enjoy the way. Pursue your dreams but surrender to the present moment and be thankful and happy about everything you have.

Don’t stress looking towards the future. It’s easy to get impatient sometimes if we focus too much on the final objective. We keep thinking of all those things that we still have to do and this is so overwhelming that puts us off.

We have to divide our final objective into several smaller objectives (yearly and monthly objectives, for example) and those into weekly tasks and those into even smaller tasks that you can fulfil day by day. So, have your goals in mind but focus on the present moment and on your daily tasks.

I’ve come to learn that success is a combination of tiny daily achievements. Whenever I feel anxious or impatient about the future, I repeat to myself this saying: “Do your best and forget the rest” and it keeps me grounded. So simple, so true and so helpful.

Getting anxious or impatient never helps, it even restrains us because we feel so overwhelmed that we don’t know how to go on. Therefore, just concentrate on doing well what you have to do today and the results will come out eventually.

3. Look back

Instead of looking forward, why don’t you try to look backwards? This will make you feel proud of everything you have already done. This will give you some perspective and make you realize that bit by bit you can achieve great things.

4. Celebrate your victories

Every time you finish a difficult task successfully, go and celebrate it! Invite someone for dinner, go to a spa, buy something you like… It’s a way of saying to yourself: well done! Keep up the good work! You are capable of so much more!

celebrate your achievements
Celebrate your achievements

5. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes

Let me tell you something: You will surely fail a few times, but it’s ok! Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, learn from them instead. Every successful person has sometime failed on the way. We are human! We make mistakes. Don’t panic. Just learn, try again and go on.

6. Observe yourself and your surroundings

Have a look inward from time to time.

What negative thoughts are putting you off? Why are you demotivated today? What makes you feel more focused, more energetic or, on the contrary, more depressed and anxious?

Which habits have you developed? Are you taking regular breaks, eating healthy, sleeping well and doing exercise?

It’s important to get to know oneself. All these aspects affect our health, our mood and our lives in general, therefore, our performance at work too. It’s really difficult to feel motivated when we are physically or mentally badly affected. Give up those habits that harm you and acquire better ones starting today.

Look also around you. How’s your working space? Is it clean, organized and well ventilated?

What about your relationships? Are you surrounded by people that believe in you and encourage you or, on the contrary, by toxic people that complain all the time? Get rid of the latter ones!

Check out every detail of your life. Is there room for improvement? Work it out.

Once I read somewhere: If you want to attain extraordinary things, then you must become an extraordinary person first.

We also have our cycles (women, above all) and there are some moments we feel more negative due to hormonal changes in our bodies. However, we can spot those moments and be ready to anticipate them.

There is a difference between being negative and knowing that you are being negative. When you know it, it’s much easier to decide on whether or not pay attention to those dire thoughts.

You can just say to yourself: ugh! I’m just thinking like that because I’m in this negative period, it will pass. You can observe how those negative feelings and thoughts come and go. In addition, you can pamper yourself those days, sleep more, eat well, do something that you like and bit by bit you will snap out of it.

Getting to know ourselves is a difficult and continuous task but it’s really helpful in order to choose the best routines and habits that will make us feel best every day, which takes us to the next series of tips.

7. Exercise

Find the time that suits you best and the sport that you most like. Your body and your mind will surely appreciate it. Be stronger than your excuses and commit!

The first thing I do in the morning is going running with my dog, then I continue to do some strength exercises and stretching at home. This one-hour morning workout helps me focus the rest of the day. My mind is clearer, my body feels great and I am overall more active and positive.

Don’t worry if you are not used to doing sport. They say that after doing something repeatedly for a month it becomes a natural habit. It may be a bit hard at the beginning. You may want to start with moderate exercises and progress little by little. You can also stick to yoga or pilates. There is a sport for every kind of person. Just remember to be constant for about 30 days. After a month, your body will ask for it. You’ll see.

In fact, I didn’t use to exercise every day in the past and, now that I’ve been doing it for months, the days I don’t exercise in the morning I feel something is missing…as though I hadn’t brushed my teeth, you know? it’s so integrated into my daily routine that I feel incomplete when I don’t do it.

Take some exersice
Take some exercise

8. Meditate

I do meditation at least once a day, sometimes twice or even three times when I feel more stressed. This helps me overcome anxiety, impatience, fear, negativity and so on when they arise.

If you stress or feel anxious sometimes, try meditating. It works!

9. Have a balanced diet

I no longer drink tea or coffee (only very occasionally), but not when I work. I’ve realised they make me feel a bit anxious and when the effect wears off I feel drained. Instead, I eat every 2 or 3 hours and as healthy as possible so that I have energy all day.

I recommend you to care and learn about nutrition and plan your meals or you will end up eating processed and fast food most days. You should give your body the best fuel in order to be able to perform at your best at work. Besides, eating healthy can be really tasty and for sure feels great!

10. Don’t overwork

I usually take a 10-minute break every 1’5 hours and a long break after 3 hours. I’ve realised that working more than that normally makes me feel exhausted and demotivated to continue afterwards. Find your own limit and take regular breaks.

Spend time with your friends and family and doing other things that you like. Try to disconnect at least one day per week. If you don’t, you may face burnout!

Please, be careful. I’ve been there and you don’t want to reach that point. It takes a long time to recover from a burnout and it can cause severe anxiety and other health issues.

Please stop working at the slightest sign of burnout. Meditate, disconnect, go hiking, have a massage, take a nap, do whatever you have to do to recover before it’s too late.

Burnouts are not fantasies and neither do they happen only to weak people. They are real and can happen to anyone and, in fact, the most hard-working people are the ones who usually suffer from it.

Once you are burnout, you will not be able to continue working due to over-exhaustion, anxiety or demotivation. You will waste a lot of time trying to recover. So, be aware!

avoid burnout
Avoid burnout

9. Learn how to be more productive and efficient

By learning how to be more productive, you will achieve more in less time. This means fewer chances of overworking and more time for yourself so that you can disconnect.

The more productive you are, the faster your business will progress. Seeing how you advance quickly will motivate you.

Read books about it, take courses, watch videos, learn from other teachers and find the best tools and applications that will make your life easier helping you to become more productive.

10. Find quotes that inspire you and write them somewhere you can always see them. These are my favourite ones:

Do your best and forget the rest. As I said before, it keeps me grounded whenever I feel anxious or impatient about the future. Do your best every day focusing on your daily objectives and you will reap the rewards bit by bit.

Happiness is not a destination, it is a way of life. It reminds me to stay present and enjoy life itself in the ‘now’. We shouldn’t wait for anything to feel happy. I seriously believe happiness is within us, not out there or in the things we possess. Think about it!

What comes from the heart goes to the heart. When stress or the impostor syndrome attack me I remember that I am truly helping my students as well as I can. When you do things honestly from the heart, people notice and appreciate it. Then, it doesn’t matter if you make mistakes, you will also correct them as well as you can.

-.People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do (by Steve Jobs). I love this one. I love adding a touch of madness when I do things. If you are already teaching online, some people may have called you crazy, haven’t they? We are not really mad, we are just capable of seeing things differently and courageous enough to pursue our dreams.

Quitting is not an option. If I make mistakes, I learn from them. If I don’t know how to explain something in a class, I just prepare a better explanation for the next one. If I have a bad day, I wait for it to pass and I do my best to have a better day the next day. I do whatever it takes to continue improving without thinking of giving up.

inspirational quotes
Find quotes that inspire you

11. Write yourself motivation letters

Write to yourself reminding you of your purpose, for example. Do it when you are inspired and read them whenever you feel low or lazy.

I have one that I read at night and helps me get up early in the morning, one that reminds me of my purpose when I feel demotivated and one that reminds me to enjoy the process when I feel impatient.

12. Share your emotions

Reach out to those relatives and friends that know how to listen and/or share your same fears and worries. These people may comfort you and encourage you.

Make friends with people that understand you, people that are following the same path (other teachers or entrepreneurs, for example) and share your feelings and ideas. You will help each other.

13. Read and get inspired

Keep reading and learning about how to stay motivated. Listen to motivational speakers, go to events on the matter, buy books, read blogs…

Apart from the most common ways to boost your motivation, such as adopting healthy habits, there are so many tips out there that you can learn so that you come up with your own motivation formula.

14. Remember those rewarding moments

Remember those words which that student told you one day to show you how thankful he was because you had helped him. Remember all those people you’ve helped achieve their own goals. For sure they will remember you!

Remember how great a teacher you are! Think of all the time you spend preparing the best classes, coming up with new ideas, thinking about how to improve, explain better and make your lessons more fun and efficient for your students. Remember those classes that went so well thanks to you.

If you are reading this, it means that you are always willing to improve and that already says a lot about you. What’s more, if no-one has told you today yet, I am proud of you!

I'm proud of you
I’m proud of you!

I hope I’ve done my bit today to increase your motivation!

Now, get in the spotlight!

How do you keep motivated? Is there anything you would like to add to this list? Tell us your secrets leaving a comment here below. I’d love to hear your ideas. Tell us what really works for you.

Finally, if you have found this post useful, help me reach more teachers by sharing it in your social networks. Let’s empower one another! Thank you!

I've been teaching Spanish and English since 2010. I moved online in 2016 and since then I enjoy my job much more because I have more control of how I live and work. Now I want to share all my knowledge and experience to help others follow the same path so that they can become independent digital entrepreneurs.

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