Staying motivated in the midst of uncertainty

Roufaida Tabet – April 14, 2021

We survived a little over a year since our lives changed! There is no doubt that the pandemic has brought so many challenges. We were used to a certain lifestyle and freedom, then suddenly, we had to quarantine ourselves and not see our friends and family. We thought that it would last a month, but then another month rolled, then another, till it reached whatever month we’re on right now- I lost count ahaha!

      This sudden change was a challenge for many. And to add to it, the anxiety of the nature of the virus being unknown because it was still novel, was immense. We feared getting infected or carrying the virus and infecting others – our loved ones included. Those of us who were or lived with anyone who was high risk had that added anxiety. I was, and still am, one of them.

      Over time, some of us turned that anxiety into “letting go” and not taking care for ourselves or our studies, which all goes back to motivation. We lost that spark. We lost the desire to get up and make our beds, sometimes we don’t want to shower or brush our teeth in the morning! “I’m not going anywhere, so what’s the point?”.

      I used to think that way too. But I realised that, in doing that, I am damaging myself mentally and emotionally. By not keeping my pre-covid routine, I am making it more of a reality of how the pandemic sucks. So instead, I went back to my pre-covid routine, but I made amendments to suit the times we were in. Instead of walking to my classes in the morning while having my breakfast, I would wake up at my usual timing, make breakfast, and enjoy it in our garden. Getting some fresh air and sunshine in the morning helped boost my energy and have a great start to my day! If you don’t have a garden, use your balcony, or simply, have a nice simple set up to have your breakfast in!

      Here are some other tips to keep yourself motivated-

1.     Don’t be too harsh on yourself. Although one should hold themselves accountable for their actions, it’s okay to not achieve what you wanted when you wanted to. Sudden and drastic change is bound to cause some hurdles on your way, and you’re not expected to step back up right away! Instead, give yourself some time and grace to process this change and see what alternatives you can do to achieve your desired goals!


2.     Always set achievable and realistic goals. We sometimes overestimate what we are capable of doing. Sometimes, we get a burst of motivation and we set goals that are not realistic. “Today onwards, I’m going to workout every day and eat healthy!”. Starting off this way is likely going to shatter one’s motivation later, because when you act on impulsive motivation that doesn’t last, you don’t see the challenges that can lie ahead and so you might beat yourself down when you do face the struggles. Instead, set a more realistic goal by taking into consideration how you’re feeling, your resources, and what you value most.


3.     Take it a step at a time. When setting your realistic goals, you have to remember to take it easy at first before increasing the intensity of the things you need to do to achieve your goal. If your end goal is to slim down and adopt a healthier lifestyle, start by making small changes to allow your body to adapt to them. If you start working out every day, your body is likely to crash. But if you start off with working out 3 times a week for 2 or 3 weeks, your body will cooperate and slowly adjust. Then you can increase to more days and so on until you reach your final goal!


Life is not a race. Some people are going nowhere, fast.