How to stay motivated: stop thinking in terms of days and weeks

How to stay motivated
We’re feeling as smug as these people look

You know how sickening it is to see those people with smug happy faces, wandering around looking all delighted because they think they’ve nailed life? (They normally live in places like Belsize Park, or the West Village, or Prenzlauer Berg.

Well… this week we were those people. This week has been WONDERFUL (in a totally “us” way – in that it would probably bore the pants off you). We got ourselves a new and lovely client, we did great work for our existing clients, we made major breakthroughs with our side projects, we went nude sunbathing (brand new life experience there), we went on sunny bicycle rides around Berlin, we dozed for an hour in front of Berlin Cathedral by the river, and we met up with lots of lovely friends.

Last week, we were NOT those people. Last week we had some tricky work issues, we got in a tizz about our travel plans, we couldn’t motivate ourselves, we got a few separate bundles of bad news, and we cried – quite a lot, actually.

And while we’re actually making ourselves feel a bit sick with our over-the-top positive outlook at the moment, we think we’ve learnt an important lesson in all this: judging success, or progress, or happiness over the course of a day – or even a week – just isn’t very useful. It’s why dieters fail after they eat a single slice of chocolate cake, and it’s why we lost all clarity and focus when a few things went wrong. After a single week of suckiness, we got all down in the dumps and thought we were failures – and it took a hefty chunk of effort and good fortune to get back into the right frame of mind.

Last week we achieved very little. But if we take a step back and look at our progress over the past few months, holy cow have we done well. We’ve shifted our lives so that we’ve achieved our perfect ratio of work we love, travel and leisure. We’ve made delightful new friends, become better at travelling, and been able to wander around beautiful cities all over the world.

Some days and weeks are bound to go a bit tits-up: you might do shitty work, or be stuck in the office all day and night, or have two consecutive arguments with two best friends that’ll make you worry that you’re a terrible person. And it’s so easy to get caught up in all this and and forget the fantastic work you normally do, the perfect day off you had a few weeks ago, or the lovely voicemail you got from the best friend who obviously doesn’t  think you’re a terrible person.

It’s all about taking a step back, not being so hard on yourself, and seeing the bigger picture – the bigger successes, the better progress, the overarching levels of happiness.

And now we’ve said all that, we’re off to down a packet of M&Ms – which is fine, because we ate some vegetables last week and we haven’t yet figured out how far this “bigger picture” stuff should go.