I absolutely love Marie Kondo’s “spark joy” philosophy. If you haven’t heard of her or of the “spark joy” movement she has created, Kondo is a tidying expert and renowned author, and she also has her own Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie. Her philosophy is “if doesn’t spark joy, toss it”. There’s more to her secrets than that, but I think these simple words can be the catalyst to finally feeling like your life is together- organized, well-rounded, happy, and healthy.
If you’re not creating joy every day, you’re not fully living. Some days that may look different than others. Yesterday, for instance, I stayed in my pajamas for most of the day. But today, I got up at 5:30 to work out, I’ve planned my quarter, prepped dinner for tonight and tomorrow, and started writing this blog post. Both days gave me joy in some way.
But what do you do when the days come and go, and it just feels like a blur? Like nothing got done, you did nothing for yourself, you barely feel like you’ve spent time with the kids, and yet you’re burnt out?
No Joy = No Motivation
If you’re in the middle of what I just described, I know what you’re doing right now. You’re beating yourself up. You’re feeling like a failure, you’re unhappy, you’re overwhelmed, and you have no motivation. You think “If I could JUST FIND some motivation!” “THEN I can work out, feel happy, feel balanced, have time more stuff.” “If I could just STOP being lazy, I’d get more done”.
Mama. You’re not lazy. You’re just overwhelmed. You are putting too much on your plate, not taking care of your needs because you think you don’t deserve to, and you’re setting yourself up to FEEL like a failure.
Not only do you deserve to feel joy and take care of your needs, but you need to. If you take care of yourself- your physical wellbeing as well as your happiness- the motivation WILL follow.
Spark Joy and Find Motivation with a Daily Routine
Even if you’re not usually one who likes routine, you’d be surprised how the simplest of routines can help. You may consider yourself a “free spirit” or a “go with the flow” kinda gal, but in everyday life, that’s just not realistic, and it’s a good way to lose motivation.
If you’re a SAHM, you have to work extra hard to find some structure. It’s easier to fall into the “go with the flow” kinda pattern when the only people you have to answer to are tiny with short attention spans and a tendency to fly off the handle.
If you’re a working mama, you already have some structure in your day-to-day. But think about your mornings and your evenings. Do you wing it in the morning, trying to figure out what to throw in everyone’s lunch boxes only to forget about your own? Is it a hot mess trying to get out the door because you slept until the last possible minute and then you look at yourself in the mirror and think “yikes, I can’t believe I go to work like this?”
What about your evening? Do you have any idea what you’re having for dinner? Do you scramble to figure it out while trying to help the kids with their homework? Are you and your partner bickering about the mess? These are the times when even the smallest amount of planning and structure can go a long way. After all that chaos + a 9-hour work day, you’re WAY too exhausted to have any motivation to DO ANYTHING.
I know you feel like you don’t have time to add a routine to your day. But it’s actually the opposite- you don’t have time NOT to have a routine. Not having a good routine (meaning: one that works for YOU) is the reason you don’t have enough time to get things done AND take care of happiness and sanity.
A New Routine
First thing’s first. Do not try to go from waking up at the last possible minute, to waking up 2 hours early, exercising for an hour, eating breakfast in peace, and packing everyone’s lunches before the sun rises. Not. Going. To. Happen.
Start with just 15 minutes. Choose something that would only take you 15 minutes, wake up 15 minutes earlier, and do it. Just that. Choose something that excites you or relaxes you. For me, it was drinking coffee… alone 😉. Then maybe the next week, add another 15 or 30-minute task and choose something that would make your week easier. Like throwing in a load of laundry, or even just sorting it. The next time you add on, choose something for you- like exercise. And so on and so forth.
Tips for a Daily Routine that Improves Motivation
- Set boundaries. For instance, I will not wake up earlier than 5:30. Just nope. If it would require waking up at 4 am in order to fit everything in, then don’t try to fit everything in. Choose the most important, or the tasks that help your day be the best it can be, and let everything else go.
- Start small. As I said above, don’t try to go all in. Just like any bad crash diet, it will fail. It wouldn’t be because you’re not capable or you’re lazy. It’d be because you tried to put too much on your plate all at once. We want to believe that change happens quickly. But it doesn’t. And setting yourself up for failure is a sure-fire way to kill motivation.
- Incorporate planning. Part of my morning routine is to write down 3 tasks that I have to prioritize for the day. Yes, only 3. One of the reasons we get overwhelmed is because we think about ALL the things we have to do, then we get sidetracked on things that could have waited or we end up paralyzed (ahem, that’s me to a T!). So just write down the 3 main things (make sure they’re realistic) that would help you feel accomplished for the day. Then decide when is the best time to get them done, and schedule it. This doesn’t need to take long. Just think about your weekly goals, think about the next steps towards them, and write down what will make you feel like you made progress by the end of the day. 10 minutes tops.
- Have a weekly routine in addition to your daily ones. Grocery shopping for the week requires a little planning. Prioritizing tasks requires knowing your weekly goals. Make sure that you’re prepared each day to accomplish what you want to accomplish by planning out your week beforehand. Plan your meals, grocery shop, write out your weekly goals.
- Make sure to include self-care. Basic self-care like proper meals and snacks should be included in every single person’s routine. But also need self-care that helps you re-set, re-center, re-boot, re-motivate, relax, and have fun. Schedule these things into your routine. Choose small things in your daily routine like sipping coffee before everyone wakes up, and bigger things like date nights or girls nights into your weekly routine
Get Started with a Meal Planning Routine
Meal planning can be one of the trickiest parts of anyone’s routine. It can be overwhelming and paralyzing, and can hinder your motivation. Luckily, I have a free download that I think can help. Click here to download the Busy Woman’s Guide to Meal Planning Like a Pro and make your life easier.