This has been an interesting year. We were coming out of our first year of COVID-19 and entering our second year of our new normal. During this time, many people struggled to hold onto their motivation or lost their motivation altogether. From the beginning of the year and even now as we close on 2021, these motivation struggles also apply to our students. Thankfully 2022 does not have to be the same as 2021 regarding our motivation. Even better, we can use mindfulness to help us obtain and maintain our motivation for the new year.
When I refer to mindfulness, I mean awareness of what is going on around you and what is going on inside of you (thoughts, emotions, and behaviors) and how these external and internal environments interact with each other.
First, we can use mindfulness to see why our motivation lessened or went away in the first place. Given what happened during the academic year, coming off 2020, many things can cause students to lose motivation. Some of the reasons I have helped students with are the following: not being able to take in-person classes, not doing well in online classes, not being able to get in contact with their teacher, seeing their academic plans crumbling due to the pandemic, or their reasons for school weren’t their own choices. Also, other reasons dealt with things that happen outside of school, such as loss of employment (whether it’s their parents or themselves), relationship issues (whether it’s with their family, friends, or significant others), loss of housing, sickness and deaths, political unrest, and others.
Second, by using mindfulness, we look at what caused us to lose motivation and separate those things into what is in our control and what is out of our control. This is very important because suddenly, things do not seem impossible. By taking out things that are out of our control, we reduce stress and pressure on ourselves. By focusing on what is in our control, we help regain control and motivation. For example, if we look at not taking in-person classes, we separate what is in our control and what is not. Of course, what is out of our control is not being able to take the class in person. What is in our control is how we absorb the information, do the homework, talk to for help, obtain resources, learn new ways to study, and adapt and see what works. When we focus on what is out of our control, everything seems impossible. When we focus on what is in our control, more becomes possible, and opportunities open up.
Third, based on what we know is in our control and the things we want to change, we set goals for 2022. Goal setting is important because it gives us direction. When we create our goals, we utilize mindfulness to make sure our goals are realistic and understand better what barriers we would encounter when working on completing our goals. We need to be mindful to see what outside forces could be an obstacle and how we sometimes manage to get in our own way. With specific goals set, we will increase our chances of completing those goals and becoming successful. Having a game plan will help improve and maintain motivation as we head into the new year and beyond.
Lastly, we need to make sure we have a self-care plan going into 2022. To say things will be easier in 2022 is not being realistic. There will be hard times ahead, especially when working to better ourselves. We need to utilize our mindfulness to see what types of situations would cause us to get the most stressed and frustrated. Also, we need to utilize our mindfulness to see what works the best for us regarding healthy, positive, and beneficial self-care. After that, we create our self-care routine and add that into our everyday routine to make sure we are taking care of ourselves. Remember, if we don’t take care of ourselves, we are less likely to succeed.
That four-step process is how we utilize mindfulness to help with our motivation. Remember, you know yourself better than anyone else. So, take this time to give yourself a game plan to help you succeed in 2022. Also, remember to be patient and give yourself time to complete your goals, utilizing mindfulness to see when you get impatient and correct your path. Remember, there is only one of you, so do your best and take care of yourself.
-Coresair A. Mack, ECC Wellness Professional