I have received some messages and requests lately asking how do I manage to stay so motivated and focused all of the time? Some of my followers and blog readers have been commenting and asking how do I stick to such a strict dietary routine, get to the gym, work a full time job, perform in shows, attend events, stay in a happy relationship, and on top of all that now run a blog.
When everything is listed out like that it seems like a lot of things to do and I would be completely lying if I said that I was always motivated because the truth is I am not at all and some days I really have to force myself do those things! I keep saying it but I am just organized and live by a to do list but just because it’s in my planner doesn’t mean I will always do it sometimes the struggle is real.
I guess this blog entry is a ‘How to’ but it's more like a 'How I' because my way may not really suit everyone we are all so different in our work ethic and our motivational skills vary dependant on character traits or simply the mood you are in on that specific day so for me to say “do this and do that” is just another thing you will end up feeing shit about because it doesn’t suit you so all I can do is say my way of doing things and then maybe some of it can be transferred into your own life.
Career & Work
I love my job and working in higher education but everyone including me has bad work days, weeks or even months. I feel so strongly about loving what you do for work because if you don’t then it means you spend a lot of your life miserable. It doesn’t matter what you do so long as it is making you happy and fulfilled or be a valuable stepping stone in where you want to be long term. If you work for nothing more than a pay cheque and you long for the weekend all of the time, then you are in the wrong job. Do I dread Mondays? Yes, but only because society has made me hate them and I am usually tired but once I am up and have had my coffee then I love knowing my day will be filled with people I have never met, interviewing them for a place at the college and listening to their hopes and dreams. I do have days when the people I meet have no real interest in studying and are there for all the wrong reasons, and yes that can be really draining at times but I love my work, I love my colleagues and team, and every day is beneficial to where I want to be long term so I am always motivated because it’s not just a pay cheque I work for, I work because my specific job is a vital role in the education system and it makes me happy. I learn something new every day in my job even if it’s just because I met a type of person I’ve never met before then so be it! Do what you love and if you can’t right now then work in the jobs that will get you to the place you want to be or benefit you in some way in the long run. Even when you work for ‘the man’ be sure you are doing it for you!
This is 'My Everest' every single day. Its not because I am lazy or don’t like exercising its actually more to do with the fact that I hate the gym itself. When I am there I am fine and when I am done I feel great but I do wonder if its endorphins or if I am just relieved to be out of the hell hole. I get so bored in the gym like I struggle to focus and hate everything from the smell, to the techno music, to the ridiculous noises people make. I personally love a cross trainer because I can just get on one for 30 mins with my excellent taste in music and burn off 300-350 calories, and then I will do weight training for 30 mins which I like too (sometimes). I am not sure what it is about the gym apart from the reasons I just listed but I just find it to be a very stressful place. In London there is usually 300 people checked in at a time and you have to dash for the machines you want so maybe it’s the OCD in me not having a specific plan to stick to but the thought of the gym is hell to me every single day and I have to push myself to get there. My advice would be find the exercise you enjoy most (if there is one) and train your brain into knowing that being fit is vital in your health not just physically but mentally too. List 3 reasons why you need to exercise or 3 benefits of doing it and that list should get you to the door coz once you are at the gym you know deep down its going to be fine it’s just the fact that being at home watching Netflix sounds better and is far more appealing.
The D you don’t want – Diet
As we all know from my Instagram I have been on a carb free diet as of late but the only reason I have managed to stick to this is because of my holiday that is coming up! If I wasn’t going to Barbados in a few weeks than you would find me balls deep in pasta. I am such a foodie to a level I can’t even explain so for me to diet is really difficult because I enjoy food as a hobby. What I have learned and it has taken almost 30 years is that balance really is everything. I am so good and so strict 5-6 days a week but lately I have started to cut myself a break and have stopped guilt tripping myself over a night out or a nice dinner. The second I hear the word diet my body has a melt down and my mind plays tricks on mw - like my body does a power point presentation in my brain of all the food I love and can’t have. The best thing I have done is accept the type of body I have and I have only recently come to terms with the fact I will always be thick and curvy. No matter what I eat or don’t eat I will never get lower than a size 12, and no matter how many hours I spend in the gym my thighs don’t get smaller they just get harder. Like come on I did an Olympic distance triathlon in 2016 and crossed that finish line as a size 12 to 14 - I should have realised then that this is who I am but I didn’t. I obsess more than anyone I know over my weight and size and have made myself ill and injured from pushing myself to try and be what I am not. I will always be curvy and I have accepted that so for me it’s now about eating what’s good for me, keeping myself fit, and not killing myself over something that is just an image in my head. I have found the balance that suits me and that means choosing the healthier option 5-6 days a week, going to the gym 3-4 times per week, and what I have found that suits me dietary wise is weighing everything I eat so it’s the correct portion that’s recommended. I eat as much meat, fish and veg as I like (lean) and I aim for the 1200 calories almost every day. The day I stopped saying the word diet was the day I didn’t need motivation on this topic anymore. Accept the body type you are, eat as healthy as you can within reason and if you have a goal in mind then set it and get towards it one week at a time. The trick is that when you fall off the plan is to just get back on it.
This does not take a lot of motivation for me as it is my biggest passion. People do ask why I don’t do it fulltime but as I’ve said before I like the stability of having at 9 to 5 career and also the lifestyle itself does not suit me at all. I do have the best of both worlds where I sing professionally and have an entirely separate career to singing as well but of course managing both takes effort not motivation. Doing an upcoming show or performance takes commitment and I think it’s vital to be able to commit entirely because it’s not just showing up for rehearsal or training but it knowing that yes you were chosen to do this but the responsibility is entirely on you to deliver. I perform because I love it so I don’t need motivation but I do have to make time to learn the music, then have to work on the performance itself, and then get it show ready. Outside of scheduled rehearsals I learn music on my commute to and from work, and then the more technical stuff I would schedule a specific time for this. When I’m called for training at ENO then that would trump everything else in my calendar as it would be a priority and I am contracted to be there just like I would be at work. Sometime it can feel like a lot to do but when it comes to performances you have to always remember why you do it, never loose the pre-show nerves, and you should be pumped full of adrenaline on stage and for a while after. If you aren’t any more then according to musical geniuses, you have lost your spark and have allowed your passion become just another thing to get through. For me I always find a new musical or try see it from a different character’s perspective, I learn new arias that are demanding in vocal techniques, and I change and add to my repertoire often. Singing is always exciting and mesmerising to me so luckily the motivation and focus on it is always there.
Date Day or Date Night
I know I am one of the very lucky ones where even after nearly 6 years together we still don’t have to set mandatory date night or us time. The Beeb never eye rolls or sighs when I say suggest a date night or date day, and to be fair a lot of the time he would find us a restaurant or make a plan. Even if it’s just going to the cinema or checking out a new restaurant we always have a date night/day once a week. We have that really nice balance where we do a lot together a lot of the time but we also have separate things going on like shows, band practice, or D&D. There is never an issue when either one of us says I’ll be home at 7pm for dinner but then change the plan and fall in the door after one too many drinks because we decided to stay out with our friends. I think in a relationship you need to find that balance of not allowing it become an effort but always wanting to make the effort. It’s very easy to stay motivated in a relationship though when both of you have a common interest so we would feed of that by remaining dedicated foodies or going to a gig or concert. I often find myself at the edge of a mosh pit and he often finds himself at the theatre which we are both happy to do and over time became something we both love to do together (not the mosh pit I’m too Boujee for that life). So if you are feeling a little unmotivated or dreaming of the honey moon phase than just do something - it’s that simple. Go to the cinema, for dinner, for cocktails, or whatever it is ye both like to do. If it comes to a point where it still feels like effort or you lack enthusiasm then I’m afraid it’s time to revaluate the situation. Being in a relationship isn’t mandatory or a necessity so if you are in one then it should make you happy. It wont always be clean sailing but as a whole it should be a positive part of your life.
Socials & Events
Like the gym trauma I go through I can admit that sometimes I feel this way with socials. I do like my friends and meeting new people but sometimes I do just want to relax at home. So this year I made a deal with myself that I will go to what I want to and very rarely cancel but if I feel like I really need to just go home and relax then I will. Majority of the time it is just laziness after a long day at work but when you just make yourself go it always ends up being such a nice time. A motivational strategy I use is telling myself that one day I’ll be old (but still look the same because of Botox) and that is when I can just relax at home and do nothing but for now I’m 29 and should always have a full social calendar. To be fair my calendar is always super full and I know I need to cut back a bit especially since I started my blog because I RSVP to quite a few things but I know its ok to say no and should only attend the things I really want to go to or things I feel strongly about because there really aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything. I know it is so easy when it comes to plans to make them in the moment when they are in the future but then when it’s come to the time of doing it you’re allergic to it but sometimes making yourself do everything you say is a really good thing and catching up with friends or attending an event can be just what you need to keep you all fired up.
Remember that everyone is completely different and what motivates us will vary in every person but for me this is what works and how I stay on top of everything. The worst thing you could do to yourself is compare yourself to others. As cliché as it sounds the only person you should compare yourself to is yourself yesterday and build from that because sometimes what other people do is just not possible because it’s not you doing it just like what you do is not possible for others to accomplish. You can only be your own cheerleader and anyone else that pushes you is just extra support but the initial and final push has to come from you otherwise it’s just more people shouting at you to do better and you end up loosing all interest and becoming negative as it’s not what you are focused on or care about anymore. Only you can get you what you want! We all need help, support, and a push from other people but I have found over the years that the people who push you aren’t always able to catch you when you fall so as great as support and cheering is from others - you really have to be your own motivator and support system first!
Boujee Tips & Tricks:
1. Focus on the positive in everything
2. Don’t confuse realism with negativity
3. Set goals that interest you and set them to a time frame with some breathing space
4. Be public with your plans because it’s harder to fail with the world watching
5. Listen to motivational podcasts and read inspiring books
6. If you get tired learn how to rest not quit
7. Surround yourself with positivity and personal motivation
Set a goal for yourself now or plan that thing you have been preponing for far too long. I always find the summer to be a great time to set a new goal or start something new because the weather is an automatic pick me up and its far easier to get excited in the summer then it is in January. Its almost June so that means you have over half the remaining year left to pick 2019 right back up or to make it the year you got shit done!