| 4 Minute Read |

We all have times in our lives when we’re much more motivated than others. In recent weeks I’ve spoken to many people who are really struggling with their motivation. I count myself among their numbers.

As I sit down with my orange juice on a Saturday morning to write, my first thought is, “How do I make sure this article isn’t really annoying to read?”. In my hunt for my mojo, particularly over the last couple of weeks, I’ve found many sources of inspiration and motivation VERY irritating.

“Life is like exercise; the harder it is, the stronger you become.”

“A negative mind will not give you a positive life.”

“Do something today that your future self will thank you for.”

Oh, bugger off! I’m pretty sure my future self would bitch-slap me if she could get her hands on me. I just don’t have the energy to do what she needs. There was a time when I would have been hashtagging the hell out of things like this. So where did my mojo go? 

What I think I’m beginning to understand, this week in particular, is that the exhaustion that many of us feel right now is very, very real. Although I’ve been struggling with my mojo for some time now, the months of lockdown have been particularly difficult. What keeps knocking me back over again? There is no doubt the menopause is kicking my arse like an angry army sergeant, and I still have to watch for occasional post-burnout blips. But that can’t be the whole story…

I have “pockets” of motivation, but I’m noticing that although these pockets are great, they are taking much more energy than usual, so there’s very little motivation left over. I’ve been grateful to be doing work I really enjoy, and every week I get to meet new leaders and teams which often gives me an extra shot of motivation. Although it does just feel like a sugar-high and it doesn’t usually last beyond the end of the working day. 

It can feel like the energy is really in and out. You know that feeling when you’ve got a loose cable on a lamp, and when you move the cable to a certain angle you can get full power, but it only takes a slight nudge for it to lose power and the light goes out? That’s what motivation feels like for me right now.  But just like the dodgy cable, where is the disconnect? I’ve not got the answer, but I do have some ideas. 

Three weeks ago, I began a course in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. A long-held wish which I’ve been able to realise thanks to lockdown putting classes online (silver linings). I have never needed to search for the mojo to attend these classes – no matter how tired I’ve felt – and it’s helping me notice so much. No definitive answer, but a lot of clues to follow up. Here’s what I’ve noticed.

I’d stopped listening to music. Not sure when or why. As I restarted, it is definitely rebooting something for me. As I write this, I’m listening to the Hamilton soundtrack, and it’s like someone is injecting me with caffeine.

I keep comparing myself to what I used to be able to do. There was a time where I was a bit of a fitness bad-ass… now it’s rather more ‘saggy-ass’. That comparison is wildly unhelpful. Looking back hasn’t been helpful – instead, I think I need to simply start where I am and begin to move forward. Behave like a beginner just starting out.

Looking outside for motivation can be helpful – I’ll often be inspired by the stories of others, though sometimes it can turn into a stick to beat myself with. I need to find the inspiration in myself – which takes me to my final point. 

If there is no goal, it’s harder to keep going on the low energy days. I’ve just been trying to get through each week and my to-do list. I realised this week I’ve not had a big enough goal pulling me on for quite some time. Could this be a big part of the answer? Is it that simple?

The gym I’m part of has a very strong community focus. Our gym owner and amazing coach Ross (at Caber Fitness) has put us in teams over lockdown and given us challenges each week. There is always a blend of movement, social and lifestyle. Some weeks I’m all over it, the past two weeks I’ve just not been up for it.

This week’s lifestyle challenge has definitely sparked something for me… and may give me one of the ways I can get consistent power to that “lamp” which keeps going on and off.   

“Write down a goal for the next 12 months and how you are going to start working towards it.”  

As much as I want to help the team win the challenge – it’s not really the points being awarded that’s motivating me here, it’s the thought that I might get my mojo back.  

So, let’s see where this takes me… I’m going to put on some great music for my dog walk this morning, be mindful about the movement of the walk and pay attention to how being in nature feels. When I come back, I’ll sit down with a coffee, write out my goal and how I will start working towards it. 

This week I’d love to hear back from you on ideas on how you find your mojo? Is there anything you’ve done which gets you back up again when you feel knocked down? I look forward to hearing from you and sharing our journeys. Maybe we can motivate each other! 

4 replies
  1. Marianne Lindum says:

    Sorry, no idea how to find your mojo as my own seems well and truly hidden (gone?). I’ve been confined to stay at home every day for years and years (I’m disabled and unable to work for those who don’t know, and I’m really not a homemaker person by nature). Therefore I have considered what I could do to make life a bit more interesting and your post reminded me of the time I bought a book on how to get your act together to become a writer. With the result that I couldn’t get my act together to read the book about how to get my act together 🙂

    • Jean MacAskill says:

      Marianne – it’s finding the right trigger isn’t it, and you’ve had more challenge than most and yet you keep pushing on, I reckon mojo comes in many different forms. You’ve always had a beautiful way with words – and kicked ass in Scrabble if my memory serves me right – I don’t doubt you’ll find something that sparks joy. Hugs.

  2. Nicky Lyle says:

    I think we often look for our mojo by chasing life affirming goals that we rarely stick to. This leaks a bit more mojo and there it is – the leaky mojo bucket. Small daily steps surely are better ie to walk past our laptops and ignore Microsoft Teams for an hour, go for a walk, avoid social media and fight against falling into new societal tribalism over our choice of risk to Covid19!

    • Jean MacAskill says:

      Nicky, I love the image of the leaky mojo bucket…I reckon mine was more like a sieve a while back :-). You’ve spot on about the need to just step away though and being outside for a while can help massively – even in rainy Scotland. Good luck with those daily steps.


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