Sometimes motivation hits me at the strangest times: late at night as I’m falling asleep or in the middle of an important client meeting. A sudden wave of determination strikes and my thoughts race as I mentally develop a plan of action that will help me achieve this new goal. Within minutes, I have it all figured out. But, lately, I’ve noticed that if my goals aren’t career-oriented, the motivation to achieve them disappears as quickly as it surfaced.
In the work place, I am ambitious. I hold myself accountable. Every morning, I create a task list and I don’t leave until every last “to-do” has a check mark next to it. But being as motivated about my personal life as I am my professional one is something I’ve been struggling with recently. To-do lists and writing down my goals just aren’t enough.
I understand the importance of achieving work-life balance; I wish I could transfer some of the drive I have at work over to my other goals.
Take the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run, for instance. Ever since I moved to D.C., I’ve been determined to finish this race. A week ago, I got the sudden urge to start a training program. So far, I’ve stuck to it, but in the back of my mind I’m wondering how long it will be before I lose the motivation.
It’s not just running. It’s starting a book club or finding an organization to volunteer with; it’s writing a novel or going on architecture tours once a month. When these ideas first occur to me, I am elated and passionate. But the momentum wanes as soon as I walk through my front door after a long, stressful day at work. Even though I know I’ll feel better after a late-night run or a morning spent volunteering, it’s maintaining the motivation to keep going for more than a couple weeks at a time.
For me, finding a work-life balance isn’t only about making sure I don’t overwork myself so that I have time for friends, family, and a social life. It’s having the motivation to achieve personal goals as well as professional ones. And, unfortunately, I’m not quite sure how to do ride the wave when it hits.
What do you do to keep yourself motivated after leaving the office?