All of us suffer from burnout during our work lives for various reasons, but even outside of the context of your work life, you can feel burnout. There are days when you just don’t feel like getting out of bed, those days when you know you should, but you really don’t want to go to the gym.

I’ve been feeling like that a lot recently, but I like to think that I’m slowly getting out of it by reminding myself of what I truly desire.


4 Questions and Quotes To Motivate You

1. Will I regret this in a year?

Try to picture yourself a year from now, removed from whatever hardship it is that you’re experiencing. You know yourself best. Will you regret this decision you make now in a year?

When I was going through a rough patch during my teaching contract in Taiwan, I asked myself if I would regret breaking the contract and going back to the United States.

The answer was yes.

I spoke to people I trusted, who understood my thought process who were able to provide objective feedback, but I knew that the decision (and whatever would happen afterward) was my responsibility.

The positives of staying in the contract were the following:

  • International work experience
  • Personal satisfaction that I had completed a contract and fulfilled my commitment
  • Self-confidence

I knew that if I took the easy way out and returned to the familiarity of the United States, the momentary satisfaction would fade. I knew that I would regret it for the rest of my life if I left, even if it was difficult, so I decided to stick it out. As I write this, I have a little less than three months left.

What to do: Take some time to carefully evaluate all of the positives and negatives of your current position. Weigh the pros and cons of your future and how the decision you are about to make could affect that. You know yourself best. Listen to the answer you hear when you ask yourself if you will regret what you are about to do in a year.


2. What Will Happen If I Don’t Do It?

This comes directly from Randy Pausch’s speech on time management so I can’t take credit for this in any way as far as originality. Asking yourself what will happen if you don’t do the thing you are thinking about doing will push you to take action.

Let’s say that you’re debating cleaning your apartment despite the fact that you are the messiest person in the world.What will happen if you don’t clean your apartment? Things will pile up, bugs and other unpleasant critters could find their way into your space…yeah I think you get the picture. Do you want any of those things to happen? Yeah, I thought not. Have you started cleaning yet? I should hope so.

Sure, doing the thing you’re procrastinating on doesn’t sound like fun (because let’s be real, there is a reason you’re procrastinating), but sometimes the options that you’ll be faced with if you don’t eventually bite the bullet could be a lot worse.

Sometimes knowing what will happen if you don’t do whatever it is you’re procrastinating on will light a fire under you and motivate you to push through. In my case, although finding my next job on top of my current job is a job in itself, I push myself to push out at least a few applications a day because my answer to the question “What will happen if I don’t do it?” allowed me to see that I would be faced with options that I wasn’t thrilled with.

What to do: Asking yourself “What will happen if I don’t do it?” will help you make better choices in the long run. If you know that not doing something won’t affect you that much, feel free to continue doing what you were doing; by the same token, if the thing you’re avoiding will affect you, do something about it, no matter how small.


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3. “If not me, who? If not now, when?”

Unless you’ve all been living under a rock, I’m pretty sure you remember this from Emma Watson’s UN speech. This one stuck with me, even if I have trouble believing if my self-worth at times. I tend to focus more on the second question rather than the first one, but that doesn’t mean that the first question does not have merit.

Being surrounded by the familiar can be comforting for some (including myself). But sometimes opportunities come along that won’t last forever. For me, teaching in Taiwan was one of those opportunities. I knew that if I didn’t take this opportunity, I would only get even more complacent. Even if I doubted my capabilities, the director of recruitment was obviously willing to give me a shot. If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t have offered me the position.

I’m not saying that you have to take every opportunity that comes your way; for me, this quote really reminds me to capitalize on the opportunities I receive. This is a good reminder to refrain from taking anything for granted.


4. “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.” – Randy Pausch

There is so much about our lives that we cannot change, no matter how much we may want to build a time machine. I for one, cannot change the fact that my mentor is gone, but rather than gripe about it, I made a conscious choice to focus on the positive. This quote is a wonderful reminder.

What to do: Look for the silver lining in any situation. Focusing on the negative things about your situation doesn’t allow you to move forward; finding the silver lining (or at least little things to be grateful for) does.

Everyone has different quotes and other words that inspire them. While I have countless more, these are a few of my favorites.

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