Written By
Brooke Lark
Wellbeing Collective

6 Instant Motivation Hacks That Actually Work

January is all about new beginnings and lofty resolutions, but if you’re like me, it can be tough to stay motivated after all the sparkly champagne is gone and the excitement of a brand-new year starts to wear thin. That’s why I love these instant motivation hacks that work all year long — even when some of my other resolutions are mysteriously forgotten by February.

Drink cold water

Ice, ice baby! For my birthday, my kids bought me a pebble ice machine. After completely freaking out from joy, I started carrying cold glasses of water filled with pebble ice everywhere because … yay!

I’ve always been an ice-cruncher. But having quick and constant access to crystal cups of icy H2O also helped me realize that ice water keeps me fueled and focused as I go about my day. Don’t believe me? Science supports the idea that cold water aids adrenaline production.

Go on a quick walk

How many mornings have you rushed out the door, rushed the kids to appointments, rushed home to make dinner, and realized … dang it, I didn’t have time to work out! I used to think moving my body had to be part of a big fat routine, waiting until I could slide into yoga pants and get to the gym for hours of blood pumping and endorphins.

But quarantine life upended the way I do everything, especially since the gym wasn’t available anymore. Turns out, that ended up being a big gift because it changed the way I approach movement and exercise.

No matter how hectic the day gets, I can usually make time for a brisk walk, which might do more for my energy than that extra cup of coffee. Researchers at the University of Georgia have found that in some cases, 10 minutes of light cardiovascular activity can be more energizing than 50 milligrams of caffeine.

Encourage yourself

Be your own personal cheerleader by sending yourself encouraging emails or setting reminders on your phone that are just for you. You know yourself best, so go ahead — take the time to give yourself a little pep talk, share a motivational quote, or schedule a five-minute song break.

Take a power pose

Raise your arms above your head for two minutes. In her TED Talk, Amy Cuddy shows how power posing for two minutes can actually make you feel more powerful.

Slow it down

Every morning, I roll right out of bed and onto a pretty pastel tapestry that sits just below my mattress. It looks like a rug, but it’s actually a yoga mat. We often think of getting motivated as a high-energy vibe. But I’ve found I work a lot more effectively if I offer myself just the opposite. A quiet, slow-moving session of gentle yoga works wonders.

It’s super easy. Just pull up a five-minute yoga session on your phone, and gift yourself a slowdown. Whether you roll right out of bed and onto your yoga mat or stop in the middle of a busy workday to breathe, a quick five-minute session of gentle yoga can refocus your mind, calm nerves, and zap stress so you can get more done with less anxiety. It also gets your body into a new flow, which is a great way to stop procrastinating and start moving toward something you really want or need to do.

Not sure if you really need a slowdown? A study of 131 people revealed that 10 weeks of yoga helped reduce stress and anxiety. Yoga also helped improve quality of life and mental health when used alone or alongside other methods of alleviating stress, such as meditation.

Thank yourself

Every night before I go to bed, I get myself a glass of water and place it next to my nightstand. And any night I wake up thirsty, I grab the drink and say aloud, “Thank you, Brooke.” It sounds simple and funny. But each time I show myself gratitude for taking care of myself, I change the way I feel about my ability to accomplish hard things. A 2011 study by Robert A. Emmons and Anjali Mishra found that people feel motivated and energized when they experience gratitude and that gratitude encourages them to make progress toward their goals.

Already feeling a little extra motivated? Fantastic! Go ahead and send yourself that pep talk — you’ve earned it. And make sure you come back soon for more real-life hacks that actually work and, of course, all the delicious recipes your kitchen can handle.

Happy New Year!