By Kerry Tinga
Throughout the weeks I have written a lot about finding time for ourselves in this mad, mad, mad, mad world, about taking a step back and taking breaks. It really is important to relax so that when we go back to work we are in tip top shape to give it our 100 percent. Sometimes, however, the hard part is not so much taking a breather as it is going back to doing the actual work (Most of the time this is the harder part in life). When the days become shorter and colder, when it is so much easier to stay in bed and watch something on TV than to be at a desk in the library slouching over a textbook or a laptop, how do we even find the motivation to do the work we have to do?
Everybody has their own dream of their own version of success in different fields. Some people want to be a lawyer, others an author, or a businesswoman, or a dancer. It is so easy to dream of all the things we want to do (and all the things we want to buy when we have the money from our success), while it is so much harder to go and do it. I am the type of person who would stay in all day to binge watch a show, but I am proud to say I am also the type of person who will, the next day, spend as long as it takes to read assigned textbook chapters, and articles, and opinions. It is not the greatest of balances, but it is a step in the right direction.
But as it is coming toward the end of the first semester in my final year at university, and with Christmas around the corner, I cannot even begin to think about all these essays I have due. I doubt I am the only student feeling this way. Instead of working I write long to-do lists, and organize my closet and books, and go to that exhibit that is closing in three months so I don’t miss it! Excuses, excuses, excuses! All the while the deadlines keep coming closer while I am too busy counting down the days till Christmas.
I read that the best way to get yourself out of bed in the morning and motivate yourself to get to working right away is to create a morning routine or habit. Similar to how athletes have pre-game rituals to get in the proper mindset for their games, we normal people need to get ourselves in the mindset of everyday life.
A lot of celebrities and successful people often say that they start their days early, I have read about Jennifer Aniston waking up at 4:30, Anna Wintour at 5:45, Barack Obama at 6, and yes, I mean in the morning. On the other end of the spectrum there is Linda Evangelista who said that she wouldn’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day, and she managed to do quite well for herself. The majority of models interviewed at Marie Claire and Harper’s Bazaar said they would follow the waking up early type of morning routine so I would consider Evangelista an outlier. When I do wake up early in the morning, I find it quite nice when I check my phone and see that I have so much time in the day to do all the things I have (and want) to do. Although being in London in December, it gets harder and harder to wake up in a dark bedroom before the sun is even up.
Most people, I would guess, start their morning routine with a nice cup of coffee, whether one they brewed at home or one they grabbed from Starbucks on their way to school or work. Beethoven took this to another level. He supposedly just could not start his day right unless he drank a cup of coffee brewed from exactly 60 coffee beans that he would count himself. He then would work at his desk composing music for the rest of the morning. It is a little too extreme for my taste, but if it works for him, then so be it. The important thing is to find whatever routine works for you, however silly it may seem to others.
I always prefer having something with my coffee in the morning, a nice warm croissant or a pain au chocolat, so that my stomach doesn’t growl halfway through a lecture. Marilyn Monroe would apparently break two raw eggs into a warm cup of milk, whip them with a fork, and drink it while she got dressed in the morning. “I have been told my eating habits are absolutely bizarre,” she said in an interview. “But I don’t think so.”
The lesson in all of these success stories and their interesting start to their days is that you can do whatever you like in order to get up in the morning, whether that is going to the gym, or counting coffee beans, or reading the news, or eating raw eggs. But once you are up, then you have to do what you need to do to get your work done.
A morning routine gets a person to the starting line and, if they have a big breakfast like I do, it can give them the energy for the next steps to come, but they still need to run the race themselves. The motivation to do that is not something that a person can find reading up about successful people because everybody has different dreams, different reasons for wanting to achieve it, and different people cheering for them every step of the way.
I can’t give any secrets to finding motivation yourself because I am still trying to figure it out. Instead, all I can say is: Wake up, grab your coffee and croissant, get out that door, and start doing what you have to do to make it already. As Mark Twain once said, “The secret to getting ahead is getting started.”