Photo: Andrea Piacquadio

has been exhausting, to say the least. The current state of society, pandemic, politics, and social justice issues have made this year one of the most difficult to deal with. We lived through a halt in our routine with the start of the pandemic. We lived through a stressful election season. We also lived through an economy that depressed and then slowly climbed uphill again. You may have faced other hardships and personal issues that made 2020 feel unbearable thus far. The good thing is 2021 is just less than two months away. But rather than complain and tweet endlessly about how raggedy 2020 is, how about looking forward to something new? Each new day is a chance to have a different thought and do a new thing. Here are my tips to stay motivated as you look ahead to the New Year.

  1. Have faith. This is my top. My number one. If 2020 didn’t teach you anything else, it’s to rely on some kind of faith to get you through, because you cannot put your trust in the external. Who could foresee a pandemic and a continuing national crisis? The things that have occurred are enough to make anyone break down. Whether prayer, meditation, journaling, or nature walks — connecting to your source of faith and inspiration can improve your motivation.
  2. Belief. Number 1 leads me to number 2. What do you believe about yourself? Your life? Whatever you believe will be further backed up by your words and actions. I know things feel limited right now. You turn on the news and you feel discouraged and also angry. You may feel lonely or disconnected from people too because of social distancing. But these are challenges that are not fully in our control. Our thoughts and beliefs are in our control. Try to hold on to your beliefs and trust that things will change in time.
  3. Self-care. This is so important. You won’t climb out of 2020 without bumps and bruises unless you’ve done some self-care. What does this look like for you? For me, it’s a space to be creative. It’s also physical movement, good food, laughter, and rest. Self-care is also saying “No” and avoiding things in general that chip away at your sense of well being.
  4. What you always dreamed. Do the thing you always dreamed to do in one way or another. If it’s acting get on YouTube and start making your videos. If it’s painting, buy art supplies and start painting in your home. If it’s entrepreneurship this is a good time to start a home-based business that you enjoy. The information is right at your fingertips. What do you have to lose?
  5. Plan. I know everyone always says, “The best plans go awry.” Yup, they sure do but if you don’t plan at all, well that’s just “planning to fail” as they also say. Plan as if everything is good. Plan as if nothing is holding you back. Did you plan to go back to school in 2020? I know, the pandemic and other things kind of put a halt to that. But you still can do it, in 2021. Did you plan to take a trip? You can do that too. You’ll just have to make some revisions and find out what travel is restricted and what travel isn’t. Notice the tone of optimism? When you plan you have to be optimistic about your goal so that you’re motivated to follow through.
  6. Write it down. Everything I do I plan it first by writing it down, well mostly. There’s something about writing a thing down that cements it. Even if you don’t get right to it, or don’t get to it for years down the line, well it’s there in your psyche and your notes. Make lists. Write on post its. Journal it. Use index cards. Heck, take some saved brown paper bags, cut them up, and write on those. Just write down your vision!
  7. Speak it. Your mama used to say when you were a kid, “Watch your mouth.” You knew what it was. Words are powerful. If you want to change or improve your life in some way you also have to change your words. Ever notice how you say something that is really messed up about yourself and then you feel bad afterward? Our words can be a double whammy against ourselves and others and we don’t even realize it. Motivation comes from belief but it also comes from what you say. Are your words lifting you or tearing you down?

What are you doing to stay motivated? Leave me a comment below or tweet me @duewafrazier1. Visit my website at

Writer, poet, podcaster, children’s/YA/MG author, TEDx “Word is Bond” speaker. Nerd-in-Chief at Nerdacity Podcast. Educator & commentator.

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