Staying Motivated During Challenging Times.


Today’s story begins in the middle of my kickboxing class. The point in time where you feel like giving up the most.

Because the middle is always the hardest. Whether it be the middle of a semester, the middle of a week, or the middle of a dentist appointment. Ugh!

It was thirty minutes into class, and we had just finished a really tough round. I wanted to celebrate how far we’d come, so I began clapping and cheering.

Despite my excitement, my instructor gave me a curious look and said: “Why are you clapping Andrea? We are far from being done.”

She was right. We still had a significant amount of time left in our workout. But I wasn’t clapping because we were finished. I was clapping because we had hit the wall and survived. I was clapping to energize!



A cheering strategy that I often use in my own classroom. Students are geared up at the start of the semester and pumped up at the end. It’s in the middle that their commitment starts to falter.

This is when I clap wholeheartedly simply because students show up to class. A fun gesture underscoring how much I value their commitment to education. And they love it!

Today I am reminded how small gestures energize big time in the midst of a challenge. Be it a high five. A wide smile. A kind word. Or calling students by name.

Because beginnings have their own ticker parades. And endings take care of themselves.

It’s in the middle of a challenge where we need positive energy the most.

Related Post: What's your why?

What keeps you motivated in the midst of a challenge?

65 thoughts on “Staying Motivated During Challenging Times.

  1. Small gestures help in the middle.. I guess if it a road that is traveled alone we have to a gesture for the self to keep us going. I guess that is why I always say pat yourself on the back for each small achievement. And to check and change nightly or weekly creates the opportunity to make the midlife not such a long barren desert.

    Always lovely reading you post your wealth of experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hadn’t really paid much attention to this before – but you are soooo right! AsI was reading straight away I took myself back to my gym routine this morning when I was doing a 10 minute abs blast that was HARD-CORE. I started strong, and when the end was in sight I found that little bit of extra energy – but that middle bit I always get all dramatic with myself and think my muscles are about to explode and cant take anymore and I struggle to keep going. I am going to work on reframing the middle bits of challenges I fact to remind myself how far I have come, and make sure I do the same for others! Thanks for the motivation!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve never tried that before! It’s so true that it’s much easier to endure the beginning and end of everything. The middle feels like forever. I’m going to clap the next time I have to endure the middle of something hard, which is bound to come up.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. What motivates me in the middle is I dislike the thought of giving up, or having to start all over again. I try to focus on how far I have come and what I have accomplished, and that I am halfway done. Praying all along the way. 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Great seeing you back again Andrea. So true about needing encouragement in the middle of the challenge. You end with a great question! What keeps us motivated is hearing the stories of people that overcome obstacles in life and climb to greater heights as a result of not ever quitting. So when we feel at the end of our strength we think of those people and their perseverance and we get back out there again.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. What a great strategy!

      I’m also motivated to keep going by others’ life story. Especially the underdogs! If they can do it, than why not I?

      This is why I love memoirs and movies about overcoming challenges so much. So much so that I included the real-life story of Aaron Rolston in my textbook. Aaron inspired the book 127 hours and movie. A story that would be of interest to both of you given the time you spend in the wilderness.

      Thank you for adding spark to my motivation Tom & Audrey!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. “Life seems to be one big continuance of overcoming.” Beautifully said. A Universal Truth – for us all.

          Though no one is exempt from the pain of challenge. Saving Grace = No one is exempt from the strength to rise up & thrive…. again & again & again. 🌷🍃

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Having worked for a while now with people who always try to dampen your morale, to make you feel incapable of achieving things, I stay motivated by keeping my mind focused on the end result of any task I’m handling at the moment. That’s because I know I am capable of getting things done right, and I don’t need to view myself through their eyes. It works for me all the time. Of course I do it all with a smile.😄😄😉😉

    Great post, Dr. Andrea! Keep them coming. Do take care and have a great time!🌷

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good for you Kip!

      You have an amazing attitude & approach to life. Thanks for sharing what works for you. Your ideas will certainly help me & many others keep our eyes on the prize (aka our dreams) instead of our naysayers.

      Have a wonderful evening!


  7. 👏👏👏👏👏
    Awesome post! 😀
    I agree the middle is usually the hard part. I see this often in a writing marathon called NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month); usually it’s easy to write in the beginning because of the enthusiasm and towards the end because the end is in sight, but the middle is usually the part that is the easiest to give up. That’s usually when I pull out all the motivational “carrots” like ice cream and whatnot, and it usually works! 😆

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Another good reminder- the middle can be difficult.
    At all phases of any goal or journey I try to remain focused on my why- my purpose- what do I want to achieve but more important what will it me for me or others.
    For me, that often means affirmations, visualization. It can also mean prayer, sharing with a coach or trusted friend – seeking encouragement.
    Keeping my eye on “the why”
    Helps tremendously.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Dr. D…I told you, we’re like motivational twins. Something similar happened between my trainer and I years ago. He said, “You know every time you finish a set, you do a little dance” lol I hadn’t really realized it, but it was true. I was cheering myself on in the middle of the workouts lol I couldn’t agree more; CHEERING in the MIDDLE is AWESOME!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Amen sista! Motivational twins for life. And now you’ve given me a whole new level of sparkle to add to the technique! Youzza! Time to get my CHEERING in the MIDDLE motivation dance moves on! Dedicated to the one & only Dr. G. 💃🎉

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Way to go, Dr. A! Sometimes showing up is the hardest thing to do because motivation just isn’t there. But being there–like you are for your students and how they continue to show up for you–has a greater impact than most anything. When we show up in the middle of hard or long or boring or frightening, I think we learn more about our true character and motivation.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much Dayle! 🌷

      I really like how you frame motivation as “showing up”. As so often we zone out & disassociate in the midst of challenge as an unconscious way to avoid the pain.

      When in fact it is being present with ourselves (the struggle, the pain, the goals, the dreams) that is our greatest opportunity for learning & overcoming.

      Bearing Witness is a subtle yet powerful force indeed.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Once again, you’ve hit the nail on the head! On my runs, I often hit a point at which I think to myself that it would be nice to stop. It would feel good, even. But I force myself to celebrate how far I’d already run, I remind myself that I have not fallen short of a distance goal yet (and I’m not willing to start cutting runs short), and I make sure I enjoy the run. Am I sometimes out of breath? Yes. Am I sore? Most of the time, yes. Are my muscles burning and willing me to stop? Almost always. But the feeling I get when I finish and meet or exceed my goal is so much better than any benefit I’d get from stopping.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience & for the positive feedback! I feel like I’m right the with you!

      As a fellow runner, I can relate to everything you wrote. Your real-life example underscores how we must be our own cheerleaders (everything else is a bonus) – in fitness & in life!

      Walls are to be expected. Otherwise we wouldn’t be growing. It’s what’s waiting on the other side that makes each challenge worthwhile. 🏃 👏

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Life, Love, Creation, Inspiration

    Nice read! What keeps me motivated is knowing how much people use me to keep them motivated. I have a big family and I also know that I am their biggest influence so that as well keeps me motivated.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. How wonderful!

      The boomerang effect of motivation is powerful indeed. The more you motivate your family – the more motivated you become. Something I experience too in the classroom.

      Watching students shift from unmotivated -> motivated is one of the many reasons I’m so excited to teach psychology year after year. Motivation is contagious! 📚💚

      Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s so much fun Brigid! We often think of motivation techniques as painstaking & arduous. But they don’t have to be. Like attracts like. Positivity creates more positivity. And the more the merrier! All around the world. Clapping my way to you in Ireland & back again. 🇮🇪💚

      Liked by 2 people

  13. You are quite right! It’s difficult to pull through from half way. After the mid point, I generally stretch myself bit by bit…mentally pushing myself to do 10% more. Then cheering myself that I completed more than half. So I push myself a little more towards 70-80% and thereby end seems near. Just 20% left! Yay! I know it might sound childish but it works for me 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Sometimes is the thought of being the first to give up that keeps me going. At other times a sense of responsibility drives me on through that momentary point. Obviously, the celebration of achievement in whatever way for reaching the end is also a motivator.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. KashfiFahim

    Right on Dr. Andrea!

    You know at the gym. I too start clapping to myself, for myself. I think it first started out as a way to warm up my grip on the bars but in the long run, the claps have become a way to encourage myself, a little gesture to my subconscious that I got this. Sometimes I even pat myself on my chest, which is more of me showing some love to myself for trying and giving my all.

    Loved reading your post! Looking forward to your next!

    Take care!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. So cool to hear that you use the same motivation strategies.

      Clapping is the easiest way to move energy that I know of. And you’ve taken it one step higher with the love pat. My favourite so far.

      Such small gestures creating such a big impact. A ripple effect of positivity from my hand to yours.

      👏 👏

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Dr. Dinardo, I truly love your posts and have just started my recovery blog at Anonymous People on WordPress. I would love to be able to discuss a couple things with you regarding reblogging your posts on my blog. Is there a way I can contact you to do so. Thanks in advance for your time and consideration, Bobby C. (Anonymous People)

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Hi Bobby, Please feel free to reblog my posts on your site – anytime. Many of my readers do the same. And I am quite grateful when they do. (As long as they reference my work / blog.) The more shares = the more opportunities for a ripple effect of positive change and personal growth. Something I hold dear to my heart and soul. Today and always. Sincerely, Andrea

          Liked by 1 person

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