Some days it is hard to get out of my own head.
As we plow through more and more DIY projects, I have had to develop ways to stay motivated while renovating – for the long haul. They’re not all perfect, and I certainly don’t do all of them all the time, but when I manage to implement some of these tactics, our projects seem less daunting and we are able to enjoy them more. Hopefully some of these will help others in the same boat to keep motivated and charge ahead with unwavering resolve!
8 ways to stay motivated while renovating
- Take before and after pictures. Even if you have no intention of posting photos of your renovation anywhere, its so good to be able to look back on how terrible the before was and see the contrast with the after. This is especially true for projects that take so long you have gotten used to the in-transition view. Its also neat to have action photos of yourself or your spouse/roommate/friend doing cool projects, because having evidence that you actually did the work yourself is great for bragging rights (or who knows, even a resumé or portfolio!)
- Try new things and get competitive. Even if your spouse or whoever is helping you is tackling other things than you are, its fun to try your hand at something. You could take to it like a duck to water and show up your competition! I tried my hand at painting even though my husband did the majority of it, and it was really fun to be involved. Now he’s trying to get me to try drywall taping but I’m not convinced it’s worth it if he has to redo my handiwork!
- Make lists. To-do lists are great, but be sure to also list the projects you’ve already completed, in just as much detail! Much like taking photos it is very encouraging to see all you have done, or more significantly, all you have learned!
- Write about it. Whether it is a blog post, a phone memo, or a social media blurb, it can help you process or get things off your chest when they’re stressful. Writing down funny anecdotes of mishaps is a good way to stay on the cheery side of goings-on too. An added bonus is being able to update family or friends on your projects if they’re interested, or being able to replicate your process if someone asks you “how do I do that?”
- Get out! Sometimes leaving the room, the house, or just your mental space can work wonders for staying motivated during big projects. Going to a store or expo or even a tasteful friend’s house can provide inspiration for a project when you can’t see the forest for the trees. Just make sure you take note of things you like so that when you do get back to working, that inspiration comes home with you!
- Develop milestones. This is so important with big projects. Tell yourself, “when we get to x step, we are going to stop and go out for a drink.” Or, “when y is done we will have somebody over.” Or really anything that makes you happy and feel like you’ve accomplished something significant. The reward doesn’t have to be related to the work, and sometimes its better if it distances you from the task for a time, both physically and mentally!
- Envision the results. This is often easier said than done, I know! But whether you can do this mentally or you have to take to Pinterest to make a Vision Board, it is so helpful! Revel in your satisfaction of a job well done, even ahead of time! Maybe you’re sitting on your couch with your morning coffee looking at half-done drywall, or drinking a glass of wine in the evening looking at your in-process kitchen renovation, allow yourself to enjoy the end goal – because if you’re not going to enjoy it maybe you should change up the plan before its too late!
- Plan a celebration. Figure out a way to celebrate BIG when the project is done. Maybe you’ll throw a party in your newly renovated kitchen, or have a bonfire in your newly landscaped yard. Whatever it is, brainstorm ideas now so you have something glorious to look forward to when the work is done! And if your project takes up your whole budget, find something free. It can also be motivational to keep under budget if you tell yourself you get to use the “excess” money on your celebration!
Do you have other ways you stay motivated?
I’m sure some people have that innate work ethic without using strategies like this, but I can tell you, I really need them! My default strategies are taking photos, envisioning results, and making lists, but I would really like to implement more milestones and try more new things as we progress through our projects. After all, there is plenty to learn!