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7 ways to stay motivated when anxiety wants you to fail


Staying motivated when you have anxiety can be very hard. I’ve suffered from anxiety for most of my adult life. It comes and goes, and normally gets worse when I am going through big changes in my life.

Undoubtedly, during these times, my anxiety rears its ugly head and sends negative thoughts racing through my head.

The fear of failure or messing things up is crippling.

Through all of this, no matter how hard it gets or no matter how much I convince myself “I am not good enough” or “You don’t deserve this”, there’s still a part of me that believes good will come of all of it and I will get through it.

The reason I have been able to do this is because over the last few years I have developed a few motivational strategies to help me cope with anxiety and all the negative feelings that come with it.

In this post I’d like to share some of these techniques to help you stay motivated with anxiety.

Avoid comparison

In my career over the last few years, nothing has been more damaging to my confidence than comparing myself to other people who look like they have all their shit together.

The truth is these people ‘look’ like they are flying ahead when actually they too have their own insecurities and worries about how they’re doing and performing.

Everyone is successful in their own way and at their own pace. No one expects you to be an expert or perfect at everything.

Repeat with me: “I don’t have to be perfect. I won’t expect that of myself any longer.”

Exercise outdoors

The theme of exercise comes up a lot in my posts, especially running!

Exercise is probably one of the best ways to stay motivated with anxiety.

Over the last ten years exercise has become my solace. It gives me something to focus on and helps to take my mind off the things that are causing my anxiety.

I prefer to exercise outdoors when possible. Being around nature truly is incredibly powerful and healing.

If I don’t have enough time to go for a run or go to a boot camp session, I like to go for a short walk.

I at least have time outdoors away from my laptop or desk where I can clear my mind.

Mindful running is also a great way to get outdoors more. Running can be seen as a form of ‘moving meditation’. 

Read my post on how to practice mindful running for more information on this as it is actually quite hard to do if you’re using to taking your phone with you on your run, or listening to music. 

Stay away from social media

Social media has a tendency to make your low mood even worse.

You know the feeling, you scroll through your feed and see all the people having an (apparently) amazing, fun time whilst you’re sat at home feeling crap.

To stay motivated I ditch my Instagram and Facebook temporarily and concentrate on the things that I need to do to get stuff done.

If ditching social media is a step too far for you, set out ‘social media free time’ in the day.

This way at least have some hours in the day where you’re not constantly checking your phone.

Turn off the TV

TV is great at distracting you temporarily, but as soon as you turn off your favourite show or film, you quickly realise why you turned on the TV in the first place.

It’s a productivity killer.  Instead, why not listen to the radio or an audio book whilst you tick off the things on your to do list.

Personally, I love listening to my favourite audio books and podcasts whilst I write blog posts or cook dinner.

Talk to someone about how you’re feeling

Don’t be afraid to talk to someone about how you’re feeling, whether this be a family member, a friend, or a support network.

It really does feel better to get things off your chest and put how you’re feeling into words.

Remind yourself why you want get something done, or why you started it in the first place

When I feel down about something, I remind myself why I wanted to start it in the first place.

Starting something new, or going through a big change can be overwhelming.

Those feelings of anxiety and doubt soon creep in and you have to try your best to affirm and motivate yourself to get through it.

As I embark on this crazy journey setting up my own business, I remind myself daily of why I wanted to start it in the first place.

Those feelings of excitement come bubbling back up and I soon feel inspired to keep working towards my goals.

Do something mundane

Household chores are one of the simplest (and productive) ways to stay motivated with anxiety.

I like to do things like cooking, cleaning, or washing the dishes when I’m feeling anxious as it takes my mind off things and gives my mind a rest.

It’s also a great way to tick something off your to do list!

Caroline Geoghegan