5 Steps to Staying Motivated and Avoid Living in a Van Down By the River


If you are old enough to remember when Chris Farley was on Saturday Night Live, then you most likely remember the infamous words of his most famous character, Matt Foley. You see, Matt was a divorced motivational speaker…who lived in a van down by the river (the very thought of that guy doling out advice to people while his life was a spectacular failure still causes me to laugh). So, how do you stay motivated enough in your college career to ensure that your future does not involve you living out of your van?

The first thing that you need to remember is that the choices you make while you’re in college will (most likely) affect the rest of your life. So, while you’re studying, use these tips to ensure that you won’t end up like Matt Foley:

1. Choose the right major/diploma for yourself. Really think about what drives you, where your passions are, and how you can use that knowledge within a career.

2. Speak to your classmates on a regular basis. Sometimes the greatest motivation is speaking to others about the same issues you may be facing, whether it is sharing ideas, developing a study group, or simply sharing your passions with them.

3. Make a plan. Write out each step that you must take to achieve your goals, and display it in a visible area where you can see it each day.

4. Reward yourself. When you have completed a major task, buy a new sweater, eat at a fancy restaurant, meet a friend for coffee, go for a run, etc.

5. Surround yourself with others who have similar goals as you. As the saying goes, “a man is known by the company he keeps”, so ensure that you have positive people surrounding you that will encourage and support you, and do the same for them.

As long as you use tips such as these and continually remind yourself of why you’re working so hard, you will succeed in whatever it is that you’ve put your mind to.

And of course you want to be successful in life. Because let’s face it…as cool as those retro VW vans might be, you certainly don’t want to be 34 years old, thrice divorced, and living in one down by the river.


24 Responses to “5 Steps to Staying Motivated and Avoid Living in a Van Down By the River”

  1. Hello, this is good advice. Once we have a vision we make the necessary choices to achieve that vision. That means haning out with the proper people and shedding off those who are in the way. Being accountable and disciplined, not stopping to sight see. It was said that we make our choices and then our choices make us. What do we want our choices to make for us?

    Planning, passion, people and pursuit are crucial for a fulfilling future.



    • I agree. We must always be mindful of why we do what we do, what our aim in life is, and the people surrounding us that may either help or hinder us in our pursuits.

      Thanks so much for reading, Mitchell!

  2. Giving away college life secrets through the eyes of Chris Farley? I’m on board. Great post!

  3. As a 52 year old teacher who is winding down his career, I can totally agree with you when you stress the importance of knowing where you are going and setting goals. Setting goals is something that not enough of us do. People that set goals get most of everything done in this world. Thank you for your post.

    • Well, thank you for taking the time to stop by and read it! I think that, sometimes, it’s not as difficult setting the goals as it is attaining them, especially if it will take a few years to achieve them. I suppose what inspired this post was trying to motivate others not to give up. Well, that and Chris Farley too. πŸ˜‰

  4. Love it, I think I will post this in my office as I work at a private university too. I work with the undeclared majors… perfect fit. Thanks!

    • Thanks so much for the comment! Sometimes we all just need a bit of advice to stay motivated…and avoid living in a van. πŸ˜‰

  5. 9 techxpo

    Love this article. I always used to do all the five you mentioned while I was doing my doctoral studies.

    • Thanks so much! I’m sure that you were successful in your studies since you followed my advice, right? πŸ˜‰

      Thanks again for dropping by and commenting!

  6. 11 techxpo

    Well, unfortunately I have read this after completing the studies :). However, the fact is that this is the way forward and if someone is confused and look for an exit from the pressure, then they can benefit out of these five tips.

    • Well, I guess I should have posted this a lot sooner then, huh? πŸ˜‰

      Thanks so much for your kind words and for taking the time to read through and comment…it’s very much appreciated!

  7. Don’t lose sight of good planning and insight, You hang on because it will fill you with life. I appreciate the reminder. Great fruit!

  8. I love the list. And this may sound overly practical, but the idea of “now” is a plague of our generation and American culture today. So that often leads us, whether young and in college or older generations, biting off more than we can chew. The infamous college credit card debt is an example or incurring huge college loan debt that you can’t pay back in a reasonable amount of time based on the career of choice. I think living exceptionally early will lead to living exceptionally later and hopefully that doesn’t include a van or a river! But I guess we are all just one bad decision away from the Matt Foleys of the world so remaining vigilant is a moral imperative!

    • Haha! Yes, you are, indeed, correct! It is far too easy to fall into the debt trap and never get out. Unfortunately, many college students don’t take this into account when they are looking to study. They are told that they must get some kind of post-secondary education, but do not look into all of their options nor into their own personal finances enough to make a well-educated decision.

      And that can sometimes lead to, not only a van and a river, but being thrice divorced as well… πŸ˜‰

      Thanks again for reading through and for your very thoughtful comment! It’s greatly appreciated! πŸ™‚

  9. Great post! I like it πŸ™‚

  10. Matt Foley rocks! Great post, young woman!

  11. Those Kombis are awesome. Give me 5 reasons why living in one down by the river would be a bad thing, and I’ll do my best to debate them convincingly…

    I’ve got three years and three marriages to get through before I can buy one and start camping out, but it sounds like a whole lot of fun. Just me, a bottle of vodka, my writing and a cool fedora that lets everyone know I’m one of those creative types.

    • Okay, they are pretty awesome…I’ll give you that. But, there are some reasons why you don’t want to live in a van down by the river:

      1) Living beside the river will, inevitably, be rather damp. Therefore, you will develop arthritis.
      2) If living in a van, you will never be able to stand up straight in your own home. That would just suck. You either have to lie down or just sit.
      3) You will have fishermen parading around your van down by the river once fishing season starts…from 4:30am till whenever they’re tired of it (sidenote: fishermen never tire of fishing).
      4) You won’t be able to have a refrigerator in your home. That means that you’ll have to eat Spam and crackers all the time. All. The. Time.
      5) You’ll be living in a van. Down by the river. Forever.

      I think that whether or not you live in a van, you should get a fedora. Those things look good on everyone.

      Thanks for stopping in again, Disseminatedthought! πŸ˜‰

  1. 1 5 Steps to Staying Motivated and Avoid Living in a Van Down By the River | steve@bayintegratedmarketing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: