Motivation is so fickle.
I sat down to this post with rather low morale. In various aspects of my life, things are not working the way I want them to. That is not surprising to me, because I am aware of the fact that such is life. But it did start to bother me over the weekend. Do not fret this is not going to be a post where I whine. Well, at least not entirely. In theory (and hopefully in practice), this post is meant to help me AND YOU get back on track.
Since I love to sleep, I would like to demonstrate various phases of motivation using the example of me sleeping.
- I wake up in the morning but do not get out of bed. It is Saturday, hence there is nothing urgent for me to do.
No motivation = I stay in bed.
- After a while, I start getting hungry. That is one of the toughest battles I go through routinely. Do I stay in bed, or get out to obtain something to eat? More often than not, I do leave my bed to get some food. Maybe not right away, but I do.
Motivation = I get out of bed.
- Once I am out and about, I realize that the fridge could use some furnishing so I plan to go out shopping. However, the moment I look out the window and see a gloomy day, I ditch the list and go right back to bed. I will order dinner. Plus, there is always SOMETHING to eat around the house. Thank the Lord for chips.
Motivation gone = I go back to bed.
That is a rather simplistic analogy, but I feel like it can apply to life in general. Have you ever thought of running somewhere, but after a while you just stopped and walked?
That is where I am now. At the beginning of this journey, there was motivation but it has since dissipated. And here I am. Stuck. Back in bed, figuratively speaking. The weekend had me physically active, so I pushed all of the deep thoughts aside. But with the new week upon us, I had to figure something out. I had to come up with a plan in order to get myself out of “bed”.
Here is what I do:
- Find some space.
Literally and figuratively. It is very important that you find a quiet spot (can be at home, on the beach, on a bench at the mall, or on the side of the road). Whichever spot you choose, just be sure not to pose any danger to yourself or those around you while you sit there. It is crucial that you find enough time for yourself to go through this process. If possible, distance yourself from people who might interrupt you.
Take slow, deep breaths. As we run around doing things, we have a tendency to hold our breath and/ or take in fast and shallow breaths. It can be truly relaxing and it helps rid your head of intrusive thoughts if you practice enough.
The first two might sound easy and maybe even unnecessary, but trust me – these are the building blocks for the next steps. Without them, the rest will crumble sooner than later and you will be back in “bed” in no time. So you might as well take a bit more time and do it right.
- Take a break.
There are people who give up at the first sign of failure never to try again, and then there are people who jump back way too quickly without proper rest. Just the other day, an athlete missed the event he was to star in. Fortunately, he was allowed to part – take. Each competitor had four attempts, but they were not back to back. They took their swing and then they waited for others to complete the round before going again. That allowed them to rest, re-focus and re-energize. At least a bit. The athlete who was late stood no chance. First of all, his head was not in the game. He was upset for missing the game. Then, he had to perform all of his four attempts back to back, unable to rest. Needless to say, he came in last on the scoreboard.
Goldie, are we not already resting since we found some space and are breathing calmly? No. Not yet. You need to find a way to really relax. To me, that often means doing nothing. Most of the time I feel guilty about that, but I realize that sometimes it is just necessary for the good of overall productivity.
At this point in time, I make a plan to take a break. The sooner the better. Figure out the where and the when and the how right now. That might feel like a reward to you already, but if you feel like you need a separate way to appreciate yourself for the effort you have put in so far, go for it. Find something that will temporarily make you forget that the road is tough.
- Remind yourself of the end goal.
Sometimes along the way, we lose track of where we are going. Sometimes the journey is so long and the road winding, that we become disoriented, only pushing forward. It is now that we re-focus on what we want. Think of that goal of yours and remind yourself why you want to get there. Why do you want to get to your destination? What will be waiting on the other side? Do not worry if your goal is not as clear as you would like it to be. Or if you are not sure why you started that journey in the first place. First of all, figure out if your goal is still worth it for you. Sometimes our priorities change along the way. There is nothing wrong with that. Maybe it means you need to take the path to the left instead of reminding on the path straight ahead. If you do still want to get to your destination, focus on the “why”. Try to make it as clear and as appealing to yourself as possible. Make a dream out of it. Think of how you will feel when you actually get there. Visualize it. Maybe even plan a celebration.
- Make friends with obstacles.
By now, you might start thinking of the journey so far and how difficult it is. We would be fools if we thought that there will be no obstacles in the future. They will interfere. They will slow us down. You see a puddle in the middle of the road? Do not despair. Walk around it. If it is too big, swim. Sometimes you just need to roll with the punches. It hurts less if you do not struggle.
- Form a plan for the future.
Making a plan will help you get back in the game. Try and divide your journey into smaller increments. This will allow you to: check in with yourself to make sure you are still looking forward to your destination, reassess the “why”, as well as take a break before you get too tired.
- Go to sleep.
Have you ever heard someone say: “Just sleep on it”? There is a reason for that. Today, you might be overwhelmed. Today, you might be too emotionally invested. Tomorrow, you will be refreshed. Tomorrow, you will wake up with new vigor. Tomorrow, you will have a clearer head.
What do YOU do when you find yourself stuck along the road wanting to go back to bed?
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