Had a mega day at work today, the project that I’m working on is coming to the pointy end and I will have to spend a lot of time in the actual office next week (usually I just go there for meetings and then work from home the rest of the time which suits me really well) because I will have to help people out with their testing. I had to be at work at 6:30am the last 2 days for phone conferences with the US office of the company I am working for and I think because I didn’t go to bed earlier to compensate, the sore throat and swollen glands and coughing came back with a vengeance this afternoon. Thankfully I don’t work Fridays so I will have a big sleep in and hopefully knock this dreaded lurgy off once and for all. I am really doubtful about my run on Sunday now which is disappointing – though I may still just walk the 10km instead, I will see how I feel.
Now, the rest of this post is being sent out to my good friend, Lifeslurper, who has asked the following question:
“With infertility, body issues, a marriage, a business, a job (to name but a few things) we know you to be an extremely motivated person. I am *guessing* (I can only guess when it comes to motivation) that this is not a state you have magically arrived in...and that it takes constant work.So I am wondering....if you are willing to share some of the secrets of becoming (and staying!) a motivated person.”
I guess I am a pretty motivated person, I do come from the point of view that I am the master of my own destiny so if anything is going to happen in my life, I am going to make it happen. However, that does not mean that motivation comes easy to me, you are definitely right, I most certainly have to work at it, every teeth clenching day.
So – this one is for you, my sweets – Journey Girl’s Top 5 ways to becoming (and staying) motivated!!
1. Accept and love the fact of trying and failing
This is a big one for me. My family are all a bunch of perfectionists and we all have had to learn that trying lesson that nobody is perfect – hell, I am that far away from being perfect, I have the Grand Canyon between me and the perfect me! One thing that can stop many people (me included) from being motivated is the fear of doing something if it is not done perfectly. Really this is just a form of procrastination. When I was writing my first eBook, I revised the format and content about 6 times before I just thought ‘okay, I am going to publish this sucker, it is 90% okay, I can revise it if I want to later’ – it was the best thing I ever did because it allowed me to release it and start reading comments from clients who have helped me improve it!! I changed my thinking around to being that it was better to give something a go (and sometimes look like an idiot – have done that PLENTY of times) than to die wondering about whether I SHOULD have done it. * Note, ‘should’ is my least favourite word in the English language. So, even if you’re not motivated to do something, sometimes just giving something a go can lead to the next action and the next action and the next action and before you know it, you are action woman! The message here, love, is to just give it a try – you have one person here (and many, many others) who will be there supporting and cheering your every effort and let me tell you a secret – I love a woman who tries – even if she fails spectacularly, there is nothing better than a woman who has a chuckle to herself about just how BIG a failure that the endeavour was, crys in her room for three days and then picks herself up, dusts herself off and then gives something else an audacious try.
2. Step away from the pain, baby!
As humans we are more motivated away from pain than we are towards pleasure. Have you ever set a goal for yourself and thought about all of the wonderful things that this goal would give you? Well you are not alone, most people aim for things and try to motivate themselves towards these pleasurable results that we would get from the goal. Unfortunately though, as humans, we are mot assuredly more motivated to move away from pain than we are to move towards pleasure. So, how does that help, exactly? Well, if you can find the pain in something that you want to move away from, you are more likely to be motivated than simply moving towards something pleasurable. For me, I found this a turning point. For example, when I got the Lap Band and started working on myself, I worked on what I wanted to move away from – these were things like – bad health which would get worse as I got older and I didn’t want to think about it but I wrote down all of the consequences of what being over weight was doing to me. I did something similar years ago when I gave up alcohol. I still remember very clearly the weekend that made me decide to give up – it was my rock bottom and I keep it very vivid in my mind because it keeps me motivated to stay away from that – I never, ever, ever want to be there again. So, have a think about what you want to move away from and the more you can ramp up the pain on it, the more motivated you will be!!
3. What are you getting out of NOT being motivated?
Okay – so this one is very Dr Phil but I think he is a very, very wise man and this one you have to address if you are to move on. It is really all about what you gain by not being motivated. Oh, yes, I can hear you say ‘why would I do that, I am miserable’ but believe me, there is a reason that you will need to examine underneath. A couple of examples are - It could be that you get to be a martyr by not trying or (like me) it could be that it keeps you safe (so scary to try new things and look like a fool – gosh, I hate looking like a fool). So you really need to acknowledge what you are getting out of not being motivated – then you can deal with it and move on to being motivated a go go!!
4. Time limits for emotions
Do you think that I don’t ever have times when I am not motivated – think again and it is more often than you would think!! There are plenty of times I don’t want to go to the gym or go for a run or even write and article for my business or update my website – sometimes, I want to crawl underneath the doona and not come out for days. And you know what? I let myself do just that but I put a time limit on it. I give myself a whole day of doing absolutely nothing (and by nothing I mean, reading in the bath, watching trashy TV shows and lying slovenly on the couch!!) – I allow myself to do it and I don’t feel guilty about it but the next day, I make sure that I take some action on the very next day on all of my major goals – even if it is something very, very small (like checking my post office box – some days that is a real trial for me, don’t ask my why but it is!), I just do it clenching my teeth and by the time the day finishes, I feel a hell of a lot better and way more motivated.
5. Practice, practice, practice
This is a controversial one and people sometimes want to slap me when I say it but being unmotivated is a learned behavior. Sometimes we don’t even know where the behavior has come from but we do it so many times that we then do it on autopilot. The best way to break out of any behavioural pattern is to:
a) Notice the behavior
b) Take action to change it
c) Practice and practice some more!
It is really important to bring those unconscious behaviours into the conscious so that you can recognize the behavior that you are actually doing. Then, every time you notice that you are doing the behavior, change what you are doing and you have to repeat it many, many times so that the new behavior becomes unconscious. Mumbo jumbo? Maybe but it has definitely worked for me – not a 100% of the time, we all have slips but as long as you focus, you will be able to make huge changes in your life. The trick is to start small and build!!
Gosh, I do ramble on – this post was supposed to be short and sweet but you hit a point of passion in me, my friend so I couldn’t stop!! Hope this helped, even if it’s only a small amount. You are one of the funniest, most talented, creative, supportive and nurturing women that I know – let the world see and experience you!!! Forget about the past – it is history – release the crap and look forward to the future!