Finding Motivation When There Is None
This is a tough one. We know that if we do that mobility program our achy neck will improve or our back will feel so much better. We know in our heart that if we attend to our breathing practice or meditation on a daily basis a clarity and inner peace will ensue. So why do we not do it? what is it that gets in the way?
We get in the way. Yes, we give in to the sneaky little voice that tells us “I can’t be bothered” or “I will do it tomorrow”, another favorite “I don’t have the time I’m too busy.”
Sound familiar? I’m sure there are many other patterns of thought we can relate to that can literally stop us in our tracks.
So, what to do? Below are just a few of the tools I have used to nudge myself into motivation, which I have to say has been needed as the lockdown blues are pulling on my ankles threatening a deep stuckness.
Find some enjoyment
It is really difficult to motivate ourselves to do something that holds no joy or a shift in our being. Calling on motivation to do an activity or project that you feel you ‘should’ do will only make you drag your heals into action, the result being a whole host of procrastination.
Taking a few moments to reflect on what aspects of this activity have bought you a positive shift in your experience can alter your perspective entirely and motivate you into action. I found that by focusing on how exercise lifts my spirits and inspires a deep sense of being stronger both physically and mentally, motivates me to prioritize exercise.
When I focused on ‘I must do this’ or bought in a ‘should’ the result was a whole lot of non- action and a deep resistance to doing anything.
Witness the thoughts
Yep, those slippery unhelpful thoughts that just seem to spur us into distraction or procrastination from what our hearts truly want to do. We have to make a commitment to acknowledge their presence (with compassion) then make a choice to act differently.
I’m not going to make out that this is an easy task. On the contrary I still find myself falling into the don’t want to do it rabbit hole. The difference now is when I do catch it and observe the physical heaviness that comes with the thought, I am able to shift my perspective. The result in an overall lift, enough of a lift to motivate me to start.
Just starting an activity even if only for 5 minutes can be enough to blast through that habitual way of thinking. I advise starting with one of the habitual thoughts that you have. Recognize it, investigate it’s pull on you, then shift your perspective to what lift you may get out of this doing this activity. Persevere, some of these thoughts are ingrained and take a while to transform. They will transform.
Have an accountability buddy
I have found this to be invaluable. Someone you can share the activity with who may be able to motivate you when you need it and vice versa. This can be helpful when exercising but what about if you are faced with a solo project, like writing a blog or a speech? Even now a friend, coach or partner can remind you of the benefits that you receive when you create, we all get a lift from creating something out of nothing, don’t we?
Remembering the positive can sometimes be a challenge, especially if we tend to veer towards a negativity bias focusing on what we haven’t done rather than what we have. Share with someone close the unhelpful habits that you are working on, ask them for a friendly nudge when you feel yourself falling down the rabbit hole.
Be kind to yourself
This is huge. I have fallen off the practice wagon many times but have always managed to get back on, not always immediately I have to add. I would be down on myself for failing, which pushed me further down the hole. When you truly investigate the lack of motivation using the tools above you will know whether you want to do the activity or not. That way the internal dialogue that sounds and feels like guilt or a telling off won’t arise.
For the ladies out there, falling off the wagon normally coincided with my menstruation It took me a while to recognize the connection. Possibly to do with a lifetime of ignoring I actually having one, that’s a whole other blog waiting to be written. If you notice this too, listen to what your body truly needs don’t ignore it.
May the motivation you need spring forth with these tools. As with everything I share the invitation is for you to explore. If you have any other suggestions I would love to hear them. We are all in this together.