Do you struggle to get motivated? Even the most proactive among us can find themselves struggling to get that project started, begin a new exercise program or overhaul their diet. The day to day of our lives takes over and it’s easy to find excuses not to make changes – we don’t have enough time, we can’t find the extra cash right now, we’ll do it when the kids are older, or when we have more energy. And then we find that that extra cash never materializes, our time continues to be filled with other things, our energy levels only seem to decrease, and so our plans stay firmly on the back burner. Not only do we not achieve what we want and need to achieve, the fact that these plans stay unrealised causes a niggling sense of failure that contributes to an overall lack of wellbeing – we can feel lazy, inadequate and unsuccessful, not to mention exhausted, overwhelmed and stressed.
But don’t despair! There are some easy and effective ways to increase your motivation, achieve your goals and create the life you’ve always wanted.
Eliminate the negative self-talk
If you focus on how you’re not getting this, that or the other done then you’re using vital energy on doing yourself down – not the best way to get motivated! Think about it, if your boss wanted you to complete a task would you feel more motivated, enthusiastic and capable if they continually berated you for past failings – or if they focused on your specific skills and strong points, perhaps noting something you’d done particularly well in the past? Likewise, we probably wouldn’t use harsh language and insults to ask a friend to help us out, yet we often think nothing of calling ourselves some incredibly demeaning names, and refuse to focus on anything that we’ve ever succeeded at.
When you notice yourself engaging in this kind of negative self-talk firstly, don’t beat yourself up for beating yourself up! Simply notice that you’re having the thought, and then question whether it’s helpful for you at this point. Think about whether you would say this to your partner, friend or child. If the thought isn’t productive then you can just allow it to pass by. Consider an alternative that might be more useful, perhaps it’s the exact opposite to the original thought? Or maybe you will choose to remember a similar event in your past that you dealt with really well?
There’s a good chance that you’ve achieved a heck of a lot in your life, so be kind to yourself and appreciate all you’ve done.
Write it down
Having a tonne of vague ideas and “must-do’s” floating around in your head is a great way to increase your stress levels, but that’s about all it’s good for! Grab a notebook and just get it all down on paper (or the digital method of your choice, if that’s more your thing. Or cover all bases and use both, like me!). Chances are there’s a lot less than it felt like there were when they were occupying valuable brain space.
Next you can add some order to your list by prioritising the items based on their importance. Consider what needs to be done RIGHT NOW, what can wait but needs to be addressed in order to make your life easier and more enjoyable, and what isn’t really important at all. In this way you can start to break down your list into manageable chunks, making it easier to handle, and less anxiety inducing when you glance over it!
Schedule some time for each task. There may be some things which won’t take long at all, anything that is achievable in a few minutes can be done right now. You get the satisfaction of crossing things off your list, which boosts your sense of achievement and gives you more motivation to tackle the larger things. Bigger projects may take a little more planning but think about whether you can do half now and half this weekend when the children are visiting friends. Maybe you could book some holiday from work and spend a whole day working on it? Think creatively and you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve!
See if there is anything you can cross off your list completely, anything that doesn’t gel with your personal values or goals can go. Sure, your sister might have just moved to a bigger house, or bought a swanky new car, but if these things aren’t important to you, that’s OK. Accept that they are to her and be happy for her, then focus on what YOU really want.
Get the boring-but-urgent, can’t wait, life-or-death stuff done – that bill won’t pay itself but the sense of relief you’ll feel when you do it is huge. When that’s out of the way you can spend your time on the tasks that are maybe more of a commitment, but will improve your life, health, happiness and wellbeing exponentially. This might mean shelling out for a gym membership – or cancelling the gym membership you never use and hiring a running coach instead! Or perhaps you’ll begin a mindfulness course, or book an assertiveness workshop; sign up for evening classes, or devise a healthy, delicious meal plan so you won’t need to resort to takeaways or grabbing fast food on the go.
Making concrete plans gives you something to look forward to and, again, increases your sense of achievement and motivation.
Call in a favour
Do you find it difficult to ask for help? Perhaps you feel that true success must be accomplished by yourself, or you worry you’ll appear weak or needy if you reach out? Let me tell you, no-one, repeat, NO-ONE achieves everything by themselves (even if it looks that way)! Think of that super-successful wonder woman you work with, who manages to be a fabulous mother and rise through the ranks in the office. She couldn’t have achieved what she has in her career if she didn’t use childcare, and she couldn’t be involved in her children’s lives if she didn’t delegate at work. Everybody needs help in one way or another.
The people who love you are usually more than happy to help out here and there, and you don’t need to feel like you’re doing all the taking. Perhaps you could organise a reciprocal babysitting arrangement with another couple, so you could each enjoy a night off now and then. Or maybe you have a particular skill that you could barter with, some help with your website in exchange for a yoga lesson, for instance.
Is there someone you know who you help out a lot? Perhaps your best friend is great at asking for favours, and you’re happy to jump in. Asking them to return the favour shouldn’t be a problem, they’ll probably be more than happy to oblige. Don’t worry if they haven’t offered to help out of the blue, we tend to be pretty good at keeping our struggles hidden (even if it doesn’t feel like it) and your friends could well see you as that Super Achiever!
Seek professional help
If you feel that you need more of a boost than friends and family can provide then asking a professional could be the next step. Motivation is affected by many aspects, and there could be some underlying issues that are stopping you from achieving what you need and want to. Perhaps your self-esteem is low and you’re struggling to believe that you deserve success? Maybe you’re a chronic procrastinator and find it difficult to envision yourself operating in any other way.
Hypnotherapy works with the subconcious mind – the place where all of your experiences, habits and learned behaviours are stored – so it’s perfect for overcoming those mental hurdles and roadblocks that are preventing your success. It can help to halt and change those unhelpful thought processes that impact negatively on your life, and allow you to build a healthy, positive picture of yourself. Your hypnotherapist will also provide you with a “toolkit” that you can use to overcome any bumps in the road, or setbacks that may come your way – so you continue to reap the benefits of hypnotherapy for life!