Has your New Year’s bright, shiny optimism gotten a little tarnished around the edges? Have you been putting in the effort, but not seeing the results you were expecting? Is your taste for change, for betterment, turning to ashes in your mouth?
It happens to us all. Our optimism has been worn down by the grind. And by “grind,” I’m not talking about ‘work hard’ work and ‘hustle’ definitions of today. I mean the original meaning: “To reduce to fine particles, as by pounding or crushing.”
Feels about right, yes?
Eventually, it happens to us all. And there are two ways of dealing with it:
- Throw your hands up, tell yourself you’re a loser and go back to the very things you wished to strongly escape.
- Push through it.
Stay the course
How do you stay the course when your motivation has disappeared? Below are some ideas in no order that can be done singly or in groups, depending on how much goosing you need to get going again.
- Remember why you began. When you must force yourself to do the things you want to do, remind yourself what got you moving in the first places. Recapture the way it made you feel; wrap it up with a pretty bow and give it yourself as a present when you need it to help you stay the course.
- Your goals may be too big. The best way to get to where you want to go is create mini goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timebound. Look at where you went astray and figure out a new path to stay the course.
- Conditions you can’t control. I worked with a woman once who wanted me to help her become a more confident public speaker. But every time we spoke, some new thing in her life – children, boss, employees, health – kept pulling her away. After 18 months of dealing with all her “stuff” – staying the course – we were able to move forward on her initial goal.
- You lack a good support structure. Not everyone is as invested in our success as we are. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily bad. They just have a different point of view of what you’re trying to do. Live your life by others’ expectations or you can stay the course.
- Check your ego. Do you think you’re the only person in the history of humanity who has fallen off the wagon? Are you really the failure you keep calling yourself? Please! Be kind to yourself. Stay the course. 160
Change your beliefs – about yourself
Who’s your harshest critic? If it’s friend, mate or family member who demeans you and your aspirations “for your own good” because they “love you,” limit your time with them.
If, on the other hand, you look in the mirror and see only flaws, it’s time to look at your belief system. Many times, our beliefs are based on things we were told in childhood by angry adults and just plain old mean kids. Like you’ll never amount to anything, you’re lazy, you’re fat and ugly, whatever. When you make those judgments about yourself, ask whose voice is it you hear.
Sometimes we get stuck when we are going for something that we don’t really want at all. Or sometimes, it’s on the other end of the spectrum: We keep doing the same-old, same-old because if it gives us something we value.
Keep asking yourself “why” questions until you get to the underlying truth. Don’t judge yourself for what you discover. 163
And you just might find the motivation you need along the way.