How to Stay Motivated Most of us make resolutions, sign up for courses and make wellness plans but don’t stick to them and many times we don’t remember what we had decided was essential for our happiness. For example, our plans for self-care such as counselling, yoga, meditation, healthy eating and exercise often get sidelined for immediate gratification or short-term problems. Somehow we are ‘too busy’ for the important stuff.
This tendency is called ‘avoidance’ in Psychology and is rooted in unpleasant emotions that people avoid feeling. However, due to brain plasticity, we can teach our brain emotional regulation at any age — it may mean more effort later in life. Neuroscience teaches us that when we work on our emotional regulation skills we develop resilience as well as gain insight on how to solve our problems.
Here are some ideas on how to stay motivated
Summer is a distracting time also because of vacation plans and so many of us can go off track when it comes to our habits and then beat ourselves up later when we realize later that we could have, should have achieved our goals. Christmas is another such time.
What can a holistic counsellor tell you about motivation and how to stay motivated without extreme stress and discomfort? Here is a summary based on my experience with motivation and mindfulness as resilience-building skills.
1. Motivation is a habit. Every time we overcome the desire to give up because of an obstacle or discomfort, we reinforce our ability how to stay motivated.
2. Rewards and feedback. Positive reinforcements such as rewards and praise motivate us more than negative self-talk and self-flagellation. Getting feedback from friends/community/counselling can help support us through the hard times when we are tempted to give up.
3. A Vision (aka Higher Purpose or knowing our Authentic ‘Why’). When people believe that in the end there is something good waiting for them, they tend to stick it out through the hard parts. Victor Frankl’s in his book “Mans Search For Meaning”, describes how he managed how to stay motivated because he would imagine writing about the experience of being free while he was a prisoner in the holocaust in Germany. He also made himself track the days on his prison walls and created a daily ritual despite the gruesome conditions.
4. Emotional habits such as Hope, Empathy, Gratitude and Appreciation. Cultivating hope, empathy, gratitude and appreciation encourages us how to stay motivated.
Breaks. Contrary to the idea that we have to work for hours and hours to see results, taking regular relaxation and joy breaks such as yoga, meditation, and creativity helps our brain to stay positive.
5. A supportive community. When people feel that there are others like them and that they are not alone it can motivate them to find inner resources.
6. Intrinsic Self worth. Being okay with failure. Perhaps the most underestimated life skill is being okay with failure….people who are very afraid of failure may subconsciously create more failures than those who know that life cannot be perfect and that sooner or later, they are bound to fail at something and that there will always be people who are ahead. If our self-worth is intrinsic and we approach life with curiosity and wonder rather than judgement and comparison, it reduces our stress when things don’t seem to be going our way, and we can be more flexible.
7. Balance. Learning to ride the wave, between good and bad times is an essential skill of Balance. When we are in balance, the glass is neither half empty or half full, it is what it is at different times.
8. Don’t make what happens to you equal who you are. Buddha taught us that there is a non-self. An observer that exists beyond body and mind. Many spiritual traditions express the same idea in different words. Ask the question, ‘Who am I’ often to help move out of the obsessions and fixations of the ego such as what other people may think and what something means. Practice mindfulness often to teach your brain to shift perspective easily instead of ruminating on ‘how things should be’.
Amazon affiliate link: Mans Search For Meaning