It is a tough time. It is cold outside. Routines have been interrupted. Self-care and your favorite activities that were important to you, have been put on hold. It’s natural you are feeling down and unmotivated. You are not alone. I have heard from countless clients and others how unmotivated they are right now. We are all suffering. But what do we do when motivation is lacking and life continues to move forward? Read ahead for some tips and tricks from Leticia Mora, Velocity Coach and Certified Counselor, on how to take on that lack of motivation.
Are you telling yourself “I should be working out as much as I was before. I shouldn’t be watching so much TV. I should put on pants for my Zoom meeting”? These “should statements” could be contributing to your lack of motivation, the exact opposite of what you’d expect! When we place these arbitrary expectations on ourselves we feel guilty if we don’t attain them, then tell ourselves we should, and get caught up in this cycle of ‘shoulds’. Try lessening the negative impact of ‘should’ by replacing it with a different word such as ‘preferable’, ‘beneficial’, or ‘could’. It would be beneficial for my health if I worked out today. It would be preferable if I didn’t watch so much TV. I could put pants on. Try it. It takes the sting and judgement out of what you are telling yourself and may actually motivate you to get that workout in!
Are you telling yourself ‘If I can’t go to a bar for drinks, what’s the point?’, or ‘I just watched 2 hours of Netflix this morning so my entire day is wasted’? What about the in-betweens? Can you meet a friend outside and drink some Glühwein? Can you turn the TV off and get some emails answered? When we think in extremes (black-n-white/all-or-nothing) we don’t allow ourselves all the wiggle room or possibilities in between. It’s the wiggle room that allows you to be productive, or can motivate you, even if it isn’t ‘perfect’.
Refocus on the positives
When things are not going our way we tend to focus only on the negatives. What we haven’t done, what has been taken away, or what we should be doing. But what about everything you did do? Did you take a shower? You put those pants on? Did you keep calm when your kid asked you the same question 25 times in a row? These are the wins, and these are what we tend to miss when things just aren’t going our way. If you can remember that you have already been productive, it can motivate you to keep going.
This is an interesting exercise. Sit down and write down what you can do today and rate, on a scale 1-10/1-100, how enjoyable it will be to do it. Then actually do it and re-rate this activity when you are finished. How do the ratings compare? Often, we tend to underrate how enjoyable something is until we actually do it. This might motivate you to at least get started because who knows, you may actually get some joy (because it’s like a workout?) from cleaning the bathroom!
Outsource your motivation
Contact a friend/family member and let them know your plan of action. Then tell them you will text/call/email every day when the task is complete. When you make a ‘commitment’ to someone else, you are more likely to stick to the plan. You can also join outdoor groups/bootcamps (Velocity has ‘em!), hire a trainer, join an online class (for anything), or meet up with a friend to help keep you accountable. Additionally, your reaching out might help motivate another person. A double win!
The horse comes before the cart
Huh? Sometimes we wait until motivation strikes us to get started. But what if we turned that equation around? Just start. Often, the motivation will follow. Tell yourself you will do a 5-minute workout, or just clean the kitchen counter, or only write one paragraph…you may find that just the act of starting keeps you moving until your task is complete! Or if not, oh well, at least you got in what you set out to do.
If you think your lack of motivation has gone on long enough, it may be time to seek outside help. There are many Psychologists, Coaches, and Counselors that can help pull you out of your rut practicing both in person and online. I am available at https://morayou.com/ or check out other therapists at http://www.feelinggoodinstitute.com/for-patients/clinicians-and-trainers/ or https://www.stillpointspaces.com/find-a-counsellor/?country=CH