Is Inertia Stressing You Out?
A lot of stress is created in our lives when we know we should change something – be it an attitude, habit or situation – but rather than address it, we dilly dally, perfecting procrastination into an art form.
You only need to look around the now deserted gyms, that just weeks ago were bursting at the seams with eager, ruddy-faced, sweat-banded cardio-converts to see that getting change to stick isn’t as easy as waiting for the calendar to flip from December to January and signing your name on the bottom of a gym membership form.
Self congratulation for the new habits we thought we’d formed in January, can quickly turn to self flagellation when we realize two pad thai’s, a vat of pinot noir and a week of sleeping in later, that they were merely a diversional blip on the radar of our regular modus operandi.
So how can you stay the course of positive change, long after the honeymoon period of ‘good intentions’ is over?
There’s really only one way. Motivation. Obvious right? When you’re motivated, change is easy. Just like on the first of January when you got excited about the new gym gear you were going to buy – the prospect of a pre-workout retail fix was more than enough motivation to get your butt on the treadmill.
What you need to do is find ways to keep your motivation levels up, day after day, week after week. Here are some ideas for getting fired up about implementing the change you want.
1. Get Clear About Your Intention.
Set an intention or identify the greater purpose of your goal. Instead of a goal to ‘lose weight’, get ‘a better job’ or earn ‘more money’, you need to find the deeper meaning behind what you are aspiring to.
In the above cases, perhaps your goal might be to:
‘Create and enjoy the fit, healthy body I deserve, in order to truly get the most of out every single day’, or
‘Find a role which is creatively fulfilling and allows me to bring people together, while making a positive difference in the community every day,’ or
‘Achieve enough financial freedom to enable me to take a 6 month break traveling around Asia and experience other cultures and ways of life’.
Once you know this purpose you can use it as a motivational focus point when times get tough.
2. Make A Commitment Contract.
A commitment contract holds you accountable for achieving your goal/s by a certain date. You can make it interesting by deciding upon a certain amount of money you’ll pay if you break the contract – and even decide who’ll you’ll give it to (for that extra bit of motivation). You can even form a contract with the originators of the concept at www.stikk.com
3. Keep A Journal.
Making a note of the positive steps you’re taking and reflecting on them daily focuses your mind on what you’re doing right and is great motivation to keep going. Even writing down stressors can be useful – you’ll not only be able to look out for them in future, but the act of writing them down can actually reduce their hold on you.
4. Dial M For Motivation.
Have someone on speed dial who knows about your goals and your intention behind them. Rely on them for a pep talk if your motivation levels take a knock.
5. Plant A ‘Trouble Tree’.
We all have troubling situations that arise from time to time – from relationship problems to finances, kids etc. Sometimes these things weigh us down and affect our focus. It’s hard to maintain a high level of motivation when we’re worried about other issues in our lives.
A fun way to stop your challenges from getting in your way, is to plant a ‘Trouble Tree’ in your front yard – then, when you head off to work in the morning, mentally dump your problems on to your trouble tree and allow yourself to let them go for the day so you can stay focused on the main game.
6. The ONE Call You Must Make.
So many people put off little things in their lives and ultimately they add up, raising your stress levels and potentially sabotaging your committment to positive change. Instead of sticking your head in the sand, tackle the things you’re avoiding, head on.
Make the phone calls you’re putting off, take that gym class you’re afraid of looking stupid in, clean out that cupboard that you know is a war zone. Self-motivated people get motivated to do the things ordinary and mediocre people avoid.
7. The ONE Question You Must Ask.
You can only experience consistent motivation if you’re constantly improving everything in your environment. Get into the habit of asking yourself every day, “How can I do it better?” This question focuses you on improvement and prevents you from stagnating.
It’s true that no-one can stay 100% motivated 100% of the time – we’re only human after all. However, we all need to be inspired from time to time and can keep up our motivation by following steps like those I’ve listed above. When you’re motivated, you’re moving forward and when you’re moving towards that which you want, you’ll feel more at ease and far less stressed out.
Until next time, stay motivated, stay fantastic and stay the course!
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