Overcoming a Lack of Motivation

Ever find yourself in a motivational slump? Last week as I viewed large pockets of free time on my calendar I was practically doing back flips thinking of the precious hours I could spend advancing on my goals. Turns out, it didn’t happen that way. What happened was a total lack of motivation, followed by frittering the hours away, ending in a period of zero progress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Determined not to let this happen again, I resorted to research. Needing stimulation beyond my own self coaching  I scanned through some motivational blogs and came up short. Everything read like the same old blah, blah, blah that ran through my head. Nothing signaled a brain spark until I noticed a post by Olympic athlete, Inga Stasiulionyte.

Now I was onto something. If anyone could help me carve a path out of this listless do-nothing fog, a javelin thrower turned executive coach had a chance. Obviously anyone who followed her dream all the way to the Beijing Olympic Games knows something about victory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I studied her approach to success, it all boiled down to one common theme. Discipline. Okay, nothing new, we all know it takes commitment and focus to get to the goal line, however, in this simple sentence Inga offered up a key to get me back on track. “Build a no-matter what mindset.” Aha! You see all week long I gave myself permission goof-off. I decided if I could permit a lax attitude, I could also create a no-matter what mindset.

While testing it out the next day I encountered some resistance. After working on my top priority for twenty minutes, I found myself cleaning out a desk drawer. Obviously my brain preferring to operate on auto-pilot wasn’t buying into this new mindset thing. Faced with the choice of rearranging my desk or returning to work I vacillated for a moment. As I surveyed the objects in the drawer I spied a big black marker.  Grabbing the fat pen and a sheet of paper I wrote in large black letters “no matter what” and stuck it on the wall in front of me. Eyeing that powerful phrase was exactly what I needed to kick me back into action.

This new mindset worked again the next day. You see, I live in the desert and was late getting out for my power walk. Feeling like the heat was getting to me I considered cutting my trek short. Taking a deep breath I looked up at the sun and proclaimed (yep…you guessed it) no matter what! It was all I needed to suck it up and finish my walk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s face it. Human beings fall into slumps that thwart progress. When the doldrums take over, search out a role model who didn’t give up. Grab on to a motivational mantra and push yourself forward. Although I cannot correctly  pronounce Inga’s last name, I assure you I will never forget her for inspiring a “no-matter what” mindset. Game on!

 

Change to The Future

Grabbing a magazine I stuffed it in my purse on my way out the door. I knew there would be a wait and it was an ideal time to catch up on reading one of the many periodicals delivered to my door. Full disclosure, I had to force myself to select this particular magazine.

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I hadn’t read an issue in months and I knew why. The publication converted from a typical shiny cover to a stock parchment with a different look and feel. Even the pages between the cover lost their luster.

As I began leafing through the periodical in search of an interesting article, I soon settled on one about an editor who attempted to conquer her biggest fear: performing stand-up comedy. By third paragraph I forgot about missing the tactical feel of the journal.  After reading three articles in the time allotted, I experience an “aha” moment. When I stopped to think about the untouched back issues piling up in my office, I realized I was avoiding change. Something that was no longer shiny, smooth and familiar was left ignored because it was different.

Having prided myself on being a change agent, I was faced with a reality causing me to examine some other areas of my life. Running through my memory bank I wondered, did I always drive the same route, hang out with the same friends and frequent the same restaurants? Had I stopped searching out the new and different?

choose change to future or same the past

At the end of my reverie I came up guilty as charged. I sighed and vowed to start changing things up in my everyday life.

Why do we avoid change? The answer is easy. It takes energy. It means removing ourselves from auto-pilot. I’ve read enough books about changing habits to know the limbic part of our brain doesn’t like change and would be blissfully happy to do the same things over and over again.

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Want to change something in your life? Here’s the good news. There are only three parts to implementing change: desire, intent and persistence.  You must do the work; it doesn’t happen on its own.

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Be like the editor who changed her behavior and ended up on an improv stage in a Dallas comedy house. Okay, perhaps stand-up isn’t your game, but you can experience and accomplish something new and different. So kick it up a notch or two and make your life more exciting.

Don’t try, just do. I did. Sometimes even a life coach needs some inspiration and I found it in the book: “The 52 Weeks: How Two Women Got Unstuck, Got Inspired and Got Going,” by Pam Godwin and Karen Amster-Young. Since breezing through this manual on moving forward, I’ve changed my hair style, revamped my wardrobe and as you’ve discovered by now, arranged for my blog to have a facelift.

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The process has been fun and invigorating. So what changes will you make in your life this week? Leave a comment and let me know. I encourage you to move out of your comfort zone and go where the magic happens.

P.S. A big shout out to Online Business Manager, Kippy Flur who gave Life on The Sunny Side a new look!

Labeling a Winner

Recently I clicked on an interesting blog about a young man who at the age of fourteen set a goal of getting straight A’s throughout high school. It sounded like an admirable achievement so I read on to observe his strategy.

Steven attained success by employing two distinct methodologies. After considerable research and reflection of his past grades, he discovered students who earn lower grades employ last minute study habits. Attempting to tackle assignments at the eleventh hour adds an element of pressure. Kids who do so often end up frazzled and tired when sitting for an exam. What is key to an A student’s approach is immediate learning and processing of new information.

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Okay, that’s not rocket science. Anyone who has ever popped No Doz and pulled an all-nighter can testify to the stupidity of the process. Sure you may end up passing with a mediocre grade, but studies performed at UCLA claim inadequate sleep patterns cause a compounded issue. Habits of cramming and sleep deprivation result in greater academic problems.

The flip side of avoiding last minute cramming into the wee hours of the morning is keeping up with assignments on a daily basis, a process Steven took seriously. Before engaging in playing any video games, he completed his homework. Again, not an earth shattering breakthrough approach, just a matter of establishing an uncomplicated habit.

What really impressed me about Steven’s commitment to earning straight A’s was a mindset shift involving a new label. He began thinking of himself as an A student. 4.0 became more than a goal, it was his identity.

Adopting a new persona was a theory worth testing, and I did. After contemplating this approach, I purchased a new workout shirt that reads: #Fierce. It is pink and cute and something new to wear to the gym a place I dread but am forced to frequent because “The Punisher,” my personal trainer, (AKA Brad Kingsberg of Nutri-Power Fitness) expects me to show up.  But here’s the thing, I now have a new label. When I brand myself #Fierce, I act the part

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performing more like an individual who enjoys pumping iron and strength training than a sleep deprived class C student who can barely make it through the last set of chest flies.

Want to change the way life is grading you? Change your label. You can over-perform in school, at work or on the playing field. Begin by instituting some positive habits, and be sure to create a new winning identity.