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!

 

The Power of Patience

Yesterday I found this fellow gracing my patio. He is so regal it takes my breath away. I’ve seen him around here before. It appears he’s established himself as a seasonal resident.

If you don’t know me, I should explain I live on a small man-made body of water called Lake Mirage. I’ve studied this bird a lot. In my estimation, he possesses an admirable quality, one I often lack. Yep, that characteristic is patience.

Perspectives. Inspirational quote typed on an old typewriter.

Whether resting in quiet contemplation or eyeing his next meal, my big bird friend waits, and waits and waits without flinching. Then, at the perfect moment he goes in for the catch of the day. Voila! Mission accomplished, dinner is served.

Do you have trouble mastering patience? If so, please read on. If not, I urge you to read on anyway and please leave a comment explaining how you keep calm and carry on while the rest of us are chomping at the bit to move forward when we should be more like big bird and wait it out.

You may think patience is a passive act. On the contrary, it’s more about control which takes focus and energy. For example, if I placed a wrapped gift in front of a five year old and told her not to open it for five minutes, you can bet the poor little tyke would expend all kinds of energy waiting out the clock.

Someone once defined patience as “the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears.” So how do you notch it down from full speed ahead to slow and steady wins the race?

Begin by defining what gets under your skin. If it’s the wait that does you in, start using some positive self talk. Take comfort in the fact that patience builds character.

Stopping to pause also results in better decision making. No doubt my big bird friend patiently passes on the tiny appetizer fish and nabs one large enough to whet his appetite.

This water fowl taught me another lesson about patience in thought and movement. He never runs but moves gracefully covering the ground in long strides. I on the other hand have a tendency to rush, to move too fast, hurrying along like a dizzy chicken in a frenzied manner.

It’s taken some time, but I’m learning to emulate the stately big bird by being mindful and carefully considering the journey on my way to the goal line.

The next time your patience is tested think of my big bird buddy at Lake Mirage. Slow it down, think it through, and step on the brakes. Doing so will help you be more resourceful and productive.

 

 

 

Toss Your Rear View Mirror

future or past on chalkboard,decision making concept

I have a friend I call “If Only Eloise.” Of course, her real name isn’t Eloise, and to be honest with you she is not exactly a friend. My last conversation with Eloise consisted of a litany of laments. It went like this, “If only I had completed my master’s degree, if only I stayed with my second husband, if only…well, you get the picture. Not only is “If Only Eloise” focused on the past, she seems never to conjure up a positive memory.

As I listened to Eloise drone on, I visualized smashing a rear-view mirror into a zillion little pieces, sweeping it up into a container and burying it deep in the earth. Obviously her self-imposed stress was having an unpleasant effect on me. I wanted to stop the chatter from this woman who was intent on wasting precious time by ruminating over the past.  When she paused to breathe, I tried a little tough love technique of mine and then suggested she start living in the present.

Motivational concept with handwritten text TODAY IS YOUR DAY

As Henry David Thoreau advised:  “Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.”     

Sometimes we all fall into an unhealthy “if only” pattern. Meditating on your failures not only adds to your stress level, it drains you of energy and diminishes your self esteem. If you find yourself agonizing over the past, I have some suggestions. First, what could you do to remedy the situation? Do you owe someone an apology? If so, graciously and sincerely ask for forgiveness. If that ship has sailed and you have no recourse, begin by forgiving yourself.

forgive

Next, absorb the lesson learned. We all make mistakes; however, the real danger is, making the same mistake twice. So, take a step back, analyze what you could have done differently, vow to never repeat that action and move on. In the process, cut yourself some slack, treat yourself kindly and hold yourself in love.

Banish any nasty negative voices in your head

crazy monster

by turning your thoughts to positive endeavors. Make an inventory of your strong points. If you must revisit the past, focus on your wins.

When you feel anxiety regarding past mistakes creep in and spill into the moment, stop and center yourself by taking several slow deep breaths. Pull air deep into your diaphragm. Use this breathing technique to slow down your thoughts and rid your mind of negative intrusions.

Lastly, throw away your rear view mirror. Unless it is attached to your vehicle, it is not a useful tool, only a distraction.  Got the picture?

Now proceed to dream big,

Motivational quote on rustic background HAVE BIG DREAMS

live well and make the most of each moment.