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On the road to health, we can come against endless obstacles that can suck the energy out of our once-speedy motivation train.
There will be days where absolutely everything can go wrong–this may hurt our feelings, set off negative thoughts, and leave us weary and weak at a dead stop on our path toward a goal.
How do we get back up from that place?
How do we find the will to keep trying when we have absolutely no motivation anymore, no hope?
Here are my top five tricks that help motivate me again when I have lost my will to keep at it:
1. The hardest time is the not-doing time.
Say you (like me) have made it a goal to incorporate a challenging discipline, like meditation, into every week. Now picture yourself in the times when you are getting prepared to start the task/day’s goal, the time you are actually engaging in said task/goal, and the time after you have finished partaking in that task/goal. Which of those times do you find yourself the least content?
If you are like me, you usually feel the least motivated (and most distressed) in the time leading up to that task. I have to battle my own fickleness, excuses, and negative thoughts before I work toward the goal of meditating, but once I am actually engaged in it, I find my focus and motivation. After having meditated, my self-confidence grows because of finishing something I set out to do, and I find myself more motivated to keep at it.
If we can acknowledge the lack of motivation as something we will have to overcome in the beginning, we can enable ourselves to move past it and experience the goodness that comes from digging in to work we know we need to do for ourselves.
2. Think little picture.
This has saved me in so many different facets of my life. I am often easily overwhelmed by the magnitude of a task or personal goal because of the many things that will need to be worked through before getting to my final goal. Even in thinking about relationships — for example, the idea of forgiving someone can seem miles away from what you are experiencing in the moment. It becomes easy to remain paralyzed by the enormity of it all, and to let go of our will to even begin.
Here is where we shift our gaze from taking in the seemingly-unattainable, to the small step we can achieve today. No one expects you to recover in record time and in one giant bound, so don’t put that pressure on yourself. Think about the one thing you can do today to get you moving in the direction of your goal. Now do it! No act is too small to make a difference on your journey. Find encouragement in the little victories.
3. Think big picture.
Some may say I am contradicting myself, but humans are complicated creatures. Some days we need little picture goggles, and some days those goggles weigh us down with their short-sightedness. There are days we might ask ourselves why we are even on the road to health.
These are the times when we can find motivation from our imagination. Picture yourself having met your goal — how do you feel about yourself? About others? What has changed? How is your life better? Now, really use your imagination here, and get specific. The more real it becomes in your mind, the better chance your determination to get to that place will grow.
4. Find your tribe.
I recently read an incredibly intelligent advice columnist respond to a woman who was spiraling into darkness after a tragedy happened in her life. The advice-giver told her what I am emphasizing to you: find your tribe.
Where can you find and talk to others who are going through what you are going through? Go there, start talking. These people know your road, and know what zaps your motivation. Reach out to them when you are feeling low and lackluster. Chances are, they have the knowledge from experiences similar to yours, and are able to encourage you in ways others close to you maybe can’t.
5. Take heart from a tree.
I got my first tattoo this year. My tattoo is a tree — one side has leaves and the other has bare limbs. One day a couple of years ago, I sat alone on the porch of a friend’s apartment, and watched a heavy rainstorm in a sad, lonely mood. I noticed a tree get battered about by the storm, and all at once I was struck by how the tree will bear through storms, through seasons of winter and death, and through mistreatment from animals and humans.
Yet, the tree will survive in the end. It finds its way back to life every spring. It grows lush again in summer. The trees in our world bear all seasons, and can guarantee a spring will come after a winter. Find hope in the example of the tree, my dear friends. Even in the midst of this low and hopeless time, there is hope for you to reach your goal.
The hope to recover is always there, whether you feel it today or not.
This lack of motivation is not the end of the story; it doesn’t stop here for you. Stand strong like a tree, bear through this hard season, and know there will come a day when you feel motivated and hopeful again.
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Victoria has her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and English Literature and is working on her Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She grew up in Florida and now lives in the Washington DC area.
SITE DISCLAIMER: The opinions and information shared in this article or any other Content on our site may not represent that of Libero Network Society. We hold no liability for any harm that may incur from reading content on our site. Please always consult your own medical professionals before making any changes to your medication, activities, or recovery process. Libero does not provide emergency support. If you are in crisis, please call 1-800-784-2433 or another helpline or 911.