Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Came across this today and was just what I needed so thought I would share. Maybe someone else out there can use it too. :)

16 Ways to Get Motivated When You're in a Slump

One Goal. Whenever I've been in a slump, I've discovered that it's often because I have too much going on in my life. I'm trying to do too much. And it saps my energy and motivation. You cannot maintain energy and focus (the two most important things in accomplishing a goal) if you are trying to do two or more goals at once. Choose one goal, for now, and focus on it completely. You can always do your other goals when you've accomplished your One Goal.

Find inspiration. Inspiration, for me, comes from others who have achieved what I want to achieve, or who are currently doing it. I read other blogs, books, magazines. I Google my goal, and read success stories.

Get excited. Well, it starts with inspiration from others (see above), but you have to take that excitement and build on it. Talk it up to friends and family.

Build anticipation. If you find inspiration and want to do a goal, don't start right away. Many of us will get excited and want to start today. Instead, set a date in the future — a week or two, or even a month — and make that your Start Date. Mark it on the calendar. In the meantime, start writing out a plan. By delaying your start, you are building anticipation, and increasing your focus and energy for your goal.

Post your goal. Print out your goal in big words. Make your goal just a few words long, like a mantra ("Exercise 15 mins. Daily"), and post it up on your wall or refrigerator. Post it at home and work. Put it on your computer desktop. You want to have big reminders about your goal, to keep your focus and keep your excitement going. A picture of your goal (like a model with sexy abs, for example) also helps.

Commit publicly. None of us likes to look bad in front of others. We will go the extra mile to do something we've said publicly, and hold yourself accountable — don't just commit once, but commit to giving progress updates to everyone every week or so.

Think about it daily. If you think about your goal every day, it is much more likely to become true. Sending yourself daily reminders helps. And if you can commit to doing one small thing to further your goal (even just 5 minutes) every single day, your goal will almost certainly come true.

Get support. It's hard to accomplish something alone. I couldn't have survived this long without the support of friends and family, or without the others who supported me. Find your support network, either in the real world or online, or both.

Realize that there's an ebb and flow. Motivation is not a constant thing that is always there for you. It comes and goes, and comes and goes again, like the tide. But realize that while it may go away, it doesn't do so permanently. It will come back. Just stick it out and wait for that motivation to come back. In the meantime, read about your goal (see below), ask for help (see below), and do some of the other things listed here until your motivation comes back.

Stick with it. Whatever you do, don't give up. Even if you aren't feeling any motivation today, or this week, don't give up. Again, that motivation will come back. Think of your goal as a long journey, and your slump is just a little bump in the road. You can't give up with every little bump. Stay with it for the long term, ride out the ebbs and surf on the flows, and you'll get there.
Start small. Really small. If you are having a hard time getting started, it may be because you're thinking too big. Instead, do small, tiny, baby steps. Just do 2 minutes of time to dedicate to something. I know, that sounds wimpy. But it works. Pick something so easy, you can't fail. Do it at the same time, every day. Want to wake up early? Don't think about waking at 5 a.m. Instead, think about waking 10 minutes earlier for a week. That's all. Once you've done that, wake 10 minutes earlier than that. Baby steps.

Build on small successes. Again, if you start small for a week, you're going to be successful. You can't fail if you start with something ridiculously easy. Who can't plan or spend 2 minutes to organize something? Take that successful feeling and build on it, with another baby step. After a couple of months, your tiny steps will add up to a lot of progress and a lot of success.

Read about it daily. When I lose motivation, I just read a book or blog about my goal. It inspires me and reinvigorates me. For some reason, reading helps motivate and focus you on whatever you're reading about.

Call for help when your motivation ebbs. Having trouble? Ask for help. Email me or a friend. Post something online. Join an online forum. Get a partner to join you. Call your mom. It doesn't matter who, just tell them your problems, and talking about it will help. Ask them for advice.

Think about the benefits, not the difficulties. One common problem is that we think about how hard something is. Instead of thinking about how hard something is, think about what you will get out of it. For example, instead of thinking about how tiring exercise can be, focus on how good you'll feel when you're done, and how you'll be healthier and slimmer over the long run. The benefits of something will help energize you.

Squash negative thoughts; replace them with positive ones. Monitor your thoughts. Recognize negative self-talk, which is really what's causing your slump. Just spend a few days becoming aware of every negative thought and aim to replace them with positive ones. Squash,
"This is too hard!" and replace it with, "I can do this! If that wimp Joe can do it, so can I!" It sounds corny, but it works. Really.

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