What can you do when you lose your motivation?
During a coaching call this week, a client asked me this question. She shared how she struggles with motivation. She wants to exercise more, but she doesn’t follow through and doesn’t show up for herself. She disappoints herself over and over again which erodes her self-confidence. It's almost impossible to feel motivated when you are down on yourself. She asked me to outline a plan for her.
It’s human nature to not want to always show up and do the hard things.
What hard things am I talking about?
Eating better, drinking less alcohol, strength training, stretching, losing weight, going to bed earlier, stressing less, establishing healthy boundaries -any goal you have to make you and your life better.
I know you have goals for yourself - small goals, big goals, health goals, personal goals, business goals. Goals to travel more, stress less, sleep more, drink less.
You have goals because you want to grow as a person.
You want to be a better person for your children or grandchildren or for yourself.
It’s called evolution and it’s programmed in your genes.
You can’t become a stronger person when things are easy.
They aren’t meant to be easy and when things aren’t easy your mind will play tricks and come up with every reason in the book to not do it. To become better, to become stronger, you don't want it to be easy.
So what can you do?
Change your thought about what it is you want to do. Instead of thinking I want ....... (insert goal) to be easy, say " I love that I'm finding this hard. It means I’m growing as a person."
It creates a whole different feeling, right? From feeling defeated to feeling empowered. And do you know how you respond when you feel empowered? You take action that brings you closer to your goal. I'm offering one thought option, but it can be any thought that makes you feel empowered and excited. You’ll definitely feel much more motivated when you feel empowered than when you feel defeated.
Do not quit or change your goal. Instead, change your thought about your goal.
It happened to me a couple of days ago. I have a goal to run a half marathon which means I need to start running consistently. I've added my training plan to the calendar.
This past Friday was a run day and I was feeling very unmotivated.
This was my thought process.
Why am I unmotivated? I’m slightly sore from yesterday’s strength training, but mostly it's because it's raining.
I then asked myself, “What thought do I need to think that would support the goal I want which is to keep to my run plan?"
✅ I could tell myself that running in the rain is enjoyable. I’ve done it many, many times. Heck, I’ve even run a marathon in the pouring rain.
That thought didn’t motivate me.
✅ My next thought was, "If I have some company it will help me get out the door."
I contacted a running buddy, but she couldn’t go.
✅My next thought,
"I could run on the treadmill." Who am I kidding? I don't like running on the 'dreadmill'. ✅ I added, "I’ll give myself permission to run half the planned distance and I can watch a show on Netflix."
That did it. I got on the treadmill and when I reached the halfway mark I stopped. It was a win in my books. I was proud of myself for showing up. Instead of not running at all I ran 25 minutes.
Allowing myself to do less almost always works for me. I’ve often told myself just do 10 minutes and if I want to stop at that point I can. Most of the time I complete the workout, but there have been times I’ve given myself permission to cut it short.
You can show up for yourself. Wrestling with your thoughts is the hardest part. Find thoughts that will support your goal and DO IT. You have dealt with much more unpleasant feelings in your life. You are much stronger than you give yourself credit for.
Going through childbirth or losing a loved one is hard, much harder than dealing with short-term discomfort.
I do believe that discipline is my superpower. I show up to do the hard things and it is a feeling that drives my action. I know what it feels like to be so down that I’m not sure if I can get up again. It's a dark place where there is little hope. I show up to do the hard things because they make me feel hopeful. That is the emotion that drives my actions.
How about you? How are you making yourself stronger? What drives you? I would love to know.