Why is it so hard to do the little things that will improve your life?
Lacking self-motivation? Ever had a great idea to make a change in your life and experienced that ping of excitement to get started? Despite finding yourself flat out busy with work, family and other commitments, you feel suddenly driven to set new goals. For example:
- It’s time to lose weight, clean up your diet and exercise more.
- You will improve your time management skills and productivity.
- You will enrol for a new qualification or seek that ideal job.
- Now is the time to save some money.
- You want to create a self care plan and spend more quality time with friends and family.
In that moment, your self-motivation is at an all-time high and you can’t wait to get going.
But…just before you take action, another thought kicks in. A rationalisation, a reason, a doubt. This moment’s hesitation stops you in your tracks. Life gets in the way and you have lost that ping.
Did you know most New Year’s resolutions – which seemed like a good idea at 11.59am – are forgotten by January 13? Then, 80 per cent of the time we go and make the exact same resolution the following year, then the year after and so on!
It’s Sunday night, you are buoyed by the thought of a fresh start to the working week (weekend indulgence time is over!) and you feel really inspired to make a new YOU. The fit, healthy, non-smoking, health food guru, gym junkie. You go to bed pumped for your alarm so you can get moving and seize the day.
Sadly, Monday morning rolls around and you have the best intentions, but that self-motivation has fizzled and evaporated before you put your feet on the floor. You are too tired, you have too much to do, it’s cold…..maybe tomorrow.
The reason for the fizzle?
The biological stress response has been triggered and your brain is in protection mode. This all happens in milliseconds, often before the body can catch up. While this stress response is designed to keep you emotionally, physically and psychologically safe, it also keeps you in your comfort zone. You may find it difficult to step outside this zone and make a change.
While you can rationalise your reasons and kid yourself that you will try ‘another day’, the truth is it will never happen without a pit of willpower and discipline to get started.
We all KNOW what we should be doing to look after ourselves and are given the opportunity many times a day to choose either what is good for us, or what feels good. It is human nature to opt for instant gratification, but the problem there is nothing then changes. We are all suffering from the ‘gap’ between knowledge and action. It is too easy to fall into the habit of making these decisions but not acting on them.
The good news is that habits can be broken and retrained with a little coaching and mentoring. Through awareness comes change and you have the power within yourself to make your goals a reality.
There is the saying that it takes 21 days to create a new habit.
You may have experienced this in the past. For example, once you make exercising part of your daily routine, you then WANT to stay with it. Being in the habit of cooking fresh meals makes this daily goal easier. Likewise, once you are systematically putting money aside for saving, you don’t even notice it.
With a new habit in motion, momentum and self-motivation become the results and the driving force for positive change. Your confidence and self-respect grow, your comfort zone expands and you may even be able to tackle your next healthy habit!
So, when you are feeling unmotivated but want that ping of excitement back to create a new, positive habit and reach your goals faster,
how do you get started towards self-motivation?
Disrupt your brain.
Stop the hesitation and consequent spiral into inaction by momentarily disrupting your brain. Motivational speaker and author Mel Robbins recommends something akin to the NASA rocket countdown. Think about something you want to do, then countdown backwards from 5…4,3,2,1 and LAUNCH. You are so preoccupied with the counting, your brain doesn’t have the chance to enlist that biological stress response until it is too late!
The elastic band on wrist.
Simple but effective. Just ping yourself when you start having negative thoughts about what you are going to do, or second guessing and rationalising backing out. As with the NASA rocket countdown technique, this gives you a moment’s disruption to the brain. You have brief clarity to get back on track and heading in the right direction.
Set the alarm clock for 10 minutes or 20 minutes.
The thought of spending hours on a new task can leave you feeling a little cold, so try setting yourself just 10 or 20 minutes to start. You may just find that once you get in to the flow, you can happily carry on, but if not – at least you tried it!
Start ANYTHING, do SOMETHING.
If you are stuck in analysis paralysis and don’t know what to do or how to get started, then just pick something and go. By taking action you will know almost immediately if the change is right for you, rather than sitting back and dwelling on what may or may not be. If nothing else, you will be generating self-motivation and confidence to try something different if you become misdirected. If at first you don’t succeed – try again!
Move faster than your brain.
When starting a new healthy habit such as exercise or activity, have your clothes and any equipment all laid out ready for when you wake up or get home from work. You then don’t have to think at the delegated time, you just DO. This leaves no opportunity to change your mind. Many athletes use this technique and will jump out of bed in the morning, step straight into their exercise clothes and get going. Move fast and your brain won’t have time to object before the body is in full swing!
Tap into your why.
There is a reason WHY you want to make a change or set new goals. Get below the surface and keep questioning ‘why it is important to me?’ Ask yourself at least five times and when you arrive at an emotion, then you have your reason. Use this to your advantage and remind yourself regularly to keep your self-motivation amped up.
So, don’t wish for it – push your fears and excuses aside and make it happen. Unleash the ‘you’ that you were meant to be before life got in the way. Make a decision, take action do it before your brain realises what is going on!
P.S. Does this sound all too familiar but you aren’t sure you can go it alone? There are two ways I can help!
- Join my Facebook group of like-minded professional women who are on the same upward trajectory, whether as an entrepreneur or in the corporate world. Here, you can connect, share insights, and chat to women who understand what you are going through and how you are feeling. I will also be posting regular bite-sized, high-impact actions to put into your life through short videos and ongoing support, to further help you live your life by design.
- I also offer one-on-one coaching for success. If you are an entrepreneur or professional woman who is struggling with trying to Have Be Do it all, as well as enjoy the life you have created, then we should talk! Be ready for massive personal growth when you work with me privately. To get started, book in for a free Blockage Breakthrough Session to discuss what’s possible for you.