Learning how to motivate ourselves can make the difference between achieving self improvement goals vs. merely daydreaming about them. Most people would like to change something about their lives, whether it be to lose weight, reduce stress, exercise, eat healthier or any other type of physical or mental improvement. The reason most people stay frustrated, however, is because they feel their objectives are out of reach, with the end result seeming impossible to achieve. In their busy, hectic lives they feel unmotivated to get from point A to B, mainly due to the wall they see blocking their paths.
We live in a rather black and white world. People are either thin or fat, physically fit or out of shape, smokers or non-smokers. Humans like to not only categorize others into neatly defined criteria, they do it to themselves, too. It is no wonder one feels unmotivated to change, when they feel they have to become the complete opposite of what they are now. Imagine if after one guitar lesson, a man placed an all or nothing objective on himself to be a professional musician by the end of the year. Though it could happen years down the road, is it realistic to place that type of pressure on yourself? Of course not. So the first step in learning how to motivate yourself is to find the grey area and recognize there are many small steps one must take down the road to self improvement. The start and end points might be black and white, but the actual road is paved in grey. There is no airplane to get you there, you need to take it one mile at a time and celebrate the distance you’ve driven each and every day.
The next step is to be prepared before embarking on any life changing path. Imagine someone deciding to start eating healthier one morning, with a cupboard full of unhealthy snacks. Maybe a person is determined to start walking a few miles a day, but their schedule from sunrise to sunset is full of obligations to work, family and volunteering. These are examples of people who are destined to fail. They will lose any motivation because they are unprepared. However, if the healthy eater made a list of nutritious foods and snacks, writing out a daily calendar to ensure good food choices were available throughout the day, he or she would feel motivated to begin changing daily habits. As to the individual that wanted to begin exercising, motivation will prevail if some daily obligations have been delegated to others or given up, to make a schedule that allowed time to take care of himself or herself.
Finally, people are motivated to change when it doesn’t feel like deprivation. Think of these changes as a life-altering event, not a brief state of doing something you hate to do. If you never liked aerobics, jogging or riding a bike, chances are you won’t like it when you decide to get physically fit. Do things you love! Hike, ski, ice skate, rollerblade – anything that makes you more active than you used to be. If trying to eat healthier, don’t try to force down foods you’ve never enjoyed, counting down the days until you can stop eating these foods someday. You will learn how to motivate yourself when you possess the actual desire to change yourself in ways that make you feel good, not punished.