It’s a tough one but only if you do not have a plan or goal.
There’s really no complicated formula for driving yourself forward. You have to be motivated by something bigger than yourself. You need a force guiding, almost propelling you forward. And when you have such direction in your life, the things that happen are merely that. Just stuff happening. You take it in, take it on board, you may react, respond or implode. And then you get on with it… you get back on track.
When you don’t know what you want, when you don’t have a clue where you want to be, that’s when the trouble starts. When you are floating aimlessly along, anything and everything could be good or bad. Everything seems to have some impact on you. And this further immobilises you. After a while, you seem overwhelmed because there’s so much out there, coming at you, at a constant, dizzying speed. And it’s relentless. You don’t know how to make it stop. And oftentimes, the best action you can think of is inaction.
The thing is some of us know what we want to do, or where we want to go, early in life. Which is a good thing. But for those who don’t, it’s not a race. It’s a journey and one that should be enjoyed. Take the time to explore, discover and experience. See with eyes wide open, the kind of experiences and opportunities that are unfolding before you.
One of the best things you can do to keep yourself motivated is to develop a hypersensitivity about your perspective. By this, I mean, don’t just let yourself think whatever you do, whatever pops into your head. It is super hard to develop a critical self awareness, a mindfulness, that you can apply in the moment. You want mindfulness in the moment, not after the fact, the behaviour, the consequences. Drive that awareness, control your thought process, examine your self talk and see how you are reacting to your situation.
Stop yourself in the tracks when you are looping. Looping is when you go through an action repeatedly, usually it’s to bemoan why this happened, and how it’s not fair. Doing this gets you nowhere except further mired in a emotional wasteland. No one can pull you out except yourself.
Take action. That always works for me. When you do nothing, things are happening to you, you feel victimised. But the moment you take yourself out of the situation and figure a way of dealing with it, you feel and become infinitely better. You get out of victim mode, you find solutions to your problem and most importantly, you have taken back your power and sense of control.
Make a decision. The hardest thing for people to accept is that they can make decisions. Sometimes, we like to think that we are forced into a situation, that there really is no choice. It took me a long time to learn this truth but I have finally gotten it – it’s liberating. It’s wonderful to know that while I may not like the choices presented to me, I still have the choice about how to deal with the situation. You are still in charge, even when it seems, at the outset, that you are not.
Take a break. When you are fuelled by passion, desire or a goal, it’s easy to keep going, keep chugging along. But we all need periods of rest and reflection. Rest is as crucial to the fitness regime as exercise is. And so we need to apply this to ourselves as well. Cut ourselves some slack. Allow periods of downtime. Give yourself permission to do nothing and not cross stuff off your checklist.
Consider what you’re not getting. If you find that your life keeps throwing you the same kind of curveball, that the people and dates/times change but the situation doesn’t change much, it’s time to ask yourself, “What am I not getting here and what is the universe trying to tell me?” You may not like what you hear. You may not even want to deal with it. But remember, as long as you refuse or are unaware of the lesson to be learnt, the lessons keep coming back. One way or another.
How do I stay motivated in the face of failure? Easy, it is failure that has helped me to become who I am, not success. It has guided me, shaped me, informed me. It has pointed out my weaknesses, my follies, my negativity, my blind spots and helped me address these. I wouldn’t be who I am now, without it.