Anxiety will run away with your reason if you let it…
Sometimes the best idea is to take a deep breath and return to the present moment (the only thing – let’s be totally clear – that we the power to do anything about.)
Every so often I’m asked what I do, or how I stick to my guns, in order to reach the goals I’ve set for myself. Some of my friends have said I stick to my routine like my life depends on it. While it’s *generally* true that I color in the lines, it doesn’t mean it’s a piece of cake all the time. Cake? Where?! Is it chocolate!? (See what I mean…?)
Some days it’s a challenge to keep myself on track, but I do have a few tried-and-true tricks to help me stay on the bandwagon when I want nothing more than to hurl myself off it!
Now it may be I’m already that crazy personality type that pushes myself extra hard…in everything…(and boy, is that exhausting!) It could be that I like routine. Or maybe it’s because I’ve seen other people succeed, and I want to get there too. Either way, these tricks do come in handy, and are worth a shot if you are having some difficulty motivating. . . They have helped me enormously, and continue to.
What is willpower, though, anyway? Willpower is typically used to refer to that miraculous, supernal compass that allows us to abstain from whatever it is that ISN’T so good for us… Or, as the dictionary puts it:
For me, that would be eating whatever I want, not getting up and exercising most days, and not following through with the things that will help me grow as a person, or in a field I’m interested in. I’ve admitted to myself full-on how much easier that life would be…but when I think about the implications of walking that path, I’ve rerouted very quickly…
So there’s tip #1 right there…
This trick works for me the majority of the time. I don’t really consider it as guilting myself into things, it’s more that I focus on the implications of NOT doing the action I’m struggling with, OR staying where I am…which is not where I want to be. I know that if I decide to abandon my dietary habits, I skip my physical activities, give up on something I really want to learn (which I almost did recently!)…I’m going to suffer on a number of levels. I’ll feel more exhausted, depressed about how I feel / look / not achieving, my skin will probably freak out, the doctors (I’m sure) will be on my case, and I’ll very likely be in a shitty mood all around. Bad for everyone!
Then there’s tip #2…which is similar to the first, but it puts things in a positive light (which, frankly, is where I personally prefer to be.)
When I focus on my goals, I get the most bang for my buck – more so than #1 because, again, I’m making this positive. I focus on what I want most – whether to maintain my current condition, learn more about a subject I’m new to, achieve the next rank in my Martial Art… Whatever the goal is, I focus on HOW I WILL FEEL once I HAVE IT. That’s how the magic begins. How to keep it going? Picture it as if you ALREADY HAVE IT. Once you get there, you’re golden. There are mornings that getting up and spinning is the last thing I want to do. But I focus on the feeling of “that felt great – I did it, and I worked hard, and now I’m ready for the day!” Focusing on the feeling I’ll have in accomplishing that goal makes all the difference.
Progress snapshots can take a lot of forms – it really depends on what the goal is. If it’s with regard to my Martial Arts, I’ll make sure to take periodic photos of my attendance card to see just how far I’ve come, and how close my next test is. If it’s with regard to physical condition, photos go a LONG way. Photos help us to keep track of how we are doing in the most real sense – I’ve caught myself being off track from pictures plenty of times! It’s not easy to see ourselves as we really are sometimes – photos keep us honest.
Life is a challenging journey any way you slice it. There will be ups and downs, and days you don’t damn well feel like “making a gratitude list!” That’s okay. What’s important is that you are gentle with yourself in understanding we all get a little sidetracked from time to time. Allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling fully. Then dust yourself off, remind yourself how far you’ve come / that you have made it through successfully before (and I guarantee that you have!), and get to it! Wallowing in our shortcomings is incredibly dangerous, and a surefire way to keep the negative cycle going. Chin up – you can do it!
Don’t forget to share your progress with those you trust and love – I assure you that they will want to share in your joy, encourage your continued journey, and would be willing to help you in any way they can. That’s what loved ones are there for! You aren’t alone, and you don’t have to go it alone. If you are having a tougher day, it’s okay to ask a loved one for help, to vent, or to ask for a proper kick in the ass – like being brutally honest! – when you need it.
I’m as guilty of the next person of putting myself down, and putting road blocks in my own way with negative thoughts or language. It’s vital that we work on using positive language, such as “I can!”…and using it all the time. When we are stuck in a rut, or feeling miserable about past failures, that’s when using positive language (and / or replacing negative language) is the most important. We must remember that there is always a new opportunity waiting – there is no better time than the present to get back on track, and we can do that at any moment. Forget four letter words like “can’t” as they serve only to derail. Make sure your language is positive, and you are on your way!
Willpower can be hard to come by all the time…but it is NOT an impossibly-achieved, elusive superpower. The more we work at it, the more we will have.
So. . .
TIP #1 – Internalizing / Visualizing / Owning the Implications
TIP #2 – Internalizing / Visualizing / Owning…and FEELING…the Goals
TIP #3 – Progress Snapshots
TIP #4 – Be Gentle With Yourself
TIP #5 – Share the Joy…AND the Challenges!
TIP #6 – Change Your Inner Dialogue
You’ve GOT THIS!
People are complicated – even when you make every effort to empathize, to walk in another person’s shoes, putting aside the urge to respond negatively, some people are painfully impossible to deal with.
When we understand the notion that another person’s response and (re)actions are effectively a result of their place in their own evolution (which cannot rightly be compared to ours or anyone else’s) it is far easier to deal with them.
While I *want* to take the path of gentle kindness, absence of judgment, 100% positivity…I don’t always. I’m human! But imagine, then, how easily I set up the disappointments in expecting others to meet me on that plane – if I really want to be those things with every fiber of my being and I still fall short too, it seems I’m expecting a bit (a lot!) too much of everyone else.
That doesn’t mean to say behaviors are excused, that I don’t have a right to expect a certain level of decency, for example, or for someone to live up to basic standards. What I mean is that if I understand others aren’t on my wavelength, it makes letting things go, and moving on, a whole lot easier. It helps me to recognize that I operate at a different vibration, in other words, which gives a lot less power to other people…and puts more (potentially all of it, wouldn’t that be nice!) in my hands.
No one else has a right to ruin my mood – I let it happen sometimes, and that’s on me. When I change my view, and recognize that, while a lot of people have done some hard-work-soul-searching…probably more people haven’t.
To face oneself is one of the bravest things anyone can do, but it doesn’t occur to people naturally all the time… We live amidst an increasingly mindful existence in some ways, and a horribly (and rapidly-occurring) detached one in others. If people haven’t “met themselves” on a deeper level, they simply aren’t capable of meeting you at your vibrationally higher altitude.
It may be a challenge to disassociate and detach from others when their behaviors fall short in our eyes…but when we learn to do it, we can live a much more peaceful existence. I’ve worked on this one for a long time, and I’ve got many moons and miles yet to go – but progress is progress and knowing is absolutely half (or more) or the battle.
There are a thousand reasons why this idea should be prized. . .
Words have power and sometimes it is better to remain silent, lest ignorance, impatience, anger, or inability to understand cause more harm than good.
Sounds easy. . .but. . .it isn’t. It’s a life-long pursuit to manage the gift of language we’ve been given. Sometimes nothing feels better than sharing, commenting, responding, speaking. . . But a lot of times silence is a wiser, if not kinder, response.
While I am a long way from mastering the skill, it’s a good reminder that there’s a time and a place to use the gift of speech. Before engaging, thinking is often a great idea.
There are times in Life when it seems all light extinguishes, leaving blackness, fear, and despair.
And yet. . .
In the midst of it. . .if we look deep without our inner recesses, we will find the inextinguishable flame we’ve carried all along.
Remember what you have accomplished. Remember the demons you’ve conquered, the tears and blood you’ve shed. For you are a warrior, stronger than anyone else can ever know. You are a survivor, you are beautiful, and you are a beacon of light in spite of all.