Staying motivated can be tough at the best of times. But after the year we’ve all had, keeping upbeat is just that bit harder. Like the budding shoots and flowers, we can beat winter’s gloom. And find a place where we feel positive. But like any journey, we’ll get there one step at-a-time.
A Journey is a Series of Steps
To take one giant leap to a positive place can feel impossible, even overwhelming. And that’s the last thing we need right now. So, let’s make it easier on ourselves and instead think about our journey as a series of steps:
✓ Pause and take stock
✓ Change our perception
✓ Turn negatives upside down
✓ And reflect
Pause and Take Stock
It’s easier said than done, to pause and take stock. However, we can make it happen by writing a journal. The journal’s a mainstay of coaches, counsellors, and mentors everywhere. Why? Because it really, really works. And it only takes a few moments to do.
Investing a little time to write our journal creates a break in our day. A few minutes away from the treadmill of work, school, home admin, life. Similarly, we can’t write, or type, as fast as we think. So, the act of writing down what’s on our minds slows our thoughts.
In addition, it allows us to organise those thoughts. Besides, a journal can help us vent our built-up frustrations.
Change our Perception
A couple of weeks ago, my frustrations were building. Then my 8yo daughter did something lovely. She dropped a homemade envelope on my keyboard. It was tiny, little more than 2cm square. The message on the card inside read, ‘Daddy, thank you for everything’. In that instant my frustrations completely evaporated. My world hadn’t changed, but my daughter’s simple act of kindness changed my perception of it.
However, changing our perception doesn’t have to happen by chance. We can make it happen. A method I’ve found works well: challenge myself to see 3 things every day that make me happy. Then write them down in my journal. By looking for good, we see good, and then we feel good. Our world won’t change, but our perception of it will.
Turn the Negatives Upside Down
Let’s not pretend, bad things do happen. But good can come of them if we let it. A case in point. My wife remarked recently, ‘Yes lockdown’s rubbish. But we wouldn’t have found all these great places to explore without it’. Sure, it’s a small thing, but small things matter. Salvaging small grains of good from the bad can make all the difference
We can really benefit if we capture the good that comes from the bad. And to do that (Yep, you’ve guessed it!) we should write it down in our journal. Sometimes it may take a while to see the good that comes from bad. But no matter, what’s important is we see it, and remember it
Just once a week read back through your journal entries. When you paused and took stock did your thoughts stop whizzing through your mind? Did you spot 3 things every day that made you happy? Or maybe you started to regularly spot more than 3? Did you see the positives come out a seemingly all-bad situation?
By going back over our journal, we see what we’ve overcome, and what we’ve learnt. Also, we see that the world is not all bad. Good things not only happen all around us, but they also happen to us. Furthermore, we can acknowledge the good that came from the bad.
As a result of noticing the good, our perception changes. What’s more, we start to concentrate on what’s taking us forward, instead of what’s holding us back. Then we start to feel motivated. More importantly, we are motivated.
The common theme throughout this post? Write it down, ideally in a journal. Quite literally take note of what makes us happy. By reading back through all the good things that’ve happened means we concentrate on the positives. Retrain our brains to filter out the bad.
The key to staying motivated isn’t changing the world. The key to staying motivated is changing the way we see it.