Finding Motivation in Difficult Times

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”
Zig Ziglar

As we’re phasing out of the quarantine period imposed due to the new Corona virus, it can be difficult for most people to find back their motivation and feel inspired to move on in life. Many may see it as a moment of chaos and confusion, but many others tend to gather their strength and start out for a new beginning.

We’ve all had to go through similar periods of emotional distress, fear, insecurity or instability before, when facing difficult situations, such as a serious illness, a break-up or divorce, a financial crisis, the loss of a beloved person or any other event that may initially seem “catastrophic” and may cause one to feel helpless, disoriented and utterly discouraged.

Looking back at those rough moments, one is able to realize that they have allowed for an enormous transformation in one’s life. Think of all the “lessons” you’ve learned and all the positive changes you were able to make, that may have seemed uncomfortable at first, but without which you would never have shifted into a new life paradigm, you would never have made a breakthrough.

The Toltec Shamans used to call this “a shift in the point of perception”. As we usually go about our daily lives repeating almost the same rituals and activities, which is the way our mind ensures a form of (elusive) stability and safety for us, when a shock hits us, we suddenly see an altered reality in front of our eyes. This altered perception may last from seconds to days, depending on the impact of the shock. And even though it can be quite traumatic, it can also fuel great amounts of inspiration as a result of a new realization. It’s in our hands to make a step forward and change our life after having had a realization or new understanding.

Although we usually don’t have control over external events or circumstances, we can control the way we react to them. Feeling optimistic and finding motivation to move on is a matter of choice. As Wayne Dyer has put it, “Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.”

If you’re looking for ways to boost your motivation, here are some ideas:

  1. Practice gratitude daily. Reminding yourself of your blessings and writing down all the wonderful things already happening in your life or feeling thankful for the people you have next to you can immensely increase your motivation to keep going and to add more positivity in your every day.
  2. Make a good plan. If you’re feeling stuck in a situation, you need a plan in order to change it. Consider all the aspects and draft a map with all the right moves that can lead you where you want to go. Make it visual, with photos, drawings, doodles and text, and hang it on a wall where you can easily see it or put it on your computer desktop.
  3. Seek advice from your family, friends, a coach or an expert. If you’re feeling lost, there is no point in staying at a dead end. With some help, you can overcome your fear or negative beliefs or even some of the practical difficulties that hinder your motivation and ability to move forward.
  4. Stick to the things that make you smile. Motivation goes hand in hand with joy, positive thought and inspiration. Instead of “punishing” yourself by following a routine you find boring, unfulfilling and miserable, why not start doing more of what inspires you and brings a smile to your face. Listening to your favourite music, reading inspiring books or going for a walk in nature can uplift you and give you the energy your need.
  5. Find a “motivation buddy” or be your own motivator. If you have someone with whom you can share your life dreams or who will call you and motivate you every day to get up and try to reach them, then you are very lucky. Otherwise, you will have to be that person for yourself. In the second case, you are even luckier, as you’ll be able to get to know yourself better, trust and love yourself more.
  6. Step out of the victimization trap. The truth is it’s easy to be a victim of the circumstances. It doesn’t require a lot of energy and you can always have the pity of others. But, what do you actually gain from it? Having a positive attitude and making an effort to recover from adversity and thrive in your life can make you a stronger person, full of confidence and love for who you truly are.
  7. Stop judging yourself when you stumble. Self-criticism can be a real obstacle in your path and it can damage motivation even more than judgment coming from other people. Have trust in yourself and your abilities and know that seeking perfection will never give you satisfaction and that failure should in fact fuel your motivation to do better next time.

“The times they are a-changin’ “, as Bob Dylan sang back in the 60s, and each and every person will need to recover from difficult situations and adapt to a new life. With the right motivation, you will be able to create the life you have always dreamed of. The moment is now and the choice is yours to make.

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