When we are feeling motivated, watch out! We are driven towards our goals, taking action, and doing what we need to to make sh*t happen. It usually happens when our creativity is sparked or we begin a new project. We have all these ideas and are excited to move towards the goal. It’s why New Year’s Resolutions are a thing. It’s that fresh start, where we have almost this blank slate ready to fill.
We feel inspired and then we begin to take action and as the project wears on, we tend to not feel so inspired anymore. We step back, waiting for that feeling to return and when it doesn’t, we say we have lost motivation. It leads us to procrastination as we are just “waiting” to feel motivated again. We get hung up on what's blocking our way instead of finding solutions. Then, we are no longer driven to complete or meet the goal we set out to accomplish in the first place.
Right now, you may be mulling over some resolutions that you’d like to put in place for the new year. You recognize that there’s a clean slate and you’re ready to improve yourself in the coming year but you are a bit discouraged given that this isn’t your first rodeo. You suspect that whatever you choose may not come to fruition because of years past when you weren’t quite that successful sticking to your resolutions.
Perhaps, despite having not kept your resolution in the past, you are committing to giving it your all. You take all the steps you think you need to take to make this year different. You put it in writing, you tell people, you share it on social, you buy whatever you need to make it happen, you give yourself pep talks.
This year can be different, though, not because of your commitment (because after all, you’ve made the commitment last year around this same time) but because you are going to stay driven even when you aren’t feeling the motivation. That may have confused you a bit, since you need motivation to keep driving towards your goals, right? Well, yes and no. You really can continue to move towards your endpoint even when you aren’t exactly feeling highly motivated.
It’s all about changing the patterns of thinking that result in the decrease in motivation while also shifting your patterns of behavior. By doing so, you’ll end up more driven towards your goals which will allow you to actually accomplish them this go around, getting you to that endpoint you are resolving to in 2022!
Remember, your thoughts are what determine how you feel and so when you are feeling unmotivated, it’s your thoughts that are fueling it. Let’s look at some other feelings that may come up around mid-January… unambitious, lazy, indifferent, uncreative, uninspired- ask yourself, what thought could be leading me to feel this way?
Then, take a moment to examine and analyze that thought. Could a thinking error be playing a role in that specific thought? For example, are you looking at the whole picture? Are you experiencing didactic thinking, or seeing only the black and white, all or nothing, not really paying attention to the gray areas? Are you perhaps minimizing or filtering out the positive, which is contributing to you feeling discouraged by the progress you have been making but don’t think you have?
When you get stuck in certain thinking patterns, it can leave you feeling helpless and hopeless, both of which can perpetuate the negative feelings and the lack of motivation. It’s important to become aware of what patterns are keeping you stuck and then to learn new, more helpful ways of thinking that will allow you to feel inspired.
The all or nothing thinking pattern can lead you to attempting to make big changes all at once, which isn’t necessarily the best way to go when it comes to making resolutions successful. This year, resolve to make small changes. Sure, you can make a resolution that this year, you’ll finally run that marathon that’s on your bucket list. But expecting to start out by running 5 days per week when you haven’t ever run before is probably not the best way to go.
Reel it back in and resolve to start small, way small. You may start by researching books on the subject or subscribing to blogs about running, downloading an app like Couch to 5K, or maybe committing to get out the door and walking around the block 3x/week. You’ll want to make each step as easy as can be and as you succeed at following through on each step, you will be reinforcing the fact that you can indeed succeed.
If you don’t follow through, instead of going back to the drawing board and convincing yourself that you can’t do something, that you can’t make it to your goal, brainstorm other ways you can take action. What’s that saying- there is more than one way to skin a cat?! Find what is even easier for you to do. Point is, you'll want to build up mini-successes and give yourself that positive reinforcement to keep going.
Above all, you have to believe that it is possible. Recall that the beliefs we hold about ourselves are at the core of the thoughts we think, the feelings we feel, and the actions we take. If you are struggling to shift from feeling unmotivated to motivated, it may be that your beliefs are not serving you and they need to be challenged and changed.
Identify what is blocking you from making it to your goal and work to dismantle and dispel those old beliefs and form new beliefs that will serve you well and help you move towards your best version. You are in the driver’s seat and if you want to bring your resolution to life this year, it’s up to you to make it happen!
Do you have any resolutions for 2022? Why is it important for you to make these changes? Why now? What will your life look like if you do not make these changes? What do you need to believe about yourself to be successful?