OK, so I guess it’s time to confess: I have 100% fallen off the detox and health wagon for myself. The fact is, I’m completely demotivated. My kids are still on. We relaxed a bit with the stressful dieting but they are still more or less following through. But me? I’m a mess. I ate 2 – TWO – eclairs this week – TWICE. I haven’t been to the gym almost all year. I’ve been staying up so late that I officially have insomnia, haven’t been getting sun and I feel completely drained. That said, I need to move forward. I can’t waste my summer – my family and my business deserves better from me. How can I move ahead when I feel so down?
What are some solutions when this happens? I mean, it’s an “off” time of year – not back to a new year or school year yet, swimsuit season is not upcoming and there’s no “Hey, I am going to…” coming up for me right now either.
In other words, I have no motivation.
How do we, as overwhelmed moms, encourage ourselves when there’s no “let’s do it for..” event coming up?
Debunking Motivation Myths
First I want to debunk some myths about motivation and addressing problems with the “old school” methods of motivation.
1. “Just Do It.”
This old Nike slogan seemed simple and easy, right? “Stop making excused and get off your butt.” It’s the bootcamp approach but the simple truth is that sometimes we’re NOT making excuses. Sometimes, we’re just exhausted, we have more problems than easy solutions and time is a factor. YES, we have the same 24 hours that everyone else does but somehow those priorities can slip away and then we struggle to refocus them.
2. Make a List.
Sure, on it! Except it isn’t working. I have about 5000 lists around my house, digital and otherwise. You know what kind of list works – the only that succeeds every single time? Grocery lists. Why? Because it is a list of what I absolutely need. Those items are on the “cannot make dinner/survive the week without this” kind of list.
3. “Try This Program”
It’s really great to try different kinds of programs and coaching and books, but do they work? Will they work for you? Are they a good fit? Is the information not only up to date, but is it in line with your personality or will the tasks be just another failed list, given your personality and past behavior? Finally, if you know someone who got amazing results from a program but their personality is the polar opposite of yours, it’s quite possible that it won’t work for you.
4. Accountability Partners
Ok, I for one, think this is great but what this primarily does for me is help me meet a
nd bond with other professionals. I’m not actually doing the items because there is no pain point if I don’t. It’s just a great way to make commentary on how funny my life is when I don’t. Now sure, it feels wonderful when I achieve my goals but mainly because that’s so rare. And that’s not enough incentive for me.
5. Goal Setting
This will sound contradictory, but you must do goal setting. The problem is not the goal setting itself, the problem is actually setting the wrong goals, including set up a goal that is fine for most but too big FOR YOU. Can I get real for a minute? That’s totally embarrassing for us. Let me give you an example. I have a ton of friends who homeschool, and let me tell you, their kids are brilliant, motivated and many even destined to become thought leaders of the future. Not lying there! Me? I can barely teach my kids proper tooth brushing. I set a goal to teach sex and hygiene this summer, but I didn’t break it down enough and it’s ALL falling apart.
How to HONESTLY Motivate Yourself
Working off the above, then, how can you and I improve ourselves without that added guilt of “God, please me, I failed again.” Ok, here is what I’m doing:
1. Do it ONLY After You Know You Can
That means understanding what’s stopping you. This can be any number of things, like pursuing the wrong thing. As a stubborn person who became Christian, I can tell you for certain that I can see how I went from bending over backwards to go through doors that were solidly closed, to peace, clarity and even success when I went through the right doors!
Another common stumper is your health. You need to be at least in fair health to have even a shot at proper motivation. That means long term health, such as conquering issues you might be having related to thyroid, hormones, weight struggles, etc. For these, visit your health practitioner and make a plan. THAT should be your #1 goal, in fact.
It also means short term health problems like lack of sleep, poor eating phases, overwhelm during stressful times, grief after a loss, allergies, colds, viruses. Those you can handle yourself with proper rest, restoring healthy eating, supplements if you can, exercise, and water.
2. Create Emergency To Do Lists
Like I said, grocery lists are the only ones that get done because they have to get done! The same is true with my weekly task list. If the date to register my kids is Wednesday, well of course, all the paperwork will be done on time. The trick is to create those emergencies. Here’s where you can possibly kill 2 birds with one stone. Let’s say you want to do Facebook Live videos but you’ve been putting it off. Instead, schedule one, invite everybody and then get that task list going to what you need. Create low consequence commitments to force yourself to achieve what you need.
3. Determine What Works For You
There’s a million programs out there to teach you to plan, set and achieve your goals but there’s probably only a handful that will work for you. Before you invest big bucks in a class or coach or conference, get to know the people behind it – the teachers, preachers, organizers. Look at their blogs, their books and their social media streams. Are they pushing things you KNOW you won’t do? For example, last year I hired a coach and one of the primary goals she pushed was something I hated. I didn’t get much out of that invest, primarily for that reason. If I had known that was her basic premise, I would never have hired her.
4. Prices and Rewards
Accountability partners can work, but the thing that really works is making yourself uncomfortable enough to actually do the thing that are procrastinating. This may mean buying into a costly mastermind group, signing up for a class or partnering with gym or nutritionist. Investing your heard earned money is a strong motivator but it doesn’t work for everyone as my experience with the coach reveals.
If the idea of using discomfort is, well, uncomfortable to you, then you may need to use a reward. The trouble with rewarding ourselves is that we feel it’s something we want, rather than need. It’s time to put it all together and find a pain point OR reward that will not diminish our self esteem but will encourage you to actually go and do.
5. What Goals Will You Do
No matter where you are in this process, there is no point in even setting a goal if you know deep down that you’ll never do it. That doesn’t mean that you can’t accomplish it at some point in your life, but you need stepping stones – and a strong desire to accomplish it – to get there. Don’t even bother putting a goal up that goes against your nature, unless it is something that you really REALLY want to overcome, like a deep fear.
How I Get Motivated
As much as I admire friends, I don’t – and won’t – ever homeschool. I can, however, teach my kids lessons I believe are my duty and responsibility, like faith, hygiene and sex. This is how:
- I Know I Can: I’ve done it before, so now I know I can however, the first time was much more difficult! I had to think to what motivates my kids sit and listen. I knew they would respond to treats and sometimes to crafts or worksheets. Working around that made it easy.
- It’s An Emergency To Do: One daughter is going to high school and the other just started puberty! They need the “talk” now. (I already taught one but she needs it again, appropriate for her age and in more depth.)
- What Works for Me: They hate to read and I hate to teach, but hands on approaches and small chunks of info with lots of images (pre-printed, as I hate crafting) work for both of us!
- Prices and Reward: That treat and the type of work they love to do is reward enough of them especially when we have time with days off, summer or winter break, etc. and they are bored. The pain point for me is having my kids in harm’s way with boys and other students and not knowing what to do.
- Goals: I only do what I can. If any of us are having an off day, it can hold off another day. If I don’t want them to do treats and they won’t do work, I don’t push it.