“People say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing and that is why we recommend it every day” – Zig Ziglar
Motivation doesn’t last. Yes, you read it correctly.
The general definition of motivation is the act or process of giving someone a reason to do something or the condition of being eager to act or work towards a desired goal or reward. To that extent, motivation arises more from an external source rather than an internal resource. The feeling of being motivated about something and reaping a reward at the end causes a surge of endorphins and a rush of adrenaline. For a while everything feels right with the world, but the rush subsides as dramatically as it surges. Procrastination quickly sets in, as does the proverbial Monday that comes around each week. What does this have to do with women in particular?
The author Harriet Beecher Stowe said, “Women are the real architects of society”. Being a woman means automatically playing multiple roles and oftentimes, all at once. We are daughters, sisters, mothers, entrepreneurs, CEOs, lawyers and this list goes on and on. We also have the intrinsic power to make, break, mould, or destroy anything or anyone that crosses our path. Words like ‘Shakti’, ‘Mother Earth’, ‘Mother Tongue’ are all proof of this power.
As a single mother, a daughter, and an entrepreneur among other things, I often found myself overwhelmed or drained. The motivation that I perhaps woke up with or the resolutions that I may have made seemed hard to follow through or even vanish altogether. I would read endless books on motivation, make numerous goals when those resultant endorphins coursed through my brain cells, and promise myself to stick with my to-do or not to do list. What actually happened was that I ended up piling a huge heap of unfulfilled goals and feelings of low self-worth onto myself, and soon enough I was on a downward spiral.
I slowly began to figure out that getting or feeling motivated was as easy and unfortunately temporary. Staying motivated and seeing it through were the tough parts. What was the solution to all this and more importantly was there a solution at all? Fortunately, the answer was and is, ‘Yes’.
The first step is to eliminate the word goal. That word is perfect for a game, but in real life it could be unnecessarily pressurising. Instead let’s call the end result ‘the utimate achievement or the bigger picture’, for instance, or use whatever works for you. If the word goal floats your boat then so be it.
I wanted to quit smoking, and this happened several times, I would wake up and tell myself that I would never touch a cigarette ever again and it always worked, but just for a day or two. When the cravings would start and I would become irritable because of it, I would make an excuse that one measly puff wouldn’t hurt and before I knew it I would right back to square one.
It was when I realised that my goal to quit wasn’t working. I understood that what I needed was a bigger picture and how I saw myself in it; and that bigger picture for me was not to quit smoking but in fact to adopt a better lifestyle. In order to get there what I needed to do was to take one tiny step every day towards it.
Here is how you can stay the course:
M – Make a ‘step a day’ list everyday while keeping the bigger picture in sight. Write them down. It always helps.
O – On days you feel the odds are against you, take that day off, watch a movie, eat ice cream, be indulgent but not guilty.
T – Tell a loved one or friend about the tasks for the day. Ask them to check in on you. This will help you stay on course.
I – Identify what patterns of behaviour or action plans are not working on a daily basis.
V – Visit your tasks at the end of the day and review what has been or has not been completed.
A – Always focus on and appreciate what you have done.
T – Take your time about getting where you want to go while doing your bit every day.
I – If your intention is clear, it will happen at the perfect time.
O – One step every day is all that you need to take.
N – Never bite off more than you can chew, and never berate yourself for what you didn’t accomplish on that day.
Remember that the most important thing is to keep your intention focussed on the bigger picture or the ultimate achievement even if you didn’t manage to accomplish your daily list on some days. More importantly forgive yourself, learn what you can do differently and move on. Don’t dwell on it because that will take you away from your bigger picture instead of towards.
Also remember that:
- Rome wasn’t built in a day.
- Every big tree started its life as a seed.
- Focussing on what you have accomplished will propel you to do more.
- Reward yourself for things done or tasks that you have accomplished.
About the author: Cheelu Chandran is a Life coach and the Founder of DeBox, an organisation committed to creating change in the way people think and act through performance based workshops. She is an author and a poet. She has come up with some innovative perspectives to life’s theories which are predominant throughout her book, ‘Life Through a Looking Glass’. Her other passions include Flamenco dancing, singing, painting, creating healthy recipes.