Life for me is like a journey down a path with twists, turns, bumps and potholes. At times I don’t see the end destination, other times I have a clear road map of where I’m going and there are pit-stops along the way that can be either planned or show up unexpectedly. I get bursts of inspiration and clear thinking were I can plan my route and give myself direction but more often than not I find it so hard to keep the momentum or motivation of things that I set out to do; eat healthy, drink more water, get fit, get proper sleep, learn something new, engage more with society and spend more time doing things rather than sitting online wasting time. I set out a goal and try finding a realistic path to that goal – be it a list of things to complete or a step by step of how I will do whatever the task is. The first few days or weeks I’m all guns blazing, everything is so positive and do-able! Then I tend to run out of steam and notice I’m lagging behind what I set out to do. It’s so hard to JUST. STAY. FOCUSED.
I have a habit of falling back in to old bad habits almost like a comfortable auto pilot mode just at the moment when really I need my motivation the most. I will stay up late watching something online or reading, wake up tired and un-refreshed, don’t leave enough time to eat a breakfast, forget to bring food with me to work, don’t drink any water and find myself all over the place for the day playing catch up. I then get home from work tired so don’t go out for a walk or get exercise, think ah I will do all that *insert objective for the evening* later and probably fall asleep on the sofa in front of the TV and/or laptop. Of course that means I wouldn’t sleep whenever I did go to bed that night and the cycle continues on into the next day.
The first thing someone will say to me if I verbalise my frustration is that I’m “doing great” or “not to be so hard on” myself or even “don’t worry about it!” But that’s the thing - I DO have to be hard on myself, it’s the only way I can keep from surrendering to my bad habits. If I want something to happen or need something to change the only way I can do that is by actively keeping on top of things… so this is what I do:
When I set out a goal I create an image or mantra that goes with that goal, it’s tied to it in my mind like a new sapling tree is to a wooden post. It has to be a positive statement or objective, it can be as long or as short as you want it to be and you can either make it up yourself or you can find one that someone else has written. When I get to a point where my motivation needs a push I say it to myself (sometimes even out loud to enforce it), reminding myself why I’m doing or not doing whatever it is that I’m up against. Ok I will give you some examples so that you can understand what I mean:
Some of you might recognise this from my tattoo; it was born out of the idea that I did not have to “Be” anything other than myself, that I am good enough as I am. I used it (still do sometimes) at a time when I was always scared of what others thought of me and how I could measure up to any standards that I felt I was not good enough to meet. I don’t have to be more intelligent, be funnier, be thinner, be prettier, be more successful – I just had to be.
This is my newest favourite haha, it reminds me to stop procrastinating on tasks that I know are important for my future.
This one is a more recent one and it’s connected to body image more than anything else. For a while there a few weeks ago I was watching all of Marilyn Monroe’s movies and what really clicked with me was how real a body shape she had compared to what we are fed today from the media. If she is seen as one of the most beautiful icons for our time with a curvy figure like that, then I would rather aspire to her then to the walking skeletons we see on the catwalk.
“Is this nutrition for my body?”
Plain and straight forward, if I’m about to eat something that isn’t healthy haha. I don’t always have to say yes to eat it but it keeps my focus in the correct frame of mind.
“I don’t drink coffee”
This one isn’t mine but my mam’s; a few years ago she had to give up coffee which she found really difficult. The problem was that when she denied herself something she felt she couldn’t stay positive about it. I told her it was more positive to say she didn’t do something rather than couldn’t have something, that way you don’t feel you’re losing out.
This all goes back to a book I once read years ago during a really crappy time which talked about how your thoughts influence your mood. The part that really stayed with me was (and I’m paraphrasing here as I can’t find the quote off hand) every thought that you have is like a drop of water; on its own it may be small but each drop gathers and becomes an ocean. If you can change one drop/thought at a time from a negative to a positive then over time, you will create a positive ocean/mood/outlook on life. I really liked that idea because to me seeing things as a whole can be very daunting while breaking things down into manageable pieces is easier to accomplish. It sounds a bit corny but for me it really seems to work.
And if in doubt as my mam says “Delay and distract”.
“If you want to succeed in the world must make your own opportunities as you go on. The man who waits for some seventh wave to toss him on dry land will find that the seventh wave is a long time a coming. You can commit no greater folly than to sit by the roadside until someone comes along and invites you to ride with him to wealth or influence” John B. Gough
P.S. Update on the seedlings :)