Most people view January as a time to think about positive changes. Even if you didn’t make a long list of New Year’s Resolutions, you probably thought about instigating self-improvement measures in some area of your life.
So here comes the New Year. Motivation and enthusiasm are primed and plugged in to your inner cheerleader. “I can do it!” you say. “I will do it!” you vow. And you’re off and running towards a new and improved you. The first few days are usually pretty easy.
But are there some days when it’s hard to stay on track or even get started? There are for me. So I’ve developed a few tricks that help revive flagging motivation and combat inertia. (Naturally, I use my journal to organize and track these.)
- Start small. Commit to 2 or 3 very small tasks and give yourself permission to rest when they are complete. Examples are routine cleaning chores, answering e-mail, or perhaps making a phone call you’ve been putting off.
Often, once I get started, I get a burst of energy that launches me into full-blown productivity. If not, I exercise the option to rest after completing my tasks, select a few more chores, ramp up and try again. If I keep at it enough times, I eventually ignite into sustained positive action.
- Take a few deep breaths. Deep breathing is such a powerful technique for centering and focusing energy. Inhale through the nose, hold for 2 or 3 seconds, exhale slowly through the mouth. Repeat several times. I like to close my eyes and ask Spirit for strength and guidance.
A bonus trick is to take a whiff of a stimulating essential oil, such as Eucalyptus or Lemon Grass.
- Listen to music. For me, music is the consummate mood and motivation manager. Current favorite tunes are “Just Stand Up!” a duet by Beyonce and Mary J. Blige, “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson, and “Move” from the Dreamgirls soundtrack.
It’s almost impossible for me to hear music like this and not want to get up and dance… which brings me to the next trick.
- Add movement. Combine music with some movement and jump to a whole new motivational level! Dance, walk, clean the house or yard, get on the treadmill, shovel snow or engage in some resistance training.
Adding movement to your music gives you the benefits of increased heart rate, oxygen flow, and (eventually) endorphins to get Mother Nature’s absolute best “feel good” combo. Make a deal with yourself and commit to a short time, say 10 to 15 minutes. Hopefully that will be enough to recharge your motivational batteries and you’ll be inspired to do a bit more.
- Acknowledge progress and results. Take a moment to enjoy feeling good and reinforce how these little tricks can help you move from feeling like a slug to feeling like a slugger.
Go forth and have a positive and productive day!