How do you motivate yourself

Today started like many of my days lately… it wouldn’t budge. I intended to be up early and get work done but my bed was much nicer than the thoughts in my head and so i slept in. Motivation is not my strongest talent. My depression usually does a great job of kicking me down when I accidentally think i can do more than it wants me to. Last night I wrote a to-do list for the upcoming day believing that today was going to be “the day”. You know what i mean? The day i get back on track, the day i finally stick to my diet, the day i finally kick myself in the ass and stay motivated! Well, I guess there’s always tomorrow??? Not this time…

It has happened before, I woke up one day and decided to change and was able to keep up the enthusiasm for months at a time. Unfortunately at that time in my life I didn’t yet know what a hypo-manic episode was. So in my delirious and grandiose state of mind I was able to achieve the un-achievable. It’s too bad that I now know whats going on when I wake up super early with an itch to change the world and I make it a priority to keep away from credit cards and salespeople.

So how do I manage to work in the coaching world when I cant even motivate myself? Well, I’ve had to come up with a new system for keeping myself going…and in the process I have learned what helps others do it too. Let’s face it, we all need help sometimes. Even the most self motivated person sometimes needs a push to keep going. And of course not everyone deals with mental health issues that make it more difficult.

So how do I motivate myself?

Tomorrow will not be another wasted day for me, I kicked myself in the ass today and got to work. Better late than never… I got my workout done (ouch) and got my Shakeo in. I proceeded to start reading. Currently I am reading The Tools by Phil Stutz and Barry Michels. So far this has been a great read. The tools are definitely worth using to get myself going each day and to create the life that I want. I read up to the last tool and was agreeing with the author up until now. He said I was probably not going to keep up with the tools and that they wouldn’t work for me unless I made a decision to stick with it. Well yes I know that, it is easier said than done! The information he had given up to this point was more or less the same tools I had picked up from the countless other self help books I have read in the past. Some of the sticky notes I have on my wall say the same thing (worded differently of course) but they are from years ago and still I struggle to keep up. But today was slightly different. I used the last tool…before I read about it…and it worked. In fact, it is probably the tool I have used the most throughout my whole life. I didn’t know it was a tool though, I actually always looked at it as a negative thing that I should avoid. So having two psychologists tell me that I should do it sort of made my day!

You will have to read the entire book to get the maximum benefit but here goes the authors summary. “See yourself lying on your deathbed. Having run out of time, this older self screams at you not to waste the present moment. You feel a deep, hidden fear that you’ve been squandering your life. This creates an urgent desire to use whichever basic tool you need at the moment.” I read this and thought, “well, I have been imagining my death bed my entire life” my anxiety rolled over in my head laughing. I have been fighting myself for the last three years because I genuinely believed I was doing more harm by listening to my anxious worries about my future. Never had it crossed my mind that I could use my weakness as a tool to create the strength necessary to change my life.

I think back to the times I have accomplished more than what I believed I could and I remember the thoughts running through my mind…”you probably can’t do this, but you have to!” The sense of having to look back at a life filled with regret has always been my number one source of encouragement.

So as I was lazily sitting on the couch today thinking…”I’ll start tomorrow” an image of me 50 years down the road doing the same thing emerged. Will I be that old lady in her 70’s thinking that I should have started in my twenties? Or will I be the bad-ass old lady that people can’t believe is that old?

Today is the only day I have control over so today is the only day I get to motivate myself. I encourage you to try this method, as grim as it may seem. Tell yourself what you want your future to be and then try telling yourself why today is not the day to start going after it.