It happens to all of us at some point in our lives. If you are like me, it happens not once, but many times. We lose our motivation to do certain things. It could be a new week, month, or year and there is excitement in the air for wanting to accomplish what you did not do last week, last month, or last year. Then all of the sudden, that eagerness is gone. What happened to it? Putting things off seems to be the norm in many people’s lives, myself included. Here it is the last day of September 2013. Where did the summer go? Where did the year go? Fall is here. Winter is coming and the holidays will be here soon. Did you get everything done this month that you wanted done? In another month or so the news will start airing stories about motivation and new years resolutions. Why is that we need these reminders year after year? What keeps us from improving our lives? What can we do to put that motivation back into our lives?
A simple definition from psychologytoday.com on motivation, is “…the desire to do things.” First you have to want to accomplish something. If that want is not there, there is no desire. You cannot have that desire given to you. You have to want it for yourself. Many of us have it to start with. Along the way many of us encounter a road block and instead of going over it, through it, or around it, we turn around and quit. For myself, I can honestly say I have never turned around and quit. I have lost my motivation, but I do not turn around and quit. I sit at that road block and think about how to go around it. It may take me months to go around it, but I do not quit. Motivation comes and goes in my life, but the key is never giving up.
There are so many examples I could talk about and this piece on motivation may turn into an ongoing blog article. There is so much to write about on losing, keeping, and struggling with motivation. One example for me is over the last several years I have started running for exercise. Growing up, two of my brothers were runners and they were running stars in my eyes. They were awesome and I was jealous because I had no motivation to do that. It wasn’t until much later in life, into adulthood, where I had that motivation to run. I started running on my treadmill first because I was too shy to get outside and run. I started out slow, but always had a goal in mind for the next run. It really didn’t take long and that desire to run was there. I found myself missing it on the days I did not run. I was able to run longer and a little bit faster. I started to enjoy running and thought nothing could break me away from it. I was wrong! Suddenly my desire to run was gone. It has happened many times before. It could be a vacation, a long weekend get a way, or the holidays and that disrupts my regular running schedule. As soon as my running schedule is disrupted, my desire to run is gone. It takes me a while to get back into it. It happened recently once again because of a week long vacation in August. We went on vacation and once I was home, that desire to run was gone. It took me a while, but I forced myself to get out there and run once again. For me, it only takes that one time and I am back. The desire is back and the want is back. Today is my day off from running and I sit here thinking about tomorrow when I can go for another run.
Going through this whole process of having the motivation and losing the motivation and gaining it back again has made me wonder, why can’t I keep this motivation at all times? Why do I have to lose the desire to run? How do I keep the desire with me at all times? What I have learned for myself is that talking to myself helps. It sounds strange, but when I tell myself what a good job I am doing with my running it keeps me going. Motivate yourself! Talk positive to yourself. Say uplifting things for encouragement to keep yourself going. Another thing that helps me is to have a goal in mind and focus on it. The longest run I have accomplished is 5.5 miles and I haven’t been back there in a couple of years! My longest run now is 4 miles. My goal is to keep the motivation going and reach that 5.5 mile mark once again. Something else that will help keep that desire going is to drop the bad habits. Whatever is getting in your way of accomplishing your goal, get rid of it! My bad habit that gets in the way of my running is negative talk. I have been the one that compares myself to others and I have to tell myself over and over that my running is not a race. I run for me. If it takes me longer to run and longer overall to reach my goal, fine, just don’t give up! One last, but certainly not least piece of motivation that keeps me going is my brothers. You see I grew up with three older brothers and no sisters. Two of my brothers were cross country and track runners while the other was physically and mentally disabled. I now only have one living brother. He lives close by with his wife and two kids and he continues to be motivation to keep my running going. My oldest brother, another running star, keeps me going even though his physical body is not here anymore. When I run I hear his voice. I run for him because he is not here to do so anymore. My other wonderful brother that has passed on did not have an easy life. When I run I think of him. I run for him because he was not able to do so in this life. All three of my brothers are my motivation in their own way.
So whatever is causing you to lose your motivation, find your way back. It is not easy, but if that desire is there, you will accomplish your goal. You will have road blocks along the way, but you will learn to go around them instead of turning around and quitting. Stay positive. Say encouraging things to yourself along the way. Surround yourself with positive people and drop the bad habits. If you focus on your goal and never lose that focus, you will have that desire to keep going.