Deep Motivation Strategy for 2001
How to Keep Your Resolutions All Year Long
By KRS Edstrom
One in a series of “Resolution Keeper” articles to help you achieve and maintain your goals all year long. Track your progress and stay tuned for your next motivation boost to resolution success. Report your success stories to Awareness. If your story is one of those chosen, you will receive a free copy of KRS Edstrom’s motivational book “Healthy, Wealthy & Wise”.
The holidays are over and you want to get your life back. Unless you are one of the rare people who maintained your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual practice throughout the holiday season, there are neglected areas of your inner and outer worlds that are begging for resurrection and order. You crave a fresh start and detoxification on every level.
Below I offer a deep motivation strategy that will help you stop beating yourself up over unmet goals. It goes beyond the “just do it” mentality, cultivating an internal shift that will increase your chances for year round resolution success.
Motivation Profile Are You?
You will probably recognize yourself in one of two motivational profiles: 1) Under Motivated: You have been off track so long that lethargy, apathy and even depression are holding court. The fact that your physical, mental and spiritual resources are depleted from the past weeks of abandonment and abuse make it even harder to get motivated. The desire to just pull the covers over your head and lick your wounds may seem overwhelming at times. Perhaps it will help you to know you are not alone.
January has the highest suicide rate of any month of the year. This may be due to holiday burnout from so many responsibilities, unfulfilled expectations or even the prospect of returning to a routine with which you are not fully enamored. 2) Over motivated: so eager to get back to your routine that you take on too much at one time and self-destruct in the process.
Resolution Strategy for the Under
Set Tiny Goals
If apathy is paralyzing your motivation it may be that you are simply overwhelmed by the big picture, of how far you have to go. The secret is to set tiny goals so that you are always a success. You will start feeling better about yourself almost immediately and motivation can begin to take root. One of my favorite tiny goal examples is in regards to exercise. Vow that “five” days a week you will simply walk to the end of your driveway and back (or the equivalent to your circumstances). Sounds fair and doable doesn’t it? Most importantly, this tiny goal works because it reestablishes the habit of exercise and resurrects hope. Don’t look at your end goal of climbing the whole mountain, or losing the full thirty pounds, or practicing an hour of yoga or meditation each day.
Just be here and now with this first vital step. Surrender to the disparity between where you are now and where you want to be. Abide in that space with allowingness and mindfulness and you will not only reach your goals, but you will have cultivated new dimensions of inner knowledge. I receive a remarkable amount of positive feedback from those who have applied this simple strategy.
Set Specific Goals
Be specific and be conscious when you make resolutions. Catch yourself when you set vague self-sabotaging goals such as “do more yoga,” “lose weight” or “take more time to play.” Pin yourself down to the specifics such as exactly what your resolution is, when your resolution is going to happen, where your resolution is going to happen and how your resolution is going to happen.
Fun, Not Done
If you are unmotivated, moving yourself to action is even more difficult when you have little interest or worse, an aversion to your proposed resolution. Success for the unmotivated or anyone comes from choosing the means to goal fulfillment that are as enjoyable as possible. For this reason I have replaced the “No Pain, No Gain” maxim with “Not Fun, Not Done.” Select things that best suit your personality, lifestyle and needs and then be creative in finding ways to make them even more pleasurable.
For example, you may never have questioned the unconscious old patterns or “shoulds” that rule your life such as “I should eat salads, do aerobics or practice a certain meditation discipline.” After honest self-inquiry you can better redefine your present likes and dislikes. What worked for you before is subject to impermanence like anything else, so learn to be sensitive to these shifts. Then give yourself permission to dismiss old patterns and “shoulds” from your life and formulate more rewarding ways to reach your goals.
Intent is Everything
Contact your yearning for self-actualization, however deeply tucked away the feeling may be. Shine the spotlight of awareness on this neglected corner and nurture these aspects of self to the surface. Then allow this yearning to manifest as commitment and strong intent toward your goals. Resolve that you deserve to have what you want in life and that self-denial and self-sacrifice are neither noble nor productive. Resolve that you are going to do this for yourself and now is the time.
Having committed thoroughly, you must also develop the ability to err gracefully. Though this may sound like a contradiction, mistake making is one of the key factors to your success. Most people err with guilt and a sense of failure, which indeed leads to failure. You must become adept at straddling the middle path between strong intent and self-forgiveness. Mistakes are an integral part of the ongoing refining and evolution of your program, and for this reason are not failures at all. They help you customize your particular “formula” for personal growth. Perfection doesn’t exist.
Acknowledge small victories or there will be no big victories. Honor your successes every day, however seemingly small. Set a specific time for your mini “award ceremony,” for example while driving home from work.
Resolution Strategy for the Over Motivated
Some people start out over eager and try to accomplish too much too fast. This of course leads to burnout and failure. Think “less is more” when making your goals and when the urge arises to exceed your goals, resist. Counter intuitive perhaps, but this tortoise-versus-the-hare strategy works.
One of the biggest obstacles for the Over Motivated is impatience. Change takes time and frustration is the enemy. Learn to roll with the tides of constant change without totally letting go of your program. The more you embrace the fact that there is no final finish line, the sooner you will relax into the ebb and flow process. Impatience presents an excellent opportunity to put your meditation techniques into practice.
Whether you are under or over motivated, it is crucial that you learn to recognize and analyze your program saboteurs. Once you can identify the glitch in your program, you can take an educated approach to correcting what went awry. Doesn’t that sound much better than hitting yourself over the head with guilt? You will find troubleshooting quite an empowering learning process with which you will get more proficient over time.
Take an Evolutionary Approach
Think of your New Year’s resolutions as an ongoing, evolutionary journey. Accept that there will be ups, downs and plateaus. Know that this roller coaster ride is all part of the process. If you look at the financial graphs of any successful business you will see this same pattern. The indicator line doesn’t just shoot straight upward. The line goes up for a while then jogs down some, then up again and so forth. But the overall picture is upward progress ? success. Maintain that image of your own resolution progress. Let your inner wise old master guide you knowingly along your way with a soft smile and kind, forgiving eyes.
Derived from KRS Edstrom’s book “Healthy, Wealthy & Wise”. For more on her books, her advice column and audio samples of her popular “Inner Mastery Series” meditation audios, visit her Website: www.AskKRS.com KRS Edstrom, M.S. is a lecturer, syndicated columnist and author. She is available for private sessions and classes on meditation, motivation, stress, pain, diet and weight and other personal growth issues. Call KRS at (323) 851-8623 or E-mail: AskKRS@aol.com
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