By KRS Edstrom
How do I get myself motivated? I have a hundred goals for myself, but I get overwhelmed and end up doing nothing. This causes me to feel worse about myself, and I’m even less likely to get anything done. How do I break this cycle?
Too Many Goals
Dear Too Many Goals,
You paint a frustrating but common scenario. Unmet goals are an unfortunate breeding ground for hopelessness and overwhelm. Some people actually unconsciously create this self-sabotaging scenario for a number of different reasons (some of which are more deep-rooted than others). Whatever the reason, changing the activity — of setting too many goals, in your case — can often change the internal self-sabotaging pattern. So how do you “change the activity?”
As a first step you need to restrict your goal-making, which is harder than it sounds. Give yourself permission, in fact an ORDER, to make just ONE small, attainable goal. Remind yourself that this is a kind and forgiving thing you are doing for yourself. No more pushing yourself with unreasonable demands.
When the urge arises to take on the world with more goals, resist. Accomplish your first goal and enjoy the feeling of success, the feeling of being your own hero. Rest on your laurels.
Then, no sooner than 30 days later, set another small goal if you feel so motivated. Again, resist being over-ambitious in your goal-making. Be protective of yourself. Don’t let your inner guilt-driven tyrant rule. It’s vital that you redeem your self-esteem and redefine yourself as a success instead of a failure. Slowly increase the difficulty and quantity of your goals, backing off when you sense yourself falling into old habits. Eventually you will have a built-in “goal barometer.”
Incidentally, keep in mind that your goals are the least of what you
accomplishing. You are restructuring your internal responses, that is,
changing who you are! Big stuff.
How do I stay motivated? I always start out doing really well for few months but always end up slacking off until I finally quit. How can I feel so strong and determined in the beginning and then lose all my resolve in a matter of weeks? I get so disappointed with myself.
The beginning period of anything new, whether it’s a relationship or a workout routine, is often referred to as the “honeymoon.” This period is the most rewarding and exciting. That’s the time when you haven’t yet tired of the exercise and you are seeing the most results. Motivation is at its peak and the whole workout thing is a novelty and, to some, almost a drug.
This period, lasting a few weeks to a few months, is when people can ruin it for themselves by overdoing. They think “more is better” and just keep pushing themselves. It’s just so hard to believe that the honeymoon won’t last forever. But reality hits when less dramatic results are seen and the workout starts to feel like WORK. The inevitable consequence? Slacking off or quitting entirely, as you have experienced.
Don’t feel bad — you’re not alone: the average number of visits to a gym by new members is only 21 visits! In fact, most gyms would probably have trouble accommodating members if everyone came regularly for their workouts. It’s simply expected that most members drop off, usually sooner than later. Exercisers typically go through several “failed honeymoons” before they realize that what they need are motivation skills for maintaining a consistent program and avoiding future failures.
So think about restraining your overzealous urges in the beginning.
critical to your long-term success to preserve the freshness of your
workout, or at least not come to despise it within a few months. Don’t
eat the metaphorical box of chocolates all at once and make yourself
KRS Edstrom, M.S., is an author, lecturer and columnist. She is
available for private sessions (by phone or in person) and seminars on
meditation, motivation, stress, pain, weight loss and other personal
growth issues. Her books and audios offer solutions for healthful,
conscious living. For free soothing guided meditations and more, please
visit KRS’ “Serenity and Meditation Corner” at
www.AskKRS.com For more info call (323) 851-8623 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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