It's the end of the January. The energy of the holidays are long over, and the heady optimism of a new year may be fading. So now is a great time to check in with yourself. Are you still on track?
Whatever dream you envisioned when the calendar page turned - yes, THAT one - does it still seem vivid and possible?
All of us - particularly those of us who are inspired by the possibility of living our best lives - can fall prey to pitfalls and detours along our journey. If we're not careful, we can let those obstacles dampen our enthusiasm, slow our momentum, and sabotage our success.
Here are three strategies to keep yourself motivated to continue in the direction of your dreams:
Stay in touch with your "why" - There is a reason that your dreams inspire you, and only you can articulate what that is. Make sure you have stated that clearly for yourself, and find a way to remind yourself regularly of why you started this journey. There are lots of ways to do this, and you'll be best served if you find reminders that resonate with your preferred ways of learning - visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. Visual cues might include a vision board, an inspirational word or phrase posted in a prominent location, or a picture. Audio cues might include a practice of listening to an inspirational song or using affirmations. Kinesthetic cues might be a wearing a piece of jewelry, clothing, or something meaningful to you, or even engaging in a movement practice that evokes a feeling aligned with your "why". Recent research on posture affirm that the ways we hold and move our bodies affect the way we perceive life. For more information about how body language affects our lives, check out Amy Cuddy's TED talk.
Celebrate your accomplishments - We are often tempted to focus more on what we haven't done more than what we have. This tendency can fuel a sense of striving and not being enough. Instead, adopt a practice of noticing, documenting, and celebrating your accomplishments. Remember, an accomplishment can be anything that moves you forward and YOU get to decide what that is! Find a way to track what you're accomplishing every day and allow yourself to cultivate a sense of satisfaction about those accomplishments. If you are tempted to minimize your accomplishments, I encourage you to expand your curiosity and self-compassion. Failed experiments and missed opportunities can be transformed into opportunities for learning and empowerment when viewed through a generous lens.
Befriend your obstacles - Most of us don't like obstacles. They may trigger feelings of resentment, resistance, or overwhelm. Instead of fighting or avoiding the obstacles in your path, though, consider approaching them as opportunities to expand your skills and deepen your awareness. Because obstacles begin within our minds, they present opportunities to develop insight into our preferences as well as our core values, beliefs, and assumptions. When you notice yourself avoiding an obstacle - or beating yourself up for not overcoming it — you can choose to shift your energy to a more curious stance. A simple tool such as "The Five Whys" can be effective at discovering the sources of the obstacles whether they are processes, structures or mindsets. As Marcus Aurelius said "The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way."
What about you? What strategies do you use to keep your motivation high? Please share your wisdom in the comments below!