Every day you can wake up with two hopes.
"Let me survive and make it through today in one piece."
Quickly followed by
"Let me have the motivation and energy to not just survive it, but too also thrive."
Our days rarely go as we planned and often it's our own personal interests, dreams and healthy habits that get sacrificed first.
It's hard to live with this lack of consistency when trying to improve our health and nurture self-development.
The pressure of life and your constant state of "busy" can become exhausting. So tiring in fact, that you lose the strength to keep all the plates spinning, as you watch them prepare to come crashing down.
It's in these moments that self-doubt asks you one simple question.
"Do you have what it takes?"
"No, I don't, and I'm scared I never will."
Motivation evaporates and goals disappear from the horizon.
Yet again you're waking up with the hope of just making it through the day in one piece.
No one ought to feel this way, life is and should always be one of constant exploration for you. Where your courage embraces challenges and your challenges give rise to the realisation that no matter what the outcome is, you are enough.
Because when we feel content with our performance, the results don't really matter.
It's time to get out of your head, and onto paper, by creating a "Feedback Journal."
Giving yourself feedback in the company of your own psychology is like trying to enjoy listening to your favourite band, while at the same time, your worst enemy stands in front of you screaming life advice. It doesn't work.
Your brain has a fantastic gift, and that's its ability to recognise similarities and patterns between things.
It does this best when presented information externally and objectively, with the right cues (cc: Therapy.) Cues, in this case, being questions you pre-determine on a template (we will get to this.)
When our brains are left to thought alone, human nature takes over and our own psychology can be the very thing holding us back.
By tracking and maintaining a "Feedback Journal," and asking the right questions, you can compare notes and begin to see contradictions. Once we have two contradictions, we find one problem, and with one problem to solve, we can start to tweak old ideas or come up with new ones, to move towards results.
Think of a time you've talked through a challenge with a friend, and they've pulled you up when you've contradicted yourself. Et voila, you both begin to explore the problem for resolution. Your journal is that friend who is ready to sit down with you in a quiet place and help you achieve results daily.
By creating this system in your day, which can take as little as a few minutes, you will be able to look back and identify what worked and what didn't. With this insight, you will be able to objectively critique this information and create the improvements needed for tomorrow, based on the lessons you have learned.
This is the "Development" stage of self-development that will help you take the steps towards feeling content and believing in your actions, leading you towards your goals. Even if you didn't have a good day, the better you get at assessing why, the more in control you will feel and content you will become in the effort you've put in, opposed to the results you get out.
The more accepting you are of effort over the outcome, the higher your motivation is because your happiness and success don't rest on win or lose.
1. Create a Journal. Paper or digital journal with a template for each day.
2. Write out questions that will cue you to assess your day objectively. Examples of this can include:
Questions will evolve over time, find the right ones that speak to you. If you are struggling, imagine you are catching up with a good friend about their tough day, how would you talk them through it and try to help them reframe for a positive outcome?
3. Choose a time in your day that you can build into your routine to complete the review. It could be the last thing you do before finishing work, or as you begin to unwind before going to bed. If you find building this routine into your day hard, which it will be at first, that's normal! Try stacking the habit on something that is already automatic in your life.
4. Be precise and elaborate! You do not have to write war and verse, a couple of bullet points can be enough. BUT, it's crucial that when you look back on what you've written, future you should be able to understand what you've written.
Something like "training was crap" or "I did amazing at the presentation," doesn't give future you much to go on!
If you're anything like me that feedback could cover a 100 days!
Instead, "I delivered a presentation with x, and I don't think it went well because of y"
Like an iceberg, the mass of what's really going on lays deep beneath the surface.
Take this one step further and elaborate with "the 5 whys." If it didn't go well because of z, ask "why" that is, and then again ask "why" of the next answer. Keep digging until you get to the root of the problem.
It may only take a couple of "whys,'" so don't stress about using them all up.
5. "Don't think, feel." - Bruce Lee
A favourite quote because the mind convolutes and being able to feel what's happening in our bodies and with our intuition is a great skill to possess.
However, language is everything to us humans. If I asked you the same question in two different ways, I'd likely get two different answers.
One forces us to be objective, the other draws from the heart, where emotions may cloud the simple answers we need. Take this into account when talking yourself through scenarios.
6. Create a second template for the week with the same questions. At the end of your week, do a review with an overall summary. Then create a third template for the month that does a review of just the week summaries. You could keep expanding this method into quarters and then years.
Imagine being able to sit down in December and look at four summaries of Q1 through Q4! Picture how powerful that data would be for helping you set your goals for the following year. You would feel even more motivated to achieve them because you have a clearer understanding of how to achieve outcomes.
7. Don't sweat the days you miss, because you will miss them. Try to follow the "two-day rule," where you don't miss more than, you guessed it, two days. But again, don't stress! Wellbeing and self-development is a life long game, so focus on trying to hit more days over a lifetime, then not.
That's sevens tips for equipping you with a simple strategy for staying motivated in your self-development, and with that consistency comes long-term and lasting results. As with any learning curve, you will spend more time on this at the beginning having to draw on the time and energy to make things happen.
However, if you scan across the tips, you will see how little effort this takes to complete, once it becomes embedded in your day.
In the book "Untamed," Glennon Doyle talks about two fears she consistently identifies in people she meets.
If you continue to stay in your head and beat yourself up about lack of motivation and consistency, you run the risk of giving in to these fears.
On the other hand, if you follow these steps, you will be more consistent and motivated, therefore moving towards feeling happier and whole with the results you deserve.
I challenge you to take action now!
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