A common theme for people I see is the desire to make use of their time productively and many are also saying that they can’t seem to motivate themselves right now.
Whenever I hear the word motivation I feel my heart sink and I instantly wonder if that’s what happens for others too. In my history the word motivation was often applied with criticism. You are not motivated – you need to get motivation. Sure- I will go down the co-op and get some right now – what does it cost? It’s easy to feel petulant when in our history the word has been used to suggest laziness or a lack of something in us.
Words are powerful and if we have powerful associations with them, they can become obstacles in themselves and bring up resistance. If resistance emerges a supportive approach is to gently see if we can discover what lies beneath us not doing something that we know might be helpful to us.
For example, whilst watching a TV show I heard an actor who had recently undergone open heart surgery confess that he wasn’t doing any exercise even though it had been recommended by his heart surgeon. Initially some might think that he is being silly, wasn’t grateful, couldn’t be bothered or wasn’t motivated. Many of these thoughts are quite judgemental and if we make comments like this to ourselves internally we may increase our resistance.
See if you can think empathically for a moment and come up with supportive reasons for this actor not exercising. These might be -he is scared of finding out just how unfit he is, he doesn’t want to be reminded of how he has neglected himself or he believes that he has to do everything perfectly and he doesn’t want to manage old thoughts and feelings that will emerge when he thinks he isn’t good at doing something. If we are kind with ourselves we can begin to see that some of our reasons are wonky and need updating and if we free ourselves from judgemental thoughts we can give ourselves some wriggle room.
Give yourself choices. For me this means deciding to do things in a way that creates fun. If that’s exercise I choose the type of exercise that my inner child wants to do. If somethings boring I’m unlikely to want to stick with it. Keep judgement out and go with the flow of your inner child. If your inner child likes music and making star jumps just do star jumps to music. If you have spare cash and your inner child likes some kit, then buy it before you start.
Reduce expectations. Go with the mantra -whatever I do is enough – I will play for whatever time my child is interested. Be happy with 1 minute 3 minutes 5 minutes. Be curious and look for what feels right for you.
Start coaching. Ask yourself questions -For example, what would it be like for you to do something for more or less time . I recently took up meditation and started with 10 minute sessions. I eventually did some hour long sessions and realised that amount of time definitely wasn’t for me and reduced my time to 30 minute only sessions and really enjoyed them .
Use permissions. For example, its ok for me to experiment until I find what I like doing .
Encourage. I am doing really well. I am having fun and looking after myself.
In these difficult times being kind with ourselves is doubly important. Doing things that are fun or doing things in a fun way makes it more likely that we will do them.