The biggest enemy of motivation are our own bad habits. When we are so programmed to do something that isn’t good for us that we do it without even thinking about it, chances are high that we are already more invested in our own failure than we are in our success. If we don’t commit ourselves to our success every single day and constantly reinforce ourselves by reminding ourselves to make good choices, then motivation can and will slip right through our fingers.
The number one thing you can do to begin improving your relationship with motivation is to form better habits. Every single day we fall into a routine of sorts, and that routine begins to define how we spend our time and how others perceive us. It can also impact how we perceive ourselves, and if we are constantly taking the path of least resistance rather than doing the things we know we should be doing to improve our lives and business potential, then we are going to start to feel very negatively about ourselves.
Even if we don’t realize we have bad habits on a conscious level, subconsciously we are well aware of the fact that we have big plans for the lifetime that we are living in, and feel sad about the fact that we aren’t meeting our potential. But bad habits are so subtle and innocuous that sometimes we don’t even notice that they have consumed our lives. At least, not until it’s too late and we feel pretty far gone.
Fortunately, it doesn’t take a whole lot of time to break into bad habits and begin to form new ones. In fact, many people say it takes as little as seven days to break a habit, though other sources claim it can take a bit longer – more around 21 days. Either way, depending on the habit, you have the power to break bad habits and form better ones to replace them with! All you need is some direction and insight into the types of habits that will truly help you stay motivated and take the steps necessary toward your success.
One of the worst habits most of us have is staying up late at night. Sure, it may seem worthwhile at the time, especially if we feel a bit tired from the day we just had working, but if we aren’t getting enough sleep, our bodies and minds both suffer. We need to be mentally and physically prepared to meet the challenges that we will face when trying to achieve our goals, but if we aren’t well-rested enough, it can lead us to feeling sluggish and cloudy-minded all day long.
Those feelings are miserable and almost impossible to work through. If you want to feel motivated without getting enough sleep during the night, you might as well be walking over glass. That is the worst way to get motivated. It just leads to a constant compulsion to rest, take breaks, and provide a safe and comfortable space for yourself where you can let go of your problems and stresses and relax.
For example, if you do a fair bit of laying around in your free time, no matter what your goals for the future are, that is a huge killer for motivation. When we are in the habit of staying perpetually relaxed when we’re off work, chances are that we aren’t putting in the extra work necessary in moving us forward. Instead of letting yourself be content after work with watching some television and hitting the hay, it would be life-changing if you were to get into a different habit. Instead of relaxing right away, you could begin taking a few minutes after work every day to put toward your end goal.
Whether your end goal is moving up the ladder at work, starting your own successful business, or improving yourself and your life by breaking your bad habits, there are plenty of ways that you can focus your energy on these goals. Breaking bad habits means interrupting them with better habits, so if an excessive drive to relax tends to be something you’re prone to, forcing yourself to interrupt that pattern with an activity that focuses your energy on the goals you are hoping to accomplish is a great way to break the cycle and head toward a more positive way of life.
Another great habit that you should get into if you haven’t already is daily exercise. We all need it, especially those of us who are trapped behind a desk all day to earn a living. If your jobs and your goals require a large amount of brain activity and not a whole lot of physical activity, exercise is actually going to be one of your greatest allies. When we exercise it actually allows our brains to work better. The blood flow helps to improve our memories and we have an easier time storing the important information we need to keep track of if we are going to achieve our goals. Not only that, but we are better able to concentrate, and as we all know, focus is essential in achieving our goals!
If we are bogged down by bad habits, it can be very destructive to our motivation. Many of us constantly bully ourselves. If anyone said to us out loud what we say to ourselves, we’d want to deck them! Negative self-talk is another bad habit you should break, and it can easily be replaced with better habits. Instead of always telling yourself what a screw-up you are, try giving yourself positive affirmations instead.
Positive affirmations are kinder ways to relate messages of hope and empowerment to ourselves. If you catch yourself saying something needlessly harsh and critical about yourself, interrupt those bad thoughts immediately with something better. For example, if you are upset with yourself because you made a mistake on a project you are working on, instead of calling yourself a big, worthless dummy, you should forgive yourself and meet your mistakes with kindness and understanding. That isn’t to say you should overlook all your flaws and assume you’re perfect and making mistakes doesn’t matter. Instead it means that you should recognize a valuable learning experience when you have one instead of beating yourself up.
Almost nothing is as critical as it feels in the moment, so don’t let yourself be so harsh. Instead, look for the silver lining in every situation, and be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself for the mistake you’ve made and encourage yourself to keep on trying even if it feels hopeless. Remind yourself that almost nobody gets it right the first time. If we could, we would be born with the ability to walk like deer are. Rather, we are human and perfectly flawed, and it is natural that it takes us a few tries to get things right. Don’t give up! And don’t be angry at yourself over every little thing you feel like you could have done better. Instead, apply the lessons you can learn from every situation and move forward.
It’s always good to think about the habits you should adopt in order to see to it that your goals become a reality. I’m sure you could sit down right now with a goal in mind and write down several different habits that you wish you had that would help you to achieve your goal. So why not? You should get started right away!
Get a piece of paper and take some time to think deeply about the kinds of habits you want to get into that will help you to become the person you wish you were, the person who has achieved their goal successfully due to their own hard work and determination. Habits such as exercising daily, improving your punctuality, better time and emotional management (even, or especially, during stressful situations), improving the strength of your own drive, and improving your relationships with others by adopting more considerate and caring habits that make you a pleasure to interact with can be essential habits to work on no matter what goal you are hoping to achieve.
The best part is that each of these are within your power if you put your mind to it. A good trick to keep in mind is showing gratitude. When we feel like we have messed up, we tend to apologize a lot and it simply draws more attention to the negative feelings that we have about ourselves and the negative consequences of the actions that we are apologizing for. Instead of over-apologizing (but keep in mind you should always apologize when you have done something very harmful to another person), you should try to thank the person affected by you for their patience and understanding.
Not only does that help you to improve your relationship with yourself and help you to feel like less of a screw-up, but it also changes the dynamic of the conversations you are having. You don’t feel worthless and then have that perceived worthlessness expounded upon by a person who doesn’t feel like accepting an apology. Instead of dwelling in the negativity, thank the person, or even yourself, for being patient with you for coping maturely with whatever mistake was made.
It is a great way to change dynamics so that they favor the positive, and it can help people feel good about themselves to hear that they are being kind and compassionate for dealing with the situation at hand. It boosts their self-confidence and can even sometimes change the way they perceive you as well. Instead of seeing you as a difficult person to work with, they might instead see you as more in tune with their feelings and appreciate you for keeping things light instead of bombarding them with even more negativity than they were already dealing with.
However you choose to change your habits, make sure they are serving your life rather than obstructing it. We all have a fairly clear version of who we would like to be and what we hope to accomplish, but if we stay rooted in our bad habits, it is unlikely that we will be able to lead ourselves forward on the paths that will get us where we want to be. Interrupting your bad habits with positive habits is a great way to help you change your neural pathways and physically change your habits from bad to good. All it takes is a little time and effort!