We often put our happiness in the hands of others. This morning’s affirmation reminds us that we are in charge of our own happiness.
Feeling unmotivated may be one of the most frustrating feelings ever. You have goals, you have things that you want to do, you even make plans. But then, when the time comes, you just cannot get yourself together. You reschedule, you push back your timelines, or you just do not do anything. All motivation is gone and all you have is a bunch of unfulfilled plans and goals. If this sounds like you, you are not alone. This post explores five ways why you may feel this way.
Lack of Self-Discipline
Any goal that you have that is going to require a change in habit is going to require discipline. If want to start eating healthier, you are going to have to be disciplined enough not to purchase the unhealthy foods that you might prefer. Self-discipline is a vital part of your motivation to achieve the goals that you have set for yourself. You may have to deny yourself of those things that make you comfortable but are not getting you any closer to your goals. Many people fall short of their goals because their lack of self-discipline keeps them from creating those new habits or learning those new skills that can get you motivated to achieve your goals.
No Clear Goals
It is very hard to get motivated to achieve a goal that is not clearly defined. It is important to clearly define the goal and how success will look. Without clear goals you may know you want something different for yourself, but you will float through each day not feeling really motivated to do anything. Real motivation can be found in clearly defined goals. Clear goals increase motivation as it will make it more likely that your actions will be intentional as you move towards success. Many times, there is a lack of motivation because, while we may desire a change, we do not clearly define where we want to end up.
Waiting for the Right Time
So many of us are guilty of this. We are not truly motivated because we are waiting for the right time. We are waiting for our kids to get older, waiting until we are totally out of debt, or for some other thing to fall perfectly into place. Motivation can be lost during this waiting period. This is because the right time never seems to arrive as other things always seems to come up and we push back out timeline more and more. Life moves fast and time seems to move even faster. The right time may never come so it is imperative to keep our motivation high by starting to work on our goals now.
Doubt can keep you from doing a lot of productive things that can move you towards your goals. Doubting that you deserve all good things that come your way and doubting that you can reach your dreams are all motivation killers. Self-doubt will keep you from doing all that you can to achieve your goals. Depending on the type of goal you are trying to reach, half-trying may be the equivalent of not trying at all. Self-doubt will keep you stagnant in life and will deplete you of all motivation. Begin that you can accomplish all things and your motivation will begin to rise.
Have you ever met someone who had a bleak outlook on everything in life? Whenever someone comes with just a little bit of good news, they come to the conversation with a bucket of water to throw on your good news. Having a negative outlook on life can limit any motivation that you may have. It is much easier to be motivated to do what you need to do to meet your goals when you believe that you can. Try to pay attention to your thought patterns and how you view certain circumstances. Begin to consciously frame any negative thoughts that you may have into more positive ones. Hopefully, this will begin to increase your motivation.
What other things would you add to this list? Comment below some strategies that you use to increase your motivation.
I have always been aware of the idea of journaling but I have never heard it advocated as a practice as much as I have this year. I am sure that is due to the challenging year that this has been. Journaling has been suggested by many as a healthy way to process the many emotions that may be felt during these times. Many people often confuse keeping a journal with keeping a diary. They are similar but the main difference is that a diary is a record of what happened. A journal is a record of your thoughts and feelings. There are several benefits to journaling.
Journal to Relieve Anxiety and Stress
Have you ever had so much on your mind that it was just too much to process? And after you talked it out you realized that your issue was not as bad as you thought? Journaling is similar to talking something out with a friend. Anxiety and stress can be eased when you write out your thoughts concerning those things that are making you anxious. Journaling can provide you with clarity if it is a decision or circumstance that is causing you stress. Writing out your thoughts on the issue that is making you anxious could greatly assist you with solving the issue or allowing you to see the big picture. Either of these outcomes can ease stress and anxiety.
Journal to Recognize Patterns
Whether we realize it or not, we all have patterns. If you talk to your friends about a situation enough they can probably tell you where the situation is headed based on similar conversations. Journaling can help you see those patterns for yourself. As you write about how different situations make you feel or your thought process around certain decisions, you will begin to notice patterns. You may notice that use negative self-talk or you may notice that you do not have as much confidence in yourself as you should. Patterns can be seen as you write and then reflect on those things that you have written. Reading past entries can provide you a new perspective on your behavior.
Journal to Become Empowered
Journaling can give you a sense of empowerment as you can write your deepest, most intimate thoughts. Whether writing about your experiences or through journal prompts, you will begin to gain more clarity on how you think and how certain experiences have shaped you. Journaling can help you discover more about yourself. You can discover what makes you happy, what causes you stress, as well as those aspects of yourself that you wish to improve. Discovering your personal strengths and the power you possess in these strengths is a wonderful feeling. But discovering those areas that you may need to work on to enhance your personal growth can be life changing.
Journal to Track Goals
Journals can help you track progress toward an established goal. After identifying your goal, a journal can help you determine both your good and bad habits that may be helping or hindering you from achieving your goal. It could be your innermost thoughts or the company you keep but reflecting on past journal entries will help you to begin to see what your barriers are. Likewise, you will be able to see who or what promotes a healthy path to your goals. You will be able to learn a lot about yourself in the process and this will make future goals easier to achieve.
Journal In a Safe Zone
Have you ever just wanted to be brutally honest with someone regarding the way you felt but was leery due to the judgment that may follow this honesty? All of us feel vulnerable from time to time. A journal is a safe place to write what you feel in a safe space. No one will see your inner most thoughts except those you choose to see them. A journal is a place where you can be your most authentic self. Feel free to write honestly as being candid is one of the main ways to get the total benefits of journaling. You can learn a lot about yourself when you allow yourself to be vulnerable.
These are just a few benefits of journaling. Do you journal? What are some benefits of journaling that you would add to this list?
As a special needs parent, your self- care regimen is important. Caring for a child with special needs can be stressful. In fact, the word stressful may be an understatement. We all can attest that there are great days where our kids achieve something that we thought would not happen as soon as it did. Your fellow special needs parents can understand the joy of a child eating a new food or acquiring a new skill or even speaking after countless doctors have told you that your child is nonverbal and will remain that way.
There is another thing I think we all can agree with when it comes to being parents of children with special needs and that is the fact that we often neglect to take care of ourselves. As a busy mother of four children – one having an autism diagnosis – I am guilty if not taking care of myself like I should. The following are a few ways that we can practice self-care.
Take 5-10 minutes for yourself
Depending on your situation, this suggestion may seem virtually impossible. But you can do it. You can spend this time mindlessly doodling. Or you can use this time to just taking deep, cleansing breaths. Deep breathing allows your body to relax and release any stress while giving you a boost of energy. The life of a special needs parent can be very hectic and stressful. Taking mental breaks can be just the thing you need to get you through your day.
Every day is not going to be a good day
We would all like to think that we can hold it together all day every day. We hold the belief so tightly that we often think we have failed if we have a bad day. Every day is not going to be a good day. A bad day does not make you a bad parent. A bad day does not mean that you are not cut out to be a special needs parent or caregiver. A bad day does not make you a failure. Try your best to keep things in perspective. Some days are just going to be hard but, as cliché’ as it sounds, tomorrow is a new day.
Allow yourself to feel
Life can be challenging as a special needs parent. There is the constant worry that all of your child’s needs are not being met. There is the isolation that your family may experience due to your child not being able to be around large crowds or loud places. You may feel hesitant to honestly express yourself due to not wanting to sound like you are complaining. But it is imperative that you allow yourself to feel whatever you may be feeling in the moment. Whether you journal or whether you have a good friend you can share your feelings with, allow yourself to feel. Allowing yourself to feel is a form of self-care because this can release some of your anxieties.
Be kind to yourself
Sometimes we can be our own enemy. We can often become hindered by own negative self-talk and negative thoughts. Do whatever you can to remain positive. Remind yourself of the great job that you are doing. Find something to do that is just for you. Read a good book even if you can only read a couple of pages a day. Find a show that you like on TV and watch it even if it takes forever to get through the whole series. The point is to not lose yourself and to stay connected to what you enjoy. So write if you like to write, read if you like to read, do whatever it is that you like to do even if you can only do it every now and then. Doing what you like to do it a form of self-care.
Take care of your mental health
Special needs parents experience a wide range of issues. There is guilt, anxiety, stress, depression, the list goes on and on. It is imperative that you take care of your mental health. Surround yourself with people who encourage and uplift you. This can be achieved through support groups or through connecting with people who have a similar circumstance to yours. Be aware of your mental health and do not hesitate to see a therapist if you feel that that is what you need. In other words, your self-care journey includes taking care of your mental health needs the same way that you take care of the needs of those that you care for and love.
It is not easy being the parent or caregiver of a special needs child. You always wonder if you are doing enough and you can sometimes be your own toughest critic. I am here to tell you that you are doing a great job. You get up every day and do it have to be done for your family. Keep doing what you are doing and remember to take care of yourself.
What other self-care ideas would you add to this list?
So I am going to start this off by acknowledging that there are many barriers to positivity. Getting and remaining positive can be a challenge. It may be even harder during these times because so many not so positive things are happening right now. People are losing jobs, businesses are going under, parents are trying to work from home while supervising children who are attending school virtually. It is a lot. It is easy to feel that there is not much to be positive about. I have often thought this myself. But sometimes positivity is exactly what you need in times like these.
Looking at Your Reality
It is hard to be positive when your reality appears very bleak. Our day to day lives are stressful and can feel like a rat race. We go to work, we take care of our children, we run our errands, and then we wake up the next morning to do it all again. When our lives look the same day in and day out, it is not so much that you are sad, it is just that there is nothing especially positive happening. Your rut can put you into a space of accepting that your rat race is all that life has to offer.
Nothing Positive is Happening
You ever experience a space in time where it seems like nothing is going right? Or let’s make it more relevant to what is going on today. What if you have had your hours cut on your job due to COVID-19 and now you are wondering how you are going to pay your rent or mortgage. Then your job search is hindered because you have to supervise your school age children while they attend school virtually. I have been in situations where people have advised that I be positive and I have challenged them to tell me to find the positive in my situation. It is very, very hard to think positive when your perception of your reality is very negative. Your perception of your reality can be a huge barrier to positivity.
Making Speaking Negatively a Habit
We all may engage in a little negative self-talk from time to time. Read my previous post on eliminating negative self-talk here. The key is to not to give that negative voice too much of a place in your thoughts. If negative thinking and negative self-talk is what normally goes through your mind throughout the day, then it has become a habit. It is very hard for positive thoughts to break through when the negative thoughts are easier to access. Negative self-talk can become a habit without you even realizing it. This can make it very hard for you to think positively.
The Company You Keep
You ever had someone in your circle who always has something negative to say? Some people call these type of people Negative Nancies or Debbie Downers. The bottom line is that it is very hard to keep a positive outlook when you have people around you who constantly remind you of what could go wrong, where your shortfalls lie, and why you will not achieve a certain goal. The company you keep and what they feed your spirit is almost as bad as negative self-talk. Positive thinking is hard when you surround yourself with negative people.
So I have acknowledged a few barriers to positive thinking but I am sure there are more. As you can see, positive thinking is a choice and there are many things that can keep you from thinking positively.
What other things do you consider to be barriers to positivity?