Have a million things on your mind that you should be doing but finding yourself staring into space instead? Want to do something about it but have not found the motivation yet? Our therapists at Heartland Therapy Connection have some tips that may help.
1. Take a moment to ground yourself.
You know you are already going to spend the next five minutes worrying about or avoiding this thing you have to do, so go ahead and take five minutes to center your focus and interrupt the worry-train in your head. Find a 5-minute guided meditation or breathing exercise on YouTube, or follow along with one of our guided mindfulness exercises. Once you feel relaxed and focused on the present-moment experience of your breath, you will likely find it easier to focus on the task at hand. You will actually be able to shift the activation in your brain from a place of anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, alarmed, paralyzed or even ashamed, to the part of your brain that is capable of logic, focus, attention, and problem solving.
2. Focus your thoughts on the present moment.
Notice thoughts that are pulling your mind into the future and reel them in to the here and now. What is one small thing you can do or are doing right now? Focus on that. Bring your awareness to what you can see, feel, smell, and hear right now. The more your mind slips into worries about the future or about how large the task ahead of you is, the more likely you are to avoid starting.
3. Take a small manageable step.
What is one small step you can take right now? You can push yourself later once your drive has kicked in, but for now start with whatever piece feels the most doable. It is okay to start with a small step; you might find you feel good about your accomplishment and ready to tackle the next one.
4. Make your goals realistic.
Consider how much time you can devote to this task realistically. Does that vary by day? By week? How hard are you willing to work during that time? What is competing for your time and is that a priority for you? What can help keep you accountable to the goals you set for yourself? If you are routinely falling short of your own expectations, try making them attainable so you can feel a sense of accomplishment and relief.
5. Use your own values as motivators.
What is important to you in life? Think big-picture and think personal. How do any of these values show up in the task ahead of you? What are the long-term benefits? The rewards? How will you feel once you know you are getting closer to reaching your goals? Focus on them. Remind yourself or even write down how you’ll be able to act in line with your values by starting and completing the task you face. Keep them in mind as you progress with your goal or any task at hand.
These are all steps our counselors help clients take to reach their goals in a supportive and achievable process. Low motivation can be caused by depression, anxiety, stress, and other circumstances that make it difficult to make a change alone. You don’t have to struggle in silence. Please reach out and schedule an appointment or free consultation with any of our therapists and see how Heartland Therapy Connection can help you. We are all #betterconnected!