Have you ever had a goal you were endlessly pursuing (or thinking about) with no results?
With Google search at our fingertips and countless tips and techniques along with friends, family, and colleagues who are eager to give you advice, it seems we should be able to reach our goals and maybe even get there faster. Why isn’t that enough? Maybe you feel like you are pulled in so many directions that you feel like life is happening to you and you are doing your best to show up as a ready and eager passenger.
A question that has made me curious over the years is: how do we cultivate lasting motivation and a feeling that we can accomplish our goals in the midst of information overload and being pulled in so many directions?
I’ve found that the answer can come from another question offering us a way to reframe our experiences: How is life happening for me?
Another way this question could be asked is: How is life encouraging me to show up in a more sustainable, supportive and loving way for myself? Most of us intellectually know we can’t show up in a loving and supportive way for others if we don’t feel good, but a common question is how do we start and stay on that path of feeling good.
The answer lies in getting to know ourselves. We can’t change what we aren’t aware of. I’ll admit it, at times living with the perspective that life happens to us can seem easier (Who has the time to develop all that new awareness, right?), but I’ve found that the inevitable moment of, “Hey! This doesn’t feel good anymore – something has to give,” is bound to come up.
When we ask ourselves how life is happening for us, we are offered an opportunity to not just think about the actions we take, but how we are showing up for ourselves and others when we do what we do.
In order to achieve our goals, it’s important to find the place within us where we realize we are so much more than machines or robots meant to carry out to do lists, but instead that we are human beings that have underlying and ongoing needs and values that are driving why we do what we do. It’s important to get familiar with those needs and values so we can make a lasting change.
When we aren’t achieving our goals and life feels like it’s pulling us in a million directions, maybe we have a need for support, and this is a perfect opportunity to develop the skill of asking for help. Maybe the thought that everyone is telling you what to do, is waking up your need for independence or trust and could open the door to consciously developing trust in yourself and staying the course with something you believe in. If we can start to see what and how our external world is nudging us to look within ourselves at our needs, we can begin to develop a whole new skill set unlocking a higher level of possibilities when it comes to our energy levels and motivation.
Doing this type of reflection and journaling exercise is a simple and powerful way to reset and refocus our energy and this is a huge factor in jump-starting and maintaining our motivation. If you’d like more ideas to reset and refocus make sure to look back to our September blog on Balancing Responsibilities.
So, here’s my challenge to you, set a 15-minute timer and sit down to ask yourself: How is life happening for me? As a bonus question, ask, what needs is life reminding me I need to pay attention to if I want to achieve my goals?
Write down any and everything that comes to mind as you reflect, there are no wrong answers. The act alone of giving ourselves the permission to explore our needs can have a liberating element to it. When we take the time to do this type of reflection on a consistent basis, we start to realize a new perspective and taking the driver’s seat in our life becomes inevitable.
Give yourself the gift of this pause, pick up the pen and remind yourself of the words of A.A. Milne, author of Winnie-the-Pooh: “You are braver than you believe, smarter than you seem, and stronger than you think.”
You’ve got the keys. You can do this.