Whether you are bogged down by old habits or mired in bipolar depression, these strategies will help you over the hump of inertia.
#1 Start with modest goals
You need to bring your expectations down as low as necessary to get over the hump of inertia—especially when every molehill feels like an Everest. The key is to focus on some action you can reasonably accomplish, no matter how trifling it may seem. Even if you can’t feel better overnight, what there are small things can you do right now that might help you go from stationary to moving If a shower feels like just too much to handle, how about washing your face—or even just your hands.
#2 Reward yourself
Once you have figured out your small goal, write it down. When you accomplish it, be sure to praise yourself. Learning thrives on reward, says psychologist Dan Bilsker, PhD. “Reward is like the fertilizer applied to a plant.” Keep a simple to-do list of tasks to accomplish—and then reward yourself for getting things done.
#3 Be proactive
Setting up mechanisms to guide your behavior can relieve some of the need to call on flat-out motivation. One way to keep momentum going is to look ahead and make commitments—whether to yourself or to others—that give you a reason to get out of bed or out the door. Take it one step further and ask yourself this: If you have an activity or task you want to accomplish, what can you do to make it as easy as possible to get started?
#4 Set triggers
Prompts—reminders to do something we already intend to do—can have surprising power to guide our actions. Setting out your exercise clothes is a kind of prompt. Sticky notes on the bathroom mirror or refrigerator door serve the same function, as do alerts programmed into your phone calendar.
#5 Make goals meaningful
Keeping goals as meaningful and immediate as possible helps us stay motivated. For example, it’s well-known that exercise releases feel good chemicals called endorphins. Research has found that taking a little time right after you exercise to recognize and appreciate that positive feeling makes you more motivated to exercise again.
#6 Adjust your expectations
When you’re low on energy and interest, it helps to think about how you can streamline your obligations. The idea is to focus on and feel good about what you can accomplish instead of beating yourself up for what you can’t get done. Sometimes we have to adjust our energy output according to what is on our plate and it may be required to pare down your have-to list.
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via bpHope – bp Magazine Community