Photo by Sage Friedman on Unsplash

There is nothing worse than needing to do something and not feeling motivated enough. Yes, even I get days where I just can’t. I can’t find the energy to write, I am unable to get my blessed rear in gear and get out there and do something. Sometimes, life requires us to change, change how we think, what we are doing either personally or professionally, and make choices that can be challenging. But how? How do we set our lives in motion when we have so many decisions to make?

After having a torn leg muscle from ironically overuse, and walking too much, it took me several months of healing to be able to even go for my usual walk around the lake or even the neighborhood, and to be honest, it was a struggle to just don my Nike’s and feel confidant enough to get off the sofa. I had to find ways to bribe myself into doing something healthy and much needed again.

How did I get myself going? I started by making small goals. I told myself we would only tackle what I thought my body could handle. If I needed to stop and rest, I could. I didn’t have to compete with myself or anyone else. I got myself a step counter and set my expectations low. I brought my camera with me and as I set out on a little walk, I would look for things that were unusual to photograph, geese, ducks, woodpeckers, all were (pardon the pun) game, anything fun, like finding an odd thing on the sidewalk or on my pathway. Yes, I found them, from a half-devoured apple just lying there, (someone please check to see if Snow White is okay) to a duck paddling like mad in a stream after a rainstorm. I began to enjoy the light mist of rain on my face while walking, or simply taking in the beauty of a sunset, pausing for a moment to sit on a bench and admire the colors of the sky. the more I enjoyed my surroundings, the more I realized what I was missing by not getting out there. And yes, the more steps I took.

I found that quelling my inner critic was really helpful. I have an inner child that can be petulant and grumpy, if not bossy sometimes. My outer grown-up knows better.

My plan for self- motivation:

Tell yourself it’s okay to start small.
Don’t compete, with anything, it’s fine if you go slower than you used to.
Stop when you need to.
You’re doing fine, breathe!
That felt good, huh? Let’s do it again tomorrow.
Go a little further the next day.

Realize that you do not need to tackle the hill all at once. If you want to set a goal, that’s fine, but remember, the more patience you have with yourself, the more strides you will make.

I am almost back to where I was pre-injury, but I still have a little ways to go. I’m hoping to build strength and endurance once more so that I can go back to my hiking and jogging when my ankle says it’s okay to.

I’ve found that setting obtainable goals even in my professional life has been a big help. I don’t do marathons anymore, and by taking things slower, I get to observe more of what’s around me.

I think you will find this to be true in many circumstances. Our inner critic needs to calm the heck down, and we are the best person to do that, we know what we truly need to be our best.