I just returned from the Institute of Functional Medicine's Annual International Conference where this year’s topic was Pain, Stress, and Addiction. I feel infinitely inspired.
The conference got me thinking about motivation. When we decide to make a change and have hit the point to actually implement it, how do we stick with it? For example, I want to wake up earlier. The early morning is the best time for me to write because my thoughts are deeper in the morning, before the world has infiltrated my brain. Waking early is not easy for me, but it isn’t easy for most people. So how do we stick with the new habits we want in our lives?
I like to keep these three questions handy when I need motivation and am not as inspired as I am at this moment:
1) What is your mission, aspiration or purpose?
2) What matters most to you?
3) Why do you want to be in health?
I am renovating my house and it has been a bigger job than I anticipated, which seems to be the norm when it comes to renovations. There were many unforeseen problems that took more time than originally planned, but the foundation and frame of the house are solid. It can withstand many more Texas storms regardless of the state of the plumbing, electrical wiring, kitchen appliances or drywall. It may look like hell, but it will not crumble.
If you are contemplating making a change but aren’t quite there yet, then work on your foundation and framing. Build something strong enough to withstand the myriad physical, emotional, and spiritual insults that will come your way. These are good pillars to start working on:
Not only will you encounter your own resistance, but you will encounter external resistance as well. When we make a change for the better, this can ruffle some feathers. When I made a choice recently to not drink wine every night with dinner, a few of the people in my life said something along the lines of, “Good luck with that.” I get it:
This is not your problem. Be prepared to encounter external resistance with grace and empathy because we know change is not easy for anyone.
There is a lot of talk about failure and that we shouldn’t be afraid to fail. I don’t completely agree with this. Sure, failure is part of the process but let's be honest: it doesn't feel great to fail. I don't think failure is what we should focus on. I think it's more about learning to find the courage and motivation to stand back up after a fall, bruised and bloody, and try again. Resilience should be the focus. If you don’t have it right now, you will with practice.