Is Inspiration Whiplash Part of Your Vocabulary?
It’s hard to believe that we’re already into the 3rd month of 2021. I hope your new year is starting out on a foundation of hope and gratitude. If you’re like most people, you probably made some new year’s resolutions – changes you wanted to see in your life.
Research shows it takes around 90 days to forge lasting change, so perhaps by now you’re well on your way to making the habitual lifestyle changes necessary to achieve your goals.
Or – like many people – you may have run into a roadblock or two on your path to change.
Sometimes a specific barrier is thrown in your path. Sometimes inspiration gradually fizzles out or just abruptly ends. Have you ever been excited and engaged with a goal and then suddenly awaken one morning with a complete sense of blah, why bother?
No reason really – no obvious explanation for why you went from energized to whatever while you were sleeping. But there you are, complacently doing absolutely nothing or doing something completely counter to your stated goals!
I call that inspiration whiplash! We all have those days (or weeks), so it’s really helpful to be prepared with a few proven strategies to help push you through the tall weeds!
It can be helpful to re-visit your goals. Research shows writing down a goal is an important step in achieving change, so I hope you did! If so, re-read them!
Consider why you wanted the change and how it will impact your life when you achieve it. If you skipped that crucial step, then do it now! Write down what you want to change and why. Then make one small “deposit” that helps you move closer to that goal.
Pages of Inspiration
One of my most often-used strategies is to read a few pages from a tried-and-true inspirational resource. I’ll bet you have a few books on a shelf that leave you feeling inspired and hopeful. Here are a couple of mine:
Simple Abundance – A Daybook of Comfort & Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach
Given to me in 1995 by a dear friend, this book has daily readings ranging from a few paragraphs to a couple of pages corresponding to each day of the year. It’s perfect for a quick attitude adjustment at the beginning of the day. I have this particular passage highlighted for frequent reading:
The habit of being – the exultation in the present moment – is an exquisite concept. We’re all habitual creatures, but usually we practice the habits of doing: getting up making breakfast, getting children off to school and getting ourselves off to work. Then there are the habits of brooding: projecting into the future, dwelling on the past… second-guessing inspiration, ruminating on problems, anticipating the worst. The habit of brooding is rooted in the past or the future, and can rob the present moment of all harmony, beauty and joy.
It goes on to encourage cultivating the habit of being, which Breathnach defines as a heightened awareness of life’s abundance, and the habit of gratitude for the good surrounding us no matter our circumstances today.
This book continually reminds me not to wait until I’ve achieved specific goals to be happy and grateful – joy is available now!
Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum
This collection of thoughts and short stories can alternately warm my heart, make me cry, and give me a boost of gratitude for the gifts in ordinary days. Fulghum has numerous books filled with inspiration!
The Slight Edge by Jeff Olsen
This seems more like an “achieve financial success” type of book, but I return to often when I’m feeling unmotivated and having trouble taking those small steps to keep moving forward.
I love Olsen’s concept of life always being in motion – that your choices are either taking you towards or away from your goals – whether you intend it or not. There is no staying the same, even when it seems that way.
It perfectly matches my belief that small daily choices, compounded over time have a profound impact your well-being in all dimensions.
Commit to a Small Change
Finally, when you’re having trouble achieving a goal, commit to one positive action each day. If possible, attach this behavior change to something that is already a habit. For example, I realized that it had become a habit to sit watching the news every night – and it never made me feel uplifted (go figure).
I decided to leverage the convenience of streaming services and found an enjoyable series to watch instead. Then I made watching contingent on being on the elliptical! I now look forward to that transition from work to home and get some physical activity in the bargain.
You Can Do This!
Dust off your goals and pick one small change you can make today, tomorrow, and the next day. Try to attach change to something you already do habitually. Identify a handful of inspirational writings and have them readily available for periodic inspiration re-boots.
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What goals have you achieved so far in 2021? Are there goals that have fizzled out? What’s one thing that could help re-boot goals that matter to you?