Everyone in life has setbacks. Some of us will also be visited by the black dog of depression or have a personal tragedy that makes us question life. A few of us will go further and want to “throw the towel in” on life itself or perhaps just quit on something that is important to them. I believe Facebook in particular can give one the impression that nearly everyone is living a ‘perfect life’ as people rarely post about the challenges they have faced or are overcoming as a human being. Yet it’s these stories in my opinion that show the true core of our humanity and values. However, whether someone wants to or feels able to share these publicly or privately are there own personal choice and should be respected.
When I have faced adversity in my life (and this can sometimes feel quite often with my mental illness) it can be very hard to build or maintain motivation. There are some days where I don’t want to get up in the morning or not continue with something I had committed to. It’s pushing through these feelings of lack of drive where applying my cognitive skills and ‘human spirit’ allow me to get things done when I feel the least capable.
Essentially I follow these three basic tenents of motivating me:
Taking Care of Myself
It’s important for me to eat regularly and take breaks especially during meal time. Depending on my fitness goals I will eat 3 to 5 meals a day. The most important meal for me is Breakfast in the morning. I never used to be a breakfast person but now I realise how important it is in giving me energy in the morning. My body has digested all food eaten the day before and now requires re-fuelling. In my view this is not the meal of all meals I consume in a day to skip.
Another important task that my Mother was unable to drill into me when I was a child was making my bed in the morning. I could never be bothered to do it in the morning but now I see the simple value of doing so. I once listened to a soldier who said as part of his duty he was required to make his bed to perfection every morning upon getting up. The point behind this was that starting with the simplest task and achieving it for the day builds motivation and accomplishment. Likewise when he was tired and ready for bed at the end of the day, he discovered a bed that was already made for him and that was a reminder about life as a whole: “We do for the most part sleep in the beds we make for ourselves”.
Role Models, Mantra’s and Quotes
I believe it’s important to have people you look up to in life. Generally I prefer fictional characters or people that are no longer with us as they can’t surprise me with disappointment. I tend to look up to the comic character Superman in terms of doing altruistic good for people (if you look really deep into his background you’ll find his quite similar to Jesus and not just a pair of tights). The actor Henry Cavill who presently plays the ‘Man of Steel’ is someone I lookup to Physically as he really works hard on his physical fitness. I’ve also always admired Spock from Star Trek who uses Logic and Reason despite strong internal and external emotions being applied to him.
In terms of real people that have lived I have found Sir Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Muhammad Ali, Nelson Mandela, Les Brown and Eric Thomas inspiring. These people all have made great quotes and I have often turned them into mantra’s I repeat to myself (Sometimes out loud) while focusing on a goal. In some ways I can laugh at myself with this. Often when going through a dark period I’ll be quoting Churchill and getting on with the task at hand with resolve (Sometimes feeling awful). Other times when my mood is elevated I could be quoting Ali and trying to go “All out” as Les Brown would say. They are all helpful in making me get the best out of me at the time. I believe making myself work to my best especially when low or high is important as it will help me get back to a moderate place.
Motivational Music, Videos and Literature
I find reading books on peoples lives that I can relate to helpful in understanding myself and others.
The greatest boost for me day to day is listening to Motivational Music and Videos on YouTube sometimes as a I run, workout in the gym, do housework, cook dinner etc…
Motivational speakers such as Les Brown, Eric Thomas and Tony Robbins have many YouTube Videos some mixed with Music that really give me a lot of motivation. Some good channels I subscribe to are: Basquiat Picasso and HESMotivation. Though I don’t take everything literally and use only what works for me.