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Motivation...When You Need it Most!

Motivation & Key Decision Making During Uncertain Times

We've all been there; we have set goals for ourselves---a new diet, a new exercise program, the decision to find a new job and better our financial circumstances, only to slide right back into complacency and bad habits like we have so many times before.

We are living in trying times; while many people slide into complacency, addictions, and victimization, others are looking to the future and redefining what success, prosperity, and happiness look like now. Is it possible to stay motivated and make good life decisions when it seems that so much is in turmoil?

Maybe you have restrictions on yourself and your life right now that don't allow you to accomplish certain goals. Instead of looking at what you cannot do, why not begin to reframe and refocus what you can change to accommodate your goals and accomplish something new?

The gift of time

Many of us find ourselves with more time on our hands----time to work, time to focus on relationships, time to evaluate health conditions and change daily habits to improve your health, energy and vitality. We have time to define what is truly important and vital to us in our lives, and this is a gift that may not come around again for several years. Why not make the best of it and prioritize some of these important things so you can emerge victorious, like a beautiful butterfly emerges from a cocoon? You have been given the gift of opportunity--take it and make the best of it!

Finding the motivation to break bad habits and improve life

Most motivational speakers have uttered "keep your eye on the prize" to remind us to stay focused on the goal that we want to achieve. If it were that easy to do, we'd all be rich, happy, and thin. In actuality, it is more effective to focus on the small daily steps you are taking and the effort you are exerting to make it to the top of the mountain. A sense of intrinsic pride is a very powerful agent in creating change; it becomes a rolling snowball of success as you see your efforts begin to pay off.

Many people look at the amount of effort that will be required to accomplish a certain task and decide if it is worth it to complete that task. We must convince ourselves that our efforts will pay off if we take small and consistent steps toward bigger goals. Rewarding yourself along the way is appropriate, but don't go overboard, as it can take away from that intrinsic motivation you're trying so hard to set up. A little bit of distraction is okay too---many people watch television or listen to music when working out, as long as it doesn't distract you from proper form and completing your workout!

Keeping your fire lit

We have a tendency as humans to reach a goal and then slide back into complacency, losing a lot of the ground that we gained in the process. During a time that we all seem saddled with extra stresses and challenges, it can be especially hard to stay on track. If you have achieved a goal of eating healthier, congratulations! How's this for motivation for staying on track: scientific studies show that eating a healthy diet reduces inflammation in the body, and this reduction in inflammation is directly linked to increased levels of dopamine in the body. Dopamine levels are linked to a person's motivational drive and willingness to pursue a goal in exchange for rewards. Feelings of satisfaction and happiness cause you to repeat a certain behavior, and the cycle of accomplishment and award becomes firmly etched in the brain.

Increasing dopamine

There are some foods that you can incorporate into your healthful diet that naturally increase dopamine levels. Foods such as bananas, almonds, eggs, avocados, fish, beans and chicken are all excellent sources of amino acids that help stimulate the release of dopamine in the brain. Activities such as exercising, getting enough sleep, meditating, and listening to music also stimulate dopamine levels.

Keeping the cycle going

In addition to tracking your success, there are some other strategies that you can implement to keep you motivated to reach whatever goal you are pursuing.

1. Consider keeping a success journal---this is an excellent place to record your thoughts and feelings about your goal, as well as see your successes and failures that have brought you to your current point. This is motivation for many to keep going and to set higher and higher goals; many high-achievers attribute their life successes to this type of journal.

2. Surround yourself with like-minded people--your inner circle of people and the personality traits that they embody will eventually be who you turn out to be. If your inner circle is impulsive, negative, and unmotivated, that is who you are becoming. If you are looking for friends, business contacts, and associates who are enthusiastic, highly motivated, and positive, you will likely become that type of person you will be. Guess which type of person will end up being more successful in the end?

Decide who you want to become, and then go become it!

Who do you want to be? What do you want to accomplish? What conditions in your life exist right now that are keeping you from your goals? Newsflash--there are no conditions in your life that exist that you cannot overcome. You set your mind to it, and you can accomplish anything! Set your goals, blast through them, and realize your dreams! Go get 'em, tiger!


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