GOLDEN TIP: Your actions control your attitude and your motions affect your emotions.
Waiting for motivation to come along is like waiting for uber to pick you up when you haven’t ordered it. It doesn’t work that way. You can’t wait to get inspired to do something…you’ll be waiting your whole life. Action is the key. Just starting and feeling the process is what ultimately creates the motivation within you.
Here are some tips you can stay conscious of:
1. Set the bar LOW.
When you’re depressed, you’re not functioning at your usual 70-90%. Rather, you’re sitting somewhere closer to 20%. If you set the same expectations for yourself that you had when you weren’t feeling depressed (which is sometimes just getting dressed), you’re going to feel anxious and overwhelmed, and probably won’t do the task you expected from yourself (and thus will feel defeated and ashamed).
Set SMALL AND SPECIFIC GOALS. Seriously. Unload the dishwasher. Heck, unload three glasses. Task completed and still itching for more? You can always raise the bar if you’re feeling particularly motivated. Take note that if you feel highly overwhelmed while tackling your goal, chances are it’s too high and you need to lower it to something more realistic or specific.
2. Practice self-compassion.
Self-criticism is depression’s BFF. If you beat yourself up for being so “unproductive” and “lazy,” You’re going to keep yourself feeling like crap and thus, paralyzed. Try instead to use the same encouraging words you might use for a friend or loved one. I know that I am guilty of giving great advice to others and not following it myself…put yourself in another persons shoes and imagine how you could sympathize with someone who was in your very own shoes. Be gentle!
3. Recruit support, or ask for help.
Some of us have trouble holding ourselves accountable at the best of times. With little motivation or energy, it’s that much harder. Confide in someone you trust, and ask for their help. Ask a friend to hold you to your commitment. Ask your partner to accompany to a yoga class. Pay for your support group, counseling appointment, or massage beforehand so you’ll be more motivated to attend.
4. Envision how you’ll feel after the task.
This is probably the best motivator because you sure as hell know you’ve never finished a workout and regretted it. You know you’ll feel good thus you know you’ll like the outcome. It’s a win-win, no surprises! Getting up in the morning, going for a walk or preparing a meal may seem like a very ominous task if you focus on the effort involved. People who are depressed generally have low self-efficacy, which means they have low confidence in their ability to perform tasks. As such, they tend to feel overwhelmed and avoid such tasks. Lower expectations for yourself within the task, and envision how you (might) feel after the task rather than during.
5. Stop expecting easy
For some strange reason, people expect the steps to their goals to be easy. This is the PROBLEM. If there are no bumps, you’re on the wrong path. Everything great achieved was sacrificed with hardship and commitment. If you’re wondering how you can obtain a stronger mindset, here’s how: Stop Giving Up When Things Get Tough. That’s why the bumps in the road are necessary, they make you fucking stronger. Our greatest mentors/icons are the living proof of this. You get what you put in. You want easy then you’ll stay where you’re at in life. Simple.