We all come up against problems at work or at home. You feel like you’re finally making progress when something throws you off track. You lose focus, fall off the wagon and it’s a struggle just to get back up again. Never mind regaining all that lost ground you worked so hard for in the first place. Perhaps you snapped at your boss or procrastinated over a report and now the deadline is horribly close. Maybe you ignored a few important emails and that small problem has turned into a doozy.
Losing focus at work can affect our personal lives too. You’re already feeling rotten, and now you’re reaching for the snacks a bit too often, or missing that session at the gym. Maybe you’re taking it out on your partner and kids. This can build up and now all those good intentions and healthy habits are a distant memory. It seems impossible to get back to your old self. You need to get back on track, but how?
The first step to rediscover your motivation is often the most overlooked – forgiving yourself. That inner voice telling you “you messed up AGAIN” or “I can’t believe I let that slip”, is destroying your chances of getting back on track before you’ve even begun.
This happened to a friend of mine, Jane. I would describe Jane as a driven person. She sets goals, makes plans, and pushes herself to achieve them. However a few months ago she hit a mental road block. It started when she overheard a conversation between two of her work colleagues discussing a big pay rise they’d just been given. She felt that she was doing much more than them, holding more responsibility and managing bigger projects etc. Yet they had been receiving more recognition, better pay and other perks she felt she deserved as well. Her work suffered and she began to resent the extra responsibility. A job that she had always loved had become a prison. This affected her home life too – she started eating more comfort food and missing her regular exercise classes. Her partner noticed the change too. She was snappy and judgemental in situations where she had normally been considerate. She came to me to ask my advice – “I’ve always been able to motivate myself, but this time I just don’t see how I can get back to the old me – I’ve failed myself and it’s only getting worse everyday”. We talked about how she was feeling guilty over underperforming at work, and kept replaying fights with her partner over and over in her head. It was clear she’d gotten into a negative spiral of emotions.
I looked her in the eye and said, “you are not a failure, you are human. You are not defeated, you are stuck, and it’s time to get unstuck!”. Once she recognised this pattern – now it was time to interrupt it. But first she had to take a deep breath and practice forgiveness, on herself! So you had a fight with your husband – you still love each other right? Ate a few too many takeaways recently? So what – who’s counting other than you? Tell that destructive voice in your head – ‘yes I did all those things, but now I’ve decided to get back on track, so there’s no need for you to remind me of them anymore’. Cut that voice off before it can even start and channel your energy into taking the next steps.
I let her know about some of the great tools that are out there to help with this such as Tony Robbins’. NLP, or The 5 Second Rule: The Surprisingly Simple Way to Live, Love, and Speak with Courage. Put these into practice and you can move on and take the next step.
But first, forgive yourself. Then you can move forward with a clear mind and a fresh determination.
We Are All Wonder Women is an international movement for female conservation professionals to be inspired, connected, and empowered to create an authentic, fulfilling and happy career.