The online magazine OM Times featured an article in this month’s issue by Maria Khalife entitled “Three Barriers to Success”. In it she talks about motivation and how to maintain it when it starts to become elusive. I encourage you to read the entire article and also some of her other articles including “An Opportunity in Disguise” and “Success – It’s All a Matter of Mindset”. But here are some highlights from this article which will hopefully provide some inspiration:
“How many times have you set out with a fabulous plan for success and within a short period of time found yourself mentally kicked to the curb wondering why?
Motivation means a feeling of enthusiasm or interest that makes you determined to do something. If there isn’t any long-lasting, renewable motivation, you are uninspired. . .”
If you are reading this, you probably had some motivation at some point. You wanted to improve your physical capabilities through yoga or Pilates. You wanted to invest in yourself. You understood how important this would be for your health, well-being and self-esteem. When you make this kind of an effort, everyone in your life can benefit along with you. Yet somewhere along the line some of you lost that motivation. What happened? How can you get it back? Maria goes on to say:
“If lack of motivation is your issue, I want to assure you that it is there inside you, but again, you have to want to go inside and find it. Do that. Dust it off. Give it a good shake and insist it do its mighty work for you.”
She then outlines some steps you can take to restore your motivation. Among them – become your own cheerleader. Don’t wait for someone else to pat you on the back for the efforts your making. Pat your own back! By following through on promises you’ve made to yourself, you are doing a great job! Be proud of yourself. It will spill over into everything else you do.
One advantage to taking a class is that you will also have people around you who will encourage you to stay with it. Maria comments on this also:
“Like-minded people are good to have around. They do spark interest in what you find interesting but bottom line is you are the one to encourage you the best.”
The third barrier she cites is “lack of courage or confidence”. She says,
“When faced with something new, there isn’t one person alive who knows unquestionably how well they can do the new something. What makes the difference though between those who will give it a try and those who immediately work to avoid trying is the virtue of courage. As you grow in courage, you will have more confidence. Do you remember The Little Engine Who Could story? “I think I can” was the key ingredient to that little engine climbing that tall, tall hill.
‘I think I can’ is the confidence prop that allows someone to jump in there and give it a try. You can avoid this barrier to success simply by using this simple turn of phrase. And then, gather up your fears and do it anyway! You are great at learning new things.
It is your attitude that governs everything, so with a confident attitude, you too can Be the Change you want to see in your life.”
Everyone who tries something new starts at the beginning. None of us (myself included!) knew what we were doing when we first started. But we stuck with it and gradually began to see improvement. This will happen for you, too. Don’t measure yourself against anyone else. Just keep your own goals firmly in front of you and continue working toward them.
If negative thinking continues to plague your efforts at self-confidence, perhaps you might get some inspiration from another article from a previous issue of the same magazine: “Develop Immunity Against Negativity” by Baba Shuddhaanandaa Brahmachari. In this article, negativity is treated as an infectious disease that can be passed from person to person and perpetuated in a downward spiral. The author further describes it this way:
“As you know, negativity is destructive. It destroys much of your natural tendencies to stand firm for higher goals of life. It sucks your energy from inside, and your self-esteem or your self-confidence is afflicted with this negative force. It robs your good qualities and divine potentials.
Your goal is to take charge of your thoughts, not others’ thoughts, and let them flow, not succumbing to the pull of the instinctive lower mind. Lift your thoughts with your own mind. For your mind can be heaven or it can be hell, either of which are your own creation. Intensify your conviction that you alone can change the thoughts of your mind.”
You cannot control anyone else’s thoughts or deeds. But you can control your own. You have the power to change your own thinking. If negative thinking is getting in the way of maintaining your motivation, counter those negative thoughts with positive ones. It takes practice to build awareness. But the goals of Yoga and Pilates are to help you build more self-awareness.
And self-awareness is where it all starts. You can’t change behavior unless you first recognize it when it’s happening and then practice doing something different. Movement awareness and getting to know your own body are good places to start.
Baba Shuddhaanandaa Brahmachari suggests the following in his article:
“Identify the areas that trigger your negativity. Identify the persons who push you into negative brooding. From now on try to evoke your positive energy. You have to gradually lighten up the areas that suffer with lesser light.
The whole process is one of your awakening the self-management part in your mind. . . The more you become aware of your strengths, and at the same time your weaknesses, the more it is possible for you to reinforce your strengths and work vigilantly to transform your weaknesses into strengths of your character.”
All of these things sound good in theory and you know you should do them, but they aren’t easy. Most of the things you have or want to accomplish take practice. Commitment is half the battle. Once you make up your mind that you are going to follow through then the work of practice begins. Any time you get discouraged or obstacles get in your way, remind yourself of your commitment and the reasons you made that commitment in the first place. Then, as Maria says, “Dust it off. Give it a good shake and insist it do its mighty work for you.”