So your life has changed. The kids are getting older, or they are grown. Instead of days filled with homeschooling and/or car pooling, you can catch a breath.
So what’s next?
You have the opportunity to craft your life, perhaps for the first time ever!
As dedicated Moms, we learned to put the needs of others ahead of our own. The sick child, the struggling child, the discouraged husband, the acting-out teen all took center stage in our lives. We chose to give them and their needs priority in life.
But now we can consider our own needs and wants. We can choose to add or subtract parts of life that no longer serve us.
How does that make you feel?
For me, it has been a mixture of exhilaration and stuck-ness. The sheer range of possibilities has been intimidating. This over-choice lead to paralysis.
Decision by decision, step by step, it is possible to move ahead.
Everyone struggles to take productive action from time to time. Here are some tips for motivating and focusing your mothering mojo and your journey toward reigniting mom.
Children have the benefit of parents, coaches, and teachers. As adults, we have to learn to manage and motivate ourselves. Unfortunately, few of us are taught this skill. We must learn on our own. Take solace in the fact that many of us mamas are in the same situation. Let’s learn to take action now so we can encourage other moms in the future. One thing is for certain – all of our kids will grow up!
Use these techniques to reignite your mothering mojo and take control of your life:
- Use pleasure to your advantage. Make a long list of the benefits of taking action. What will you gain? A new career? Improved social life? More money? Self-respect? A more interesting life? When you find your motivation lagging, return to this list and rekindle your enthusiasm.
- Use pain to your advantage. If you fail to act, what is the likely outcome? You’ll be forced to live another day in your current existence. Your feeling of stuck-ness will continue. Or maybe your financial situation will become a little bit worse. Perhaps your income taxes will be late. Give yourself a list of painful outcomes to avoid.
- Reinforce your lists daily. Read over your lists of positives and negatives each day. Some moms keep a list of their goals/outcomes by the bed and read it before sleep and upon arising. Keep them fresh in your mind.
4. Take a walk. A change of environment can help to clear your head and increase your level of motivation, It’s a great time to think big thoughts and to consider long-term goals. My personal favorites are walking on a beach, or hiking in a forest preserve. (The mosquitoes are a challenge!) There is something about being alone in the vastness of nature to remind you that life is BIG. It’s much broader and more full of possibility than what you can see in front of you in everyday life.
5. Create habits that support your goals. Ideally, you can structure your life so you don’t require motivation. Are you motivated to take a shower or brush your teeth? Not really – you just do them out of habit. Your habit of arising and taking care of or homeschooling kids became natural after a while. Reviewing your goals, reading something inspirational and taking a moment to dream your dreams can become the new habits that will lead to a reignited life. Creating habits that make your goals an automatic reality is the best motivation tool of all!
6. Ask yourself why you’re stuck. Are you afraid? Tired? Restless? Figure out what’s stopping you from taking aggressive action and getting things accomplished. Then take action to resolve the reasons for your inaction. Sometimes putting a name to our emotion, feeling or apprehension can be the beginning of change and self-understanding.
7. Make a plan for the day. Before you retire for the evening, make a list of everything you’d like to get done. Just as you had daily lists of lesson plans and family care responsibilities, now you can make a list of plans that lead to your own growth and exploration! Most importantly, get started on your list items early in the day. Build momentum and the rest of the day will go more smoothly. Success builds on success.
8. Get started. Have you ever noticed that motivation happens after you get busy? It’s interesting how challenging it can be to get started, but how easy it can be to continue. I often become so caught up or lost in the flow of a project that I find it difficult to pull myself away! Use every trick in the book to make yourself begin. The resistance you feel will decrease markedly.
9. Reward yourself regularly. Rewarded behaviors are more likely to reoccur in the future. Give yourself little rewards on a regular basis. You deserve it. Many moms choose pedicures. I like trips to the bookstore and retreats, even if just for a day.
10. Compete with yourself. Strive to create small improvements in yourself each week. This can be more motivating than competing against others. There are plenty of moms who have already figured out this journey. But the only race you need to run is your own.
11. Eliminate distractions. Everyone has a preferred method of distraction. It could be the internet, television, or daydreaming. Avoid allowing yourself to indulge in your distraction until you’ve accomplished something worthwhile. Be strong.
When you’re feeling unmotivated, avoid the belief that you’re stuck. There’s always something you can do to lift your spirits and tackle those your challenges. Develop the skill to fuel your mothering mojo.
Have you felt stuck before in life? You’ve gotten yourself unstuck then and you can do it again now.
A resource to help you: Stuck Mama Gets Unstuck