Find Your Motivation When It Has Gone AWOLTips & Tricks
Our daily lives in these current times have encountered a profound shift. Cultivating motivation and drive can be challenging when your routine goes out the window and you’re trying to find a new flow to your day.
How do we keep momentum with our Yoga practice when we can no longer show up at a studio and the regular classes we showed up to are no longer available?
What drives motivation?
Everyone is motivated by different things and has different reasons for wanting to do something. This is due to our personality and our environment. Putting any extrinsic motivations aside (such as making money to pay bills) there are three main drivers of motivation that are intrinsic for everyone:
Our sense of belonging – how connected we are to others
Coming to the studio to practice enhances our sense of belonging, we see people there we know, we get to know our teachers, we feel like we are doing something together with a community of like-minded people. This helps to motivate us to come to class.
Live stream classes in the current environment are the closest thing we have to cultivating this sense of community with our Yoga. Showing up to a Live Stream is a great way to see other people who are motivated and to say hi to your teacher.
Our autonomy – doing things with our whole heart and because we choose to.
These are the things that are of interest to us and we enjoy them because we deeply value and believe in them. No one can make you do Yoga. You choose to do it. Practicing Yoga is something you do for you.
Remove the pressure to do a particular thing and instead make your goal general. Maybe your motivation in a more general sense could be “Everyday I like to do something that gets me moving, helps ease stress and gives me some personal time”. This could be yoga, a walk on the beach, gardening or going for a run, do what is accessible and of interest to you in the moment. Some days maybe you need to mix it up, or try something new. The point is you get motivated to do your goal by giving yourself the autonomy and the reminder that you choose it.
Our belief that we can do it
Remind yourself that you can do it. Showing up to a Yoga class as a newbie can be daunting. We worry that we won’t be any good or everyone will be able to touch their toes and contort themselves into twisty poses. If you are a beginner, know that every Yoga student was also once a beginner and it was only consistent practice and showing up that makes them get stronger and more flexible. Practicing online might be a really lovely way for you to try out Yoga with some guided videos without the pressure of being in a class.
If you are not a beginner but you think that you won’t be able to practice online, what are those obstacles in your mind that are removing the opportunity for you to do the thing that you are interested in (see point 2)?
You don’t need to have the perfect space, you don’t even need to have a mat. If you are worried about concentration you can choose a shorter class or start a class and pause it when required, you might surprise yourself with making it to the end! If not, that’s ok, you still got a bit of a stretch in! You can do it even with kids around, they love to roll around on the mat and copy poses. Your practice might not be a perfect sanctuary of peace but you will still get some time to move your body and stretch.
Some tips for finding motivation when yours is AWOL
Look for inspiration
What inspired you to do Yoga in the first place? Bring your mind to the way you feel when you are caught up in a fun flow, or deep in shavasana, blissed out and smugly content with yourself for showing up and making it to the end.
Phone a friend. Call your Yoga buddy and make a time to practice together. You know how they always say exercise with a friend to help inspire each other? You can still do that during ISO. Arrange a date when you both zoom into a Live Stream class, or if it’s appropriate with physical distancing rules, one person drop around to the other person’s house and take a pre-recorded class together.
It’s important to remember that it’s ok to go feel unmotivated or stuck or low in energy. Sit with it. Observe it. Let it be for a bit. Giving ourselves a hard time because we are not getting shit done only intensifies stress and anxiety, which is not helpful.
Find a spot to sit, close down your eyes and just watch your breath. Set a timer for 2, 5, 10 or however many minutes sounds doable to you in that moment, and for that length of time remove all expectations on yourself. You don’t have to be anywhere or do anything except watch your breath. Repeat as necessary every day. This may help with getting some clarity, energy and focus.
To get going is the hardest part, once we establish a routine and we keep it up, it makes it easier to keep going. When we stop, we have to get that starting fire again. Once you do, try and keep it consistent and regular. Ask someone close to you to keep you accountable. Tell them what you are going to do so if you feel like not showing up, they can call you out on it.
Sign up in advance to the Live Stream classes, book yourself in and then put it as a recurring date in your diary, if it works for you, choose a regular time and day so it becomes a habit.