I am sure you realize there are going to be times in your life when you face adversity. You may lose a job, have health issues or suffer through a divorce or the loss of a loved one. Here is what I want you to think about: Have you ever noticed that some people seem very resilient, and they just somehow bounce back? Those people, when the chips are down still seem motivated and don’t give up? This is the big question; how do you stay motivated when the chips are down?
Here are some ways to stay motivated even when the chips are down or when the chips are crushed.
- Take a “this too shall pass” perspective. Many years ago, I lost my wife tragically and suddenly. I still remember that even in the middle of the darkest days I would think, “I know I am suffering now but someday, I will be happy again.” Today I am very happy and married to an amazing woman. Think about this, that times may be tough now but think about the fact that this time will pass and someday it won’t be as hard. I promise it is true and it was true for me.
- Surround yourself with supportive loving people. When the chips are down, you need people who will root for you, give you encouragement, and support you emotionally and socially. People who will hold you up until you can stand on your own again. People who are upbeat, enthusiastic and optimistic. Great friends who will not judge you but will make you feel better and help you believe in yourself and help you think that you can dig out of the hole you are in now. You need people you can talk to who will listen and let you vent.
- Keep moving forward. One way of getting motivated when the chips are down is to take action. Ask yourself, what can you do to move forward? Even a small step is a step that can help. What actions can you take today? If you lose your job, and today you go on six job sites to register and post your resume, it is taking a small step to being employed again. When you are moving forward, you feel like you are making progress and that lightens your heart and increases your feeling of hope. Moving forward has a healing power for your life. As Martin Luther King once said, “If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.
- What should you avoid? When the chips are down, you should make a conscious effort to avoid anything negative. Do not watch negative news on TV, don’t watch sad or depressing movies or documentaries. Don’t read anything sad. Make absolutely sure you don’t associate or tolerate being around any negative mean or toxic people. I call these people ESV’s (Energy Sucking Vampires), and you need to avoid negative or toxic people. They will drag you down with them into the abyss. You need to be brought up not down.
- Beware of and adjust your negative self-talk. When the chips are down it is easy to fall in the trap of constant negative self-talk. When you get divorced and you say to yourself “I am divorced because I am not attractive enough /smart enough/good enough that is participating in negative self-talk. Decide to take any negative and turn it around and make it a positive. “Yes I am divorced but I learned a lot from that and I have a lot to offer the right person.” Another way of monitoring your self-talk is to write down your feelings in a journal. This helps you evaluate your real feelings.
- Write down new goals. Adversity can be terrible, but it can also give us an opportunity to take a step back and reinvent ourselves and our lives. You can build a new life. Take some time and write down brand new life goals. That’s right in every area of your life – financially, physically, mentally, spiritually, career, family life – you decide on the areas. These goals will get you excited and help you shift your life in a different direction. As Gail Goodwin once said “Adversity can be turned to opportunity simply be adjusting our perception and our attitude.”
- Have some fun. Okay, the chips are down and how is it you are supposed to have fun? Well that is the reason why you should try to schedule some fun. Go out to dinner with a friend. Get some people together and go for a hike, sign up for a volley ball league, go learn something new. Yes, that is right, schedule some fun into your life. When you do, the chips may still be down in some areas of your life, but your spirits will be lifted. You may not know this but your mind believes what you tell it. Tell it “we are going to have some fun today.”
- Step up to the positive buffet. Look on Amazon, or your local library or your kindle and download and read some positive books. There are millions of books on positive thinking, motivation, and overcoming adversity. Step up to the buffet and start partaking of positive thoughts and ideas. When you are feeding your brain with new and positive ideas, you will feel more motivated and upbeat.
So take some time, make a list and decide what you can do today to apply some of these ideas to get and stay motivated. As Vince Lombardi once said “the greatest accomplishment is not never falling, but rising again after you fall.”