Most people who know me, know that I don’t care too much about New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I believe that all year round it is critical to continuously re-evaluate where we are in life and make adjustments as needed. If we are not continuously working on changing for the better, then life can get pretty mundane and meaningless. Since so many people have goal setting and making changes on their mind this time of year, I took some time to review some of the things outlined in my Taking the Escalator methodology for overcoming addiction and other hard to quit habits. Looking at things from a motivational, insight-building perspective, I made the following list of things that affect “Upward Change” or “Escalation” (In other words, the ongoing gradual process of inspiration and change for the better). The following is a list of 5 things that can inhibit the upward change process and five things that are helpful with regard to enhancing the upward change process:
5 Things to Avoid –
1 – Discouragement - This includes both discouraging thoughts and discouraging people. Wherever possible, when trying to increase motivation, it is best to try to avoid both or at least do our best to ignore the discouraging messages we receive from ourselves or others. Discouragement can suck your positive energy and motivation right out of you if you allow it to fester in your mind.
2 – Wasting Too Much of Your Valuable Time – Sure we all need recreation and definitely some “down time” is good for all of us, however, getting into the habit of excessive time-wasting is a motivation killer. Time is such a valuable resource and it is important to stay in the habit of using it wisely by reserving time on a regular basis for taking care of our physical, emotional and spiritual health and growth.
3 – Insisting that You are Always Right – It feels great to be “right” but at the same time if we become overly focused on proving ourselves right all the time, we can seriously inhibit our ability to learn and grow. It is a good thing for our motivation and personal growth to be willing to look at things from other people’s viewpoints and to be able to play “Devil’s Advocate” with ourselves by considering the possibility that maybe our own viewpoint may need readjustment from time to time.
4- Negative Criticism and Judgment – Negativity is contagious and usually just breeds more negativity. Being critical or in judgment of others can give us a false sense of progress because it can make us initially feel better by putting others down in comparison with ourselves. In the long run however, criticizing and judging others does little to improve our own progress because it takes the focus off of the person we need to work on the most – our self
5 – Making Excuses and Denying Reality – This seems to be an epidemic these days. Many people have become so good at rationalizing, justifying, and twisting things to benefit their own viewpoint. We all do it from time to time but it is so important for our personal growth and motivation to catch ourselves when we are making excuses or avoiding an uncomfortable truth about something we may need to adjust in our lives.
Now 5 Things to Seek Out –
1 – Encouragement and Support – This one is a no-brainer. A few quality friendships with people who truly support and encourage us in our efforts to change and grow is so much better than having a multitude of acquaintances who may be fun to associate with but who may not be there for us when we really need help.
2 – Empathy – Our ability to try to understand others; even those who we strongly disagree with, is such a valuable tool when it comes to interpersonal relationships and coping with conflicts. The ability to put yourself in other’s shoes will help your perspective on your own life for the better.
3- Praise and Commendation – Practice handing out sincere praise and commendation to others and watch how it helps you build your own positive attitude and sense of gratitude which are essential for motivation. Also, it draws others to you instead of pushing them away
4 – Thinking “Outside the Box” and Searching for Meaning in Life – In today’s world, with all of the stimulating entertainment and useless information out there on TV and the internet and other places, it can be easy to get caught up in just our day to day concerns. Regardless of what we may believe in (or not beleive in) now, studies show that the ongoing ability to look at the “big picture” and search for meaning and purpose in life can be critical to our long term happiness and self-growth
5- Setting Goals and Persevering in Reaching Out for Them – Life should involve an ongoing process of setting goals, striving for them even when we face obstacles, then re-evaluating our progress in order to keep moving forward and upward. A life without goals is a sure path toward depression, boredom, stagnation, bad habits, or self-medication.
The following link will connect you to a short motivational video review of these points.