What are you putting up with in your life right now? Is your ‘to do list’ so overwhelming you don’t know where to begin or so intimidating that it’s holding you back? What thoughts and activities are draining your time, energy and motivation? Parent educator and author Karyn Riley looks at ways to regain motivation and achieve more by focusing on less.

Recently I spoke at a women’s seminar where we discussed some of the reasons, beliefs and excuses we felt stopped us from being motivated and achieving what we want in life. Here’s what we came up with:

  •  Not enough time or energy
  • Too busy
  • Feeling tired, stressed or exhausted
  • More immediate or pressing priorities
  • Family demands and responsibilities
  • Not enough money
  • Work – less time for realising dreams and achieving goals
  • Fear – of failure and success
  • The reasons or excuses why we ‘can’t’ do something
  • Lack of or ineffective support systems
  • Feeling that something is ‘too big’ or overwhelming
  • Other things are more important than me – not making ourselves a priority
  • Circumstances appearing beyond our control
  • Lack of self-belief and confidence
  • Bad or unsupportive habits
  • Over-analysing and thinking too much
  • Procrastination and perfectionism
  • Other people’s opinions or telling you what to do
  • Lack of self-discipline.

Do any of these sound familiar to you?

It can be easy to justify inaction.  We list reasons and offer excuses as to why we are not achieving what we want in life.

But can you afford not to take action? Think about the implications of not looking after yourself, not fulfilling your aspirations, not having a sense of balance in your life: everything suffers – your personal health and well-being, family, work and relationships.

Having young children at home or managing older children’s extra-curricular activities can consume so much time and energy that you may feel you have no time or energy left for anything else, let alone what’s important to you. As a result, you might delay, put aside or even neglect your personal or professional goals. This can leave you feeling unmotivated, frustrated and even resentful at the thought of being unable to achieve what you want right now or in the foreseeable future.

Good planning, being organised, having realistic expectations and taking action are the foundation of getting and keeping motivated. The best way to regain motivation is to start simply. Start by setting yourself one small, achievable goal each day, or one for morning and another for afternoon or evening. You will increase your motivation and build confidence and momentum from a sense of achievement. By undertaking and completing one thing at a time, you will achieve more by focusing on less.

Some days will be easier than others. If you find yourself losing motivation or feel stuck in a rut, try varying your routine or take some time out to step back, review and re-focus. If you slip up or have a bad day, don’t beat yourself up. Make sure you have a back-up plan in place to help you get back on track sooner rather than later – tomorrow is another day.

To help you get started, here are some ideas, thoughts and tips from other mothers on getting and keeping motivated:

✔  Identify what motivates you

✔  Be clear about your reasons for wanting to achieve a particular goal(s) – what’s in it for you?

✔  Set yourself a deadline and stick to it

✔  Gain momentum from a sense of accomplishment

✔  Find satisfaction in a job completed or well done

✔  Know you’ve done your best

✔  Be passionate and fully present – give 100% time and effort

✔  Hear acknowledgement and recognition (self, family and peers)

✔  Set and achieve goals (both short- and long-term) – have something to aim for

✔  Gain confidence from stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new ideas and experiences

✔  Break down big or overwhelming tasks into realistic, smaller pieces

✔  Be brave, courageous and willing to take risks or do things differently

✔  Learn from mistakes

✔  Overcome negative thoughts and habits

✔  Do something you love every day – reconnect with your passions, hobbies, interests

✔  Gain by giving back or contributing to your community – get involved in volunteer work or committees

✔  Group motivation – with friends, or in a class environment

✔  Music

✔  Give yourself a reward or consequence

✔  Take time out to think, unwind and clear a busy mind

✔  Get outdoors and clear your head, boosting your energy and motivation

✔  Variety is the spice of life – vary your routine and try different forms of exercise to keep motivated

✔  Exercise with other parents and meet new friends

✔  Reward yourself. Relax and unwind with your favourite activity or use your renewed energy and motivation to do things you’ve been putting off.

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Karyn Riley is a time management and life balance coach, author of “How to Keep the YOU in Mum”, inspirational speaker, writer and mother of two. For more information see www.rileylife.co.nz

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