Can’t motivate yourself? Try doing it for someone else.

At the start of the pandemic back in March I made big plans to keep my step count up as best I could. I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I was used to walking to and from work for half and hour each way and then walking around the office, so most days I hit or came close to my 10,000 steps without thinking about it much.

Pre-lockdown steps

My goal was to walk before work to trick my brain into thinking I was in work rather than just rolling out of bed into the living room. It worked for a little while, then I got complacent. But the weather was nice and I’d go out for afternoon walks most days. I haven’t come close to 10,000 steps on a workday since I started working from home though.

And now the weather is turning, it’s colder and windier and wetter and the days are getting shorter. So many a morning I looked out the window and saw the rain and just went straight to the laptop without considering going out first. Surely it would be fine!

Except it wasn’t fine. Over the last few weeks I’ve been feeling my lack of outdoor time and it has been affecting my mood. And while intrinsically I knew I need to look after myself, I found it incredibly hard to motivate myself to actually do it.

Luckily, I have a friend who is also a coach. Our latest coaching conversation only lasted about 30 minutes, but the insight I gained was so helpful to me I felt I needed to share it with you all, hence this blog post.

In my session we talked about all the things I knew I should be doing and how my bad mood affects my partner who feels bad for not being able to make me feel better. And while I don’t always love myself as much as I wish we all could love ourselves, I do love him, very very much. So I reframed the task in my mind from “I have to go for a walk every morning to look after myself” to “I want to go for a walk every morning to look after myself so my partner doesn’t have to worry about me”.

You see, I care deeply for and about other people and supporting them and bringing joy into peoples’ lives is what drives me. So reframing my to do in this way as something I’m not doing merely for myself but for someone I care so much about has given me a much needed motivation boost.

And I am happy to proclaim that the next morning I didn’t think twice about going for my walk before work.

Picture proof I sent to my coach from my walk on Friday

So if you’re stuck and can’t seem to do something even though you feel you should do it for yourself, try thinking about who may benefit from you doing it and then do it for them. You don’t have to tell them, they never need to know.

If you’d like to try coaching to get someone to support you in opening your perspectives, leave a comment or reach out via the contact form!

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