Getting ready for work, I stand and look back at my reflection in the mirror, trying to match my headscarf with my Kurta, automatically reaching for my lipstick, I remember there is no need for lipstick now, I sigh, ensuring that my mask hasn’t got any lipstick stains. Small reminders that life is not the same. Things have changed and we need to adopt new life routines to deal with this shift.
Bigger reminders come our way like the untimely death of the popular Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput, sending shock waves across the entire youth population of India, which makes us question the meaning of life itself. The common sentiment being that if Sushant Singh Rajput, who gave the impression of having it all, could feel hopeless, how does one stay motivated?
Another disturbing incident caught my attention recently. A rather give-a-damn-attitude demonstrated by a group of youth who decided to party at the car park of one of the beaches. The entire night the villagers along this pathway were disturbed with the sound of roaring vehicles and drunken delinquency, instigating the villagers to block the road with felled trees.
Additionally, one witnesses a surge in number of cases of depression, abuse and delinquency posing a poignant question: is the pandemic pushing us to the tipping point
How does one stay sane and not get bored or restless and exhibit behaviours that will put one at risk? It is important now than ever before to find new ways to remain motivated and hopeful.
Staying motivated is about not giving up. Recharge your batteries to help you cross the finish line. The race has to be finished for it to matter, otherwise it isn’t a race!
To stay motivated, you will have to start at the obvious. Get a new routine. One of the surest ways to do this is create something that you will begin to look forward to. Make new goals. Goals give us a fresh perspective to
Choose your goals wisely. Anything that makes you feel good with yourself like a hobby or some aspect of well-being like mediation, yoga, weight loss programmes, etc.
One of the most common reasons people feel hopeless is that they don’t have anything to feel hopeful about.
The larger goal that affects all is our happiness-centricity. Does the power to be happy centre in your core or does it belong outside to another person, institution or system?
When the control of happiness is aligned within you, then it’s very difficult to feel hopeless. However, when your happiness depends on other things or people, then their behaviour or situation will affect your mood, hope and motivation.
So, here are some tips that will help you choose the right goal.
Choose a goal which belongs to your doings (something that involves you).
Once you have your goal, start creating mini or sub goals. One way to do this is to challenge yourself and push your boundaries. So for example if you like writing then push for a short story or publication. If you like painting then push for material that you could exhibit, if you like running then push for a marathon. It should be something out of your comfort zone.
What you will begin to notice is that initially you will feel a little hassled but when you push your first boundary, the adrenalin rush you get will cure you of any depression, restlessness and boredom.
Write your goals down. Either make a nice creative corner in your room that displays your goals or just let it be on a sheet of paper on your fridge. Once you write down your goal, you automatically feel accountable towards achieving it.
Learn to minimise distractions which include negative thoughts and procrastination. Practice focus. Give yourself a time table that ensures you can fit your goal without feeling overwhelmed by it.
Tell yourself that all your distractions are only excuses. It’s in your hands to be happy or miserable. Challenge yourself. Get up one hour earlier if your day is packed with family duties, etc, and own that time for yourself. Pretend that this time is a matter of life and death for you. Create an emergency around this time slot of yours.
Understand that there will always be pitfalls. The way around this is focusing on what you can do rather than what you cannot do. Some things we have control over. Other situations we have no control over. Pay attention. Things you cannot fight, don’t go to battle with. Those that you can, push your way forward.
Finally reward yourself when you achieved your sub goals. Keep the biggest reward for the finishing line.
All these strategies will influence your happiness index. So when life gives you lemons, like a relationship gone sour, you know that you have enough and more resources to make lemonade and feel good and motivated rather than hopeless.
(Writer is a clinical psychologist, psychotherapist and the HOD of psychology at Carmel College for Women)