How can I break out of a slump?

Because this issue of the Herald Weekly includes a Health & Wellness section focused on staying well and healthy, motivation and setting realistic resolutions and goals for 2013, we added these tips from Leo Babauta, a motivator and blogger.

One Goal. Whenever I’ve been in a slump, I’ve discovered that it’s often because I have too much going on in my life. I’m trying to do too much. And it saps my energy and motivation. It’s probably the most common mistake that people make: they try to take on too much, try to accomplish too many goals at once.

Find inspiration. Inspiration, for me, comes from others who have achieved what I want to achieve, or who are currently doing it.

Get excited. This sounds obvious, but most people don’t think about it much: if you want to break out of a slump, get yourself excited about a goal.

Build anticipation. This will sound hard, and many people will skip this tip. But it really works. It helped me quit smoking after many failed attempts. If you find inspiration and want to do a goal, don’t start right away. Set a date in the future — a week or two, or even a month. Make it the most important date in your life.

Post your goal. Print out your goal in big words.

Commit publicly. None one likes to look bad. We will go the extra mile to do something we’ve said publicly.

Think about it daily. If you think about your goal every day, it is much more likely to become true.

Get support. It’s hard to accomplish something alone. When I decided to run my marathon, I had the help of friends and family. When I decided to quit smoking, I joined an online forum.

Realize that there’s an ebb and flow. Motivation is not a constant thing that is always there for you. It comes and goes, like the tide.

Stick with it. Don’t give up. Even if you aren’t feeling any motivation today, or this week, don’t give up. Think of your goal as a long journey, and your slump is just a little bump in the road.

Start small. Really small. If you are having a hard time getting started, it may be because you’re thinking too big. Instead, do small, tiny, baby steps. Commit to 2 minutes of exercise for one week. Do it at the same time every day. Baby steps.

Build on small successes. Again, if you start small for a week, you’re going to be successful. Take that successful feeling and build on it, with another baby step.

Read about it daily. When I lose motivation, I just read a book or blog about my goal.

Call for help. Having trouble? Ask for help. Get a partner to join you. Ask them to help you overcome your slump.

Think about the benefits, not the difficulties. Instead of thinking about how hard something is, think about what you will get out of it.

Squash negative thoughts; replace them with positive ones. Just spend a few days becoming aware of every negative thought. Squash, “This is too hard!” and replace it with, “I can do this!”

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