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3 Things to do When Motivation Changes

habits mindfulness motivation present self improvement Sep 16, 2021

When I originally scheduled this blog title,  I was going to write all about intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and how you shift from one to the other as you transition from early stages of change to later stages. But instead, I want to share with you what happens when your REASON for being motivated to reach your true north drastically changes, and how to navigate that change with grace.


Because, FRIENDS, my motivation … has drastically changed. 


It started changing in October of 2019

When I moved in with my partner and my stepson, and became a parent. I no longer wanted to put in long hours at work or at the gym, because I wanted to be home with my family!

It continued changing in October of 2020

When I became pregnant with my son. Then I COULDN’T spend long hours at work or at the gym because my body was busy doing a really cool thing that left me totally exhausted.

And it continues to change...

As we move into October 2021 as I step out of maternity leave and back into the education space… because I have the momentous opportunity to redefine who I am in my career and in my home as a parent.


But what you really came here for is the how-to lists, right? OK! Here we go:

The biggest challenges that arose as my motivation changed were:


  1. Maintaining a regular strength practice/workout routine. Have you noticed that something that’s been a “gimme” is just magically so hard all of a sudden when your heart lies elsewhere? For me my desire for six pack abs and a max deadlift disappeared, and I had to find a new reason to get into the gym when I’d rather be with my partner, kid(s) and garden in my free time.
  2. Stepping away for time alone. How hard is it to set aside time for yourself,am I right!? Despite having worked through some of that, I suddenly had a POWERFUL resurgence of guilt and shame around stepping away for internal work, and it nearly overwhelmed (ok. totally annihilated.) the motivation to keep this on point. 
  3. Changing my expectations around work. HOooooo… when was the last time you adjusted your expectations of yourself? I mean. I CAN do everything. But I’m no longer willing to pay the price, because I want energy and time and space for the family I have at home.

All of this put me in a weird place. Instead of excited to get to the gym, passionate about my meditation practice and working like a bad ass - there I was, not motivated to do all the healthy, productive things that I loved.


But, three years, one pandemic and one baby later, here’s what I’ve learned about handling those big changes in motivation:


  • Stop comparing yourself to your old self. Your ‘old’ self got you HERE! (Thank you 2018 Annie!) And that person is cheering you on, not asking you to come back. You get to redefine your concept of who you are, and you get to stop yelling at yourself for not regressing. I get to be a MOM! A homeowner! AND a business owner! 2018 Annie never did those things, so she can't be my go-to standard.
  • Start reconfiguring your metrics for success. If you’re using old metrics for success, instead of ways of measuring your progress that are in alignment with your current motivation, you’re going to constantly feel like a failure. Right now - my measurement is “How much energy do I have, and how embodied do I feel?” If I’m exhausted and disconnected, I know it’s time to do something different.
  • Count your victories (often.) This one kinda explains itself. The mistakes we make in the name of learning will make themselves REALLY apparent when we're in this space. So spend some time every day naming the smallest and largest victories you can count. (Today, I did laundry, went for a walk, listened to an entrepreneurship podcast AND finished this blog even though the baby was up all night!)
  • Stay flexible, but keep your eyes on your true north. Zig. Zag. Take the detour through the woods. Jump in the lake. But keep your head up and your eyes forward. I have a vision for my business. I am learning who I want to be as a parent. I just don’t always know exactly what path I’m going to take to get there.

As I write this, I’m sitting cross legged on my couch with my 12 week old baby sleeping on me in his sling. The dinner dishes aren’t done. My hair - while clean - is a humidity-induced mess. And I’m drinking red wine out of a juice glass. I worked today, but not a lot, and I certainly didn’t actually work out today. But I feel accomplished, because my baby feels safe and loved, my wine is self car,  and my work in the world is still being done. In all of this, my motivation has changed, and my path and tactics have shifted, but my heart's purpose hasn’t.

Love and light,


Annie & the Forest Coaching Team


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