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The Struggle to Stay Motivated

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So we made it through two of the most difficult months of the year, January and February.  I say that because so many of us have a difficult time staying motivated when the weather turns cold and the days get shorter, I know I do.   We still have a little ways to go before the official first day of spring which is March 20th, but just knowing it’s around the corner, already lifts my spirits!

SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a serious problem for some people, but any type of depression can be made worse by short days, dreary weather, or stressful holidays,” says Robert Rowney, DO, a psychiatrist and mood disorder expert and director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Mood Disorders Treatment and Research at Lutheran Hospital. “The big difference between SAD and major depression is that SAD starts in the fall or winter and ends in the spring.

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According to Arnold Lieber, MD The reduction in sunlight in winter can throw your biological clock out of whack and reduce levels of serotonin (a brain chemical that regulates your mood) and melatonin (a chemical which regulates sleep and mood).  If our mood dips down, we have a tendency to not follow through on our goals and resolutions we made.  

“I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy – I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.”   

Art Williams

There are some things we can do to help us over the bump in the road when we feel like quitting.  

Re-evaluate your January Goals – Sometimes we need to do an “update” on the original plan.  Just like we need to do updates on our phone and software to keep things running smoothly the same goes for our goals.  It’s ok to make the changes necessary so that “we” are refreshed and recharged to keep going with a new and better plan.

Don’t Do it Alone – This one might make you feel uncomfortable but we need to develop a support network to help us achieve our personal and professional goals.  Start with your closest family, friends, teachers, etc and write down the strengths they have which can help you.  Come up with a plan on how often you will talk or meet together so it’s not easily forgotten.  

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* Rewards are Good – Neuropsychologist Rick Hanson says that we need to “take the time to sit back and relive our achievements, applaud our efforts, and allow the warm glow of a job well done to trickle down into the deep recesses of our neural structure.”

Everyone is different when it comes to what motivates them to keep going.  Whatever you do, don’t give up when you are facing a bump in the road.  Keep track of your accomplishments and rewards along the way, you might be surprised by how many successes you have had!

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