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> Back to Self-Care Excerpts List

Self-Care Excerpt from Don't Weight

Motivation is Like a Big Balloon

I don't know why, but for me, I think of a big red balloon. As you hear what I have to say, you will have to decide what color your balloon will be.

Picture your balloon. Imagine you have drawn your face on it. Whenever you think a positive thought about yourself, or ask a positive question, your balloon inflates. Whoosh! You can practically hear the air whoosh in. Whenever you deride yourself or say something negative to yourself, your balloon deflates. Eeee! The air seeps out with an ominous squeak.

This is a great metaphor for your motivation. When you feel bad about yourself, things seem hopeless and out of your reach: "What a slob", "Why can't I do this one simple thing", "I'm just lazy", "I never finish anything". I hear it. Do you? Eeee! Your motivation is seeping away. Your balloon is deflated and immobilized. You feel unable to succeed.

Fortunately, the opposite is also true. When you feel good about yourself, things seem possible. You feel your ability to affect your life and your situation: "That sure was a good start", "I wonder what clever solution I will find?", "I'm in this predicament for some reason, I wonder what I will learn?", "I sure gave myself a good morning", "That felt great". Whoosh! Your motivation is whooshing in. Your balloon is big and bright. You feel able to succeed.

Pay attention to how you talk to yourself. Notice how you think about yourself. Once you are aware of hurtful messages you give yourself, you can change your mind and give yourself constructive messages.

You may want to use writing on this topic to solidify this concept for yourself. What color is your balloon? Do you want to increase your awareness of what positive things you say to yourself? Would you like to increase your positive statements? Think about it and write some down that would apply to today. Are you a visual person? You might want to include some drawing or graphic of your balloon in your writing. When I wrote in "My Own Book", I actually put a balloon in an envelope taped to the page. That way I could actually take it out and blow it up. Feeling the air go in, hearing the air squeak out, really helped me to keep the concept in my head. Experiment with yourself and find what works best for you.

Think of your balloon and remember that positive thoughts will keep you motivated. Cultivate your positive thoughts. Practice appreciating your accomplishments and your efforts. Notice what makes you feel bad and reduce your exposure to those people, places, things, thoughts, and experiences. Motivation is not an accident or a serendipitous event. Motivation is cultivated by actively practicing the skill of positive (non-critical) thinking.

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