Homelearning disabilitiesHow to Stay Motivated: My Favorite Tricks

While I realize that discipline is one of the most important things to develop when reaching for a goal, motivation seems to be harder to grasp, especially for people with LD.

All that red is hard for a dyslexic child to
take and still stay motivated to do their
best.

It’s difficult to convey just how hard it is to stay motivated when everything, including your brain, works against you. To paraphrase something I was once told, it’s as if we work very hard to fail.

Those types of messages are incredibly damaging, especially to someone already flagging under the pressure. It’s little wonder so many of us fall into depressive spirals. I’m no different, but these are a few techniques that have helped me through the rougher times.

Accomplishments
When that familiar sense of hopelessness tries crushing me, I look back at things I’ve accomplished in the past.

Even something as simple as looking at pictures others have drawn of my characters is a wonderful motivator. Someone liked these people I’ve dreamed up enough to take the time to create art featuring them. How cool is that? It gives me hope that I can continue creating things others will enjoy, and maybe I can one day make a living off of making stuff up.

The existence of this humble blog is another motivator for me. Through it, I’ve met people from all around the world, from all walks of life, who face similar struggles as I have. Just knowing others have been helped by my writing keeps me going.

For kids and people just getting going on a more positive path, this could mean looking at completed projects, ongoing friendships, or completed schoolwork. If you were able to do those things, who’s to say you can’t do more?

No More “What If”
I’ll admit it. I’m a worrier. I have the horrible habit of thinking of ridiculous things, like “But what if a meteor falls from the sky and we have a nuclear winter and I’m the last woman alive and THERE’S NO MORE WI-FI?!”, then promptly freaking out about it.

Well, maybe that’s exaggerating a little bit. My anxiety is usually more in the shape of a fear of being assaulted, my husband getting stung by another bee and not having his emergency meds at hand, never getting work accepted or paid for, and that sort of thing. As silly as it may seem, I’ve actually lost sleep over that kind of stuff.

I’m still learning how to smoothly accept those thoughts and let them go. For now, I do my best to dismiss them, and take a minute to live in the moment. I take a deep breath, sip some hot coffee or tea, and focus on making my present better.

That might mean applying to more jobs, polishing fiction, researching markets or doing housework. “What if” is handy in story telling, but those two words need to take a back seat to focusing on what you need to do in the moment.

Taking a break after hiking to the Mississippi River a few years back.

Take a Break
This may run counter to the last point, but sometimes a break is best, especially when you’re working on something taxing. Much as I love doing it, reading and writing still exhausts me because of my dyslexia. My brain will always dedicate more effort to processing the information than the majority of the population, and if I want to stay motivated, I need to give it a rest.

This is true of any mental task, and more science is supporting that idea. Check out this great article from The New York Times for more info on that.

Breaks seem to be extraordinarily important for kids and those with specific sensory diet needs. In truth, we all have the need for various levels of sensory input, and moving around throughout the day can help satiate those needs.

In fact, some schools have taken that into account by installing exercise machinery in some classrooms or using yoga balls instead of chairs.

Personally, I’d like to one day pick one of those desk pedal exercisers up. I already sometimes use a yoga ball instead of my desk chair, but the ergonomics aren’t right to do that for too long.

There’s not much that can substitute for a real break, though.

I find that I get more high quality work done when I get up a few times between smaller projects in the morning and afternoon to do some yoga, Pilates or housework. Before shifting to my fiction efforts, I like going for walks, weather allowing. It’s so much easier to stay motivated when I pace myself.

While these things have helped me, so far, they may not help everyone. What are some of your favorite ways to stay motivated?

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