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How to Stay Motivated

“Failure is only a change in direction to set you straight for your next success.”

In the Chinese language, the symbols for the word “crisis” are translated literally as “Opportunity Riding on the Dangerous Wind.” In other words, crisis and opportunity are synonymous. Learning to persist and respond effectively through a crisis is the essence of personal growth. To avoid becoming depressed during a stressful period of your life, here are a dozen positive things you can do:

1. Stop stewing and start doing. Action is one of the best methods of overcoming depression. Walking, jogging, gardening, or any healthy activity can change the pattern of self-pity.

2. Remember Abe Lincoln! If you have lost your job and are insecure, this is the ideal time to look at history’s biographies to remember that persistence can turn adversity into greatness. As the Reverend James Keller once noted, “Abe Lincoln lost is job in 1832. He was defeated for the legislature, also in 1832. He failed in business in 1833. He was elected to the legislature in 1834. His sweetheart died in 1835. He suffered a nervous breakdown in 1836. He was defeated for Speaker in 1838. He was defeated for nomination for Congress in 1843. He was elected to Congress in 1846. He lost his renomination for Congress in 1848. He was rejected for land officer in 1849. He was defeated for the Senate in 1854. He was defeated for the nomination for vice president of the United States in 1856. He was again defeated for the Senate in 1858. Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States in 1860.”

3. Take stock in your BAG. Review your Blessings, Accomplishments, and Goals. You’ll be surprised how many reasons you have for being grateful, rather than depressed.

4. Visit a children’s hospital. When I am feeling sorry for myself, I visit the burn ward, children’s ward, or intensive-care ward at a local hospital. I strongly recommend stopping by an orphanage or home for the aged to give you a real perspective on your own earthshaking problems.

5. Surround yourself with winners. It’s easy to cry on the shoulders of the turkeys at the local bar, but it’s better to seek the company of eagles. They won’t have as much time to spend, but what they say will be worth every precious minute.

6. Turn off the TV. When you are down, the media can be a bad trip. Television programming is mostly negative, and so are the daily newspapers. Instead, read inspirational nonfiction, listen to uplifting music and cassettes, and congregate with optimists.

7. Take the blame and credit. Acknowledge your position in life honestly and openly.

8. Look at yourself honestly through other people’s eyes. Imagine being your parents, imagine being that person married to you. Imagine being your child. How do they view you?

9. Make a self-evaluation list of two columns. In the “I am” (or “Assets”) column, write down 10 things you are good at. In the other column, write down 10 things you need to improve on. Take the first three liabilities and schedule an activity to help you improve each of these three areas. Forget about the rest of your liabilities. Relish and dwell on all 10 of your best assets. They will take you anywhere you want to go in life.

10. Invest in your own knowledge and skill development. Since the only real security in life is the kind that is inside each of us, practice what Ben Franklin wrote: “If an individual empties his purse into his head, no one can take it from him.” Go to a nearby college and take a continuing-education course in some growth field.

11. Concentrate all your energy and intensity on the successful completion of your current goal. Forget about the consequence of failure. Failure is only a temporary change in direction to set you straight for your next success.

12. Learn to stay relaxed and friendly, no matter how much tension you are under. Instead of participating in group griping, single out someone or something to praise. Success gravitates to positive expectations. Everybody loves a winner!


Andrea Lambert, LMFT, a licensed counselor is an expert in working with life and relationship issues. She has been a professional in private practice in the Sacramento area for over 25 years. She leads a Self-Awareness Weekend which is an opportunity to heal and enhance enjoyment of life by releasing pent-up feelings and changing self-limiting beliefs. Call the Self-Awareness Institute at (866) 204-6384 or (916) 966-0411 for more information and dates.

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“At last! After many hours and dollars spent on therapy, this extraordinary program helped me to find my authentic self and save my marriage and has forever changed my life!”
– Cindy H., Orangevale, CA
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Self-Awareness Institute Counseling Center
5777 Madison Ave, Suite 307, Sacramento, California 95841
Toll Free (866) 204-6384  |  Direct Dial (916) 966-0411


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