How to Turn Your Challenges Into Motivation
Challenges know no race, gender, nor socioeconomic status. This is particularly evident to us here at Lifeline Connections because we receive individuals from every background and walk of life. You could go from rags to riches, but lose the love of your life. You could always have the love of your life and be constantly struggling to support yourself financially. You can be a woman or man, rich or poor, and still struggle with addiction. We get it. So much so, that we feel it’s best to help you understand how you can take those challenges and turn them into motivation- rather than stay a victim to circumstance. You see, challenges will always come; but what determines the outcomes of those challenges depends on you. Here are some idea on how to morph your challenges into motivation for better circumstances.
Challenges are an opportunity.
Henry Ford is noted to have said, “Failure is the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” What is so significant about this quote is how he takes something negative – failure – and turns it into something positive – opportunity. If you spend your life just living out your circumstances or waiting for the next break, you are completely leaving your fate up to chance. Instead, think of each negative challenge in your life as something that brings you opportunity. For example, suppose someone cuts you off while driving, think of this as an opportunity to practice patience. Or on a more serious note, let’s say that you relapsed again. As heartbreaking it may be for you or your loved ones, think of it as an opportunity to evaluate some potential triggers in your life that you may not have considered before – and then evaluate how to avoid that trigger.
If you start to believe that personal development is born from challenges, you will begin to feel less out of control of your circumstances, and more motivated to live your life on your terms, not someone else’s.
Use negative energy as a motivator.
You may hate to feel angry, uncomfortable, or sad, so you do whatever you can to mask it. However, these feelings are normal and can be used as a tool for appropriate decision-making. It may make you angry when your son gets bad grades, but instead of trying to get rid of that anger you can own it and then use it. Tell your son that it upsets you when it seems like he isn’t working hard in school or that you’re afraid he will miss a great college opportunity if he continues to get bad grades. Then, ask him what he thinks you both need to do to help him do better.
Here is another suggestion from advancedlifeskills.com for using discomfort as a motivating factor: “First I agitate the discomfort by looking at the negative ways I am experiencing it. Then I acknowledge the direction I need to go in order to move toward a solution. Finally, I challenge myself, make a commitment, and use the discomfort as rocket fuel to accomplish my new goal.”
Start with one good decision, then allow more good decisions to follow.
It is difficult to switch from a negative trajectory to a positive. It is much easier to start with one good decision and then move onto more good decisions. This is often the case with healthy dieting goals. When you start your day eating a donut instead of a piece of fruit, chances are that you will end your day having made a lot more unhealthy choices. Make a plan, and then start with one step at a time. Get yourself onto one good step and then look forward to the next step. One small good decision after another is all it takes to build healthy habits and then eventually you will be able to take the harder, bigger steps later.
One good “first step” to changing the challenge into opportunity is to take responsibility for your actions. Recognize that you made a mistake. This is necessary because it empowers you. If you are constantly thinking about how your circumstances have caused your challenge, you will never feel motivated to change it. If you understand that you made choices, and possibly some bad ones, you will feel motivated to fix it and try again. It will also help you develop important virtues like forgiveness.
Everyone faces challenges, and likely in every stage of life. With a better perspective, you will be able to take those challenges and convert them into becoming a very important part of your character and experiential development. Look to these tips when you are starting to feel like you aren’t sure where to turn, and hopefully you will find some inspiration. Don’t feel ashamed if you can’t do it yourself. If you are feeling the need for a little, or even a lot, of help with your substance abuse recovery, that is exactly what we want to do for you. Go ahead and give us a call to help you discover your custom treatment plan 360-397-8246 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to hear from you.