How to dodge motivation drain and keep making progress

It’s no secret that musicians are familiar with the word “practice.” From the time you begin learning your instrument to the time you’re a master, you’re constantly told that consistent practice is the way to success. And it’s true! Famous musicians everywhere will tell you tales of the countless hours they’ve put into their craft. It’s hard work.

But we’ve all had those days where we don’t feel like practicing. And sometimes those days turn into weeks, months, and maybe even years. So, it’s important to learn how to keep yourself motivated early on in your music learning. In this article, we’re going to share with you 8 ways you can push through the practice slump!

1. Create a Practice Schedule

Keep in mind that not everyone functions the same way, and what some musicians may need, others may not. If you’re a consistently busy person, always on the move, creating a practice schedule might be a good way to keep yourself accountable.

It can be easy to put practice off or try to fit it into some free time, only to get caught up in another task. Creating a schedule for yourself will make practicing your instrument a priority. It might be at the same time every day, or you may have different windows of time, depending on the day. Schedule your practice time like you would schedule a class at school or a meeting at work.

2. Set Goals

If you’re taking lessons from a teacher, you may have obvious goals, like learning a piece for a recital or competition. However, if you’re practicing on your own, your goals might not be as clear.

First, set some big-picture goals. Maybe you want to learn a piece in a month or memorize it in two. Second, set some smaller goals for each practice session. This can be helpful even if you have a teacher! Whether you want to tackle that tough passage on page three or memorize the first twelve measures of a piece, commit to completing your practice session upon completion of the goal. As a result, you don’t have to look at your practice session as a certain amount of time, but rather as a goal to complete.

3. Change up the Repertoire

As some point or another, we’ve all encountered a piece of music we just didn’t like. One of the best ways to stay motivated to practice is to choose pieces you want to learn!

How to dodge motivation drain and keep making progress

If you’re taking lessons, don’t be afraid to talk to your teacher and ask for some new material. Your teacher may want you to learn a particular set of skills, but above anything, they want you to love music.

If you’re learning on your own, you can always take a break from a piece or two to learn something you really enjoy. Don’t feel guilty about learning something a little easier than your current level, and even better, accept the challenge if it’s more advanced! Check out some excellent sheet music arrangements for all skill levels and instruments at to find some fresh repertoire today.

4. Book a Gig

If you’re a musician that simply needs a deadline, a great way to motivate your practice is to book a gig or performance. The pressure of an audience waiting to hear you perform is likely to keep you accountable in your practice! And remember, practicing music is not like studying for a test. You can’t just cram the night before!

5. Reward Yourself

Because practicing is a part of most musicians’ routines, it can be easy to forget to reward yourself.

How to dodge motivation drain and keep making progress

Keep track of your accomplishments. When you complete a goal or have a really successful practice session, take yourself out for ice cream, see a movie, grab a new pair of shoes, or anything else that makes you happy! Don’t lose sight of the fact that you’re working hard and working towards something.

6. Take a Break

Like we said before, musicians are always hearing how important it is to practice. Even though it’s true, the pressure to practice every day can turn into a weight on the shoulders in the blink of an eye.

It’s okay to take a break. There. We said it! There will be days that you can’t practice, so don’t beat yourself up about it. Don’t feel like just because you missed a day or two that your whole career is going down the drain, because it’s absolutely not. Life happens to everyone, so if you miss a day, you miss a day. Spend an extra five minutes warming up when you get back to your instrument and keep moving forward.

In the same way, it’s okay to take breaks during your practice session. If you’re getting particularly frustrated with a passage or are feeling tired and unfocused, don’t be afraid to get up and do something else for a few minutes. Clear your mind and come back to your practice once you’re feeling refreshed.

7. Get an Accountability Partner

Sometimes we just need a little nudge from someone else. Whether you want that reminder from a friend, a parent, a spouse, or a fellow musician is up to you!

How to dodge motivation drain and keep making progress

You may even want to practice with someone else. For example, if you have to travel to a practice room, grab a friend, and commit to practicing at a specific time. Just like many people use a workout buddy, having someone with similar goals to tag along can be a great motivator.

8. Just Start!

We’ve all looked at a messy room and thought, I really need to clean this, but it’s going to take so long… Of course, the result is to put it off and deal with it later. And we all know that later means much, much messier.

It can be very easy to approach practicing in the same way. Instead of looking at how much you have to do or how long you’re about to spend practicing, just focus on the start. Whether it’s a slow warm up or playing through an old piece, once you get started, your mind will shift gears. In no time at all, you’ll be plugging away at your practice and making progress! They key is just to start.

We hope you now have a few more ideas about how to stay motivated in your musical practice. Click here to check out more tips for practicing your instrument on Musicnotes Now and get the most out of your practice time!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and make a purchase, Musicnotes will receive an affiliate commission. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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A minuscule focus on the caption—you’re making progress—can impart a vestige of hope that’ll help you make a headway; regardless, of the hurdles designed to hold you back. Progress isn’t that abstract as you may behold; resting on the idea that, it takes a long period of time to occur. The little progress you make each and every day add up to big results. Having this kind of mindset will aid you to appreciate the trivial advances you make in life, and as you will avoid the mirage you’ve created about progress

Where focus goes, energy goes.

Sometimes, you are inoperable; owing to the fact that, you have utterly failed to recognize the value of the little steps you take in life. Progress comes in bits, and when you see it this way, the tendency to focus on your dreams will always avail itself. Many people tend to give up on not envisioning the progress that they are making. They are forever and a day worried about being worthless, despite the change in seasons. They focus on the struggle, suffering, and sacrifice clipped to their goals and feel discouraged to hone themselves in quest of achieving them. Centering on such lame, and impotent excuses will only hold back your progress. You have to feel heartened to look forward to growing to suit our ambitions.

Focus on the journey – Become familiar with what it takes

You can’t give up on your dreams as a result of not seeing how fast you’re moving towards them. Now, full disclosure: Those who give up will forever fail in life. Giving up will cripple your steps forward, and go miles and miles to impinge on the country and the world at large. Regardless, of the slight advances, you are making in life, you don’t have to lose hope. The noteworthy people in our country are people who didn’t quit when the storms of life chanced on them. Being on familiar terms with this, what happens if you concede defeat? You will obviously embrace full-blown failure. So, it’s time for you to buckle your belt against your seat and sail through the negatives of life with stillness in our souls. The tides will always be stormy; hence, you have to learn to breeze through.

You are an unlimited being

Hit your strides to empty fear in our lives because it operates as a striking point to your progress. The world is waiting for you to rubbish your fears for it to buttress the steps you are yearning to take. You’ll forever be pacesetters, should you rule out fear. You can overcome anything—be it, failure, limitation, or troubles when you quench the fire of fear. Do yourself a favor today, and step out of fear as it is on the verge of changing your life for good.

Put some passionate fight into the journey

You must also learn not to take flight from things that take stabs at intimidating you—stand and fight with all your energy and passion. Running away from them will sternly create despair which has the muscle to phase in failure. And you should also never pave the way for people to drain the little efforts you are assembling. Because, if you give your blessing to that, and fail; they are the same people who’d laugh and demean us in lots of ways. Ignite your passion and work hard—forgo naysayers!

Give yourself the credit, you are doing well.

It is high time; you appreciate the little progress you are making, in that, you’ll be spurred not to quit when things are becoming tough. Despite what the situation may be, come to know that giving up on your dream isn’t an option. Doors open and close as they see fit, and owing to this, when you see them closed, don’t turn back—keep pressing on. Our breakthrough may just be nigh; however, what happens when you renounce your dreams? They’ll bite the dust, and failure will strongly dawn on us.

Know this – Success is Personal and Self-paced

Let’s always identify ourselves to ourselves because each and every one of us is unique. It is in getting a better understanding of who you are, and what you are capable of, that’ll help you to appreciate the little progress you are making in life. You must figure out how to avoid living to fulfill other’s dreams; rendering yours, inconsequential. In reality, the result of that is pain, discouragement, and breakdown. Step out of other’s dreams; and dream of your steps—essentially, your aspirations and visions—for you to change for the better.

Learn from the experienced

You’ve mirrored the lives of other people for a long time, and it is now time for you to cross such carpet, and be ourselves—the stage of our lives where you flaunt ourselves as you are; not pretending or playacting. You can’t be anyone: but you can be you. Learn from people you admire, but not imitate them, especially, in the area of how they talk, walk, or behave. Imitating will simply mitigate our abilities. When you get to know yourself better, you will not be hunted by the progress of others because passion will be acutely driving you towards your goals. You need your own time to travel your own distance; so, don’t compare your progress to that of others. Some vacate entitled to slow progress by no means regarding that slow progress is progress.


Allow yourself to be proud of ourselves and all the steps forward you have made so far; notably, the progress that no one beside us can get the message.

George Bernard Shaw affirmed: “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

How to dodge motivation drain and keep making progress

3 days a week I work with the college wrestlers and man, we thrash that weight room! The energy is through the roof and that is an understatement.

The culture of what happens with your team is a HUGE key to their success. A dialed in, consistent off season training program is a make or break factor for a wrestling team’s success.

Unfortunately, most teams don’t have Coaches who organize a team plan be it in wrestling or strength & conditioning. The Coach who organizes this aspect of a wrestling training program is going to be part of a winning team.

For me, training Wrestlers is simply THE BEST. Here’s why.

They are THE athletes who understand hard work and being Relentless. Yes, other athletes also “get it” but Wrestlers tend to be on a different level. And of course, I am talking about the highly motivated wrestlers.

There are plenty of wrestlers as well as other athletes out there who are perfectly happy with average. That being said, THIS article is for the Wrestling Coach / Wrestling Parent / Wrestler who IS Fired up and wants to WIN BIG time.

For the most part, wrestlers don’t get too caught up in the fads and gimmicks. They’re not asking me about the speed ladder or first step quickness, they are asking about the KEY factors that have been proven for centuries to develop winning athletes:

  • Stronger
  • Faster
  • Tougher
  • Building Functional Muscle Mass

The most successful wrestlers, and other athletes, train year round. They train in season, not just during the off season. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that if you STOP training in season you will LOSE strength.

Loss of strength has been proven to have a negative impact on speed, recovery, confidence and more. A recent podcast with Tim Ferriss discusses research studies done on sprinters showing a positive correlation of how strong a sprinter is on the Trap Bar Deadlift and his / her running speed.

Other exercises were tested as well but the Trap Bar Deadlift had the best correlation of, if you get stronger on this lift, you get faster! As Mark Bell says, Strength is Never a Weakness.

How to dodge motivation drain and keep making progress

That being said, let me share with you some simple strength training tips for Wrestlers.

If you have a basic weight room set up in your garage or at a school, you can follow these basic Wrestling Strength Tips.

1) The Old standard of 5 x 5 works great for wrestlers.

– 5 x 5 is a solid blend of strength and muscle building. This doesn’t mean you always do 5 x 5, but it’s a solid set up and I use it often, but certainly not always.

– I like to couple a strength movement with an explosive movement such as a jump variation or med ball throw. This is the contrast method and for wrestlers, it is excellent for developing strength & power.

– I don’t always use 5 x 5 on the big lifts, it does vary but it’s a standard that has always been great for wrestlers.

2) Wrestlers love variety, BUT, too much variety is a downfall.

– Excess variety does not allow the wrestler to track progress and force adaptation, aka get stronger & faster. So if you’re going crazy switching the workouts all the time, you will hinder strength gains. More so than people know, lifting weights is a skill.

Learning how to properly Squat, Deadlift, Clean, etc requires repetition. Strength is a skill.

I like to have our wrestlers follow a program for 2 or 3 weeks and focus on making progress, doing better than week 1. I explain this entire training system in The Encyclopedia of Underground Strength.

The more experienced my wrestlers are in lifting, the more variety they get. Beginners and intermediates need less variety in the lifts, but, you certainly can vary the sets and reps.

3) Focus on athleticism.

Wrestlers need to be athletic.

This is why our warm up includes a lot of sprint work, mini hurdles, gymnastics and even games such as Ultimate Football or Dodge Ball.

Being the strongest wrestler in the weight room isn’t the end all be all. I’ve seen lots of strong wrestlers in the weight room but on the mat they were unable to express or translate their strength into a high level of wrestling performance.

You have to be Agile, Mobile and Hostile.

This is why we do a lot of throwing, jumping, sprinting and gymnastics drills.

4) It’s good to have some breaks from wrestling during the year.

Either play another sport in middle or high school or at the very least, pick up on Freestyle and Greco wrestling.

The 1 thing that NEVER stops is training.

You must always train.

Training does NOT always need to be in a weight room.

It can be a Playground Bodyweight Workout like the video below, or it can be Swimming, Biking, etc.

5) Training NEVER Ends.

You always have to train.

Sure, after the season you take a week off and maybe in the Summer you can take a week off.

Otherwise, a Wrestler is always working.

You’re always on the hunt to get better.

I will leave it at that.

If you’re a Coach, your wrestlers need YOU to lead them.

The younger kids nowadays don’t all have the guidance and so they need leadership.

The team that struggles together gets stronger together.

Sign up for team camps and tournaments together.

Build your knowledge with our hundreds and hundreds of Wrestling Strength programs and tips inside The Underground Strength Academy.

I was just searching inside The Academy and typed in “Minimalist Wrestling” and a long list of workouts and Videos popped up.

How to dodge motivation drain and keep making progress

Get after it and OWN the day!

Live The Code 365,


How to dodge motivation drain and keep making progressWhether you’re just beginning your weight-loss journey or struggling to lose those last few pounds, keeping your motivation up starts to become a struggle. “While you might think you just need to magically summon more willpower, in reality, it’s normal to sink into old habits when you’re tired, stressed or feeling deprived,”

says Kim Peek, a motivational speaker and certified running coach. That’s why it’s important to have a plan. “You need to develop habits and behaviors that support your goals,” adds Amy Silver, RD.

Here, nine easy ways you can boost your motivation and lose weight:


Ask yourself why you’re trying to lose weight and adopt a healthy lifestyle. “When health goals are linked to a deeper meaning like feeling confident enough to ask for a promotion or being able to be more active in your child’s life, you get an extra push to work toward them,” says Allison Tibbs, a certified personal trainer and healthy lifestyle coach based in San Francisco. Then, envision your ideal situation and create visual reminders to keep your goal front and center, from inspirational quotes and photos to putting together a vision board. “Place notes of encouragement in your kitchen, on your computer screen and your bathroom mirror to keep yourself on track,” suggests Tibbs.


Negative self-talk can be huge motivation drain, and often, you predict your own failures when you know you have a habit of starting then quitting, explains Peek. But your behaviors begin with how you think about yourself. Adopt a perspective of positivity and fuel your weight loss with “I am” statements, she suggests. For example, when you start to think, “Yeah, sure, I’m never going to stick to this workout routine,” tell yourself: “I am the type of person who exercises.” Instead of thinking “I can’t eat that because I’m on a diet,” reframe it to: “I am someone who fuels my body with nutritious food that gives me the energy to strength train.” The more you revise your script, the more you’ll begin to believe in it and change your actions accordingly.


“Goal-setting and having measurable markers of progress is crucial to staying motivated and enjoying exercise, too,” says Nick Mitchell, certified strength and conditioning coach and global CEO of Ultimate Performance. While it’s tempting to aim high, especially when you’re feeling optimistic, unrealistic goals zap your motivation when you invariably fail to reach them. On the other hand, amorphous goals like ‘I want to lose weight and get fit,’ are impossible to track. Instead, go for SMART goals, which are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound, says Mitchell. For example: “I want to lose 20 pounds of body fat in 15 weeks so I can look great and feel good for my bachelor party.”


Next, make your weight-loss goals even simpler: “Having a big, long-term goal that seems far away can sometimes be demotivating, so setting smaller, more achievable performance goals along the way will keep training fresh and interesting,” explains Mitchell. Start by trying to fix one habit or one area of your life that will have the greatest impact, he suggests. Think: Upping your step count by 1,000 steps per day, consistently tracking your food intake or drinking more water each day.


Keeping track of the basics (like your workouts, daily step count and food intake) gives you valuable data that demonstrates your progress, and nothing is more motivating than seeing results, says Mitchell. Schedule time each day or week to log your successes and setbacks, reflect and plan ahead in a journal. Take note of how you feel after your workout or meals as well, suggests Peek. Then, when you’re feeling low on motivation, flip through to remind yourself of your strengths and accomplishments so far.


It’s easy to lose motivation if you never take the time to acknowledge your accomplishments along the way. If you stick to a commitment for a week, reward yourself, says Angie Fifer, PhD, a sport and exercise psychologist. For example, treat yourself to a new Netflix show, a massage, a healthy dessert or a new pair of walking shoes. “Rewards are important reminders you’re making progress, even if you can’t quite see the end goal yet,” she says.


When the number on the scale just won’t drop, your motivation can tank — even though weight-loss plateaus are often part of the process. Rather than dwelling on the number, “find an article of clothing that is a bit snug or doesn’t fit,” says Tibbs. “As you move through your journey, try on that dress or pair of pants to see how it fits differently.” Better yet, take weekly or monthly progress photos so you can see your body composition change over time, adds Mitchell.


If you’re feeling down about the number on the scale, there’s nothing wrong with limiting weigh-ins to once a week or adding different measurements to reboot your motivation, says Silver. For example, consider measuring your body fat percentage, waist circumference and hip circumference so you can see other numbers changing, suggests Silver.


To make weight loss sustainable, it should also be enjoyable. “Take a cooking class or stop by your neighborhood farmers market for fresh ideas to keep your taste buds happy,” suggests Silver. Similarly, if you’re bored with your normal workout routine, “change things up by trying a new group exercise class or taking a walk with a friend.”

The only thing holding you back is confidence and here’s what you can do about it.

How to dodge motivation drain and keep making progress

Aug 13, 2019 · 5 min read

The biggest thing holding you back from success is your confidence. I’ve seen it happen so many times in my own career. As a people manager, I’ve seen it happen countless times more in others.

You know what you want to do. You know what you need to do to get it. But you never end up doing it. All because of the simple fact that you lack the confidence to get started.

It’s the nagging voice that doubts every single plan or achievement you’ve made in life. It preys on our insecurities and rewards us with every counterproductive possibility imaginable.

It’s also the one thing you are already equipped to overcome. Unlike Baby, you can put doubt in a corner and never let it out again.

I know you can be successful and I want you to know it as well. The fact that you’re here reading this tells me you have the motivation.

What you need now is the belief. The confidence to start today. The encouragement to take it one step at a time, find your stride, and reach your goal.

What follows are my simple, but powerful, tips that can help you build your confidence.

Here’s the funny thing about self-confidence it’s the one thing you can get worse at without ever practicing.

You can sit there, do nothing, never start your career as a writer, graphic designer, entrepreneur, etc. and your skills in those areas will not decline.

Your confidence, however, will continue to plummet the more you sit there frozen by inaction.

The only way to improve your confidence and reach your goal, as I wrote a couple of weeks ago, is to just start doing.

Confidence, like most things, is something that’s developed over time. It’s built by taking action and realizing you are capable of learning new skills.

The biggest thing to keep in mind is that this is your goal. It’s meant to be walked, jogged, or sprinted at your pace and no one else’s.

If your goal is to run a half-marathon and today is the first day you’ve laced up your shoes, that’s a success.

If your goal is to publish a novel and today is the first day you’ve compiled a list of potential editors to review your draft, that’s a success.

If your goal is to start your business and today you made your first cold call, regardless that it ended in voice mail, that’s a success.

Inaction leads us nowhere and its damage is much harder to recover from. Doubt grows as we refrain from taking action. It’s an intangible and complex web of possibilities where somehow everything goes poorly and we’re not good.

Imagine coming across the reverse of those odds. Our skepticism radars would be off the chart and yet we let doubt parade its pile of negative what-ifs as fact.

The best way to battle doubt and undo the web of what-ifs is to take action. Take away the power of the unknown and make it practical. Show yourself exactly what you can accomplish. Your confidence will only benefit from taking action.

Another way to send doubt packing is by tracking your progress. It’s very difficult to play mind games with ourselves about what we can’t do when what we have done is laid out in front of us.

I have three very specific tips when it comes to tracking your progress. These tips will help you avoid this exercise becoming a chore, draining your motivation, and subsequently stagnating your progress.

Tip #1: Track progress visually — The recency effect plays a big factor here. Take the guesswork out of it and track your progress where you will see it daily. You’ll be surprised at both the energy and confidence boost adding a tick or checking off a box can provide.

Tip #2: Track progress positively — Most people track progress negatively — What remains to achieve their goal. They end up spending the most crucial days early in their goal looking at a massive confidence draining gap between where you are and where you want to be. Often causing a major loss of motivation and confidence.

Instead, track progress positively compared to yesterday. For example:

Recording that you ran 1.5 miles today versus 1 mile the day before on your way to a half marathon.

Recording that you ran 1.5 miles today out of the 13+ you still need for your half marathon.

I’ll leave you to decide which is the bigger confidence booster of the two.

Tip #3: Track progress for only as long as it helps — Creating mini-goals and tracking your progress can be great to build up your confidence. But, let’s be honest sometimes they get in the way of your end goal.

Pause or stop tracking them the moment they drain your motivation. Tracking progress is a tool, and its purpose as a tool is to motivate and build your confidence. The moment it stops serving that purpose means it’s time to stop and switch things up.

Even if you do follow the above steps there will be moments when you fail. It’s important to accept and embrace the fact that adversity will occur. It doesn’t mean that your doubts were correct and you should give up.

Failure means you’re learning, you’re doing something new, you’re growing. Look at failure as an opportunity to learn and gain even more confidence.

Think back to a time when you overcame failure. The sense of accomplishment that came with it and the confidence you now have with that particular skill.

Now compare those same feelings to something that you’ve experienced very little failure or lack of confidence.

Overcoming failure requires a lot of mental effort between uncovering exactly what went wrong and the trial and error it takes until you get it right. You end up gaining valuable insight and experience that boosts your confidence much than when you only experience success.

Rather than allow your doubts to feed on your failures, allow yourself to leverage these opportunities to learn and boost your confidence.

It’s time to stop letting doubt and fear get in the way of living your life. Adversity doesn’t need to dictate your success and perfection isn’t required to reach your goals.

Having the confidence to get started is required to reach your goals and being bold in the face of adversity will dictate your success.

Begin by taking small steps. Prove to yourself, and no one else, that you are capable of making progress. Take the opportunity failure provides you to further grow as an individual. Whatever your goal, be bold and confident.

I challenge you, today, to lace up those running shoes, write down that list of editors, make that first phone call. Embrace the journey and celebrate every step you take along the way.

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” Hellen Keller

I don’t know about you, but the first quarter of 2018 has been a challenge for me. Why?

Because Life Got In The Way Of My Business.

Has this happened to you?

Between a lingering illness and family issues, my first quarter goals went unachieved and are now second-quarter goals.

I have to admit I was angry, disappointed and discouraged… but I know it’s all part of the journey on the path to achieving my dreams.

It’s easy to get discouraged when you look at everything you planned to do and got ZERO accomplished, and you have to keep pushing out your deadlines. Not fun!

But… it’s important to stay the course. Every step forward is a step closer to your dreams.

So, you may have a misstep or even a back step but don’t let it stop you. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back on the horse. For only you can make your dreams a reality.

Stop letting life get in the way. Try a few of these helpful tips:

  1. Look at how far you’ve already come. You wouldn’t have made it this far if you let life stop you.
  2. If you have a Success Jar, read what you’ve accomplished. If you don’t have one – create one.
  3. Stop beating yourself up because you’re not where you “should” be yet.
  4. Don’t compare yourself to others or where they are in their journey. They have their path and you have yours.
  5. Never stop trying. You’re not alone in your struggle – everyone has to deal with distractions.
  6. Your thoughts determine how you feel. If you think you’re overwhelmed, you will feel it. Work on changing your thoughts.
  7. Ask yourself “What’s the alternative?” In other words, what will I do if I stop trying? Will I achieve my dreams? As Jiminy Cricket said, “Let your conscience be your guide.”
  8. Unplug for a day or two. Sometimes getting away from it all is the best cure.
  9. And remember… you’re important; without you, there is no business. Take care of yourself!

How do you handle life’s hiccups?

I’d love to hear your comments. Please take a moment to leave me a comment and share your thoughts.

Please share if you know someone who might benefit from this information.

How to dodge motivation drain and keep making progress

You’ve been keeping an eye out for all the usual triggers…

…and you did what you could to dodge another binge…

But somehow, you find yourself smack dab in the middle of one.

One minute everything’s fine, and the next you’re on a runaway train that’s picking up speed.

So what do you do? Is it even possible to stop a binge in progress?

When you ask for help, most people turn into Captain Hindsight and tell you everything you *should’ve* done.

— Just eat more and don’t let yourself get so hungry.

— Why don’t you throw out all your trigger foods?

— You should drink more water.

Now, don’t get me wrong. All that “could” be helpful…

…but it’s good advice at the wrong time.

A client in our 1:1 coaching program described his binges to me like this…

“It feels like I’m battling a giant. He’s beating me. He won’t stop. And there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it.”

See, when you’re getting tossed around, you don’t need more of the same old advice…

…you need an eject button!

Something that’ll get you out of there — and quick.

So let’s talk about an escape plan.

Now, there’s no sense in sugar-coating it. Because it’s going to take some effort and it’s not always going to be pretty.

And I’m telling you this because it’s important to set the expectation up front.

But you *can* stop a binge.

And the chances are you already know how.

(In fact, you’re probably better at it than you think.)

As much as we might not like to admit it, at some point, we’ve all found ourselves caught up in a heated argument.

And you probably remember how you tried to avoid getting into it.

You let the first comment go and told yourself…

“Stay calm. Take the high road. They’ll get over it soon.”

But they just kept throwing jab after jab until you finally burst into an all-out verbal assault.

Harsh words are flying back and forth…

…and to say emotions are high is an understatement.

You try to calm things down, but every word feels like you’re throwing more gas on the fire.

But in the middle of all this…

There’s a point when you gain a brief moment of clarity.

When you hear your inner voice — the voice of reason — step in and say…

“What are you doing? This isn’t you. Stop. Just stop and walk away.”

You see, when you’re mid-binge, you have that exact same moment of clarity…

…and you hear that inner voice telling you to take a step back.

And that moment is what you’re looking for.

So when it comes, you’ve got to grab onto it and hold on with everything you’ve got…

Use that moment of clarity to call on every ounce of energy and resolve you have left. Use it to push back and to walk away. Use it to separate yourself from the situation.

You know you have to get out of there because you know how this is going to play out.

Right now, you need one thing and one thing only — distance.

And with it, you give yourself the gift of time. Time to regain your composure and the opportunity to start over.

Take a minute to breathe, brush your teeth to reset your pallet, or open the door and get outside. The idea is to do anything that’ll put some space between you and your binge.

When you’re in the middle of a binge, grab ahold of that moment of clarity, and use it to muster the energy and get the distance you need.

Don’t let getting caught in a binge make you think this is a lost cause.

I know a binge makes you feel powerless, like you have no control.

But that’s just fear, discomfort, and resistance trying to make you believe you can’t do it. You see, it doesn’t want you to change, and it’ll do any and everything it can to get you to stop.

— It’ll make you feel like you failed because you had a slip-up.

— That you’re not making progress fast enough.

— Or that maybe this is just your cross to bear.

But that’s so wrong.

Mistakes and slip-ups are proof of progress, and the only mistake you can make is the fear of making a mistake.

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If you could watch your brain for just five minutes, you would probably freak about the different things you try to understand, process, analyze, retrieve, and commit to memory.

It’s a complex process. Hundreds of thoughts cross your mind every day.

Most people have a tendency to let things build up and procrastinate until they get overwhelmed.

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When your brain is restless and stressed, you will begin to fall out of healthy routines and habits.

But you can fix that.

Organize all things in your brain with a brain dump

“If you’re serious about becoming a wealthy, powerful, sophisticated, healthy, influential, cultured, and unique individual, keep a journal.” — Jim Rohn

Ever wondered why history’s great minds including Isaac Newton, Abraham Lincoln, Andy Warhol, Leonardo Da Vinci, Marcus Aurelius, Charles Darwin, Winston Churchill, Benjamin Franklin, Ernest Hemingway, George Bernard Shaw and Maya Angelou would spend so much of their precious time writing things that will never be seen by another soul?

Writing things down helps you prioritize, clarify thinking, and accomplish your most important tasks, over urgent busy work.

It’s the best way to clear your thoughts and organize your ideas.

Judy Willis MD, a neurologist, and former classroom teacher explains:

“The practice of writing can enhance the brain’s intake, processing, retaining, and retrieving of information … it promotes the brain’s attentive focus … boosts long-term memory, illuminates patterns, gives the brain time for reflection, and when well-guided, is a source of conceptual development and stimulus of the brain’s highest cognition.”

Want to unload all of those random thoughts swirling about in your head? You need a brain dump-a repository, as it were, for all things YOU.

What exactly is a brain dump?

A brain dump is an act of getting all of your thoughts out of your head so you are able to focus on one idea at a time.

It’s basically a time to organize everything on your mind: your worries, questions, needs, wants, important and urgent tasks, and everything on your mind.

Those things get stuck in your mind over time, distracting you regularly from the things you need to do.

The point of a brain dump is to capture the full picture of everything you need and want to do.

This is one of many ways to declutter your mind, and it can be done in a matter of minutes.

It’s a powerful tool for that can make you feel in control of your life.

If you tend to keep all your thoughts and ideas in your head, your brain will keep bringing them up over and over, making you feel overwhelmed.

You don’t want that, especially if you want mental clarity to focus on your most important things every day.

Remove scattered notions from your mind and get them all down, then organize and follow up with ease.

Take a mental load off-it’s relaxing.

Barnet Bain, producer of the Oscar-winning film What Dreams May Come and author of The Book of Doing and Being: Rediscovering Creativity in Life, Love, and Work, says a brain dump is a fertile starting point for any creative project.

When to do a brain dump

If you can manage it, a daily brain dump at the end of the day can prepare you for the next morning.

You can get this done in 10 minutes or less.

It’s the best way to start your day without thinking too much about everything you have to do.

At the end of each day, look back at what you accomplished, what you learned, what you want to follow-up on tomorrow, and what you want to pursue tomorrow.

Aim for 5 to 10 minutes of uninterrupted time to brain dump, ideally the same time every day.

If a daily brain dump is not achievable, you can commit to a weekly schedule.

You can do it towards the end of each week , on a Thursday or Friday. It’s the best time to review your week and note down everything you were able to accomplish and what need to focus on next week.

Here are some other times it’s a good idea to write your thoughts down

  • When you have a busy schedule; it helps to prioritize your tasks.
  • When you feel overwhelmed. It pays to take a break and reset.

How do you successfully drain dump?

It’s a simple process.

You can use paper, notecards, a whiteboard, a Word document, an electronic device; any medium that will let you get ideas out of your brain as quickly as possible.

Now, start writing everything down.

Don’t hold back and don’t limit yourself. Let your brain jump around!

Cover everything you need to do, should do, have thought about doing, should think about doing, anything and everything without any sort of priority.

What is necessary, important, or urgent?

Write it all down.

Now step away after the process, and take a minute break.

Shortly after your brain dump session, get back to your list and start organizing the items.

Start organizing your list, prioritizing, grouping everything you’ve written down.

You may change these groups over time, so just choose the simplest ones to begin with.

Mine include writing, self-development, personal projects, friends/family, and relaxation/hobbies.

You just finished a brain dump!

If you keep practicing, it will become a habit.

This may feel overwhelming at the beginning. But you’ll also feel accomplished and in control with time.

Regular brain dumps will help you advance goals and get things done!

This article was originally published by Medium.

Similar to a muscle, willpower can be strengthened overtime. But people have a set amount of willpower and if it is overused, it can be depleted.

How to dodge motivation drain and keep making progress

Many people believe they could improve their lives if only they had more of that elusive quality known as willpower or self-control. With more self-control everyone would eat right, exercise regularly, avoid drugs and alcohol, save for retirement, stop procrastinating, and achieve all sorts of noble goals.

Willpower is the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals. Some might simply describe it as delaying gratification for a specific purpose. People use willpower every day, in one form or another, whether it is resisting the urge to surf the Web when there is work to do or choosing a salad for lunch instead of a burger.

The American Psychological Association’s Stress in America TM survey revealed that lack of willpower was the most significant barrier to change. Yet although many people blame imperfect willpower for their imperfect choices, it is clear they haven’t given up hope. A majority of respondents believe that willpower is something that can be learned.

Is willpower a limited resource?

Similar to a muscle, willpower can be strengthened overtime. 1 But, people have a set amount of willpower and if it is overused, it can be depleted. A growing body of research suggests that repeatedly resisting temptation may drain stores of willpower.

However, researchers don’t believe that one’s willpower is ever completely exhausted. Rather, people appear to hold some willpower in reserve for future demands. The right motivation allows people to tap into those reserves and persevere even when self-control strength has been run down.

While muscles become fatigued by overuse in the short term, they are strengthened by regular exercise in the long term. People can learn to use willpower more effectively so their resources go further and, as with muscles, may even be able to strengthen it.

Research shows there are three steps to achieving your goals: 2

  • Establish motivation for change and set a clear goal
  • Monitor behavior working toward that goal
  • Exercise willpower to prepare for success

What can you do?

Certain strategies have been shown to help build up self-control:

  • Focus on one goal at a time: Psychologists have found that it is more effective to focus on a single, clear goal rather than taking on a list of goals at once. Succeeding at the first goal will free up willpower so it can then be devoted to the next goal. Work on one behavior at a time like going for a 45 minute walk a few times every week or setting aside 20 minutes every day to study for upcoming exams.
  • Avoid temptations. Avoiding temptations is an effective tactic for maintaining self-control. It can be helpful to keep temptations out of the house or, at the very least, out of sight. This “out of sight, out of mind” approach works for all sorts of scenarios. For example, it’s important to have a workspace conducive to studying with minimal distractions. When people need to focus, they might want to turn off their phone, sign out of email, and eliminate any other distractions from their environment.
  • Make a plan. Having a plan in place may help people resist temptations without having to draw on willpower, research suggests. 3 Decide ahead of time how to react to situations that are likely to foil resolve. For example, someone who is watching their alcohol intake might say before a party, “If anyone offers me a drink, then I’ll ask for a club soda with lime.” Having a plan in place ahead of time allows people to make decisions in the moment without having to draw on willpower.
  • Monitor behavior toward the end goal: Make a reasonable plan to meet the end goal and recommit each day to making progress toward that goal. If reducing spending is the objective, keep track of where all money is being spent. Research shows that often recording behavior makes people more aware and helps to change that behavior.
  • Reward yourself. When you reach milestones, reward yourself for a job well done, but make sure the reward does not conflict with the change you are trying to make, like eating a bowl of ice cream because you lost five pounds. Instead, take time to engage in another pleasurable but healthy activity. For example, if you’re working on a tight deadline, get up and move around every so often to reward yourself with a break.
  • Get sufficient sleep. Sleep deprivation can affect how the mind and body use energy, which affects the ability to resist temptation. When people don’t get enough sleep, their willpower is more likely to fail. However, even just one night of quality sleep can help to boost self-control. 4
  • Seek support: Research shows that having support systems can help people reach their goals. Surround yourself with people you trust and who you know will be supportive of your goals and willing to help you succeed.

How a psychologist can help

If you are trying to improve your self-control, a psychologist can help. Psychologists are trained to help people identify problem areas and then develop an action plan for changing them.

Many questions about the nature of self-control remain to be answered by further research. Yet it seems likely that with clear goals, good self-monitoring and a little practice, people can train their willpower to stay strong in the face of temptation.

The American Psychological Association’s Practice Directorate gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Linda Alverson-Eiland, PhD, Mary K. Alvord, PhD, Lynn Bufka, PhD, Mary Gresham, PhD, Mark Muraven, PhD, David J. Palmiter, PhD, Ron Palomares, PhD, and Richard G. Tedeschi, PhD.

The full text of articles from APA Help Center may be reproduced and distributed for noncommercial purposes with credit given to the American Psychological Association. Any electronic reproductions must link to the original article on the APA Help Center. Any exceptions to this, including excerpting, paraphrasing or reproduction in a commercial work, must be presented in writing to the APA. Images from the APA Help Center may not be reproduced.


1 Baumeister, R.F., Bratslavsky, E., Muraven, M., Tice, D.M. (1998). Ego depletion: Is the active self a limited resource? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74(5), 1252–1265.

2 Baumeister, R., & Tierney, J. (2011). Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength. New York: Penguin Press.

3 Duckworth, A.L., Grand, H., Loew, B., Oettingen, G. & Gollwitzer, P.M. (2010). Self-regulation strategies improve self-discipline in adolescents: Benefits of mental contrasting and implementation intentions. Educational Psychology, 31, 17–26.

4 McGonical, K. (2012). The willpower instinct: How self-control works, why it matters, and what you can do to get more of it. New York, NY: Avery/Penguin Group USA