There is So Much to Celebrate in May, Start with The First Day
With the World Reopening, Get Your Motivation Back
“You’re always one choice away from changing your life”
May Day is happening over the weekend. It is officially the 1st day of May but actually is celebrated on the first Monday in May. Its origins date back to the ancient Roman era welcoming spring and summer, where dancing around the maypole, crowing the Queen of May, singing and handing out May baskets on your neighbor’s door-step were all part of the festivities. More recently in the late 1800’s, May Day became synonymous when International Worker’s Day was established. It’s always so interesting how much I learn every time I write a blog.
Also, this next week is National Teacher’s Day. Not quite sure what schools are open, but it’s always a great idea to honor our teachers of all grades. Then, one of our all-time favorites is Cinco de Mayo, which of course is on the 5th followed by National Prayer Day the first Thursday in May. And these represent only the first week.
As a side bar to National Prayer Day, please take a moment and scroll down to read the incredible story of the famous staircase located within the Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe, New Mexico
If we Boomers can’t find something to celebrate this next week, then we’re not looking hard enough, or we’ve just plain given up.
Frankly, the last comment is not an option. This pandemic has absolutely killed the motivation for many of us, but we can’t relent. We simply cannot give up. We need to spring ahead and keep moving forward with new ideas and inspirations. Afterall, spring is all about new birth. We need to be thankful and positive for all that we have, and grateful for everyday that we’re alive even with all the ups and downs we’ve experienced over the past year. Yes, our routine has been uprooted and interfered with in no uncertain terms, and if you watch too much news without a filter, you will feel the oppressive doom and gloom. With all that strife it’s hard to think about celebrating anything but trust me you can, and you will.
Motivation tends to drop when you feel a deficit in three key areas of your life: your autonomy, competence and relationships. A professor by the name of Lora Parker at the Self-Motivation Lab at the University of Buffalo tells us about steps to take to move forward. Who even knew there was that kind of study going on? Like I said previously, it’s amazing what I learn as I create these blogs.
Lora stated that COVID instantly wiped out most of our motivation for dealing with those factors. One reason she states is the goal posts kept moving. Remember in the early days when we were told about sheltering for three weeks, then three months, then six and nine months, and now we’re well over a year with a whole lot of uncertainty and lack of clarity. The good news, there are ways to set up your life and routine so that you feel more motivated about achieving your goals. And we are never too old not to have goals.
Here are four marvelous ways to get back our lost mojo.
CREATE DAILY RITUALS. A 2018 study out of Harvard University found that rituals—any predefined sequence of actions characterized by some amount of rigidity and repetition—increases people’s self-control and feelings of self-discipline. In other words, it doesn’t have to be this elaborate thing that requires 100% of your focus and energy, it can be a very small routine you do every day that starts your engine. Simple things like getting your exercise clothes ready first thing in the morning is considered a ritual by many experts. In addition, the simple and effective effort you make to take your dog out for their walk once or twice a day also falls under this category.
“Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going”
Lora Parker states over time rituals become automatic behavior traits, which then become habits which free up your mental energy to be able to focus on other things that require more attention. My BoomerGuy and I try to do some form of exercise to start our day; it gives us the motivation to do all that we want to achieve each day.
A side note, if you’re just starting to get into an exercise routine, you will most likely be a bit more tired and stiff during the first week or two until your body and mind adjust.
During the pandemic, our routine were upended and most of us were forced to be at home sitting in front of the TV and allowing our body, brains, and muscles to go on vacation mode wasting more time than ever before. We were used to a routine, whatever it might have been. Going to the grocery, working out at the local gym, playing with grandchildren, visiting family and friends, going to the library, playing a round of golf and going out to lunch and actually having a good time. Now is your opportunity to put those routines back into your life and get you back on track.
REWARD YOURSELF THE RIGHT WAY. This is a great one. Rewards can increase your motivation or desire to do more during the day. Experts say that the timing of the reward matters.
While you’re exercising listen to some of your favorite music or if you choose to use a treadmill watch an invigorating program on TV, and after you finish you notice a slight weight loss of a couple of pounds, take yourself out to shop or just browse, just to see pretty things will boost your mood.
A great way to reward yourself is when you tackle a tedious task, especially one you’ve been putting off, and you finish it. Pat yourself on the back and put a check mark in that box. DONE/ACCOMPLISHED, GREAT WORK, GOOD JOB, PHEW! Now you can look forward to more of these activities with a bit more resolve.
Every week I make out a note card and list the things I would like to get done that week. Some may be difficult, but most are rather mundane. You can’t believe the pleasure it gives me to check all those boxes. You can’t believe how motivated I am to create another note card for next week.
MAKE ROOM FOR MOMENTS OF POSITIVITY or finding ways to cultivate positive emotions every day. This can be as simple as watching a funny video, sending a text to a friend, calling and connecting with a loved one, going outside and getting dirty in your garden, to look at the beauty of nature, birds and cloud formations, or just sitting in the sunshine for a few minutes each day and soaking up the warmth on your body and soul. Research shows that experiencing positive emotions can improve your daily performance at whatever you choose to do, as well as your physical and mental health, social relationships, community involvement and financial well-being.
Negative emotions on the other hand tend to narrow your focus and make you not want to get out of your comfort zone. We absolutely need to kick this past year and this pandemic to the curb.
Throughout this past year my BoomerGuy and I have tried valiantly to stay as positive as we possibly could for our lives and for the lives of our Boomer and Senior readers on their journey to positivity and renewed motivation. In order for you to believe in it, you have to embrace it and live it.
DON’T BE TOO HARD ON YOURSELF. Easier said than done, right? There are two main types of motivation: intrinsic which is doing something for the pure enjoyment of the activity itself, and extrinsic, which is largely driven by external rewards for things that might be considered unpleasant, or you just don’t feel like doing.
It’s normal for your motivation to ebb and flow, depending on what it is you’re trying to do. You might start out rather extrinsically, then over time as you get good at something, it becomes part of your identity, then it becomes part of your daily routine, then it graduates into something that you truly enjoy and want to make it part of your every day or weekly ritual. An example of this would be my blogs. When I first started out, it was extraordinarily difficult for me to draft, write then publish something meaningful. Now, after over 100 blogs, it has become a mainstay to my weekly regimen, and I’m overjoyed with the effort because I truly believe I’m helping people. Namely you.
As we get back to life and some form of the old normal while attempting our routines, don’t be too hard on yourself if you find it difficult fitting back in. Unfortunately, the messages on the news are still mixed giving us a variety of ways to be confused. But step by step we will get there and resume our lives and get unstuck.
“Pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever”
However you choose to celebrate the various events this coming week, the spring season that is now upon us, and your renewed motivation for life, make it positive with good thoughts and gobs of inspiration. Go forth, wave at a neighbor, think of ways to get and stay motivated, spend time outdoors, go out safely to lunch or dinner with a friend or group, spend time with family and pay particular attention to your grandchildren.
I’m thankful for what I have, my BoomerGuy and all of you for joining me each and every week.
Your BoomerGal, Connie
Having actually been to this lovely historic chapel, I always marvel at the story and the beauty of the workmanship. Whether you are religious or not, just take a moment to revel in the grandeur of this staircase.…
“Three mysteries surround the spiral staircase in the Loretto Chapel: the identity of its builder, the type of wood used, and the physics of its construction.”
“When the Loretto Chapel was completed in 1878, there was no way to access the choir loft twenty-two feet above. The architect had died so carpenters were called in to address the problem, but they all concluded access to the loft would have to be via ladder as a staircase would interfere with the interior space of the small Chapel.
Legend says that to find a solution to the seating problem, the Sisters of the Chapel made a novena to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. On the ninth and final day of prayer, a man appeared at the Chapel with a donkey and a toolbox looking for work. Months later, the elegant circular staircase was completed, and the carpenter disappeared without pay or thanks. After searching for the man (an ad even ran in the local newspaper) and finding no trace of him, some concluded that he was St. Joseph himself, having come in answer to the sisters’ prayers.
The stairway’s carpenter, whoever he was, built a magnificent structure. The design was innovative for the time and some of the design considerations still perplex experts today.
The staircase has two 360 degree turns and no visible means of support. It is said that the staircase was built without nails—only wooden pegs. Questions also surround the number of stair risers relative to the height of the choir loft and about the types of wood and other materials used in the stairway’s construction.
Over the years many have flocked to the Loretto Chapel to see the Miraculous Staircase. The staircase has been the subject of many articles, TV specials, and movies including “Unsolved Mysteries” and the full-length movie titled “The Staircase”,starring William Petersen and Barbara Hershey.”
My sincere appreciation to Google Search, Pinterest and Wikipedia for their outstanding contribution to this story.