When is the last time you felt stuck? Out of routine, out of habit, out of hope in what once was and is no longer. While I imagine it’s not entirely impossible, we can’t rely on a random wave of motivation to turn the tide. Time doesn’t always allow the luxury of waiting for luck to strike.
I’m someone who intentionally avoids looking in the rear-view mirror too often, avoiding regret, the could-a, should-a, would-a of my decisions. The future holds hope, it’s comforting there. Here’s what is also true. Sometimes, looking back reminds us why. Looking back interrupts the current pattern. Looking back reminds us of a time when things were different. Taking a moment to look at what’s behind us can be the beginning of inspiration and motivation in taking steps necessary to get where we want to go.
When we can remember a time when all was in flow, where we wanted to be, we are also reminded of what is still possible. This week has been one of getting back in routine and habit after some time away with family. I’ve struggled with motivation and inspiration to start again. Instead of wishing on a change of heart, I’ve instead spent some time remembering when. A different time, a different story. In recalling the details, accessing all the senses, I can remember what it looks and feels like to be back in regular routine of work and self-care. Remembering the feeling of accomplishment inside the effort, progress and productivity.
We can set-up life habits to do the work of remembering. Maybe you’re trying to preserve a memory of a curious, engaged moment with someone you love or you want to be able to remember what it feels like to cross the finish line of a hard earned race you’ve spent months training in preparation. Regardless, pay attention in the moment. Recognize greatness, when it’s great. A daily written gratitude practice can help us anchor in the present moment and provide a record for us to look back and remember when.
Save the notes, the cards, the letters, the voicemails, proof and detail of these moments will serve you. Journal about the experience, photograph it, share it with people who will help you remember the goodness when you need it down the road. Next time you find yourself on the downside, return to a time you remember when.