Motivation—How to get it when you don’t feel it.

There are several articles online to help you get out of burnout, the doldrums, depression, the blahs. All start with one word: Decide.

The best motivation is self-motivation. But what if we’ve lost it, or at least think we have? Here are some suggestions from people who have been there, done that and they just decided to try something different.

1. Get serious. Like Nike says, “Just do it.” If you’ve decided to exercise for a month, make a plan and work the plan. Remember the adage, “Half measures avail us nothing.” If you set a goal to exercise three days a week, then make it happen. It’s just three days during a week. How bad can it be?

2. Start small. If you have to cut that plan to exercise down to one day a week, then do it. At least you will have completed your plan for a month. Celebrate the little victories. Who knows, you may enjoy exercising so much, you might decide to go for two days a week, then three.

3. Hang with the right people. If you’re prone to procrastinating about exercising, cleaning the house, whatever, then talk with someone you admire who’s doing those things. Find out their secrets to “doing.” It doesn’t mean you have to divorce your couch potato friends, you’re just going to make room for new friends, ones who enjoy walking around the block or dusting or doing the laundry so it doesn’t pile up. There’s nothing wrong with putting old friends on hold for a time. Just consider you’re “taking a month’s vacation” from your usual friends. They’ll still be there when you “return.”

4. Consider your overall health. How is it? You take good care of your car or your pet, don’t you? Then you, too, are worth a yearly tune-up. Decide to make an appointment for a complete physical and talk over your lack of motivation or feelings of being overwhelmed with your doc. Sometimes, we just need a sounding board to get us out of a rut.

5. Look seriously at your eating and sleeping habits. Make notes so you don’t cheat. What’s your diet like? How much TV are you watching? Are you glued to the Internet? What small or large changes can you make there? It could be as simple as deciding to eat a salad for dinner two evenings a week. Or, to forgo Starbucks and treat yourself to a green smoothie a couple of mornings on the way to work. Or make lunch a veggie-only take out. Plan to do something out of the ordinary with regard to dining. Just go small, not big, otherwise you might just give up the whole plan, and then you’ll be back where you started.

6. Are you having any fun? You might be surprised how few people really know how to have fun. Make a playdate with one of your new friends. Ask a pal to join you for dinner or take in a movie or go dancing or play cards or just listen to music and talk.

7. Look in the mirror. Do you like what you see? Visualize yourself as the best in whatever you decide to do—continually. All improvement in your life begins with your mental pictures. If you need to put little post-it notes on the bathroom mirror that tell you how good you are, then do it. You’re unique and you’re just where you’re supposed to be today.

8. Talk nice to yourself. It’s easy, just think how you’d like others to consider you and mirror those expressions.

9. Choose a reward. After you’ve worked your plan, you need more than a pat on the back. Think of something special to do or buy—that’s your carrot. Just don’t make it unattainable, because then you’ll be disappointed and you might give up. Remember, once you make your plan, it’s all forward from there.

10. Journal. If you don’t feel you can trust your feelings to another, then write a letter to God, to an imaginary friend, to no one in particular. Just get those feelings out. Sometimes just clearing the air can get you in a better mood and on your way.

Remember if you fail one day, there’s always tomorrow. You can start your plan all over again. We’re here at GreenAcres to help you over that listless, stuck feeling. We’ve all been where you are at one time or another. Come on in and talk with any of our market team and we’ll share what’s worked for us.

Just decide.