“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” refers to humans learning new things once they’ve become “set in their ways.” Of course, older people can learn—and do so, all the time! Take a look at the number of small business start ups over the last few years and you’ll find boomers leading the parade – especially in technology and health. As a near-retirement aged, experienced employee and real estate agent in Williamsburg, I don’t see myself as an old dog; I see myself continually rising to new challenges.
We should always, especially at retirement age, be willing to try something new (and stick with it!), even if it feels uncomfortable, at the beginning. But, how to stay motivated, on off days? The answer is in motivation. The problem with this is that motivation often comes after starting. Here are your steps to overcome lack of motivation, Old Dog!
1) Make your first step of the new-routine so easy that you cannot say “No!”
- Studying starts by putting a glass of water on the right side of your books.
- Exercise starts by putting on running shoes and checking the Weather Channel.
- Cleaning starts by putting on rubber gloves and getting the pail of cleaning supplies out.
In other words, the single most important step to ANY task is the start. That’s why your first step needs to be incredibly simple. The example above (studying) routine could be started by filling up a water glass, so that when you don’t feel like studying, you can simply say: “I just have to fill up my water glass.” The wheels are in motion and your routine continues from there.
2) The second step is to get physically moving toward your end goal
If your routine can include physical movement, add it to the beginning, because it is difficult to “think” yourself into getting motivated. Why? When you are unmotivated, you are slumped and looking down (and melting into your easy chair!) so to add movement to the routine continues the forward motion. There’s no decision making and you simply follow the pattern you’ve created.
3) Do the new pattern the same way, even when the routine is established
Your purpose of creating a pre-routine routine is to create a series of tasks that happen before you do a specific task. These specific tasks tell your mind, “I do this before I ___.” Eventually, the routine becomes tied to your performance; you are pulled into a mental state that is primed to continue. Therefore, you don’t need motivation; you simply need to start your routine.
Build small routines and patterns to overcome the daily motivation battles and even if you aren’t feeling up to the challenge at the beginning of your new routine, by the time you finish your first couple of steps, you’ll be in “game mode.” Look at the top performers in sports, theater or CEOs – they always start the task the same way, whether it is a free throw shot, live television, or public speaking. Are they always motivated? No, but they use their pre-game patterns or superstitions to pull them into the right mental state.
At the time of the year where everyone else is feeling guilty for not sticking to their 2014 New Year’s resolutions, you have the secret. You can and WILL learn new tricks.
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Licensed in Virginia with Liz Moore and Associates, 5350 Discovery Park Blvd, Williamsburg, VA 23188
Williamsburg has become a Mecca for retirees over the past dozen years because of its history, charm, vacation amenities, proximity to major cities and airports, and affordable cost of living. Check out www.retiringinwilliamsburg.com for information about the Williamsburg community, lifestyles available, and search for homes for sale.