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Addiction: Leisure and Recovery

Being Motivated

Being motivated means you want to keep doing something. This is the key to staying with something new. At first, you may be motivated by the people around you. For example, you might try a new activity that a friend or counselor suggested. But to stay with something new, you need to be motivated to keep doing it.

Maybe you joined a team sport because somebody tells you it’s healthy. When you start to feel healthier and stronger, this helps you to stay motivated and keep doing it. But if you find the team has a poor attitude or you’re only going because you feel pressured, you may no longer be motivated to go to your games. At this point, you may look for another sport or team to keep you motivated.

Do something you like

When you find an activity you really like, that makes you feel good and gives you a sense of belonging, you’ll want to go keep doing it. You won’t feel like you have to go.

Motivate yourself

Pick a challenge that’s not too hard, or too easy to motivate yourself. Stay away from pressures and stay in charge. Working through comfortable challenges will make you feel like you’re able to do new things and will keep you motivated to do more.

To help build your motivation:

  • Focus on enjoying the leisure activity. Pay attention to the movements, your surroundings, and the people you’re with.
  • Learn the rules and strategies for the games and leisure activities. Practice these skills.
  • Don’t push yourself too hard. If you do the activity might stop being fun or you might want to stop doing it.
  • Don’t let others push you too hard. If you don't feel comfortable with a leader, find someone else to give you positive feedback and encourage you.
  • Do something you want to do, not something you feel like you have to do. Instead of feeling like you should exercise today, think about going for a walk to get some fresh air.

How exercise can help

Exercise is a great way to motivate yourself. It releases chemicals in your brain called endorphins that help you feel better. But don’t feel like you have to spend hours at the gym or go running. There are plenty of fun ways to exercise like rock climbing, yoga, dancing, and kickboxing. The key is to find an activity you actually enjoy.

Have goals and keep them within your reach

A great way to stay motivated is finding a balance between your short-term and long-term goals. Short-term goals are ones that you know you’re more likely to complete. But having a long-term goal is also important to keep you motivated.

For example, your main goal may be to stay sober for a year. This is a long-term goal. But you can break it down into short-term goals of staying sober for days and weeks. Be proud of yourself when you reach these goals.

Current as of: November 29, 2019

Author: Addiction & Mental Health, Alberta Health Services