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Regaining Momentum When Life Strikes a Blow


Guest post from Jamie of From His Presence

Have you had something happen recently that has derailed you? Maybe it was a bad diagnosis, the death of a loved one, or even a divorce? Unexpected disasters can wreak havoc on your plans, and sometimes… it’s hard to recover.

I had one of those unexpected events happen in 2013. Before “it” happened, I was so motivated! I felt like I had direction and vision for each part of my life. I was writing goals every week (and achieving some of them). I was working hard and was “in the zone.”

Then “it” struck, and I got punched in the gut. It wasn’t anything I could have anticipated or prepared for, but it impacted a huge part of my life. Suddenly, many things that had been important no longer were. All I could do was hang on. I clung to my faith in God, and made it through one day at a time, one breath at a time, and some days, one crying spell at a time.

This thing derailed me.

That situation happened awhile ago, but I’m only now starting to recover. When I realized recently that New Year’s (my favorite time of year) was almost here, I began to think about setting goals for the year.

Honestly, at first I could not think of even one thing that I wanted to set as a goal for 2014. But, over the course of about three days, I was able to get out of that rut and think of some inspiring goals. As a result, I am actually feeling motivated again for the first time in months!

Have you been derailed by a heavy blow? Would you like to get your mojo back too? If so, how about trying the same things that helped me?

Here’s what I did:

1. Brainstorm a few possibilities before you commit to any specific thing.

When I couldn’t think of any specific goals that inspired me for 2014, I started to ask myself, “What are some things I could just consider doing in 2014?”

There was no pressure in asking myself that question, so it opened the doors of creativity again. I wrote down several things that might be good options. Then, before I knew it, a couple of those ideas grabbed hold of my imagination and sparked excitement in me. I took that newfound excitement and set specific goals around those ideas.

Will you allow yourself to dream a little? Forget about the hard times you’ve been through recently. What kinds of things would change your 2014 from average to amazing?

After you let yourself dream, think about those amazing ideas awhile. Then, why not set some goals around the specific things that excite you? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

2. Start with a manageable time period.

Does thinking about the whole year make you feel overwhelmed? If so, then start with a time period you feel comfortable with — whether that’s one week, one month, or one quarter.

I started with just goals for the week I was in. That was all I felt I could handle!

However, a funny thing happened. My goals for the week inspired me to write goals for January. January’s goals gave me the courage to set goals all the way out through March 31. Then, after that, I was so motivated that the whole year no longer seemed overwhelming.

Now I have a list of exciting, challenging, and reachable goals for the whole year!

3. Celebrate the little wins.

Motivation breeds motivation. Everything you accomplish is important. Whether your goal is to clean your bathroom, do your laundry, or exercise three times, let yourself celebrate as you achieve each thing! Even writing down your goals is a little win. So reward yourself. Congratulate yourself. Enjoy the feeling of taking your life back.

One of the first weekly goals I set was to make and upload five YouTube videos. I only got two of them done, but I celebrated those two. Those two videos were evidence of more motivation than I had had in a long time!

I was taking my life back, and am thrilled about it–even though it was just a little win!

This year can be a new beginning for you. Even if an unexpected disaster has derailed you, you can get back on track!

Dream a little. Start with a manageable time period. Celebrate the smallest accomplishments! If you will do these things, then I believe that you too can find your “zone” again.

What steps can you take today to get back on track?

Jamie Rohrbaugh is a wife, financial analyst, Sunday School teacher, musician, and unlikely worship leader from Chattanooga, Tennessee. Her passion is to encourage and equip people to live powerful lives and to function in their gifts. She blogs at From His Presence about how to live ordinary life in God’s manifest presence.

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  • Jen says:

    So good! For me, I was having a hard time with being motivated to set goals or make changes, just because we have baby #3 coming in April. So silly, but I know any routine, momentum, etc will fall apart at that point, and I didn’t want to feel like I had lost something….as if just continuing “as is” will be better?? I finally realized all I need is to have some goals for three months, and all the sudden I had some excitement about setting a couple new routines for our family and goals for myself!

  • Charlene says:

    This is so great. I had 2 huge events happen last year. I usually write out a huge list of stuff I want to accomplish over the summer, and stress myself out when I only do a third of it. Last summer, in the midst of an “event”, I knew I couldn’t even make a list. Then when I was starting to get my mojo back, another event hit in October. (Actually 2 at once.) I am just now sort of recovering from these huge life changes which, although not impacting me physically–have greatly impacted my marriage, my mental/emotional realm, as well as my extended family. It takes a little time to recover from the shock of unexpected events. I found just giving myself the grace to not run off of a list was what I needed. I cook, do laundry and dishes on a regular basis, and clean on a somewhat regular basis. The bases were covered. Now it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty and get some stuff done! Thanks for the encouragement!

  • Thank you, Jaime, for this encouraging post. I lost my motivation due to health challenges over 7 years ago. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I actually began to set goals. Though I often felt like throwing in the towel because of little progress, I have kept whittling away at them each year. Your post has added new motivation to the start of my year. Thank you, again.

  • jessie lowe says:

    I have been there. For me it was personal, and I described it at the time as a feeling that God had kicked me in the gut. Of course, it wasn’t God, and there was a sense in which it was not personal, though it affected my family deeply. For six months my teen aged daughter and I would cry together every time we got into the car alone. It was two years of just holding on. Two years of lost ministry, two years of mourning before I could begin to feel like I was able to move ahead. I was shocked that the event had such an impact on me and to be honest, I still don’t feel, 7 years later, like I have totally recovered. Thank you for sharing some helpful hints. I scanned your original post. Thank you for trying to help others but putting down some helpful suggestions. I am going to go back and re read it now. God is faithful.

  • Elaine says:

    Wow! I certainly needed to hear this. 2013 was a bust for me also. My husband lost his job, two days later my father called to say my mother wasn’t feeling well which ended up with a hospitalization in another city followed by hospice and her subsequent death. Not only did I bump back to full time work but also have for many weekends gone over to my parents to assist my dad in organizing and cleaning. This as well as homeschooling 4 kiddos and general life issues. I’ve felt spent. Now it’s time to come out of the fog and engage back in life. Slowly reengaging as I have another child’s wedding. Need all the help I can get. Thank you, gratitude and grace abounding for your thoughts and inspiration.

  • Kelly says:

    I’m in this horrible “rut” and saw the title of this article and thought wow once again God is speaking to me. I still believe he was as the article was inspiring even though I’m not quite at that point yet to do this since my incident (almost dying during surgery and than after) and now going through months of surgeries, pain, etc. I’m 38 with 4 boys and a great husband and parents! The only thing that made me a bit down about reading this article was the very very end when reading her BIO. I can’t imagine someone in such a rut as she was describing being able to be a wife, financial analyst, Sunday school teacher, musician and worship leader PLUS a blogger … I don’t know I can barely get out of bed!

    • Hi Kelly, I’m so sorry about the surgeries and pain you’ve been going through. I hope you feel better soon, and can get a new start. You can definitely take your life back – even one tiny step at a time!

      By the way – you made me chuckle about the bio thing. Like anything, it’s a give-and-take. I work full-time because it helps pay the bills. I am involved in a lot of things, but my pastor has been teaching me to “cheat the church” – i.e. cheating the church and other volunteer opportunities of my time instead of cheating my family. So I delegate a LOT, and there are times–almost every week–when I don’t feel completely prepared for the music I’m playing, or teaching class, or whatever, but I just go for it anyway and trust God to make up the difference for what I can’t do. And He always shows up and takes care of it. It’s crazy sometimes, but somehow it works out if I just keep my priorities straight. For me, that’s one-on-one time with God first, my husband second, and I just do what I can do on everything else. Oh, and we don’t have kids yet either. So I’m sure that makes things much simpler. 😉

  • Maryalene says:

    This is very timely for me. Normally, I love the goal setting and planning that comes with a new year. However, my husband died this past May, and I’ve been floundering ever since. Seem to have lost all desire to think about the future. Think I’ll try some of your suggestions and see if that helps get my mojo back. Thanks for the post.

  • Melissa says:

    Wow, I definitely needed to read this. We lost my dad to H1N1, 4 years ago, just when I thought I could try to regain control of our home, finances and life ( I’ve been drifting for the last 3 years) my 3 week old neice passed away only a fewonths ago and I I just don’t know anything most days. I work full time but I am having trouble getting us out of the financial mess we are in. I am terrified to call the housing counselor to see about modifying our mortgage..yes, it’s gotten so bad, we could lose our home. My goal this week is to make the call. I don’t know why I am dreading this call so much. I am going to write goals this week. One week at a time, plan time for my husband and family. I really miss our happy life and want it back! Thank you for the article.

  • Kim Cole says:

    I really needed this. Last year we found out that we have to go through IVF to have children and it really knocked me out. Like another poster said, I have been covering the bases but I have no motivation and the worst part of that before we found this news, I started a new full time job and went back to school full time so to say the least, I have been overwhelmed. But my husband is getting his part of the procedure done on Saturday and then its to me so I need to get back to my old self and getting moving!

    • Kim, I just prayed for you. My husband and I got the same news about a year and a half ago. I know how devastating it is. We’ve been debating between adoption and IVF – either way it’s a tough decision. You never think it will happen to you. I’m so sorry, but I pray that the IVF will be successful and your tribe will increase. Hugs! My heart goes out to you.

  • VelmaD says:

    Thank you for a very timely post. 2013 was a year of caretaking three fragile parents, waiting for surgery for my husband, while trying to keep home and businesses running smoothly. I enter 2014 with two fragile parents and hubby recuperating, but caretaking still depletes my personal energy. My goal is to improve my physical health — even if only a little bit at a time — and “celebrate the little wins” along the way. Again, thanks!

  • Johanna says:

    This is good. My daughter got seriously ill in February and the recovery has been long and stressful. We moved overseas in September, and we had a baby (our 4th) three weeks ago. Needless to say, goal setting is taking on a whole new perspective. Baby steps is the key for me, which i have to constantly remind myself as I tend to want to over achieve! 🙂

  • Chelsey says:

    Recently, I have found my faith in him, I’ve reached out, I’ve even preyed, lots of things had been going wrong in my life. Things alot of time I had no control over. So just recently I discovered that maybe what was missing. Was the man upstairs, and so I tried believing, preying, hoping that maybe.,, life would change for the better! And yesterday, I got a blow to my chest.. I’m not going to disclose what happened, but I’m feeling very discouraged, hopeless, lost. Anyways this post just happened to come at the right time. And I’m going to go on believing, hoping, dreaming of the possibilities that my faith carries with it. Thank you for this post.

  • Christine says:

    This repost on fb came at critical time for me. . .that’s divine intervention! A silent illness just reared it’s ugly head after 11yrs. While I am prepared for physical part this time around the “what ifs” are a struggle. As single adoptive/foster mom it’s not just me I have to think about this time too. Thank you for the encouragement of this repost!

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