Looking for a motivation boost to pursue your goals? We’ve compiled our three favourite prompts from the world of therapeutic writing to help.
1. I want to feel motivated
Julia spoke to Fearne Cotton about perfectionism being ‘a stalling device’, and how we often can deny ourselves the right to attempt something.
She recommends the following writing prompt to listeners:
- Take a blank sheet of paper (or Word doc or notes app)
- Number from 1 – 10
- For each one, say ‘if I didn’t have to do it perfectly, I’d try…’
Julia explains: ‘what you discover when you make the list is that your perfectionism is blocking you from a great deal of pleasure and joy. We find we measure ourselves against the masterworks of master artists and we say ‘I’m not good enough’. What we don’t realise is that master artists began like us as amateurs – the difference is they kept moving despite their fear.’
Listen to Julia’s episode of Happy Place here.
2. I want to build self-care habits
Self-care should be easy: we all know what helps us to relax, connect and feel good. But in practice, we live busy lives and have endless to-dos in which we’re often the last on the list.
- Take a blank sheet of paper, Word doc or notes app
- Write down an action/activity that helps you relax and that you’d like to do more of (eg. deep breathing, cooking, yoga, writing, gardening etc)
- Write freely for five minutes about your activity, thinking about:
- Why have you chosen this?
- When you do it, how does it make you feel?
- What physical or sensory aspects make it unique?
- What instructions could you give yourself to get your activity off to a good start?
- What words of encouragement or motivation can you offer yourself?
- Turn some of those ideas into a Gogyohka, a simple Japanese style of poetry, which consist of five lines of no particular length (no need to rhyme). Try to include a separate phrase/idea on each line. Eg.
Pause for a moment
Savour the sweet air
Save this as a quick, simple and personal mantra to practice your self-care.
3. I want to reflect
Poetry therapist and counsellor Charmaine Pollard recently shared this simple and powerful writing prompt on Twitter, which we feel is a great exercise in self-reflection but also motivation.
‘In her poem “The Summer Day”, prize-winning poet Mary Oliver asks the question: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Now, I invite you to use this question as a prompt for your own writing.
- Read the quote carefully a couple of times.
- Then write instinctively, noting down whatever comes to mind and allowing your thoughts to flow onto the page.
- Write for at least 5 minutes.’
Please note: writing for wellbeing or about personal experiences can sometimes bring up difficult emotions. It’s always good at the end of a prompt or writing session to take a few deep breaths through the nose and out through the mouth to reset. Here’s a breathing bubble to follow from Calm.