Making progress in the self-care programme

Photo: Jussi Hellsten

People’s motivation to learn something new often decreases after the first weeks. The best way to reap the benefits of a self-care programme is to practise persistently. This page provides information about how you can maintain your motivation and enthusiasm for practising over the course of the programme.

How to maintain motivation to practise?

Everyone is sure to have occasionally found themselves waiting for a suitable moment or until they have more time to do something, etc. It is normal for us to sometimes wait for things to happen before taking action ourselves. However, if this mindset persists, we may end up having to wait for a long time. It may feel easier to just wait for motivation to come instead of getting started with a low level of motivation. However, it is possible to notice that when we get started, things often get rolling and we find ourselves gradually more motivated. You can find motivation in external things, such as money, or it can come from within you: you take action because what you are doing is important and meaningful to you. Inner motivation tends to be longer-lasting than just doing something for an external reward.

When practising new skills that support your mental wellbeing, you should also give thought to your own motivation factors. Motivation can be thought of as a force that initiates action, but sometimes action has be taken without it. You may find the following questions helpful when thinking about your own motivations with regard to the self-care programme:

  • What gives me strength to do things?
  • What about this is important to me?
  • Why do I want to do this?
  • What helps me keep going?
  • What things increase my wellbeing?

You need to do the assignments and exercises of the programme persistently in order to achieve changes. You can compare it to working out: muscles do not grow from just a few gym sessions, but as a result of long-term work. You need to obtain new, remedying experiences to render your current experiences affecting your mental wellbeing useless, as it were. Only through experience can you truly change your ways of thinking: without changes in your actions, problems related to your thinking and the things occupying your mind cannot change. A problem in thinking cannot be solved through thinking; instead, you can influence your mind and thinking through actions.

Furthermore, there is no reason to feel ashamed of doing or trying the various exercises. They are researched methods that have been proven to contribute to better mental wellbeing. You should start the programme with a bold and open attitude. Working independently online requires that you identify your own motivation factors and take care of your everyday life. The cornerstones of life, such as sleep and nourishment, are important factors underlying your motivation.

You should also keep track of your progress somehow. For example, you can set interim goals for yourself, such as “I will do three exercises over the course of the week.” You should think about what could be the smallest possible deed that will take you forward. Starting the self-care programme is in itself a great deed for your mental wellbeing. For example, you can think about what you usually do on weekdays and try to start making a change from something concrete. As an example of such a small deed, you could go to sleep one night earlier than usual or listen to a song that is important to you and makes you feel good.

Photographer: Jussi Hellsten