Monday 17th January 2022

Motivate. 23/51. #LifeThisWeek. 70/2021.

Motivate. 23/51. #LifeThisWeek. 70/2021.

When I first returned to this optional prompt I drew a blank.

What was I thinking?

And then as I reviewed the categories under which I write my blog posts, I saw these:

  • Gratitude
  • Health & Mindfulness
  • Life This Week Link Up
  • Self Care Stories
  • Stories About Ageing
  • What I Wore: Self Care & Confidence
  • Word of the Year.


I asked my husband about motivation and the fact that, in my opinion, motivation comes from within. His response was that there are, for example, at times others who may be motivated after a positive, uplifting and genuine comment from someone they respect. More on motivation and quotes about it are here:

I can see now how I use each of those above to motivate myself every single day.

However, I will add that when I was anxious and not willing to give anything new a go, at my worst emotional health times in 2015-May 2017, I could not motivate myself much at all, except to “get up, get dressed and do something creative and then try to see a bigger world around me.

THIS improved for me…and it might be helpful, to know more, by reading these two posts:

But first. I wrote two blog posts here and here about Doing the Hard Things back in late 2018.

I learned for myself that putting off doing anything because of fear, worry or concerns was actually a backward step. I learned, over time, to motivate myself when, if I got a bit scared or worried, I would say….Mmm This is a sign you actually need to do that. It still works for me, every time.

I used my choice of clothing every day once I was able to get out and about after the first head and neck cancer surgery in 2017. I have written about that here.

It truly IS a motivator for me even now. What I wore: Self Care and Confidence. 

On any day where I might feel I can’t be bothered, I shake that attitude away and realised being bothered is what makes me feel better…and motivated to live life as I can now.

And let me add some photos from days I remember than motivation was harder but I still managed to get out …”of my head and into the bigger world”. Health & Mindfulness…. I remember where I can go, and it always helps.

And I cannot lie, doing 10 minutes of Calm: morning with Daily Calm and evening with Daily Trip is as necessary to my well-being as eating and drinking. Contrary to the myth that you need to clear your brain/mind to meditate, that is impossible. What you are practising is to pay less attention to those thoughts, daydreams and distractions and even if you do, no worries just come back to the breath. No recriminations. No blame. In fact the teachers I follow have been doing this for over 20 years and that they too have this happen. All we need to do, is stay. Like a puppy in training. Stay…with the breath and listen to the person who is helping you.

These are some of the visuals that pop up after my sessions. I keep those which resonate with me.

About that word called Gratitude. I can attest to its magical powers…I can be feeling pretty down, maybe even sad and worried and then, somewhere out of the back of my mind, comes that reminder, based on the 12+ months I practised it. It works. A sense of gratitude takes me from the trivial and not great with a reminder.

Getting ready for Monday’s Life This Week is a great motivator and rarely a chore. I am always grateful to have a wonderful and loyal community of other blogging friends who visit to link up and comment. My Mondays are better for Life This Week!

A few years ago, via suggestions from others, I decided that self care could be a stand alone category and optional prompt. People agreed that they wanted it and would, it seemed, be motivated to share what they see and do as self care. It made me accountable too. It is a great motivator, isn’t it? That we need to ‘account’ for ourselves. Optional of course. But I tend to need the discipline.

Then there is this. Stories About Ageing. What’s good or motivating about this? The fact that, when I can, I see the good in the ageing process. I have better perspective on some of life’s big challenge. Even changed from say 5 years ago. I am more motivated now to get interested in some new to me things, take a risk and do something new and always remember that this will be the youngest I will be today!!

Last but never least is this: My word of the year. 

It’s said that we use far more muscles to frown that to smile and that is helps release feel good hormones. I know that I love to smile these days as much as possible because there was a long time when I could not. And I will admit my smile now is the best one I have ever had. Thank you for my team!


Are you a self-movitator?

Do you do better with motivation from someone else?


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Link Up #243

Life This Week. Link Up #243

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  1. I am great at getting out and doing things, not letting life pass me by. I am not so motivated when it comes to applying myself to work or stories or anything that requires diligence….

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Ah ha. I am on to you…and your methods. Maybe you might apply “carrot and stick”….’I get to go out once I have…blah blah’.

      Thanks Lydia!


  2. You have such a good attitude Denyse.
    I struggle with the energy for motivation most days thanks to chemo side effects. I have always been highly motivated otherwise.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Oh Jody, this is me for about 6 months now. It IS very hard recovering from anything, let alone the amount of chemicals your body has had to endure.

      I would say life has come to me now after lots of work, practice and many backwards going times as I stepped and stumbled in my recoveries. The surgery last year, that I put off until I was emotionally ready has lifted a huge weight from me that I didn’t know I was carrying.

      Right now in my early 70s life is good. Probably the best it has ever been but there are multi reasons. I no longer have to work, nor raise children or help with grandchildren and my overall health is the best it’s been in my life. I am making the most of this!!

      Thank you for your kind words.


  3. Hi Denyse, I like to think I’m pretty self-motivated but there are times when I’m tired or not feeling it and then it is hard. I have a post today about learning from daily life and how I overcame a negative experience to motivate myself to succeed. You’ve done so well to stay motivated during the last few years when life has been tough. Sometimes we also have to look to others to help us but at the end of the day we have to do it ourselves. Have a lovely week and thanks for #lifethisweek.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      ‘Do the hard things’ seems like it applies to you too Sue….and many!

      When I realised that I could do ‘hard things’…and everyone’s hard things are unique to them…I found the power of building upon my experiences and the layering down of resilience.

      I look forward to reading Sue.

      Taking time out to care for ourselves is sometimes hard with competing priorities but we can do it.

      Thank you for your comment and sharing.


  4. Hi Denyse, I agree that during periods of ill health it’s hard to be motivated. Whenever I’m grieving someone I’m at my least motivated. I suffered badly from social anxiety after my sister died suddenly. I’m on medication for that now and it does help although at times my anxiety gets really bad. I’m seeing a psychologist to help me deal with that and it has been really helpful. Good on you for finding what helps and sticking to it. Regards, Christina

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Recognising the ‘why’ is half the battle when we feel unmotivated. Your body and mind are teaming up to protect you and allow you to go gently as grief impact us with such a punch.

      Knowing more of your story, Christina, via your blog, has helped me see just how much you have had to carry over the years. And you are in a caring profession. Burn out is very real.

      I am someone who also accepts that she needs some medication, and further counselling for a few months. It came to me recently that as well as I am, there are still some traumatic events in my life I need some help with processing.

      Thank you for sharing your words here too.


  5. I always enjoy reading and learning from others like yourself, on how motivation plays a part in their lives. I can be motivated and like being held accountable but sometimes I just want to hide away. I got a wake up call at the doctors today and am onto it immediately so reading your post was a great reminder to do the hard things when we can, otherwise they can get out of control.

    I’ve linked to my bold post today because having a WOTY is a great way to stay motivated and my monthly updates help me considerably, to stay on track and keep moving forward.

    Thanks again for having us, I enjoy Mondays too because of #Lifethisweek

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      I admit I saved up reading your post…and will be onto it soon, Deb.

      Wake Up calls and Doctors are not fun.

      However, taking time to process it is something I can highly recommend. I hope you will be OK of course, but go gently. Promise?

      I found if I didn’t do the hard things, they doubled for the next time. It is best to build the resilience within for future times.

      Thank you for your 100% support and being here. Always appreciated.


  6. You are most definitely motivated Denyse. Through all your touch times and challenges you have set yourself challenges and followed through with them. You’ve done the outfit a day, art challenges, gratitude challenges and more. I have good times and bad times with motivation. I think I know my limits nowadays which is a good thing but I like to feel a sense of achievement in each of my days and some days I am more motivated to achieve that then others. Overall though, I’m not doing too badly. Wishing you a wonderful week ahead! xo

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thanks so much Min, yes you have been witness, albeit on line, to all of my health updates and I am so glad to know that I have blogging friends who have supported me through these years of challenges.

      Knowing your limits is a tough one when we first start and then saying ‘no’ or the saying I came up with about “capacity”….

      I have noticed in your updates quite a change to a more positive one, sharing lovely art and more. I feel you are exuding greater confidence than you have in the past. Whatever it is, keep on doing it!


  7. Your positive attitude is amazing Denyse. I love reading your posts each week and they are often what keep me going. I love how you used clothing as a motivator. I would never have thought of this but in your situation it was the perfect way to get you going each day. Thanks for all you do to create this space. Your prompts often enable me to keep posting when I have a block.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Oh that is so kind Jennifer.

      I think reading that back to me from you is very thoughtful and maybe the reason I continue to blog is to engage like this.

      I am flattered.

      None of this came easily to me and you have probably been following me long enought to know that but I pushed through. There are still days I think “no I won’t do x or y today” and then I re-frame it to “I am glad I can get to do x or y these days”.

      Something to be said about the words we used inside our heads!

      Thanks for your kind words…and yes, clothing is/was a huge motivator for me because of all my years of not being pleased with my appearance. Head and Neck cancer helped…lol. No not really. I am in a good and healthy space right now and enjoy seeing who I see in the mirror and photos.


  8. Hi Denyse (love your new background pic on the blog BTW) and thanks for another link party. I am always inspired by how motivated you are to connect with other bloggers, approach your health issues so positively, and to be as creative as you are. I never think of you as older than most of us (as you remind me occasionally that you are) instead, I think you’re often more motivated and more encouraging and more connected than many 50 year olds are xx

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Oh Leanne, thank you for noticing the backgrounds…and yes, they are my drawing and colouring using Johanna’s guide for them.

      I did not realise how easy it was to change the background and am making it a weekly thing now.

      Thanks so much for your insightful works in your comment. I know I mention being over 70 a bit more to remind me (ha!) but also to show others as you know does not stop you doing what you can and want based on age. I know you are approaching a zero birthday and I reckon once it comes, then breathe out!!

      I love connecting here as there are many like minds. Sadly in my local community this is not the case but I am also reaching out to people living within a 30 km distance and having coffee meet ups and I am loving that.


  9. B’s comment about motivation sometimes coming from external sources strikes home for me as I mention that in this week’s post. The fact that I got most of my validation externally and now that I’m not working and feeling as if I am constantly disappointed it’s really knocking me about in terms of my confidence and general enthusiasm.

    My therapist has me working on something that’s supposed to bring more joy / frivolousness but I’m not doing my homework as I should so far. Perhaps I need to work on that.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Deb, thank you for sharing.

      I was until very recently…we are talking around 2017, someone who felt that I needed to be told ‘good job’ ‘wow, you came through that OK’…and it was me taking time to consider I could change my inner voice to a more kind one…and over time this is working.

      I still like to be told “you are looking good” and I also like people noticing what I have been doing.

      However I am about 90% better at doing this for myself. I am so much older than you, and it took my very serious illness to help me change.

      I also do not think it’s something you can do alone considering you are by yourself anyway so seeing someone for this is a sign of strength not weakness.

      As for the task that was set, somehow move past all the roadblocks your old voice tells you. …and try something. No-one needs to know.

      Take care,


  10. Hi Denyse, I like the new background too and this post about motivation hits me where I live. I especially like the block that says “do the hard things…” and the way you have outlined what you are going to share and then shared it (Is that the teacher in you, I wonder?) I also appreciate the way you share your struggles as well as successes. I like what you say about dressing up too. I have never been one for much make up, etc., but during COVID, perhaps as a way of fighting back, I wore earrings every day. No one would notice, necessarily I did it for myself. And, hopefully, not too much tmi, through my weight loss journey, I found myself unintentionally matching my ah, “foundation garments” and marveled at the way that all came together. It was funny, and unintentional, but meaningful. Blessings for the day, Michele

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      I LOVE this Michele.

      Be very proud of the efforts and results that have given you a renewed and loving relationship with your body. You did this weight loss things for more than that I know but it is such cool fun to have that ‘girly’ stuff to enjoy again.

      I got a similar feeling with the unintended (but needed) weight loss pre and after head and neck surgeries. I know I remain overweight by many standards but I am well, and look well and darn well feel it too. Very grateful.

      Yes teacher me has to own up to being like that – a sharer. I guess too that I try to share what I thought impossible which has, over time, become possible as I challenged those negative and rigid beliefs.

      Doing the hard thing was something I literally HAD to do, and did. Now, it is far less frequently used as I do those without even stopping these days.

      I am so pleased for you and that you have connected in so many ‘like ways’.


  11. I definitely try to be self- motivated! I have become really great at facing things that make me uncomfortable but I still really need to work on motivating myself to work out.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Oh Joanne, that is pretty much something hardly any of us “really” want to do isn’t it?

      It’s like “nah” and then oh well…maybe tomorrow.

      I always think that about going for a walk around the block…and I go for a walk inside a shopping centre instead.

      Good to know you are great at facing those things that are not always great. Courage is action!


  12. You are a great motivator for many. I am sure! Happy to be back here after a Covid break.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      That is so kind Shiju. Thank you.

      Glad to see you back too.

      Hope things are improving Covid wise in your part of the world.


  13. Thanks Denyse for such an uplifting post! I love to see people with such a positive mindset and who practise GRATITUDE and look for the good things in life.
    I often get motivation from comments from others, but the motivation that lasts more long term is what comes from myself – when I become aware of something about myself and it makes me change my attitude. I’ve had several of these moments during this spring and have become braver and more self confident.
    In other contexts, I need to create habits that feed my motivation – this is the case with most creative activities for me, especially music (I’m going back to following the guitar workshop today, btw).
    I hope you’ll have a lovely week!

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      I am so glad you read and commented too Susanne. I agree that for me too, it’s about giving myself credit for what I can do and be these days. It’s been a period of learing it too and each time I sense that I want some kind of ‘pat on the back’ I then remember “I” can do that for myself. It is really uplifting too.

      Great to read about what you’ve been noticing in yourself now. I have my art to help feed my creative side (I use the term art generically because I do a lot of bits and pieces so it is all about making) and you have your music. My husband has the same love. He has been playing and enjoying both the guitar and electric piano in recent years and is taking some lessons via YouTube.

      Thanks for dropping by and sharing.