Friday, January 13, 2012

Motivation is kinda like brushing your teeth... can't just do it once and expect to not have to do it again. I think that's about where the likeness between motivation and brushing one's teeth ends though. (By all means, correct me if I'm wrong.)

I realized awhile ago that in order for me to not become entrenched in my own cozy lethargy, I have to intentionally cultivate motivation and nurture the parts of me that are hopeful and on fire to LIVE every. single. day. It's so easy to let life slide by and think "I'll do that later" or even "Eh, what's the point?".  It really is an every day thing- some days are easier than others. Some days I'm so tired I'm not sure how I'm going to get through the next moment let alone the rest of the day, week, month, year, lifetime. But, those moments are particularly crucial because when we're under that kind of weary pressure, that's where we really get the chance to grow and create positive habits that will, over time, become just that- habits. (Read: the next time we're faced with our lazy unmotivated burned out selves, our response becomes more automatic and less of a gargantuan struggle.)

It takes A LOT of work to train ourselves to not slip into what is so easy; putting life off until tomorrow, next month, next year... but there is no other choice if we don't to one day realize our entire lives flew by us and we know the true meaning of "it's too late". It's never too late. Until that last moment, that last breath, when it is.

Here are some things I've found to be helpful:
  1. Read! Seriously. Read anything and everything that resonates with the part of you that wants to live a meaningful rich life. My poor facebook friends see an infinite quantity of (usually) positive postings ranging from pictures to song lyrics to quotes from books and movies. What can I say? I like to share the love. ;)

  2. Listen to music. You don't have to be a musician to really appreciate the depth and unspoken language music has to offer. I've found that at some points in my life, nothing else could reach me but music. It helped keep me alive.
  3. Write it down. Write what down? Everything- your hopes, fears, wants, dreams, desires, failures, expectations- no matter how ridiculous they may seem. Write down what you want and pay attention to patterns. You will learn more than you thought you could when you realize just how cyclical your brain really is. There is a part of you that DOES know what you want even when you swear you don't know.
  4. Move. Be active. Exercise. Take a walk. Dance. Just move your body for the sake of moving it. We sometimes forget just how important it is to move, not only for the sake of our physical health, but for our mental health as well. It will help to clear your head and can create a sense of liberation because when you move, you breathe. You increase your oxygen intake and feel alive because you aren't allowing your body to become tombed in laziness. That frequently translates from the physical to the psychological more than we understand.
  5. Put yourself out there. Talk to strangers. Go places you've never been before on your own. This is the most uncomfortable and awkward one, for me, anyway. It's also the most liberating. It places you in the position to encounter some of the most inspiring wonderful people and places in unexpected ways. Of course there will be some dud encounters, but putting yourself out there with a pure intention and an open heart goes a long way. I would have NEVER thought I'd meet people who are so encouraging of my journey. They are helping me to stick with it through my fear; many because they traveled a similar path.
  6. Be patient with yourself. There are going to be days, no matter what you read, listen to, write down, or do where you will just simply feel unmotivated, tired, and like giving up. When, not if, when those days happen, be kind to yourself. Let yourself be and feel all of those things. Don't make decisions one way or the other at that point. Rest. When you're ready, you'll get up. I've found I prolong my burned out frustration when I'm only already burned out, but then I berate myself for being so. Completely counterproductive.
It takes intentional effort, strength, patience, courage and a lot of heart to create your story. It is worth every doubting tear-filled night because creating your own story means accepting responsibility for yourself, your actions, your words- your life. There is no freedom greater than owning the power and responsibility to your own life. 

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