It can be overwhelming trying to find information or support on the internet, can’t it? Not least when it comes to advice on productivity and achieving your goals. There are so many ideas and concepts that sound good in theory, but how can you tell what is actually worth spending time on? The way I see it, there’s no point bothering with motivation and productivity advice that makes assumptions about who you are. Or about what’s important to you. Which means useful advice needs to not only draw you in and propel you to take action, but it must tie in to your bigger plan. Or else you’ll ultimately just find yourself back where you started.
Minus a little enthusiasm and motivation, and plus a little frustration though, right?
isn’t it time to stop ‘shoulding’ all over the place?
So. With all that in mind I’m going to try and avoid doing the virtual soapbox thing … throughout this blog you’ll notice a lot of ‘how-to’ advice, but the truth is that I don’t believe there’s usually any point doing stuff that you don’t really want to do. Or at least that you don’t want the outcome of. Know what I mean?
So tell me – when it comes to feeling motivated, excited, passionate, ALIVE, what does it take for you? I know that in my own life these emotions are at their strongest when I feel in control. Usually, this happens when at least 60-70% of my time is filled with stuff that is important to me; stuff I truly care about or love to do.
And that’s what it all comes down to in the end, doesn’t it? Doing the stuff that really matters.
being the you of your dreams; being ‘that girl’
When I wrote my e-book “How to Be That Girl“, my idea was to put together a method and means of inspiration that would give you the tools to start taking control not just of your body, but of your life. When all is said and done, it all comes back to doing what matters most, doesn’t it? Spending not just your time, but your mental focus on the stuff that makes you feel most alive, most vibrant, most lost in the flow, most YOU.
You can get jazzed up all you like on the ra-ra-ra of any self-help book or guru, but what happens when the last page is done and you have to go back and apply it to your real life? Learning to be motivated from within will allow you to take charge of how you think and feel and propel you toward constant action bringing you closer to your big goals and dreams.
Sound good? Worthwhile? Well, I think so anyway 🙂
the catch (or: what it really takes to live your dreams)
The catch (there’s always a catch, isn’t there?) is that intrinsic motivation takes a bit more of an effort, and requires you to actually figure out what really matters to you. This can take time, and you may have to try a few different tactics. In fact, you’ll likely never fully ‘figure things out’, and truthfully – who would want to? After all, what would life be without challenges to face and (new) dreams to achieve?
But what I can almost guarantee is that without taking time to at least consider your values, if not set a couple of big goals for each block of time ahead of you, then you’ll pretty much end up lost.
Thinking about things and ‘success’ in a new light might help you a little –
When it comes to goal-setting and changing your life, remember that it doesn’t always have to be life-changing stuff or even stuff that can be broken down into a bit-by-bit checklist. I mean sure, that works really well for accomplishing certain milsetones, but you know what? I don’t remember ever seeing a ‘rule to life’ saying that it has to be a series of milestones, do you? It is one way to live (and a way that I tend to enjoy a lot of the time myself), but I do think it’s also important to go with the flow from time to time. So long as you are choosing to do that. After all – there’s nothing more soul destroying than getting swept up in the day to day and unwittingly squandering a year or more of your life.
the building blocks of motivation
Let’s get real. If you want to be motivated to follow your dreams and live life on your terms, you have to at least consider those dreams. Right?
The reality is that thinking and dreaming and planning your way toward a motivated and passion fuelled life is just one aspect when it comes to building intrinsic motivation. What’s more, you will always struggle with motivation if you don’t have certain physiological and emotional building blocks being in place. Let’s talk about a few of them.
- Firstly, and possibly most importantly – whether you know it or not, there are nutritional requirements for motivation. Food (proteins and fats in particular) provides the building blocks to a happy hormonal system, and that in turn dictates how effectively you control your emotions and moods. Having a protein and fat based breaky, and then continuing to eat wholefoods throughout the day, ensures not only a healthy metabolism, but also optimal neurotransmitter function.
- Another important aspect of motivation is building trust – with yourself. This might sound a bit silly, but think about it. If you can’t trust yourself, how are you going to ever believe in your own ability to create the life you dream of? Trust comes from many things, but one of the most powerful is following through on small promises to yourself. Things like going to bed by a certain time, starting the day with protein, exercising 3 times a week if even for a few minutes. When you follow through on the small promises you will start to realise you can achieve the big things.
- Part of this, of course, comes back to building a habit. It’s been my experience that if you rely on feelings for motivation, or even define motivation by a certain feeling, you’re doomed to fail. In the short-term, you can demonstrate motivation and success even if you don’t feel it, and it would be worth your while to try. Do this by following through on those promises both big and small, and by committing to do so for set periods of time. 21-30 days is well known as a good time for creating new habits. My personal opinion is that you’ll do this far more successfully if you take action on your new habit first thing in the morning rather than later in the day.
- Part of creating new habits is, of course, having a good support network. This doesn’t have to mean you share all your hopes and dreams with other people. In fact, a recent Ted Talk I viewed indicated that sharing your goals with other people gives a far lower success rate! But what you can do is share accountability. There are even some forums or membership programs (like this fabulous one!) you can join online where you simply report back that you followed through on your goal or new habit.
- Remember that when you set new goals it’s important to change only one thing at a time. Trying to change the world over night never works, and you only end up feeling disheartened by failing to follow through on those promises. Choose one thing to change or implement, make it a habit, and only then move on to the next. If you’re getting mired down in the day to day of working on new habit and perhaps even finding that you’re resisting doing what you need to do, start focusing on the outcomes. Remind yourself why you’re doing these smaller (often seemingly unimportant, yet truly powerful) tasks. Think again about your values, and about the reasons you have for going out of your way to live your life differently to others. This will rejuvenate and refocus you.
- Lastly, have a little bit of fun with what you’re doing! I find it really useful to set small rewards that I get to cash in on after following through on a designated task or even period of time. For example, I don’t get to check emails until I’ve spent at least 30 minutes writing. Okay, I know that’s not really something super-fun, but you get the idea 🙂 You can, of course, set more fun rewards, which I also do.
So what do you think? Is it time to stop shoulding and start doing?