3 Ways to Make Being Motivated Easier

 

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If you are looking for motivation, I assume there are things you would like to do – perhaps long term goals, or things you know are good for you – that are difficult. Things that you just can’t find the time for, don’t know how to get started, or it’s just hard to get off the couch.

We all have those things. There are things we want to do, achieve, conquer that we just don’t get around to because it’s too hard. Excuses are always readily available. So this post is about motivation. Finding motivation is just one part, but there are ways to make it easier.

Pick a goal

Sounds obvious right? But so many people just wander about in vague-land. They want to be healthy and fit, but don’t really know what it means, or have no defined goal. They want to have more money, yet they are doing the same thing they have been doing for ten or twenty years. They want to be happier, yet they don’t spend enough time on becoming self-aware to know why is that happiness lacking, or what might help them achieve it. If you don’t know what you want, you almost certainly won’t get it. On the other hand, if you define exactly what you want, then it becomes easier to make it achievable. And once it becomes a tangible, achievable goal, then it is easier to be motivated about it.

Make things easier for yourself by eliminating extra complications

Fitness has been the bane of my existence for as long as I can remember. I told myself I hated exercise. I resented the time I had to spend on it. I went through a phase after my last gym membership expired when I decided to run instead of joining the gym. For three months, I thought about going for a run, but never actually did it. It was always too cold, too hot, too busy, too something. Finally, I decided to make things easier. My priority was to get and stay fit, and to enjoy the process. So I joined a gym that was closest to me, because for me, the more inconvenient the act of getting there, the harder it is to do it.

I focused on my prime objective – fitness! And I eliminated all other excuses. Don’t like workouts in all weather? Fine, join a gym. Don’t want to spend ages getting to the exercise venue?  Fine, join the local gym. Voila! Problem solved, and so I can save all my will power and motivation for my prime objective – which is the actual workouts.

This applies to everything. Find your prime objective and make it happen. Yes, running is cheaper than joining the gym. But it’s of no use if I never do it. So I decided to spend less money on junk food, and use that for gym instead. You will find tons of excuses, and money is usually one of them, for why you can’t do something. If you want it bad enough, and if it matters to you, then you will make it happen. Yes, it may require sacrifices – almost all worthwhile things do – but that’s where strength of  character comes in. You want it? You gotta work for it.

Keep reinforcing that motivation DAILY! 

Do you brush your teeth every day? Do you take a shower every day? Do you eat every day? Why? Because yesterday’s hygiene and food intake was for yesterday, right? It doesn’t do anything for today. So what makes you think yesterday’s motivation, or last week or last month’s motivation will work for today?

You must keep reinforcing your motivation. Read this article for a quick reference. How do you go about doing that? Browse on Pinterest (this is one of the most effective tools I’ve found to get myself in mood for fitness), read useful articles on the web about your your goal, read success stories of others, join forces with people who are on the same journey, journal about it, talk about it. Options are endless. You don’t need to spend ages on any of it. Just 10 minutes a day will do. I recommend daily dose of motivation at least for the first three months of any habit you are trying to develop for long-term benefits. If you miss a day, don’t obsess. Just make sure you don’t miss two days in a row. It’s very very easy to forget why a thing is important to us despite its difficulties. You probably spend ages browsing the internet anyway, so make sure at least 10 minutes of it is spent on motivating yourself for a particular goal. 

I don’t know who said this, but it’s a useful thing to remember, and that’s what it ultimately comes down to:

Your desire to change must be greater than your desire to stay the same.

 

ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY:

Pick a goal that you want to focus on. Just one thing. Record it in your journal. Make a commitment to yourself. 

 

 

 

Ask the Readers – Tell me about Your Motivation / Demotivation

 

 

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It’s been a while since I did a “Ask the Readers” post, so it’s about time.

I’ve been thinking quite a lot about different kinds of motivation lately. Why is it that we are super motivated about certain things, but no at all motivated about others? Different motivations work for different people, and different motivations work in different things. Some people don’t need any motivation to go for a run. It’s their pleasure, their escape. Others need mega-motivational push to even put running shoes on. Some people read a book a week for pleasure. Others find reading a chore. You may find cleaning therapeutic, but getting on with your work may be really hard. The intricacies of how motivation works is fascinating.

I would like to do more on this, as I am convinced that figuring out motivational tricks can do wonders for any goals you are trying to achieve. 

What I would love to know from you: 

So today, I would like you tell me one thing where you find it really easy to be motivated, and one thing where you find it really difficult. If you know why that is, feel free to include that in your comments too.

I look forward to hearing your responses. 

 

 

3 Steps to Journaling for Peace of Mind

 

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Do you often spend your days worrying? Worrying about how things are? Worrying about things that are missing from your life? Worrying that you are not happy, or that you don’t have enough money? Worrying about the people in your life? How often do you just enjoy the life as it is now, with all its positive things and challenges?

We live in a chaotic world. Everyone is busy. There seems to be no shortage of “emergencies” even in most ordinary lives. Day to day, there are crisis to be dealt with, chores to be completed, and if you are lucky and motivated, even manage to have goals and dreams that you haven’t abandoned. While many people chase money or happiness, what almost everyone is chasing is peace of mind. After all, what good is money, a prestigious job, precocious children, the loveliest spouse, if you are unable to enjoy any of it?

Success in its highest and noblest form calls for peace of mind and enjoyment and happiness which come only to the man who has found the work that he likes best.

Napolean Hill

It is safe to assume that every single person would want to have peace of mind. After all, who really wants to be anxious? Yet, most people don’t actively pursue this peace of mind. They pursue goals and material objects, and hope that it will bring them “happiness” which is an illusive concept in itself.

So today, I want you to think about the pursuit of peace of mind. Journaling can help you achieve that. You need to follow three simple steps.

Observe

For 30 days straight, observe how often you actually feel peace of mind. Don’t focus on the negatives (i.e. how often you are worried), because that is likely to make you feel more negative emotions. Whatever we want to think about, our mind often complies. If you think about how worried you are and how many problems you have, your brain is likely to remind you of a few more you hadn’t thought of. Don’t fall into that trap. Don’t let negativity control you. Just watch out for feeling of peace and contentment. It doesn’t mean “happy.” You don’t have to smiling or laughing. Being at peace means that you are content with your place in life in that moment. It doesn’t mean that you are content forever. It just means you feel that whatever you are doing then and there, is right for you in that moment. Learn to notice those moments, and you will realise whether or not you have enough of them. You will also realise whether you appreciate them, or spend your energy focusing on the negatives.

Record these observations when you experience peace of mind. Write down what you are doing, where you are, why do you feel content. Be as specific as possible.

Feel

Learn to interpret your feelings. How does it FEEL to be content? Describe your visceral reaction. Is it the kind of feeling you want to have over and over again? How does your body react to this feeling? Are you relaxed? Do you feel that your life is going in the direction you want? Do you have time and space to keep striving for things that matter to you? Are you able to reflect, enjoy and celebrate instead of just running after emergencies?

Feelings don’t lie. Even when your brain is confused, and your heart doesn’t seem to make sense, your feelings tell you the truth. So learn to read them. Just write down your exact feeling and mood in your journal, and over time you will learn to read them better and better.

Accept/Change

So you have observed, and you’ve attempted to understand your feelings. Think about what’s good in your life. What are the things, people, events that bring you peace of mind? What are the things, people, events that repeatedly cause you anxiety, stress, and worry? Be specific. You want more of the good things, and less of the bad ones. Of course if your job or your child is making you miserable, you can’t just get rid of them. But you can work on it. You can look for another job. You can work on developing a better relationship with your child. Accept the things that work you. Change the things that don’t.

The pursuit of peace of mind is important. If you are not consciously looking for it, you will spend more of your time chasing the wrong things. Don’t waste that time, because remember, time is life.

ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY:

Start your 30-day challenge to understand more about your peace of mind.

 

FREE – Journaling for Personal Development Workshop on October 24th

 

Journaling for Personal Development Workshop

Kaizen Warriors hard at work, journaling!

 

It’s happening again, and for the last time this year: A FREE, Journaling for Personal Development workshop. It’s a full day (relatively) of journaling. You will be led through guided journaling. There will be a lot of writing, so hand-aches are a strong possibility. But you will also finish the day learning a lot more about yourself and your goals than you came in with.

You will challenge your preconception, perhaps even discover some things you don’t like about yourself. You may also learn new things. But most importantly, you will spend the day with like-minded people, who are also pursuing the same thing. That’s one of the most interesting yet gratifying things – to understand that no matter how different backgrounds you have, how different situations in life, journaling and pursuit of personal development makes people relate to each other.

So if you are in London, or in commutable distance, send me an email (dolly [at] kaizenjournaling [dot] com) to register for your place now.

Basic Details:

Date: October 24, 2015

Time: 10:00 – 16:00

Venue: Queen Mary University of London, Mile End, London

Email to Register: dolly [at] kaizenjournaling [dot] com

If you know people who may be interested, please feel free to share. Registration is required because numbers will be limited for an enhanced experience for everyone.

 

 

5 Lessons I’ve Learned on the Path to Becoming A Polymath

 

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Last week I wrote my progress report, on becoming a polymath project. As promised, this is the follow up article. The road to polymathy is not straight-forward. I started off in uncharted territory, and I’m mapping it as I go along. Often by going over the same road again. There is still a long way to go, much more to learn, and no doubt many more unplanned and may be even unwanted lessons to absorb. But here are five key lessons I’ve learned (or re-learned) on the path to becoming a polymath:

You have to remember your goals

Sounds obvious, right? Yet, out of sight, out of might happens so often to goals. I have a list of goals that I regularly review, daily goals, weekly goals, yearly goals, even my 40 before 40 goals. But what I often forgot to look at were my polymathy goals. I thought that by focusing on the things that I need to achieve now, I will be moving in the right direction, because my current goals are also carefully planned to add to my future goals. This, as it turns out, is only a partial truth. Not just for me, but for everyone. Your current goals inevitably end up including things that you have to do, but are not part of your long-term focus. Day jobs for example, are a clear example. Therefore, not reviewing my polymathy goals probably made my progress slower, and the process little bit more inefficient.

By the way, one of the best ways to remind  yourself about your goals is to make sure you regularly write them down. I usually do this whenever I start a new journal, and also a few times in-between if I am going through a review process.

Writing in a journal reminds you of your goals and of your learning in life. It offers a place where you can hold a deliberate, thoughtful conversation with yourself.

Robin S. Sharma

Failure is okay

As Jack Canfield said:

Don’t worry about failures. Worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try.

Failure means you are trying. As long as you don’t keep failing at the same thing, in exactly the same way, then you are learning something. Even if all you are learning is what does not work. You will need to accept, sooner or later, that failure is part of the process. If your goals are at all challenging then failure is inevitable. The important thing to keep in mind is that failure is not the end of your journey. It’s only a part of the process. If you are afraid of failure, if you avoid it at all costs, then you need to change your perspective. Embrace failure. Don’t let it stop you. Failure is not your enemy.

You can adjust or even change your course

I was already aware of this, and have done so in the past, but it is still a constant reminder. When you write down goals, there is a sense of permanency about it. I feel like once I’ve decided I have to do it. But of course I don’t have to. I’m not talking about quitting just because the road gets rough. The world is full of people who give up on their goals. Don’t be one of them. Giving up is not an option. However, changing course is. You may find that your goals change, or that you need to refine it more. For example, one of my original goals for polymath project was to “Master one form of physical activity.” After actually becoming more physically active, I found that it’s more useful to do different things that use different muscles, and challenge my entire body. Therefore, my goal now is to focus on “Overall physical fitness, try new activities, and challenge my body.”

This refining is important. It means I’ve learned from my experience so far, and I’m willing to adapt to changing circumstances. Always be willing to adapt. Stubbornness is good when it comes to not quitting in the face of all adversities, but rigidity is not. Being rigid limits you. Being flexible frees you. Therefore, allow  yourself to change or adjust your course when necessary.

Measuring something is the best way to speed up progress

If you are not keeping track of your goals, they may get done, or they may not. They probably won’t. Or your progress will be much slower than what you are capable of. This is where specific goals become essential. You have to have goals that are specific enough that you can measure them.

For example, if your goal is to write every day, you could just answer in yes or no. Did you write today? Yes. That’s one form of measurement. It works if you are trying to build a habit, as long as you remember to at least keep track of that “Yes” or “No” answer. However, the more effective thing would be to have a specific goal. I.e. write 500 words every day. That gives you a goal to achieve, and it also enables you to measure your progress. If you are writing a 1000 word story, you know you can finish it in two days. If you are writing a whole book, you can work it out by the word count. Specificity and measurement makes difficult goals much more achievable. It can also give you a motivational kick.

Actionable steps are essential

For my sixth goal – Human behaviour, body language, how the mind works – I didn’t really have any specific steps. I know I made some progress on it through life, but that was it. I didn’t have a plan, or any way of measuring it. That’s not very effective. It doesn’t allow me to describe what exactly I learned and how I learned it. It also doesn’t allow me to measure my progress. It doesn’t allow me to distil the lessons I’ve learned. All in all, it’s not very efficient, and certainly not effective for an aspiring polymath.

Actionable steps allow you to know what you are supposed to do. It saves a lot of time too, because then you are not sitting there wondering what  you should be doing. Actionable steps allow you to measure your progress easily. And of course, they speed up your progress towards your goals. Small steps towards larger goals go a long way in the long run.

 

These lessons are a good way to reflect on my polymath journey. I hope they help you on yours. Even if you are not planing to become a polymath, all of the above lessons can help you with any goals you have. 

 

ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY:

Let’s start with the most basic one. Do you know what your goals? If you’ve them written down, review them. If you haven’t written them down (or can’t find them) then write them down now. 

 

 

Journaling Tip: Don’t Catch Up

 

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If you keep a journal (or are just dabbling at it), and if you also happen to be quite methodical and/or perfectionist, one constant temptation is to catch up. I frequently suffer from this.

You want to make sure that your journal contains everything of importance, or that it contains everything. You want to make sure that all things, conversations, places, people you find interesting, or that somehow impact your life, are recorded. This is particularly the case when I go travelling, or attend events, and have incredibly full days where lots of things happen. The downside of lots of things happening is that it’s really difficult to find the time to journal, particularly time to journal a lot.

The temptation to catch up remains. I jot down what I can,when I can with the intention of doing a detailed catch-up later. I start from day one, in great detail. However, what happens is that by the time I get home, I am super busy with my regular life, and there are present-time events to record. I am also usually unwilling to spend both thought and time on things that happened last week (unless they were really significant), and so I end up with a partial glimpse of a particular time which has detailed information about a day or two, and hardly anything for the rest of the time.

Fortunately, I have learned from these past mistakes. Now, I rarely try to catch up. The impulse to do so still remains, but accepting that I may not do it, I now jot down information daily as time permits, without attempting to write EVERYTHING. If I manage to write further details later, great. If I can’t, then I don’t worry about it.

If you are going to be a regular journal keeper – without breaking the habit – and if at the same time, you have a very busy life that does not allow for an hour of reflective journaling every day, then lose the obsession to catch up and your journals, and your peace of mind will be better for it.

ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY

Share your views / perfectionist tendency on “catch up” in your journal in the comments below.