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Published on January 2, 2020

13 Things to Remember When You Need More Motivation

13 Things to Remember When You Need More Motivation

I am naturally an optimistic person and I like to think of myself as a motivated person – but not all of the time. There have been many times in my life where I have struggled with motivation. It takes a lot of energy to be motivated and some days, I just can’t be bothered. I just want to hide away and do nothing.

Having these feelings where you just want to do nothing is actually an okay thing to do because there are times when you need to rest and recover. The danger is when you let this occasional feeling of laziness and procrastination take over your life. When this happens and trust me, it can happen very quickly, you will find yourself making excuses as to why you can’t get off the couch and start exercising, or start the new project, or finish off the old project. This is a dangerous place to be and one to avoid at all costs.

So, when you are at the point of low energy and need motivation, consider using these 13 motivation tips to help you get your mojo and your life back on track.

1. Take Time to Quieten Down Your Mind

Having no motivation is energy-draining and one consequence of having low energy is that your mind starts to get very noisy and very cluttered.

Practising mindfulness on a regular basis is a great way to quieten down the noise in your mind. There are many mindfulness activities that you can choose – meditation, exercise, listening to classical music, going for long walks. Choose any activity that gives your mind breathing space and some peace.

2. Use Your Power of Choice

Your power of choice is the only thing that you have that enables you to control how you react to events and experiences in your life. You can choose to live your life languishing, or you can live a flourishing life.

Nobody else has that power over you and so if you want to become more motivated about life, then use your power of choice to make the change.

3. Remove Negative People from Your Life

Surrounding yourself with negative people drains your energy and with no energy, the chances of you living a motivated and active life is pretty close to zilch.

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Choose instead to surround yourself with positive people and when you do, you will find that your energy for life starts to flow.

4. Choose to Take Small Steps First to Get Your Energy Flowing

Going from feeling low energy and no motivation to where you have lots of energy and motivation can seem impossible to achieve. In fact, so overwhelming we don’t know where to start and we end up giving up or not even starting.

The key to moving forward and achieving any goal that you set is to focus on taking one step at a time until you reach your goal.

Jenny Blake in her book Pivot – said that to change your life:

“The only move that matters is your next one.”

If you want to get your mojo back in your life, figure what the first few actions or steps are for you to start moving forward, and then stick to the plan – one step at a time.

5. Let Go of the Things in Your Life You Can’t Change

When we are feeling low in energy, we tend to dwell on the events in our life that have not gone so well for us. These difficult and challenging events belong in the past and we can’t change the outcome.

Focusing on these events drains our energy and therefore, makes it even harder to start taking action to change our lives. Focus on the events in life that went well for you, and use those positive feelings to help you move forward.

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6. Practice Gratitude and Show Appreciation on a Daily Basis

Commit to showing gratitude and appreciation to strangers and people you know every day for a month. Once the month is up, don’t stop, keep going for the rest of your life.

Practicing gratitude and appreciation on a daily basis brings joy to your life and with joy comes hope and high energy – which is what leads you to live a motivated life.

Here’re 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude.

7. Focus on Doing Activities That Bring You Joy

Eliminate the activities in life that drag you down. When we are feeling low, we tend to focus on the tasks that use a lot of negative energy.

To get motivation back into your life, focus on activities that are helping you to move forward not drag you down. Use your power of choice to help you decide those activities, which will support you to live a more motivated life.

8. Embrace Patience into Your Life

This may seem a bit of a strange action to consider if you want to live a more motivated life; however, embracing patience into your life is not about you “sitting back and waiting” – it is about you taking the time to consider and reflect on what you need to do to keep moving forward.

Changing your life does not happen overnight, it is a personal journey that takes time. Patience helps you keep on track and helps you to have a more positive perspective on your life.

Learn How to Be Patient and Take Charge of Your Life.

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9. Take The Time to Figure Out Who You Are And What You Want

To change one’s life takes commitment and purpose. You need to know what it is you want and why you want it. These two things are important drivers for you wanting to change your life.

If you know what you want and why you want it, then you have a clear purpose to focus on. If you have no direction or vision as to how you want to live your life, then your journey of change can become directionless and the chances are very high that you will give up.

If you don’t know what living a motivated and positive life is like, then how will you know what to aim for?

Figure out what you truly want and regain motivation with this guide: How to Get Motivated Every Day When You Wake Up

10. Keep Learning

Highly motivated people love to learn new things. It is learning that brings energy into their lives. Learning opens up your mind and challenges you to think about different perspectives.

Take every opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and learn new things on a regular basis. Living a comfortable life with no challenges will only drain your energy and leave you very demotivated about your life.

Try these 10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Overcome Your Fear.

11. Help Others

Helping others, especially those in need is one of the best ways for you to bring energy and motivation into your life. The more you help people in need, the more joy you will find in your life.

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An act of kindness is powerful and can change your life when you make a positive impact on someone else’s life.

12. Exercise Regularly

Staying active improves the energy levels in your body, soul and mind. Exercise maintains positivity, optimism and hope at levels where you experience high energy and motivation on a regular basis.

Regular exercise is key to you staying motivated and positive about your life – even in the tough times. Exercise helps to release the negative energy that builds up within you. When you are feeling really down, going for a walk in the bush, at the beach, in the park or even around your neighbourhood is the best medicine ever.

13. Work Hard at Maintaining a Positive and Hopeful Attitude

There is nothing worse than giving in to all the bad things that are happening in your life. If you focus on the negative things in your life, your energy and motivation will reduce dramatically.

Sure things in life can get very tough and there are times when you will make mistakes. However, the tough times are in the past.

Stop thinking about the negative and focus on the positives in your life such as what is going well? What is working well? What great things have you to look forward to? These are the questions that you should focus on – the ones that build up your belief, your positivity and hope for the future. From here comes the motivation and energy to live a joyful life.

Applying any one or all of these 13 practical tips will help you to live a more energetic and motivated life. Take a deep breath right now and choose one and start your journey now!

More Motivational Tips

Featured photo credit: Holly Mandarich via unsplash.com

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Kathryn Sandford

Career Resilience Coach passionate about supporting others to grow and thrive in a complex world.

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Last Updated on September 30, 2020

How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Future

How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Future

We often hear people talk about the importance of living in the present and the different ways it will benefit us. It all sounds wonderful, especially the lower levels of stress and anxiety, but how exactly can we live in the moment when our mind is constantly worrying about the past or plans for the future?

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the benefits of living in the moment you may not be aware of. Then, we’ll look at some of the obstacles and why we worry. Finally, and most importantly, I’ll show you how to live in the moment and stop worrying using some simple practices that you can easily incorporate into your busy schedule.

The result: a happier and more fulfilling life.

The Importance of Living in the Moment

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” -Buddha

While it can be difficult to live in the moment, it has innumerable benefits.

Here are just a few that will enhance your life tremendously:

Better Health

By reducing stress and anxiety, you avoid many of the associated health consequences, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. Studies have shown that being present can also improve psychological well-being[1].

Improve Your Relationships

Have you ever been with someone who is physically present, but mentally s/he’s a million miles away?

Being with unavailable people is a struggle, and building relationships with them extremely difficult.

How about being with someone who is fully present? We enjoy being with her/him because we can make a much deeper connection.

By living in the moment, you can be that person other people enjoy being with, and you make relationships much easier.

Greater Self-Control

You have greater control over your mind, body, and emotions. Imagine how much better your life would be if it weren’t at the mercy of a racing mind and unpredictable emotions. You would certainly be more at peace, and much happier[2].

Why Do We Worry?

Before we answer this question, it’s important to distinguish between worry and concern.

When we are concerned about something, we are more likely dealing with a real problem with realistic solutions. Then, once we do whatever we can to address the problem, we’re willing to live with the outcome.

Worrying, on the other hand, involves unrealistic thinking. We may worry about a problem that doesn’t really exist, or dwell on all the bad things that can happen as a result. Then, we feel unable to deal with the outcome. Either way, we have difficulty dealing with uncertainty, which is a normal part of life.

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Certainly, some of our problems may not have desirable outcomes, such as a serious health issue. Some problems may be beyond our control, such as civil unrest or economic downturn. In such cases, it can be hard to avoid worrying, but not impossible.

3 Steps to Start to Live in the Moment

Step 1: Overcome Worrying

In order to overcome worrying, we need to do two things:

Calm Your Mind

When you calm your mind, you are able to see more clearly.

The reason some problems seem so daunting is that our mind is racing so fast that we cannot see things as they truly are. Then, we make up a bunch of possible scenarios in our mind, most of which are unlikely to come true.

In addition to seeing more clearly, a calm mind will help us think more realistically. Unrealistic thinking is fueled by confusion and uncontrolled emotions. Calming your mind will reduce confusion and calm your emotions, allowing you to live in the present.

Focus on Solutions Instead of Problems

Some people tend to be more solution-oriented, and others more problem-oriented. Some of the factors that may determine this are gender, upbringing, and education.

People with more education tend to be problem-solvers. That is what their years of education train them to do. In addition, their jobs probably reinforce this way of thinking.

If you’re not problem-solving oriented, don’t worry. You can train yourself to worry less. We’ll discuss that soon.

Step 2: Identify Obstacles to Living in the Moment

In today’s busy world, it can be a challenge to live in the moment. The reasons revolve around how our mind works, as well as outside influences.

Racing Mind

Many busy people have a racing mind that never seems to slow down. Their mind gets so agitated from too much sensory stimulation.

You see, anything that stimulates any of our five senses will trigger a thought, and that thought leads to another, and then another, and so on.

If you have a busy life, all your activities will overstimulate your mind and make it seemingly impossible to slow it down.

Unpleasant Situations and a Troublesome Past

None of us want to be in unpleasant situations, or remember those of the past. They can bring up painful emotions, which we don’t want to feel.

So how do most people cope with painful emotions?

By doing whatever we can to avoid them, we can take our mind to another place and time where things are more pleasant.

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In other words, we avoid living in the present moment.

Some people resort to things that stimulate sensory pleasure, such as food, alcohol, or sex. Others will consume substances that dull their mind and keep them from thinking about unpleasant or stressful situations.

A Wandering Mind

From the moment we are born (likely sooner) until the time we die, our body and mind are active performing some function. Therefore, it’s natural for our mind to have some level of activity, whether conscious or unconscious.

Generally, a wandering mind is unproductive. One thought starts an endless chain of thoughts, and this process can go on until we need our mind to perform a specific function or get distracted with something else.

Now, there are times when a wandering mind can be productive, such as when creating works of art, or trying to find creative solutions to problems. In such cases, we need our mind to explore different possibilities[3].

Outside Influences

Most of us are not fully aware of how our environment and social norms influence our thinking and behavior. People and institutions are constantly competing for our attention. The media draws our attention to the past, and advertising usually to the future[4].

Many people around us who dwell on the past or future try to draw us to their way of thinking. Even the whole concept of the American dream is geared toward the future. It tells us that if we acquire things like a good career, family, and house, then we’ll be happy.

Step 3: Practice Mindfulness

So how can we live in the moment in a world that is constantly trying to draw our attention to the past and future?

Before we get into concrete actions you can take, it’s important to understand what mindfulness is. You’ve probably heard the term before, but may not fully understand what it means.

Understand Mindfulness

The concept of mindfulness is actually quite simple. To be mindful is to live in the moment.

When you are mindful, your attention is focused on what is happening in the present moment, and you are fully in touch with reality[5].

You are aware of what is happening in your body, mind, emotions, and the world around you. This is different than thinking about these things. To develop greater understanding, you don’t have to think about them so much, but rather just observe them.

This may be counterintuitive to many people, especially intellectuals, because they’re so used to using logic to develop greater understanding. With mindfulness, we calm our mind and emotions so we can see clearer. Then, much of our understanding will come from simple observation. When we develop mindfulness, we literally expand our awareness.

To develop mindfulness, we need to train ourselves to observe things more objectively, that is, without our emotions or preconceived ideas influencing our views.

If you’re ready to live a better life, read on for some simple mindfulness practices that you can incorporate into your daily routine to help you live in the moment.

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You don’t have to do all of them, but rather choose the ones that appeal to you and suit your lifestyle.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is the mainstay of developing mindfulness and living in the moment. To practice mindfulness meditation, all you really have to do is sit quietly and follow your breathing. When your mind wanders off, just bring it back to your breath.

Notice how your lungs expand with each in-breath and contract with each out-breath. Let your breathing become relaxed and natural.

You don’t have to do it perfectly. The idea is to start spending time away from the constant sensory stimulation of all your activities, and just allow it to settle down naturally. Start with about 5 to 10 minutes per day and work your way up to about 20 minutes or longer.

This practice is highly effective, and can have both short-term and long-term benefits.

If you want to learn more about mindfulness meditation, take a look at this article: What Is Mindfulness Meditation? 7 Ways to Start Meditating

Mindful Breathing

While this may sound the same as mindfulness meditation, all you’re really doing is taking short breaks occasionally (10 to 15 seconds) to observe your breathing. Stop whatever you’re doing, and take a few mindful breaths, then resume your activity. That’s it.

You can do mindful breathing at any time of the day during your busy schedule. What it does is interrupt the acceleration of your mind. It is like taking your foot off the accelerator while driving. It’s a nice refreshing break you can take without anyone noticing.

Here’re some breathing exercises you can try to learn: 5 Breathing Exercises for Anxiety (Simple and Calm Anxiety Quickly)

Mindful Walking

Walking is an activity that you perform several times throughout the day. We often think we’re being productive by texting or calling someone while walking. But are we really?

Instead of getting on your cell phone or letting your mind wander off, why not use your walking to train yourself to live in the moment and focus on the task at hand?

Mindful walking is similar to mindful breathing, but instead of focusing on your breath, focus on your walking. Pay attention to each footstep. Also, notice the different motions of your arms, legs, and torso. When your mind wanders off, just bring your attention back to your walking.

You can even make a meditation out of walking. That is, go walking for a few minutes outside. Start by slowing down your pace. If you slow down your body, your mind will follow.

In addition to paying attention to your walking, notice the trees, sunshine, and critters. A mindful walk is enjoyable and can really help your mind settle down.

You can discover more benefits of walking in nature here.

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Mindful Eating

Eating is an activity that most of us perform mindlessly. The reason is that it doesn’t require your attention to perform. Therefore, many of us try to multitask while we eat. We may talk on the phone, text, watch TV, or even hold a meeting.

The problem with not eating mindfully is that we don’t eat what our body and mind need to perform at an optimal level[6]. We may eat unhealthy foods, or too much. This can lead to various health problems, especially as we get older.

Live in the present with mindful eating.

    Mindful eating has many health benefits, such as reduced food cravings, better digestion, and even weight loss[7].

    So how do you eat mindfully? Start by slowing down, and avoid the temptation to distract yourself with another activity. Here are 3 different aspects of eating where you can practice mindfulness:

    • Eating itself: Focus your attention on choosing a portion of food to insert into your mouth. Notice the smell, flavor, and texture as you chew it; then finally swallow it. As with following your breath during meditation, pay close attention to every aspect of eating.
    • Choice of foods: Although you’ve already chosen your food before you have begun eating, you can still take the opportunity to contemplate your choices. Think about the nutrients your body needs to sustain itself.
    • Contemplating the sources: Most of us don’t think about all the work it takes to provide us with the food we eat. While you’re eating, consider all the work by the farmer, shipping company, and the grocery store. These are real people who worked hard to provide you with the food necessary for your survival.

    You can find more tips about mindful eating here: 7 Simple Steps to Mindful Eating

    Mindful Activities

    Choose an activity that you perform regularly, such as washing dishes. Focus all your attention on this activity, and resist the temptation to let your mind wander,. When it does, just bring your attention back to washing dishes.

    Notice some of the specific movements or sensations of washing dishes, such as how the soapy water feels on your hands, the circular motion of scrubbing the dish, or the rinsing. You’d be surprised at how such a mundane activity can truly expand your awareness.

    You can choose any activity you like, such as ironing, folding clothes, mowing the lawn, or showering. Over time, you will begin doing all these activities with greater mindfulness.

    Final Thoughts

    Practicing mindfulness is like regularly putting small amounts of change in a jar. They will all add up over time, and this will add up to greater peace and happiness, as well as get you closer to achieving your goals.

    Remember, you don’t have to do the mindfulness practices perfectly to get the benefits. All you have to do is keep bringing your mind back to the present moment when it wanders off.

    Practicing mindfulness may be a bit challenging in the beginning, but I can assure you it will get easier.

    The benefits of living in the moment are well within your reach, no matter how much your mind is racing. If you stick with these mindfulness practices, you too will learn how to live in the moment and stop worrying. When you do, a whole new world will open up for you. This is what Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh calls the ultimate reality.

    More About Living in the Present

    Featured photo credit: Smile Su via unsplash.com

    Reference

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