Be the change you want to see in the world.
This quote by Gandhi gets trotted out a lot by people with nothing but the best intentions. Suitable for bumper stickers, motivational posters, and sticking to the top of blog posts, it seems custom-made for all your feel-good occasions. But what does it really mean? And what would it look and feel like to really be the change you want to see in the world?Advertising
Sam Davidson and Stephen Moseley of Cool People Care try to answer these questions in their book New Day Revolution: How to Save the World in 24 Hours (hereafter “NDR”). Organized according to the typical activities we engage in over the course of a single day, NDR offers a wealth of tips, tricks, and hacks that help transform everyday activities ranging from drinking a cup of coffee to giving gifts into revolutionary ones that, in ways small or large, help create a healthier, safer, and more compassionate world.
Little changes lead to big differences
The central premise of NDR is that little changes can add up to huge differences — in your life and in the world as a whole. For instance, waking up 9 minutes earlier every day — which you can do by hitting “snooze” one less time — will give you over 50 extra hours a year to live your life with. Dropping a few minutes of sleep isn’t a difficult thing to do, but it could well have life-changing effects.Advertising
Most of the tips presented by Davidson and Moseley combine these personal benefits with world-changing benefits, such as the advice to line-dry your clothes instead of running them through the dryer. Line-drying isn’t nearly as inconvenient as you’d think — if you don’t have a yard, a collapsible drying rack that fits comfortably into a corner of your house or apartment will do just as well. That’s what I did for 5 years living in New York City in tiny apartments — anyone who has relied on laundromats for their laundry needs knows the frustration of paying 75 cents or more to dry a load and still ending up with a mess of soggy clothes! SKipping the dryer for a month can save you as much as $5 (and probably more with increasing energy costs since the book was published) as well as reducing the need for coal by 10 pounds (and reducing the carbon that coal would have released into the atmosphere accordingly).
Here’s a few more tips to give you a taste of NDR’s approach:Advertising
- Get your coffee inside instead of going through the drive-thru: It will probably take just as long, plus you’ll save the gas you’d have burnt waiting for them to serve the people in front of you, you’ll get some small amount of exercise, and you’ll get a chance to interact with customers and maybe flirt with the barrista, if that’s your thing.
- Buy extra canned goods: Grab one extra of each non-perishable food item you buy and drop them off at a local shelter on your way home from the store or into work the next day. If you have pets, grab an extra can of pet food and drop it off at the shelter. Make this a regular part of your life’s routine, so you’re constantly giving a little bit of help where it’s needed in your community.
- Carry a spoon: Turn down the plastic stirrer with your coffee, or the plastic spoon with your frozen yogurt. Instead, whip out your own spoon, have your drink or dessert, and take it home. Billions of plastic spoons and stirrers are thrown out every year — that’s a lot of plastic, which means a lot of oil, just taking up landfill space!
Putting it all together
In addition to a list of tips like the ones above, each chapter of NDR also includes a profile of a person (or sometimes several people) who have chosen to make a difference in the world. Consider, for example, Jody. Jody decided to spend one year using only what she had (barring consumables like food and toiletries). For 365 days, she pledged not to buy anything new: no new CDs, appliances, household furniture, electronic gadgets — nothing. If she found she really needed something, she tried to trade someone for it, or somehow get it for free.
(Bonus tip: Check out Freecycle to see if there’s a freecycling group in your neighborhood. Freecyclers post the things they don’t need anymore to an email list, allowing whoever wants it to come and pick it up for free.)Advertising
Obviously Jody saved a lot of money. And that would be a big difference in most people’s lives. But Jody didn’t stop with saving money — she took the money she wasn’t spending on consumer goods and gave it to charities that work to alleviate poverty in both her own community and abroad. Her idea was pretty simple: stop buying the cheap goods whose availability is premised on the exploitation of cheap labor around the world, and use the money she saved to help make up for the effects of that exploitation.
The final word
New Day Revolution is, for the most part, a worthy read. It’s beautifully designed, well-written, and engaging. The tips can be a mixed bag — most people will find at least some of them that are either distasteful to them or impractical in their own lives. That’s almost inevitable, though, since NDR doesn’t really hew to any particular political line — it’s hard to cover all the bases without occasionally hitting a sour note for at least some readers.
In the end, though, it’s not so much the content of NDR that’s important as the concept. NDR advocates drawing the lines between the way you’d like the world to be and your own individual practices. They even provide a blank chapter for you to add your own thoughts and ideas — and a website, New Day Revolution, where they’re posting more ideas and you can add your own (click “Chapters” and add comments under the relevant chapter heading).
New Day Revolution is a helpful, easy read. It would make a great gift for a recent high school or college graduate, or perhaps for a new parent or anyone who’s trying to bring their lives more in line with their values. While I can see re-reading it for inspiration now and again, none of the tips are so complex that you’d need it as a reference, so feel free to follow the authors’ own advice (on page 88) and check it out of your local library.
Last Updated on October 30, 2018
How to Motivate Yourself: 13 Simple Ways You Can Try Right Now
Who needs Tony Robbins when you can motivate yourself? Overcoming the emotional hurdle to get stuff done when you’d rather sit on the couch isn’t always easy. But unless calling in sick and waking up at noon have no consequences for you, it’s often a must.
For those of you who never procrastinate, distract yourself or drag your feet when you should be doing something important, well done so far! But for the rest of you, it’s good to have a library of motivational boosters to move along.
Whether you’re starting a buisiness, trying to los weight or breaking a bad habit, you’ll learn how to motivate yourself with different techniques in this article.
Table of Contents
13 Simple Ways to Motivate Yourself Right Now
Despite your best efforts, passion, habits and a flow-producing environment can fail. In that case, it’s time to find whatever emotional pump-up you can use to get started:
1. Go back to “why”
Focusing on a dull task doesn’t make it any more attractive. Zooming out and asking yourself why you are bothering in the first place will make it more appealing.
If you can’t figure out why, then there’s a good chance you shouldn’t bother with it in the first place.
2. Go for five
Start working for five minutes. Often that little push will be enough to get you going.
3. Move around
Get your body moving as you would if you were extremely motivated to do something. This ‘faking it’ approach to motivation may seem silly or crude but it works.
4. Find the next step
If it seems impossible to work on a project for you, you can try to focus on the next immediate step.
Fighting an amorphous blob of work will only cause procrastination. Chunk it up so that it becomes manageable. Learn how to stop procrastinating in this guide.
5. Find your itch
What is keeping you from working? Don’t let the itch continue without isolating it and removing the problem.
Are you unmotivated because you feel overwhelmed, tired, afraid, bored, restless or angry? Maybe it is because you aren’t sure you have time or delegated tasks haven’t been finished yet?
6. Deconstruct your fears
I’m sure you don’t have a phobia about getting stuff done. But at the same time, hidden fears or anxieties can keep you from getting real work completed.
Isolate the unknowns and make yourself confident, you can handle the worst case scenario.
7. Get a partner
Find someone who will motivate you when you’re feeling lazy. I have a friend I go to the gym with. Besides spotting weight, having a friend can help motivate you to work hard when you’d normally quit.
8. Kickstart your day
Plan out tomorrow. Get up early and place all the important things early in the morning. Building momentum early in the day can usually carry you forward far later.
Having a morning routine is a good idea for you to stay motivated!
9. Read books
Read not just self-help or motivational books but any book that has new ideas. New ideas get your mental gears turning and can build motivation. Here’re more reasons to read every day.
Learning new ideas puts your brain in motion so it requires less time to speed up to your tasks.
10. Get the right tools
Your environment can have a profound effect on your enthusiasm. Computers that are too slow, inefficient applications or a vehicle that breaks down constantly can kill your motivation.
Building motivation is almost as important as avoiding the traps that can stop it.
11. Be careful with the small problems
The worst killer of motivation is facing a seemingly small problem that creates endless frustration.
Reframe little problems that must be fixed as bigger ones or they will kill any drive you have.
12. Develop a mantra
Find a few statements that focus your mind and motivate you. It doesn’t matter whether they are pulled from a tacky motivational poster or just a few words to tell you what to do.
If you aren’t sure where to start, a good personal mantra is “Do it now!” You can find more here too: 7 Empowering Affirmations That Will Help You Be Mentally Strong
13. Build on success
Success creates success. When you’ve just won, it is easy to feel motivated about almost anything. Emotions tend not to be situation specific, so a small win, whether it is a compliment from a colleague or finishing two thirds of your tasks before noon can turn you into a juggernaut.
There are many ways you can place small successes earlier on to spur motivation later. Structuring your to-do lists, placing straightforward tasks such as exercising early in the day or giving yourself an affirmation can do the trick.
How to Stay Motivated Forever (Without Motivation Tricks)
The best way to motivate yourself is to organize your life so you don’t have to. If work is a constant battle for you, perhaps it is time to start thinking about a new job. The idea is that explicit motivational techniques should be a backup, not your regular routine.
Here are some other things to consider making work flow more naturally:
Do things you have a passion for. We all have to do things we don’t want to. But if life has become a chronic source of dull chores, you’ve got a big problem that needs fixing.
Not sure what your passion is to get you motivated? This will help you:
You can’t put everything on autopilot. I’ve found putting a few core habits in place creates a structure for the day.
Waking up at the same time, working at the same times and having a similar productive routine makes it easier to do the next day.
This guide will be useful for you if you’re looking to build good habits:
Flow is the state where your mind is completely focused on the task at hand. While there are many factors that go into producing this state, having the right challenge level is a big part.
Find ways to tweak your tasks so they hover in that sweet spot between boredom and maddening frustration.
Easily distracted and hard to focus? Here’s your solution.
With all these tips I’ve shared with you, now you know what to do when you’re feeling unmotivated.
Find your passion and develop a positive mantra so when the next time negativity hits you again, you know how to stay positive and motivated!
Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com