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5 Ways to Find the Motivation to Move Forward in Times of Defeat

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5 Ways to Find the Motivation to Move Forward in Times of Defeat

Life rarely works out as planned. There are situations and circumstances in each of our lives that are out of our control and lead to moments of anger and despair. There are times when we start a journey to make big changes in our life only to end up failing miserably.

During those times, it’s hard to even function—much less stay motivated to push forward in our lives. It feels easier to give up and hide under the covers. Those moments and that failures hurt, but offers some of life’s greatest lessons if you can just push through the pain.

I was homeless. I dropped out of high school. I lost my father and grandfather. I chased a big dream and experienced devastating failure every step of the way. I used the five ways below, to find a way to stay motivated to push forward despite wanting to give up. I hope they can motivate you as well.

Here are 5 ways to stay motivated despite wanting to give up:

 

1. Take a step back and put things into perspective

In that moment, you’re full of raw emotion. You’re angry, depressed, and tempted to react physically. Before you do something you’ll regret later, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Spend a few minutes breathing deeply and focus on being in that moment with a clear mind. Calm down and refocus on what would be your best way to proceed. Realize that no matter how bad it feels, you can and will recover. You’re still alive and have a chance to make things better. Ask yourself if what you’re going through will even matter five years from now?

 

2. Focus on the things you are grateful for in your life

It’s been proven that an attitude of gratitude and its benefits are not a myth. When you focus on what you’re grateful for, it’s hard to stay focused on the negative. You quickly see that life has blessed us, and despite what you’re feeling, you have a lot in your life that could be much worse. In that moment of frustration, start listing off three to five things you are grateful for in your life. Let the gratitude replace those other emotions.

“Gratitude opens the door to the power, the wisdom, the creativity of the universes. You open the door through gratitude.” – Deepak Chopra

3. Get lost in music you enjoy listening to

Science has shown music’s ability to calm and soothe human beings. There are songs each of us loves, and that has the power to brighten our mood. When you’re feeling frustrated or unmotivated, pull out your smartphone and find some music you enjoy. Spend 30-minutes ignoring all the things you need to do and let the music get your mind right.

 

4. Consume content that inspires you

We live in what is called the “Information Age.” Today, we can be inspired by podcasts, articles, books, and videos. The cool thing is that we can get all of this inspiring content through our smartphones. Your daily routine should include time to find the content that inspires you, and absorb and implement it in your life. In moments when you want to give up, go back to your favorite piece of content that inspires you.

 

5. Write down lessons that you can use later

As I said before, the moments that frustrate us can be times to learn. We learn valuable life lessons that only failure can teach us. If your life was perfect, and everything always went right, you wouldn’t develop the character traits you learn during hard times. After you have taken a moment of peace, and listened to music, start thinking about the lessons to be learned and avoided next time. Write down those lessons.

“If you learn from defeat, you haven’t really lost.” – Zig Ziglar

As you read this, I’ll be speaking at conferences in Spain and Morocco. I have a full schedule of travel all over the world this year. I’m working on my third traditionally published book, and I live in Maui, Hawaii. I found a way to make it through the hard times and now wake up every day living my dream life. I feel confident you can, too.

Getting and staying motivated starts with consistently doing the “inner work.” You should spend time each day and week understanding yourself better and spend time becoming the best version of yourself. By consistently working on improving yourself, you’ll have the strength to battle self-limiting beliefs.

This is your life, and you only get one of them. At that moment that seems overwhelming, you have a choice to make. You can give up or choose to get back up and do whatever it takes to reach your life goals. Too many people will choose to give up—life is too short to join them.

How do you stay motivated during hard times?

I used to deliver bread for a living, now I write. You can see my words in cool places such as the Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, Mind Body Green, the Good Men Project, Fox News, and many more. My books have sold over 100,000 copies and my new book, Stop Chasing Influencers, drops later this year. In the last three years, I’ve lost 170 pounds and moved our family to Maui, Hawaii. My goal is to help you create freedom in your work, health, and relationships and live your dream life. Join me at KimanziConstable.com and Kimanzi Constable on Facebook.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Elizabeth T

    May 22, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    Thank You! Very Much Helpful.

  2. Rose Costas

    Oct 12, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    Thanks Kimazi for sharing your story. You are now helping so many others through difficult times including myself. I have hard some major set backs in life and am just beginning to feel whole again. As my grandmother always says “you cannot have a testimony without going through the test” you have been tested and have lived to be a testament to hard work and not ever giving up. Thanks for sharing and good luck.

  3. Brandon Villano

    Oct 10, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    It’s ridiculous how much information is out there to consume whenever we want. I don’t think we realize how much this content affects our moods – so I like how you point out that it needs to be content that INSPIRES you.

    Just doing away with the depressing content, like the daily news with its negative sensationalism or people’s complaining on facebook, can also beef up your motivation.

  4. Tanner

    Oct 9, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    My motivation to get through.. is “just get it done and over with” lol… it may not seem very lets say.. effective, but just think if something is very bad, just think, get it done and over with and you wont worry about it anymore because its in the past 😛

  5. Esther Mellar

    Oct 7, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    Hi Kimanzi,

    I love how you refraim difficult situations as opportunity to grow.
    What helps me to stay motivated is to tell myself that it is supposed to be difficult, that is is just part of the process and I have to push trough.
    Have a safe trip!

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Welcome to our new normal. A time in our lives that a year ago we certainly didn’t see coming that most of us probably wouldn’t have chosen for ourselves; but here we are. As the days away from each other carry on and more and more bad news comes our way, it’s easy to lose your motivation and waste energy doing things that aren’t helpful like worrying and fighting with people on the internet instead.

Nearly half of Americans report the coronavirus crisis is harming their mental health, according to the Washington Post. While many of us had routines set up to deal with stress in the past, the stress we are facing during this time is unlike anything we’ve experienced before. It’s easy to find yourself in a downward spiral, and that’s the most challenging time to stop the momentum and turn things around. If that’s the case, keep it simple and start to reach for little things to help you feel better and climb your way out.

Here’s a reminder of a few simple things you can do right now to start getting positive momentum going your way:

1. Find someone who was in a similar place and made it to the other side

Whether you’ve been unmotivated to workout, eat healthy, make sales calls or simply do anything, you can find someone who has been there and made it to the other side. Look up some great TED talks, go on YouTube and look up people that motivate you, google them to find their websites. There are short speeches and much longer talks all over the internet, you just need to find someone who you relate to that speaks to you.

2. Do something that you love

When we’re unmotivated, it’s easy to get out of the habit of doing what we love. Sometimes just getting out of bed or away from the tv feels like a chore. Think back to a time in your life when you felt great – what were you doing? What do you absolutely love to do that if you had the time, you would do all day and not realize any time had passed at all? 

Figure out a way to do whatever that is, or a modified version of it if it is something that you aren’t able to do at the present time. Spending time doing what you love will get your mind off of anything that is wrong and allow you to find inspiration.

“If something is important enough, even if the odds are stacked against you, you should still do it.” – Elon Musk

3. Don’t overcomplicate it

Keep it simple. When we’re stuck in a rut, we’ll give ourselves every excuse to not do something. Say you’ve gained some weight; you might tell yourself you need to find the perfect trainer and wait until you have time to cook your meals from scratch each night before you do anything else. Stop trying to overcomplicate it and keep it simple by finding one thing you can do right now, however small that may be. You don’t have to wait until the timing is perfect and the stars align for you to start moving in the direction you want to go.  

4. Get up and get moving

This is probably the last thing you want to do right now, but once you are up and moving, your blood will start flowing. The hardest part is getting started. Day one, get up and do anything to get moving. This is the hardest day if you haven’t in a while because getting up is really the hardest part. Day two, do a little more. Once you start, you’ll build momentum and get back in the habit.

5. Reset your focus

It’s so easy for worry to set in and for our minds to wander to places of what we can’t control. This is not motivating or helpful and we always have a choice to redirect our attention. There is always something we can do right where we are, so bring your focus to the solution instead of the problem and figure out the next step of what you can do. 

One step at a time. Step one, take your attention away from what you can’t control and what you can’t do. Step two, ask yourself questions like “What can I do?” and see what comes to mind. Follow through with the answers you find.

6. Listen to your favorite music

Not much can lift our spirits and put us into a positive vibration more than our favorite music. Feel free to sing along. Find a song that pumps you up and make that your theme song. Put it on anytime you feel down or unmotivated.

7. Expand your knowledge

“In times of change, the learners will inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” Quote by Eric Hoffer. In times of change, there is great loss but also great opportunity. Continually learning opens you to new opportunities and leads you to paths you may not have otherwise found.  

“Work like there is someone working twenty four hours a day to take it away from you.” – Mark Cuban

8. Meditate

If you’re already a meditator and got away from it, take some time to come back to it. If you’ve never tried, it can be as easy as setting a timer for five minutes (or less, feel free to start with one or two minutes) and focusing on your breath. Listen to the inhalations and exhalations. Silently say to yourself “in” as you inhale and “out” as you exhale. Even taking a few minutes to do this can help you to calm down and allow your mind to refocus.

When we’re unmotivated, our momentum starts moving in the other direction. Slow down that momentum by trying one of the ideas above. Once you’ve slowed down the momentum, get it moving in the right direction and you’ll be well on your way.

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