Someone close to me is not doing so well. She’s dealing with fear, anxiety and depression all at the same time. Her predicament is my inspiration.
It’s my duty not to sit back and ignore someone who really needs help. That help can’t always be given directly though. Sometimes that help needs to come in a different form. Sometimes the words that need to be said can’t be said in person.
We can’t sit back and ignore people who are going through a rough time (that’s how suicide can occur).
Instead, we need to be the light in someone else’s darkness. That’s why this blog post is for this very special person, who has no idea who she has already inspired and will continue to inspire. I’ve had my own fair share of struggles over the last year and so I know exactly how she is feeling.
When you’re not doing so well remember the following:
A) Don’t hide from the world
It’s so easy to disappear and hide in the shadows when you’re not doing so well. Your bed feels so warm and coffee tastes amazing. Hiding won’t help the horrible feelings you are going through. By avoiding the pain you are feeling, you only create more for yourself.
This process becomes a vicious cycle that you feel like you can’t escape. The very thing you need during these tough times are your friends, family and work colleagues. Tell them how you are feeling. Don’t bottle it up. The more your inner circle knows of your struggle, the more they can help.
You’ve done the same for them so now it’s time to let them help with your healing process. Start by being honest about where you are at. Talk the issues through with people you trust. You’ll find through this process that most of what is going on in your head is based on fear.
“Your fear is there to protect you from danger, but not to help you rediscover yourself. It’s okay not to be okay. Embrace that truth and let it set you free”
B) Your reason for existence can come into question
Through these challenging times every day can feel kind of meaningless. The worst thing you can have happen to your life is to lose your sense of meaning. Your meaning is what keeps you moving forward and it’s what will be the antidote to your pain.
Try reconnecting with what inspires you and what has gotten you to where you are today. Maybe that’s your religion, your graphic design ability, your love of art or even your thirst for travel. Don’t ever forget why you are put on this Earth because that very thought can potentially end all of your happiness.
I’ve questioned the meaning of my life on many occasions and it always comes back to the same thing: I’m here to inspire people – like everyone reading this article – to think differently and question their own thoughts.
I’m here to tell you that it’s all going to be okay and our problems are the same for all of us. These problems just show up in the form of different flavors, but they are all part of the same soup.
C) The world’s beauty can be lost on you
What you need to do is get out into this beautiful world. The trouble is that when you’re not doing so well, you forget where you are right now at this point in time. Let me remind you in case you’ve forgotten. You are living on the most beautiful planet in the entire solar system.
You were chosen to come to life out of thousands of little sperm. You live in a place where there is glorious sun, phenomenal winters full of snow and during a time when technology has taken our lives to a new level. You can literally be whoever you want to be at this moment.
Today you might be a comedian and tomorrow you might be an Internet sensation. Everything in your life is your choice because you are free. Free to dream. Free to love. Free to be free. Free yourself from this brief moment of negativity.
Get back on the horse and try again. All anyone ever wanted for you is to be happy, it’s just that you don’t know that. Live like a kid again and take pride in the small things that you once didn’t notice. Smell the flowers in the park, jump in the puddles, pull a stupid face and have a warm cup of tea.
D) There’s someone that cares for you
“The suffering begins when you think you’re alone. You’re not”
Someone, somewhere cares about you. Heck, I care about you and that’s why I wrote this article. No one wants you to go through hard times, but it’s during these moments that you get a chance to reflect. You get an opportunity to rebuild your life and find something new.
Don’t lie to yourself because you and I know that you’re not alone. You don’t live on Mars, in some dark hole, where life is mostly inhabitable. You’re here on Earth surrounded by people that care about you even though they may not all tell you.
It’s simple to overcome this dilemma though. Just ask these people if they care about you and you’ll see that I am right.
E) Today was a good day
You thought you weren’t doing so well yet you made it through this article. And guess what? You made it through today as well. It was not easy, but you did it. So if you can make it through today then why can’t you make it through tomorrow as well?
The answer is you can. You can make it through every single day when you take the focus off your suffering and get out there and help people in some meaningful way. That’s what we’re all good at after all. We are all excellent at being of service, so why not do that as a part of the healing process.
The first thing I do when I’m going through what you’re going through is volunteer at the homeless shelter. Try that or pick something that takes you out of your head.
Even though you may have felt sad today, the sun still came up. Your friends still sent you flowers, messages and comforted you. Don’t become dependent on these gifts, but use them. As you get through enough of these days, you build muscle you never thought you’d have.
This muscle can be used next time the dark clouds in your life appear. Better yet, this new muscle can be put to good use and given to someone in your life who may need it when you’re all better again.
Don’t forget that today was a good day for the only reason that you made it through it. You survived. We’re all survivors and we can get through today if we put all of our focus on doing so. Take it one day at a time and each day will be just a little bit easier.
Repeat after me “Today was a good day. Tomorrow’s going to be even better.”
Say it again. Repeat over and over until you know this phrase to be true. Best of luck soldier. My thoughts are with you and you’ll get through these difficult times.
If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net
How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals
Time is the raw material of our lives. How we choose to spend it, shapes our life accordingly. So having the motivation to spend it on achieving goals is crucial to creating a life we want.
What is Motivation?
The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as the desire or willingness to do something – our drive to take action.
Scientifically, motivation has its roots in the dopamine pathways of our brains. When we do something that feels good, that’s dopamine kicking in. Our actions are driven by the desire for that reward (the good feeling).
Author Steven Pressfield describes motivation more practically. He says we hit a point where the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it. He sees motivation as crossing the threshold where it’s easier to take action than it is to be idle. Like choosing to feel awkward while making sales calls over feeling disappointed about a diminishing bank account.
However you choose to think about it, we all want to harness motivation to achieve our goals.
How to Get Motivated
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that most people misunderstand motivation. They think that motivation is what gets us to take action. In reality, motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Once we start a task, it’s easier to continue making progress. Like Isaac Newton’s first law: objects in motion stay in motion.
This means most of the resistance when working on your goals comes right before we start. Since motivation naturally occurs after we start, we need to focus on making starting easier.
4 Ways to Make Starting Easier
1. Schedule it
One reason people can’t get started on things is that they haven’t planned when to do it.
When things aren’t scheduled it’s easier for them to fall by the wayside. You’ll end up hoping motivation falls in your lap or hoping that you’ll muster enough willpower to get it done.
An article in the Guardian said, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”
2. Measure something
It’s easy to feel uninspired when you don’t know if you’re making progress or what you’re even working towards. That’s why you need to make your success measurable in some way. Starting is easy when you know exactly how much closer your current actions will bring you to achieving your goal.
3. Extrinsic motivation
This type of motivation is from external factors. It can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation consists of incentives like money, prizes, and grades. Negative motivation consists of deterrents like being fired, having a fight, or being fined. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t work effectively long-term, but it can work well in the short term to get you started on something.
4. Make it public
Keep yourself accountable by telling friends and family your goals, or even sharing them on social media. This makes it easier to start something because you’re pressured to not let others down.
How to Stay Motivated Long Term
When we say we want to feel motivated to do something, we don’t want to be pushed or guilted into doing a task. We want to be so attracted and drawn to the idea that we can’t resist not taking action. That’s why it’s important to build a foundation that will set you up for consistency.
These are 5 techniques that will help you do just that:
1. Stay in your goldilocks zone
The goldilocks zone is when a task is the perfect level of difficulty—not too hard and not too easy. In this zone, we reach peak motivation and focus.
For example, let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year-old. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become bored and not want to play. Now let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against Serena Williams. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become demotivated because the match is too challenging.
The Goldilocks zone is in the middle of that spectrum. You want to face someone with equal skill as you. That way you have a chance to win, but you have to focus and try for it. Adjusting your workload and goals over time to stay within your Goldilocks zone keeps you engaged and motivated long-term.
2. Pursue intrinsically motivated goals
Being intrinsically motivated to achieve a goal is when you want to achieve it for what it is. There are no external factors like a reward or the risk of being fired. The drive behind your actions is coming from within.
For most intrinsic goals we pursue them because they will enrich our lives or bring us closer to fulfillment. That makes these goals extremely sustainable long-term because they directly affect our quality of life and the things we care about.
3. Use “chunking”
Chunking is the technique of breaking down a goal into smaller short-term targets. By doing this you achieve multiple successes in your pursuit of the main goal. This triggers the brain’s reward system and drives you to keep going.
Traditionally, you may set a goal that you expect to achieve in one year. That’s a long time to commit without seeing any results along the way. By chunking your goals into monthly or quarterly targets, you get the consistent positive reinforcement you need to stay motivated long-term.
For example, instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in one year, try to lose 4 pounds every month for 12 months.
4. Be flexible
We’re all victims of circumstance. Things happen along our journey that we can either adjust to or quit because of. That’s why it’s important to have leeway and flexibility when you’re pursuing a goal. If you expect everything to go perfectly, the inevitable failure can make you disengaged and desireless. When you plan for things to go wrong, you make sure you can keep up for the long haul.
5. Pursue your goals in a sustainable fashion
Don’t lose hope when you’re not an overnight success. Overnight successes are the 1%—for the most part, they don’t exist. What we see as an “overnight success” is actually countless hours of work behind the scenes finally hitting a tipping point. Pursuing goals is a story of patience, persistence, and unseen effort.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a recipe for a drop in self-confidence and satisfaction. It also cultivates a mindset where you think you haven’t done enough. As a result, you may raise your expectations and put more pressure on yourself.
This is pointless because things worth achieving take time. So we obviously won’t compare to the things around us when starting.
Mastering motivation is a superpower. With that ability at your fingertips, you can accomplish your goals and shape a life you want to live in.
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