We all go through tough times.
A few examples of mine are:
- Multiple consecutive breakups
- Walking away from a business that could have made me a lot of money
- Having my career come to a grinding halt
- Dealing with mental illness
The list is very long and I’m sure yours is similar. It’s not about the tough times we go through though because they are guaranteed and you already knew that before you clicked this article.
What matters during tough times is what you tell yourself.
This is what I say to myself during tough times — well there’s actually four things I say to myself depending on the tough time I’m facing:
“This will pass”
No event in your life lasts forever. Today may be a really tough day, but that won’t last forever. We delude ourselves at times by saying in our head “I’m always going to be like this.”
“Why does this always happen to me?”
“Here we go again.”
These negative phrases tell our brain that things are never going to get better. When we say these phrases to ourselves enough, we start to believe them. During a difficult period in your life, in that moment, things will suck.
The way to get out of your head is to see the truth: this will pass. In one day, one month, or one year this tough situation will have passed and you’ll be onto the next part of your life.
Nothing lasts forever unless you allow your mind to trap you in the moment and believe a lie which is that this moment won’t pass. It will. You will come out the other side.
“I’ll be stronger having dealt with this situation”
When you reframe your tough times into strength building exercises, they take a whole new meaning.
All of a sudden, your current situation that may be wearing you down becomes like reps at the gym. The reps are a struggle and it hurts, but if you keep moving forward, you end up with mental toughness and strength.
“Exchange your tough times for mental toughness”
See this challenging situation for what it is. It’s the chance to come out the other end stronger.
Stack your tough times up like gold medals.
Have you dealt with cancer? Good, then you won’t take your health for granted ever again.
Have you lost a loved one? Then you’ll never take the rest of your family for granted and care for them more than you did before.
Did you lose your job? Amazing! Now you can work somewhere else and discover more of your hidden talents!
Without tough times, you won’t have the strategies you need to deal with the impossible. Your heroes are your heroes because they’ve used their tough times to become stronger.
Failure and rejection are the building blocks to whatever your definition of success is. Tough times make you hungryand that’s a good thing.
“Keep taking baby steps forward”
Tough times can feel like quicksand sometimes.
If you don’t keep moving forward though, you’ll eventually sink into the quicksand. The best thing you can do during the toughest of challenges is take baby steps.
When I battled severe anxiety, I took baby steps such as these:
- Walked 15 minutes a day
- Drank an extra glass of water each day to hydrate my body
- Read one book a month on anxiety
- Exposed myself to one small fear each day. It started with going two levels in a lift (something I couldn’t do before). Then I’d go three levels the next day and so on.
That last dot point is critical. Overcoming tough times requires you to take baby steps in the form of being uncomfortable. When you’re growing each day, you don’t have time to be too concerned about a particular tough time.
My battle with anxiety eventually led me to flying long distances (another thing I couldn’t do before) and then speaking on stages in front of a lot of people.
As you can see, the first few steps — like going two floors in a lift — are quite small. Then the steps get bigger and bigger until what used to seem impossible becomes a piece of cake.
Take baby steps.
“It only takes one person”
Tough times often require someone to believe in you. From my experience, you only need one person.
One person to believe in your idea.
One person to love you.
One person who has gone through the same tough times as you.
This one person exists. You have to go out there and find them. That one person for me was a team leader when I was working in a call center. He believed in me enough to take me aside and coach me one on one.
He believed I was going to go on and change the world through personal development. He was right and I did!
Don’t give up. Your one person exists as well.
These four things are what I tell myself during a tough time. One of these phrases will always be the right one depending on the circumstance.
Believe that there is a way out and you’ll find one. It’s during the tough times that you’ll develop the skills and experience to help others.
What I’ve learned is that to get through the tough times, one of the best hacks is to focus on helping others. When you’re focusing on how you can serve, your own selfish problems become insignificant.
Seek out people who have even bigger problems than you do and listen to them. See if you can help them.
That’s how you deal with the tough times.
Tell yourself the truth. You deserve to hear it.
If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net
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8 Things You Can Do Right Now to Get Your Motivation Back
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.
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.
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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