So your ‘get up and go’ just got up and left, and you’re in a bit of a pit. You can’t seem to shake the apathy you feel, and you’re starting to worry it’d take nothing short of a stick of dynamite to get you moving.
In other words, you need 20cc’s of inspiration, STAT.
I’ve got your prescription right here.
Great artists have muses, successful entrepreneurs have mentors, winning athletes have coaches. But where’s your personal trainer? Who’s going to cheer for you, motivate you, encourage you, push you? Who’s going to be there to guide you every step of the way?
The short answer is that you usually have to be your own cheerleader. You have to come up with your own systems and strategies. You have to inspire yourself.
This can seem daunting.
Thankfully, what follows is a little guide to help you. Here, you’ll find sources of inspiration you can call on, and practical ways to push yourself beyond your current boundaries until, some day soon, you’re lifting that trophy of achievement high above your head.
How To Get Inspired – A Guide To Finding Motivation
1. Create a vision board
A vision board is a visual representation of all your hopes and dreams. They can range from the regular to the ridiculous, from the ordinary to the outlandish. Don’t limit yourself.
It can be physical or digital. For physical, buy yourself a scrapbook (I like to keep them on the large side so I can easily stick in whole pages from magazines, if necessary) or get yourself some form of noticeboard. Then flip through magazines, catalogues, etc. or print images of things that catch your eye. Things that represent the life you want to lead. Paste them in your book or pin them on your board.
For digital, use Pinterest or some form of graphic design software where you can add pictures and text. After that, the process is the same – find images or quotes that reflect your ideal life, and add them to your board.
Then put it somewhere you can see it (more on this later) so it serves as a regular reminder of what you’re working towards.
Thinking of dipping into your holiday fund to buy a new frock? Have a look at the sandy shore on your vision board and think again.
2. Read an inspirational book or watch a motivational movie
Quite often, others have a way of putting things that just seems to strike a chord in you. When you can’t seem to find the words yourself, get inspired by someone else and let them light that spark to spur you on.
Maybe you already have something in mind that never fails to get you fired up. Save it somewhere easily accessible. If not, hop on YouTube and do a quick search for motivational speakers. You won’t be short of options.
If you’re still struggling to find something that resonates, perhaps one of my favourite videos will help: Unbroken. And <shameless plug alert> I have a whole playlist on YouTube dedicated to helping you get your arse in gear:
3. Collect inspirational quotes
Fill a notebook with every inspirational quote you can find that really speaks to you, and then flip through it on a regular basis. Keep adding to it as you find new ones. When you’re struggling, open it on a random page and see if anything jumps out at you.
The below quote always reminds me that, no matter how slowly things seem to be going, I’ll always get where I want to go with a bit of persistence and just plain stubbornness (something I have in spades):
4. Write out what your ideal life would look like
Similar to a vision board in that you’re painting a picture of how you want your life to be, but they work in different ways. Whereas a vision board is a great snapshot, the written word can really bring those things to life.
Write down exactly what you want and what it will feel like to have it. Explain what each thing means to you and why you want it so badly. Really step into that life, see your surroundings, soak up the atmosphere, breathe in the scents, savour every thought, and experience each emotion.
What type of person are you? What do you have around you? What are you doing?
When you can really feel it, you’ll want it (and work for it) all the more.
Re-read it every night before bed and/or every morning when you wake to remind yourself of why you’re making sacrifices and why they’ll all be worth it.
5. Compile a playlist of all your favourite songs
Only include the ones that get your feet tapping and your head bopping. The ones you always sing along to in the car or shower, the ones that always get you to your feet, the ones that make you happy.
If you were at a club and someone turned to you and said, “They’re playing your song,” what would it be?
This list is just for you so don’t worry about putting something cheesy on there. If ABBA is your guilty pleasure and makes you bop to the beat, go for it. (I have Ace of Base on mine.)
6. Practice gratitude
It’s hard to feel sorry for yourself when you’re looking back over your many blessings. Either keep a gratitude journal where, each day, you write down 1-3 things you’re grateful for, or just start your day by mentally listing them. (I prefer the written method so I can look back over them.)
If you’re in the middle of a big pity party (I’ve attended many of my own), it can help to remember that, if everyone threw their problems into a pot and then had to pick a set, you’d be lucky to get yours back.
Even on your darkest days, you’ll have something to be thankful for. If it doesn’t put a spring in your step to see all you have in life and all you’ve achieved, you should give serious consideration to checking your pulse. 😉
Now, you don’t have to do all of those all of the time. That will only serve to dilute their effect and for the message to lose its impact. Instead, you need small, concentrated doses. Filter and fine-tune for each occasion until you’ve got a recipe that rocks your socks off. If, after a while, it starts feeling a little stale, change it up. Add some extra spice, or remove something unnecessary, until it starts tickling your taste buds again.
One More Thing Before You Go...
Having all those sources is great, but if they’re not easily accessible when you need them, they’re no good to you. It’s like trying to bake a cake when all the ingredients are still sitting in the store. Sure, they’re THERE and you can go get them, but you’re much less likely to give up on the idea if you already have everything on hand.
Similarly, it’s all well and good having inspirational quotes saved to a Pinterest board, but how often do you look at it? Bookmark it! Or, better yet, set it as your home page when you’re struggling so that, whenever you log on, it’s the first page that loads.
In short, put motivators where you can see them.
Think about what you do on an average day and then sprinkle it with sources of inspiration.
When you’re inspired, nothing can stop you. You suddenly get a bolt out of the blue – a great idea, the sudden solution to a problem – and you’re all fired up about it. In fact, you’re so motivated that you can’t help but take action. With the right mix of ingredients, you can’t help but bake a big ol’ inspiration cake whenever you need it. The only question is… How big a slice do you want?