Finding Motivation and Inspiration in All Aspects of Your Life
I usually write with a focus on the arts, as my daily life and happiness revolves around this one aspect of my life. However, all of this knowledge and truths about my daily life carries over into every aspect of my life including, but not limited to: cooking, exercise, interaction with people, what I choose to watch, how I respond to situations and how I'm feeling that day.
The following is what I've learned and taught myself over the years. This may not work for everyone, but I hope it gives a personal insight into daily life that can be adapted to help others.
What is Motivation and Inspiration Exactly?
You know, I'm not 100% sure on that. According to Dictionary.com though, Motivation is "the act or an instance of motivating, or providing with a reason to act in a certain way" and Inspiration is "an inspiring or animating action or influence". Whatever that means.
To me, motivation would be what gives you you the willpower to do something or the want to do something. Inspiration is that magical moment when you suddenly want to do something because of another thing.
In both cases, the idea is rather abstract and fleeting. I don't know how many times I've sat around and waited for either of them to show up before I finally gave up on the notion of whatever it was I wanted to do.
Why Are Motivation and Inspiration Important?
For some reason we believe that these magical states of mind will make the outcome better. Our painting will turn out greater than if you just picked up your brush out of habit. Your speech you have to make in front of an audience will be that much greater if the words come to you out of the blue instead of sitting down and searching for them.
Now I'm not saying that it's not an amazing feeling when either of them strike me, but I dislike the idea of people feeling the need to be in the state of "inspiration" or "motivation" before they can accomplish anything.
My Advice? Stop. Waiting. For. Them. To. Happen.
Seriously. I don't know how many minutes, days, hours and minutes I've wasted just waiting for myself to get motivated or waiting for me to get inspired to work on something.
My morning routine consists of waking up, checking my emails in bed on my tablet until I wake up, sometimes eating (depending on how much energy I'll need for my workout and how I'm feeling) and then working out. I've found that the more I check Facebook, browse YouTube or put off doing my workout because I don't feel "motivated" the longer it takes for me to get around doing it.
What's your biggest time wasting pitfall?
So what's the solution? Just. Do. It. I don't wait anymore for my body to feel inspired or motivated to get down and start my HIIT or Pilates workout. I just do it after I've checked my emails and eaten breakfast, Monday-Saturday, before I allow myself to do anything else for the day.
Looking through inspirational quotes and before and after photos might work for some people, but I find that it's just an excuse for me to put off what I know needs to be done, and if given the chance my mind will put off what needs to be doing for as long as it can.
And usually that ends up backfiring because at the end of my taste wasting phase of avoiding what I should be doing (doesn't have to be working out, it can be anything), I feel awful. I feel guilty for wasting time and not accomplishing anything. Now I don't like feeling like that, so I try my best to stick to my routine and self discipline instead of trying to motivate myself.
Get Help from Others with Your Greatest Challenge
I will be the first to admit that I am not a very social person. If left to my own devices, I would sit at home on the computer watching videos, writing, playing video games, reading or busying myself in other ways. I grew up this way (I was rarely allowed to hang out with friends outside of school), so I adapted to this lifestyle. Occasionally I'll ask someone if they want to do something, but if they're busy at all or anything, "It's fine, don't worry about it. I know you're busy." and that's that.
Even when I'm invited out to dinner or just to hang out, I will often dread going out. I'll drag my feet and feel nervous about leaving the house, even though 9/10 times I'll end up having fun, laughing and genuinely enjoying myself.
How often do you rely on others to better yourself?
So how do I find motivation with something I'm not good at? I turn to others. My boyfriend and a few of my friends will either drag me out of the house or keep asking me and brushing aside my concerns until I finally give in. My boyfriend possibly has the biggest influence over me because I trust him and feel comfortable with him, which allows me to trust and let go of any fears and anxieties I may have in order to get over that "I don't just don't feel like doing it phase".
That's where I find the inspiration and motivation to try new things in life that I otherwise would never tackle on my own. The same concept can be applied to anything really. Why do you not want to workout? Who (or what) can help ease your fears and hold you accountable? What can replace that need to feel "motivated" in the morning if you need that help from others to achieve it.
Finding the Inspired/Motivated Mindset
After you've decided to just do whatever task it is you've set your mind to, you may find that inspiration follows. Whenever I'm first starting back at something (learning a new skill, working out, writing, drawing, etc), it usually takes me a while to get back into the mindset, which is why I rarely wait to start on something until that initial hit of motivation or inspiration strikes me.
I may not have the motivation to start, beyond the desire to complete it or because it's a part of my routine, but after the first few moments of just doing it, the mind kicks in. Inspiration can return and once you struggle through getting back into the swing of things, the motivation to complete it awakens.
This is by far one of the best Ted Talks to date and one that every person should watch and pay heed to.
Closing Thoughts and Ramblings
The above can be summarized quite easily. Don't waste your time waiting around for motivation and inspiration to dictate how you want to live your life. Stay involved with the aspects of your life that bring you joy (working out, writing, painting, soccer...) and incorporate them into your life.
Inspiration often follows a subject that your passionate about, and the more you stick to something and see the benefits or results of it, the more motivated you'll feel to stick to your schedule or to working on whatever aspect you're trying to improve or do more of.
If you're into writing, join a writer's group, schedule writing time, subscribe to writing newsletters and read books by other people who love to write. All of these will help fuel and give you ideas, but don't use these means to avoid starting a project in hopes that "inspiration" is going to strike you. Motivation stems from your willpower, your discipline. Just do it.