Do you ever feel like you are stuck in a rut? And have zero motivation? I hear this a lot from people I meet along my travels – also in my own house from family members. I go through the same experiences, but as a means of survival to keep doing what I love to do – I have to bust through. People often think it is all sunshine and rainbows up in here, and most of the time it is (because I make it that way!), but there are stressful times too. Seriously?
Yesterday I had a full-on ugly cry meltdown over a gourmet sandwich!
I’m not a doctor or a therapist, but I am a busy mom of two, running a household, a full-time entrepreneur and spending my late nights working with my hubby to turn our dreams into goals into reality. Every second I spend moping, is a second wasted of a potentially happy life.
Here are some of my tough love tips to get you going. These are things I learned from experience…and by all means, please feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments. It’s all about staying positive, supportive each other and moving forward, you know?
1. Make an action list.
Once a week, make a to-do list of what to finish, who to call, who to answer, what to pay, etc. I have to do this because I’m a one-woman operation and if I don’t write it down, I’ll forget. And I LOVE the feeling of crossing things off the list. It makes me feel like I’m moving in the right direction. Even if you have to write silly things – like “eat breakfast and wash my dish” – do it.Take your list serious and stick to it. Save your lists and compile them. They are fun to look at down the road and you’ll just how much you really have accomplished! How to make a to-do list.
2. Limit your web surfing.
This is a biggie. The biggest motivation killer and time sucker is to randomly go online – you’ll stay there for longer than you think! Save it for certain times of the day. When you are working on your special projects, set special tones for the VIPs in your contact list and move your smartphone away from your work area. That way you won’t miss the important news, but won’t be tempted to check it every five minutes.
This is how I stick with this. I imagine myself driving down a scenic beautiful road, so much to soak up and look at, the music playing, my mind is wandering with ideas. My destination is a clear view of one of my goals. Every time I stop to check my phone or Facebook, etc, I imagine that I’ve reached a stop sign. It slows me down, brings everything to a complete halt. Can you imagine starting and stopping that much? No wonder nothing will get done!
Emails? If they aren’t super time sensitive, answer them at the same time each day. Don’t sit on them because they’ll pile up and opportunities will be lost. Some will fall through the cracks. I’m guilty of this, I’m trying to be good and answer them every day at night. Stop spending too much time online.
4. Stop with the waiting already. Take action right now!3. Make a long term goal list.
Do you have a crazy fantasy of retiring in a mansion on the beach someday? But in the meantime, you’re living-day-to-day, stuck in the same routine? Think hard and be specific about what you want 25 years from now. It’s not going to fall in your lap, you have to start planning now. Look up the resources so you know what you to prepare for to reach that goal.I’m really serious about this one…this leads to the next tip…
You’ve heard this a gazillion times and you know it. Nothing will change in your life unless you take action. Want to meet new people? Go to new places. Want to better your skills? Take a class. Want a better job? Put a new resume together. Want your jewelry in a store? Make a batch and take it to a local boutique or set up an Etsy shop. Complaining or making excuses will get you nowhere. Stop saying things like “As soon as…” or “Some day when…” or “I’m waiting for my friend…”
Empower yourself and do it now, whatever it is. Take action!
5. The state of your bedroom is that state of your life.
My mom-in-law always says this and it is soooo true. If your room is messy, or unorganized, chances are your life is too. Clean your room! If it is drab and empty, same thing. Decorate your room! Look at your bedroom as your place of rest, your place to relax and dream. Even if you only have a corner to call your own, make the most of it. Hang those clothes, straighten that frame. Or if your walls are empty, add some color and character to liven up your life. Give yourself something happy and dreamy to think about as you end each day and close your eyes.For me, this example related to our art room. It was always a mess, 100% workshop. Last August we decided to give it a real makeover. We spent six months, little by little, redoing it and since then it feels like we’ve had much better energy come our way with our business. How to conquer clutter.
6. Be conscious of “productive procrastination” and don’t let it take over.
This is where you put off difficult/scary long-term tasks that you REALLY want to do and replace them with the easy things that you think need to be done asap. For example, whenever I’m working on a new book project, I feel overwhelmed and insecure with my ideas. Instead of just sitting down and writing, I’ll make a calendar of how many words I should be typing each day, or I’ll decorate a journal to organize my ideas. Sometimes I need to do these things to get motivated, but most of the time it is my creative way of avoiding the issue.
7. Start a side project.
If you don’t know what you want to do, but know you want a change, why not start up a side project? Start a local or online group of your favorite hobby, start a collection of some sort, etc. Check out Noah Scalin’s Unstuck & 365: A Daily Creativity Journal. Noah is the founder of the ever-popular Skull-A-Day site and now has another side called Make Something 365 and Get Unstuck. After posting a skull each and every day on his blog, he is motivating others to get in on the action too. Any kind of themed series that you have and are blogging about, send him the link and he’ll share it on the blog! For example – Maya’s Love Songs for a Year. Another example, a girl who is making things from pop tabs, another guy who is doing Starry Nights for a year, etc…
8. It’s okay to visit Debbie Downer’s casa, just don’t stay for dinner.
Every so often you just gotta let it out and cry or have a pity party or a gripe session. Find a friend who will let you unload and then buy you dessert. Or write it all out in longhand and then tear it up after you’re done. Get it out of your system and move on. Staying in that woe-is-me corner is not going to improve your life one iota. My dad would always remind me that there is always someone is a worse predicament and I always think of that every time I feel gripey. Also – Richard Simmons! Once I interviewed him for my former newspaper job and I asked if he ever got down. He said he had a special barstool. He would sit on it and cry for 15 minutes and then clap his hands and say “OK, I’m done, time to get back to work!” How to stay positive if you think your life sucks.
9. Shed the stuff that brings you down.
Life is hard enough without being in situations you hate. Be the bigger person, be the example, pay it forward. If you hate where you live, find a way to move. Patrick and I had to do this twice early in our marriage. We had zero funds and two toddlers and we found a way to find a happier home. It took a lot of work, but we did it! You never have to settle, there is almost always a way out if you put your mind to it.
10. Push yourself to learn a new skill that will come in handy.
It’s a big world out there, lots to do, see and learn. no matter what your age or situation, empower yourself! Check out YouTube (OK, you can go online for this!) for lessons on just about anything! Learn how to make a video, buy a cheap ukulele and learn some chords, learn how to draw anime, polish up your French. Then find ways to incorporate these things in your daily life. Imagine yourself singing at an open mic night or your artwork at a gallery opening! 100 tools to help you learn a new skill.
11. Have confidence!
To achieve anything – you have to believe you can do it. So stop doubting! Stop feeling shortchanged, blaming and/or making excuses. I know this first hand, it has always been a hard lesson for me. From learning Spanish to trying to get healthy, to writing and standing up for a cause – it is always a constant battle. Even if all the world is against you – be the underdog and prove them wrong! Make your mark on the world, you are worthy! Now go be fabulous!
Go be shiny,