When was in my early twenties, everything that could go wrong was going wrong. Career graph wasn’t satisfactory, love life was a big joke, there was a huge (I thought so at that time) family issue, I thought I was letting everybody down, and was on the verge of ruining my life with constant comparison with my peers. I wasn’t depressed, was just demotivated about life in general.
I was disappointed in myself. I was scared. I didn’t know how to get back on my feet. I was ashamed to ask for help from anyone. I was a ‘judgement fearing‘ person back then, and others’ opinion of me mattered a lot. Luckily, a few warm people were around, who took the responsibility of putting me on the right track. I remember spending hours on the phone with them, with words of encouragement flowing continuously from the other side. It’s only with their help that I decided to take charge of my life again.
I started spending more time with myself. I would spend hours in front of the mirror and say positive affirmations out loud. I would write motivational notes to myself. I gave up doing things that didn’t make me happy. I started doing activities that I love and enjoy. I learned to say ‘no’ to people that didn’t matter. I surrounded myself with kind and positive people, who would lift me up. Slowly, I started seeing good changes in my life.
However, it wasn’t easy to motivate myself constantly everyday. Motivation doesn’t always appear when you look for it. Some days you feel like conquering the world. And, on some, you cannot even drag yourself out of the bed. It tends to die out soon, and you have to refuel it again and again. As rightly said by Zig Ziglar,“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”
Let me enlist here a few simple strategy that I do daily to keep myself motivated and happy.
This one tops my list. I do this unfailingly every day. If you think you cannot follow many strategies, than just follow this one. I assure you, it will make things right instantly. I practice it daily, by making a list of 10 things that I am grateful for. You can also write down these things in a journal. You can mail it to yourself or to a friend. You can say these things out loud. You can share this list with a friend or husband or anyone in the family. Now, these things needn’t be always significant like a successful recruitment or clearing of exams. It can be something normal as a cup of coffee, a breezy night, clean clothes to wear. It can also be things we take for granted, for example a good healthy body or having enough ration in your kitchen or 24 hours water and electricity supply.
Believe in your journey
We humans tend to compare ourselves with our peers all the time. My friend is getting a job, so should I. My neighbor has bought a house, I should too. Someone else’s achievement or growth jolt us from our happiness and we start to grieve. Especially, in the age of social media where everyone’s life is up for showcase, we compare our life all the time. What we forget is that our journey is different, our goals are different, and our struggles are different. There is no point being sad if someone is getting married, when what you want for yourself is an around the world in 80 days trip. It is absolutely absurd feeling depressed over a friend’s career growth when you desperately want to be a sit-at-home mom.
This is my second most favourite strategy. To believe in my journey and my goals. I believe that I know what’s best for me more than anyone else. I don’t let someone else’s journey crush my plans and destinations. Instead, I only take happiness and motivation from others’ success stories, and apply to fuel my own.
Set small goals
It’s great to set bigger goals and targets, but they could be daunting and scary at the same time. Biggest target makes you procastinate. Let me site a personal example here. For a long time I have harboured this secret desire of participating in a marathon. I was not a runner. I was not even a physically active person, yet I wanted to run a marathon. It was a big task. It looked impossible to achieve it. So, I never tried. Then this year, I changed my thought process, and set a tiny goal. I told myself that I would just running. I did. I am running for the last four months. I feel more motivated now. I am even planning to do my first serious 5k within a month. After completion a couple of successful 5ks, I will move on to 10ks. And, soon one day, maybe a marathon. This made me realize that tiny goals are easier to start with. Chunking down of a big task into a lots of small tasks makes it more attainable.
Surround yourself with positive people
This one is my favourite. I surround myself with positive people. People who encourage me to give my best efforts in everything. People who pat my back for even the tiniest of achievements. People who talk, think, and act positively. These people not only congratulate me on my success, but also help me look at the brighter side during adversities. Because sometimes, we need someone else to believe in us to help us believe in ourselves.
Keeping a positive circle of people changes your attitude towards life. It makes you more happy, productive, and peaceful. It helps you in dealing with stress and frustration. If you are positive, then you are always in a good frame of mind. You are more focused in your life, you fear less and develop a go-getter attitude.
Another miraculous strategy is to step out of your house. Just go out for a walk. Go out to meet someone or buy yourself a cup of coffee. Go out for a quick run around the block. Go to the beach. Go to see the mountains. Do whatever, but just go out and connect with nature. There’s only a few things which could motivate as much as nature does. We are genetically inclined to find nature soothing and helpful. Our environment helps us to become more aware and mindful. Nature’s beauty and energy can have a profound effect upon our senses. We feel rejuvenated, more alive, and more capable of achieving our dreams.
Motivation doesn’t come in one size fits all. It works differently for everyone. What works for me, may not work for you. Some may find motivation in books. Others may find it in movies and musics. I have just enlisted what works for me. There are millions of other ways out there. So, find out what sails your boat. Carpe Diem!