Finding Your Motivation

Have you ever experienced days, weeks, or even MONTHS where you just.aren’t.motivated?? Yep, we’ve all been there. Procrastination sets in, the internet/social media/netflix distractions become the norm, and we seem to lose sight of where we want to be in life.

So WHY do we let this happen?? Because it’s comfortable. Because it’s safe, and change can be scary. The biggest issue of not moving forward in our lives is FEAR. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of change… These fears control our lives, whether it is conscious or not. So if you find yourself saying things like “I can’t find the motivation”,  or “I’m not motivated”, this is the perfect time to figure out WHY. Why are you not motivated? Why does it seem like others are go-getters & more successful than you?? Guess what.

Motivation isn’t something that some people are just blessed with – it’s a mindset. It’s a state of being.

And at any time, we have a choice to change our mental state. Some days and moments might seem more difficult to get out of our heads & pump ourselves up, but once we begin to practice being aware of our moods/state of being, it gets easier. By working our mental muscles & pushing ourselves to a new mindset, eventually there is less resistance. Whenever you tell yourself you are tired, or you don’t want to do something – take a step back. Evaluate the thoughts that have been running through your mind, and find a different perspective. Just get out of your head.

motivated

It can seem like a never-ending cycle of feeling great, then feeling low… However, if you find something that works for you and stick with it, you will notice an immediate change in your life. I’ve been through this never-ending cycle, and I get it. However, once I began to implement daily changes, my life began to take a turn for the better. Motivation was not something I waited for – it was a state of being that I could talk myself into, no matter how I was feeling.

Below are a few tips that I’ve put together from my own experience to help YOU or anyone else struggling to get motivated. It’s something I’ve struggled with off & on for most of my adult life, and I know I am not the only one. It might seem a little overwhelming at first, so just read through & take a little time to let it digest. Then… take action 🙂

Repetition

The number one thing that has changed my life is repetition. You know that great feeling of reading a good book, or being inspired by something, then nothing coming from it? It’s because you aren’t constantly focused on it. What I mean is this: we all have a certain mindset or base thoughts that we revert back to at any time. For most people, it’s not consciously known because it is the norm. So, when you have moments of motivation, it tends to be short-lived, because it is not your base mindset. Lucky for you, and for anyone, this can be changed.

By constantly barraging your mind with positive, motivating content, you are essentially replacing your own thoughts or your base mindset with NEW thoughts – all different than what is normally going through your mind on a daily basis.

You can change your base mindset by finding every moment you have free time, and then filling it with new content. Over time, your base mind set will eventually change to a new state – or whatever you have been filling your mind with. Below are a few ways you can accomplish this:

  • Podcasts
    • My current faves are Hay House & The Competitive Edge. I also search for people that are inspiring, or topics that I am currently interested in.
  • Books (on audio, kindle, or a regular old paperback)
  • Internet/Social Media
    • Sometimes I like to read success stories on MDA (who doesn’t like a good story where people end up happier/healthier in the end??) or articles on Elephant Journal. If you are on social media, make sure you are following people/accounts that bring you up/are in line with your goals. Meaning, when you read something, do you feel good or bad? Make your decisions based on what makes YOU feel good – you know what’s best.
  • CD’s
    • Every time I enter my car, I either pop in a Tony Robbins CD or my spanish practice CDs. I RARELY listen to music anymore, unless I am in a really great mood or I feel like my mind needs a quick break (or someone else is in the car!).
  • Be Social
    • Hang out with mentors/people that you look up to/inspire you to be a better person. By communicating & interacting with others that have a mindset you strive to achieve, it automatically lifts you up & puts you in a different mindset.

Find your free time

So you might be telling me, NINA. I HAVE NO FREE TIME. And you know what, I used to say the exact. same. thing. Because honestly, I didn’t think I did either. I had to take a big step back and be honest with myself. Our minds like to trick us – it wants to stay comfortable, so it will come up with any excuse to prevent change.

The first thing you can do is track your time. I spent an entire week tracking my days in 15 minute increments to figure out exactly what I was doing with my time. There are different apps that you can plug your information into, but I created my own spreadsheet and customized it based on my lifestyle. You can access the spreadsheet here if you want to customize/edit to your own schedule. Also – different things are important to different people – personal time to create my yoga classes, study, or read is very important to me – same with meditating 2x a day. So, customize to what is important to you & relevant in your life right now. (Please note that you WILL need to be a little savvy in excel to edit the formulas if you change categories. If you need help, shoot me a note/leave a comment and I can help you out 🙂

how to be more efficient with your time - time tracker

The spreadsheet is filled in with exactly how I spent an entire week this summer – and as you can see above, there were several areas where I could have spent less time on my phone & been more productive during my drive time. By doing a self evaluation of your own time, you will find that there are times throughout your day that you really DO have time – While driving, getting ready, doing housework, etc. Yes, you can pop your headphones in while sweeping the floor or putting on your makeup every morning and listen to a motivating podcast. It’s really that simple.
One last side note – not every week will be the same – however, by tracking your time, you become more aware of where you spend your time, and it helps you become a little more creative with how you can spend your time.

What are your Goals

Unless you have a WHY in your life, there will be no growth or change. And if there are no goals to work towards, then what is the point of even being motivated? Insert your WHY. Below are the areas in your life that you MUST take the time to sit down & create goals for. Whether it be as simple as saving for a weekend trip, or as big as getting yourself out of debt, you need to write down a vision to have something to work towards. It’s a LOT easier to get motivated if there is something you REALLY want – so take a look at the areas below, and take a few moments to get clear on your WHY. Once you have a goal, you have something to work towards!

  • Career – what is your ideal career/what is important to you in a job?
  • Mentally – what is your ideal mood/attitude/mindset?
  • Physical/Health – what is your ideal feeling of overall  health/physique?
  • Relationship(s) – what is your ideal partner/marriage/friendships?
  • Finances – what is your ideal financial situation?
  • Personal – something specific you are working towards (college, a race, etc)
  • Overall – ideally, how do you want to feel every day of your life?

Not Optional

Anytime you aren’t feeling motivated to do something, get it in your mind that the task is NOT optional. Sometimes, when I don’t want to work out, or I reallllly don’t want to meditate, I buckle down and don’t take no for an answer. There are literally no other options except to do this one task. To me, I view these things as something that will benefit me. I know I will feel great or accomplished afterwards, so I look at these tasks like brushing my teeth or taking a shower. It’s something I just have to do.

time tracker

Music

Although I mainly only listen to music while in the shower/creating playlists for my yoga classes now, there are times that I will put on some music to get me going. For example: waking up at 4:30 am every Wednesday to teach yoga = loud music is needed to wake my ass up & puts me in a good mood for class! So for some, music is a way to inspire, get your day started, and get you in a better mood. Find what works for you!

Make a list

The next time you are feeling really motivated, take a look at what you have been doing in your life for the past few days or week. You will begin to correlate certain habits or routines with how you feel. And when you begin to identify the specifics, make a list. For example: When I feel my best, I am working out everyday, giving others compliments, meditating daily, and taking cold showers (seriously, science!). Find the things you do when you feel your best – and if you NEVER feel your best – observe other people and find out what they are doing. It can be something as small as meditating or setting aside 20 minutes of “Me” time a day to decompress. Don’t be afraid to try new things, toss what doesn’t work, and keep what does. Literally no one else knows you as well as you – so have fun & take the time to figure out what gets you going 🙂

Move your body

This is probably the quickest way to get motivated, and there are a few ways to do this:

  • Can’t get out of bed? Literally jump out of bed like someone threw a bucket of ice cold water on you. Jump around a little bit, do a few stretches… You’ll be awake and motivated to keep moving
  • Go workout – if you are having trouble getting motivated to workout, the best thing you can do is get moving. As soon as your body begins to warm up, endorphins will be released, blood flow will increase, and you’ll begin to feel better within the first 5-10 minutes of your workout.
  • If you are feeling sluggish at any point in your day, get up and move. Jump up and down a few times, do a few push ups, or maybe a few jumping jacks. Physical movement releases endorphins, and it reduces stress hormones in your body. It literally changes your brain! If you don’t want people seeing you do push ups at your desk, go in a conference room – no one will ever know 🙂
  • Moving Meditation – this is actually one of my favorite things to do! While out on a run, I’ll create a mantra or a saying and repeat it non-stop:
    • “I have unlimited energy”
    • “Every breath & every step, I have more & more energy”
    • “My body is in perfect alignment”
    • “My body is a fucking machine!”
    • “I can do anything!”
  • Sometimes I will repeat a mantra for 20 minutes or more, doing nothing but staring straight in front of me as I run until I start to FEEL whatever statement I am saying is true. When you combine a clear intention with an elevated emotion, it becomes a new belief/memory much quicker. Moving your body elicits an emotional & physical response, so movement works wayyy better than just standing in front of you mirror and saying affirmations over & over again. As silly or crazy or corny as it sounds, just try it. I swear, it is crazy how well this works – I noticed a HUGE increase in energy every day once I started doing this. You can also say statements about other areas about your life, like feeling confident, finances, whatever… It’s all about focusing & repeating until you feel that elevated emotion

will smith dance

Personal Development

I am a firm believer that depression & unhappiness in your life is caused by becoming comfortable. Stagnation happens when we work 9-5, come home, watch tv, and repeat, 5 days a week. Life is easy, but it isn’t challenging. Yet, we aren’t happy, even though we have everything we THINK we want. Insert: Personal development. By continuously learning new things, we are challenging ourselves, stimulating different parts of our brain, and creating new neuro-pathways. By finding ways to push ourselves & get out of our comfort zones, motivation is something that comes very easily – especially when it’s something that is cool or different than what is currently happening in your life. There are a few ways that I pursue personal development:

  • Travel solo around the world (Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it opens your mind to new people, ideas, places, etc. Yes, you should do it)
  • Take various Yoga workshops to become a better yoga teacher
  • Randomly bought a guitar & have been teaching myself to play (literally spend hours banging away on this thing… it is no easy task to learn an instrument!)
  • Go to personal development workshops – I’ve been to a Kyle Cease weekend workshop, and am attending a Tony Robbins event in November
  • Meditation Workshops
  • Cooking classes (Yes, I go alone. No, it’s not awkward)
  • Read. Apply what you’ve read to your life. Repeat.

Personal development can mean different things to different people – it can be changing how you think, going to seminars, going back to school, learning a new skill, etc. If you don’t know what you want to work on, try anything. Seriously – you could take a class on how to cook with different cheeses, or even learning how to juggle! As long as you are getting out of your everyday mindset, you are stimulating your brain in new ways.

So that’s it! (for right now!) There are so many more ways to get motivated, but these are the ways that are most influential in my life at the moment. I’ve spent my entire 20’s reading, learning, searching for ways to change my life, get motivated, and better myself. However, it’s been a struggle being able to translate & communicate everything I have learned in a way that makes sense to me and to others. Teaching yoga for the past 1.5 years has helped boost my confidence, and has challenged me to learn how to express myself more openly so others can understand me.

I want to be able share my journey with others, in the hopes that it helps anyone who comes across my blog.

Just like anyone else, I’ve been through a lot of struggles in my life, and I know what that feels like.

So if I can make life a little bit easier for just one person, or my writings can get someone to think a little differently about themselves/their life, then my goal is complete 🙂

As always, thanks for making it all the way to the bottom… If there are any other really great tips for getting motivated that I missed, leave a comment below!

-Nina Elise

Barriers to Love

With the whirlwind of the past few months, I have slowly been changing. In the past, I had locked myself up, thrown away the key, and allowed my true self to stay snuggled deep inside. I stayed within the confines of my own comfort zone, wanting to go forward, but never knowing exactly how to do it. There was constant conflict going inside, and an unsettling feeling that just wouldn’t go away. Unhappiness drove me to a breaking point, until I finally listened to my heart.

Once I finally did that, I felt free. I started doing things that felt right, listening to my intuition and not fighting every little thing in my life. I learned to slow down, and not always rush to something deemed more important than the moment I was in. I had way more energy, and I started to love being around people. I stopped worrying about what others thought of me, and my only concern shifted to how I could impact others in a positive way. Standing back and observing, it was almost like watching a flower bud grow, slowly opening up to a beautiful flower.

I always think of the quote from A Course in Miracles that says,

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

I spent a lot of my life attaching myself to others, blaming others for how I felt, blaming myself for my own misconstrued perception of who I thought I was, or judging other people. Always wondering why someone couldn’t love me, or why they didn’t like me. Looking back, I realize that I was always going after something or someone to save me from my unhappiness. I was so concerned with these problems outside of myself, and I never stopped to take a look inside.

Once I started looking inward – I was able to come to terms with my life. I could take responsibility for how I felt, how I perceived others, and what type of life I could live. I started tearing down these barriers inside, and only then did I realize that I was the only one dimming my light. I had created this life of constant let downs and failures, and I was the only one that could fix it.

The only control you have 100% of in life is your thoughts and your actions. You can’t control how other people treat you, if tomorrow you will be fired from your job, or even lose a loved one. But you can control how you view others, and you can also control how you view yourself. Once you realize this, it is the most terrifying yet empowering feeling you could ever have. So look to others with love – look at yourself with love – and listen to that intuition deep down, telling you to be yourself with no reservation. You know it’s there. And if you ever forget, remember to break down those barriers, and let your light shine through.

Raining-hearts

No-Bake Peanut Butter & Banana Energy Bites

This past week, I stayed at my cousins house down in Florida. She made these awesome no-bake bites, and I had to make them!! The original base recipe is from smashedpeasandcarrots.com – click here if you are not a fan of banana/peanut butter combo and like coconut!!

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Ingredients

➰ 1 cup of oatmeal (I used a peanut-butter & banana mix from myoatmeal)

➰ 1/3 cup peanut butter (or any nut butter)

➰ 1 tsp vanilla extract

➰ 1/3 cup hemp hearts

➰ honey/maple syrup/sweetener to taste

➰ optional add-ins/flavors: chocolate chips, cocoa, pumpkin spice, banana (dried or regular smashed), dried fruit, chia seeds, pb2, chia seeds, granola, raisins

{The original recipe calls for 1 cup coconut flakes & 1/2 cup ground flax seeds. I don’t like either, so I omitted and just added in hemp hearts, chia seeds and extra oatmeal.}

Mix all ingredients together and roll into balls. Place in fridge until firm – about 15-30 mins. Serve on game day or grab as a snack when you are hungry!

Presence

This past week, I  flew out to Costa Rica on an adventure. I went to School of the World in Jaco, a place where you can be productive while on vacation. I decided to take spanish lessons and yoga classes, 2 of my top interests at the moment. I went, thinking I was going to improve my spanish and maybe deepen my yoga practice; however, what I got out of this trip was something I never expected.  I learned to slow down, for the first time in my life. I met people who had such a sense of adventure, a joy for life. And it touched a very deep part of me that I have not been faithful to, a part that has been buried deep for so long. Hearing others stories of travel, seeing their dreams, their desires, learning their reason for travel, their life stories… it was beautiful. So many people coming from all over the world to one place, all for the same reason – to experience. To experience adventure,  the beauty and love of other countries, a change in their lives… And it opened my eyes to the present. To allow myself to slow down, to not always rush around.

I have always listened to that voice, urging me to rush, to not stop and be in the moment. And there is that other voice, that always tells me to slow down. to be patient. to relax. and that loud voice of anxiousness has always, always won. Always afraid to let go, to let that silence overcome me. To sit still for 2 seconds, afraid of what thoughts might come crashing in. Afraid of that space, the space that allows one to be present and enjoy life. But not anymore. I have felt this shift happening within me the past few weeks; that gut feeling that things are changing, that I am changing. I am feeling more at peace, allowing myself to enjoy things I would always brush off and not care about. And that loud voice, telling me to always be on the go… it is scared. it is scared that it won’t be listened to anymore, lost in the silence it so greatly fears. And I am embracing it, slowly, cautiously catching glimpses of the peace that comes with just being.

As I lay on my yoga mat tonight in Shavasana, concentrating on my Ujjayi Breath, I chant the mantra **”I choose to enjoy this present moment. I choose to enjoy this present moment.” Hearing the breath come in and out of my nose, through my throat… Letting go of all tension in my face, my arms, my legs, I feel the energy running through my body. I am aware of the sounds around me, yet  am somehow stepping out of my mind, aware of myself, my thoughts and how my body feels. And I realize, that I am present. It is so peaceful, yet so startling – I knew that this is how every person should feel – beautiful, at peace, an overwhelming feeling of love. It was just a quick glimpse in a short time, but it brought me such joy. It was like something shifted in me – I let go of having to be in control of every move and thought, focusing only on the sensation of my body and the sounds around me. I just WAS. I wasn’t a body, I wasn’t my thoughts… I was everything, and I was all around. I didn’t want to stop being in that moment – it was so refreshing, so new, so relaxing. Like taking a hot shower after a long day, or taking off your shoes after being on your feet all day. Relief. Something your body welcomes, that calm, that release of stress – it craves it, never wanting that feeling to go away.

Being present is hard. It is like learning a new way to live, a new way to breathe, a new way to run… learning a new language, to excel at a sport, to improve your posture. It will take time, but practice will make you better. Just sticking with it, and knowing that at your core being, you are love and joy. You are here, but are just bogged down with the thoughts of everyday life. So slow down. Focus on your breath. Develop a mantra. Take a few seconds to be aware of the present moment in the middle of your day.

You never know when your last moment on earth will be, so will it really matter if you are a few minutes late? Will it matter if that car cut you off? And does it make sense to worry about things that will most likely never happen? No, not really. Most everything can wait. And if you don’t know, just like anyone else on this earth does not know when their time is up, you might as well be enjoying the present moment while you are here. So take a longer detour, enjoy things you would normally pass by, be a few minutes late to work. Be here. Be aware. Others will pick up on your presence – and in the words of Marianne Williamson, “…as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Marianne Williamson

**I choose to enjoy this present moment mantra comes from the book of meditations, Expand this Moment, by John Selby. It is a simple meditation that you can say at any time in the day to bring you centered and back to the present moment (kind of like a coffee break for the mind :))

–  “I choose” – enables you to assume control over your own mind

– “to enjoy” – specifies where you aim your attention – at enjoyment

– “this moment” – aims your attention at the immediate sensory events happening inside and around you right now

Purpose

I have been listening to a lot of (Esther) Abraham Hicks lately – her voice is so soothing, and I love what she has to say! She is so positive and just makes so much SENSE. Some people might think what she does is a little out there, but I think what she does it pretty cool. I think we have all come to this earth with a purpose, and no matter how crazy it may sound or look to others, you should always be open about who you are. We are all given a gift – some may seem more obvious than others, but we all have one. For those that have trouble finding their “gift” or “passion” – don’t give up! The best advice I can give is to just let go. Stop looking for your passion. Start doing things you enjoy. Meet people, have fun. Be yourself! By allowing yourself to be free, free of what others think of you, free of others (and your own) expectations, you begin living the life you are supposed to live. You might lose friends, your lifestyle, the image you have built up – but that is life. Things change, people change – we are all limitless beings, meant to grow and evolve.

Just look at Esther Hicks – she describes Abraham as an “infinite intelligence” that speaks through her. Others might find that weird, but her teachings are so full of love (and sometimes humor). Same goes to Theresa Caputo from the long island medium show on TLC – she is able to communicate with the dead, which she does to give others a sense of peace after their loved ones have passed. Both of these women are examples of having a unique gift – gifts they could have labeled as “crazy” or weird”, but instead, accepted who they were and ran with it. And look at how many lives they have touched! It is quite beautiful, no?

Personally, I don’t know what my passion is. I know I like to help others. I like to make them smile. I like to make people think and get them to open their minds. I like be active, I like to bake. I love to read, do yoga, learn. So what am I doing with this? I stopped fighting. I stopped listening to that voice in my head that told me I would never be good at anything. Would never fulfill my purpose. And I realized that I couldn’t do what I was meant to do on this earth if I continued to be the way I was. I needed to continuously be reading, learning, challenging myself, my beliefs. I had to grow and evolve so I could be the best I could be.

If I am not being true to myself, living a life I am not happy about, how could I truly find my purpose? Would it just knock on my front door and say “HEY! I am your purpose. You can stop looking now.” No. Because you need to go through events in your life to shape you into what you need to be. How unfulfilling would it be for an artist to have a piece of clay in front of them – touch it – and their sculpture just appear? All of that work, that creativity, the satisfaction of creating something so beautiful – never happened. And that’s how life is, too. You must mold it, shape it, take what you have to create what you want. Sometimes your “sculpture” may not turn out the way you want it to, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t great. You are always learning, taking in every bit that will affect your life. Nothing is useless – you can use every single piece of information and experience in your life to create the person you came here to be. So sit down, take your life into your own hands, and make something beautiful.

 gift

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