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

Secure & Steadfast

“Snow drifts on a mountainside
Ready to fall
Icy roads
Unfit for walking

Always trusting the dark
The only constant
When the sun betrays
Hiding behind clouds

The challenge of life
Is finding your footing
When all steps seem to be hidden

Light your own fire
Keep it burning bright
Trust the path
Even when all blocks your way

There is nothing more inspiring
Than two feet that won’t stop walking
And a heart that burns with passion

All is ok.
All is ok.”

-Nina Elise, Secure & Steadfast

New Love

“The way your lips
Brush up against mine
Makes me feel
Alive again

Touching a side of me
No one has ever known
Gently kissing
Figuring me out
Piece by piece

I can’t explain how it feels
To be remembered
After so many years
Of being overlooked

Like the first gentle rain
After a harsh snowy winter
Or a light peeking in
Through a dewy cobweb

Whatever you do
Don’t stop
Look beyond my fears
And love what’s been lost
What’s been forgotten

Help me to remember
How much I’m loved”
– Nina Elise

Post-Yoga Teacher Training: First Ever Yoga Class!

Hi all!

As some of you may already know, I landed my first teaching job at Melt Hot Fitness here in Columbus. I have been going to this studio for almost the past year, mainly taking the yoga bosu ball classes (I swear by this class and credit it to drastically improving my handstands! Holy shoulder workout!). There are also barre classes, workout classes, and spinning classes, all taken in 85-99 degree heat. Let me tell you – you sweat. A lot. And if you are looking for an amazing workout, this is the place to go. MHF is expanding the classes, adding in Budokon and fast-paced heated yoga classes to the schedule.

Lucky for me, I was able to snag the Sunday morning yoga class – exciting, but also super terrifying! You see, ever since I got back from my yoga teacher training, I felt a little bit lost. A sense of feeling of, what’s next? I practiced teaching friends and family yoga classes at my apartment, but never an entire class to more than 2 people. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go the route of private yoga lessons, or begin auditioning at studios to teach. Insert: MHF. It only made sense to teach at this studio, since I practice there about once a week already. And normally, when you vibe with a studio, that’s the place you should be!

Nina Elise Yoga

While I was taught a very specific power yoga flow in my training, I am now actually creating my own classes now, catering to what feels right to me and putting together my own flows. Don’t get me wrong – I use what I learned as a base, and it is extremely handy in falling back on when putting together my classes. However, being able to teach my own class has taught me to be more creative and to think outside of the box. It’s so incredibly different and a bit scary, but I already feel like I have been able to grow in my own practice by trusting myself to create powerful and unique classes.

Unfortunately, when you start teaching, there is always that awkward phase – uncertainty, nervousness, lack of confidence, fear of messing up, etc. Until you really begin to teach classes, there are a lot of emotions that come up. For me, I know that I can always fall back on my basic yoga sequence learned at my training in case I forget in the middle of a class. However, I am terrified of speaking in front of people. And when I say people. I mean 5 or more people. So, showing up to my first ever yoga class on Sunday, I stood in front of 35+ people, all ready for me to start leading them in class. So. to say the least, I was a bit nervous. This is nothing I have ever done before. I’ve given speeches, presentations, etc in college. But never to this many people, and never for longer than 15 minutes.

I think my biggest fear is the dharma talk at the beginning. I feel like I have a lot of things to say, but I never know how to say it right, or at least on the spot. And this is one thing that I know will come with time – learning to speak from my heart. It’s easy for me to sit down when emotions come up and write a quick blurb or a poem, but never on the fly, and never, ever while standing wide-eyed in front of a crowd of people. Fortunately, I was able to say a few quick words at the beginning of class – nothing life changing, nothing super deep – but I did it. It was intimidating and scary… but I.did.it. And I know when something scares me, it is something that I need to do. It’s always an opportunity for growth – and if I never face a fear – I will continue to let it fester in me, (the thought that I CREATED, and is really nothing to even be afraid of!!) filling my mind with unnecessary anxiety and stressing me out.

This has been a huge step for me – facing a fear – and even though I still have my concerns and residual fears about teaching again, I know it is slowly fading away. I already feel a sense of confidence replacing that old doubt, erasing worries that now seem so silly.

So for all you yoga teachers out there – how did YOU feel teaching your first class? What were your biggest fears? And how long did it take for you to feel comfortable teaching a class?

If you have reached the end of this loooong blog post, thank you. Thank you for reading, thank you for taking the time out of your day, and thank you for caring. Life can be a long, scary ride, but I love that there are people out there (AKA YOU!) that genuinely care. This journey has been a bit of a roller coaster, and I am so incredibly grateful to be able to share this with even just 1 person!

Lots of love,

Nina

Nina Elise Yoga 2

time

sometimes its easier

to look back

when things get tough

your legs stumbling

unable to bear

the burdens you carry

 

running back

to what feels easy

instead of being stuck

in the in-between place

of past loves

and could-have beens

 

don’t be scared, loves

your eyes shine brighter

than any star I’ve seen

and your heart loves deeper

than any canyon formed

 

and time moves slowly

not to cause you grief

but only to grab your hand

and tell you to live

here and now

-Nina Elise

 

When things get hard, I like to look back and grasp onto things from the past. Things that made me feel safe, wanted and secure. I always tell myself, “Nina – just because things get hard, doesn’t mean you should run back to what feels comfortable. Be here, and look forward – that is the only place you need to be going.” The future is uncertain, and things don’t always turn out the way you’d hope – but that’s no reason to take a step back. Keep your chin up – there are far better things ahead, better than you can even begin to imagine.

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