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

ACL Post-Surgery 10 Months

10 Months Post-Op Summary (11/13/2014)

  • Running about 2x a week on the treadmill
  • Circuit/tabata workouts 1-2 times a week – with HIIT – sprints on the treadmill, ab work, etc
  • heated workout classes
  • Yoga 1-3 times a week. Classes but also practicing at home
  • Trying to gain more flexibility in my knee to sit back – I can sit on my heels, but i can barely sit on my butt between my heels – the Virasana pose in yoga. I feel like after 10 months I would have been able to do this… anyone else still have trouble?

Virasana

  • I have not been running as long – between moving and the colder weather, I haven’t had the time or will to go run on a treadmill for long periods of time. I usually jump on the treadmill for 15-30 minutes, depending on how I feel. I know my cardio has definitely taken a hit, so I am working on building it back up.
  • Last month, I talked about Rolfing. So far, I have gone to 4 appointments and have seen a little bit of improvement:
    • easier to take deeper breaths
    • feel more balanced – when i walk, when I stand
    • legs felt lighter after the second session – not sure exactly what was done, but a lot of work on my lower legs. I feel like they have been really neglected, and now they are not so tight or knotty
    • IT band on left leg – feels stronger, doesn’t bother me except for the occasional meniscus issue

I am going for my fifth session (out of 10) this week, and am so excited. The fifth session works with the deep ab muscles, and is supposed to help with digestion as well. I will most likely be done with my 10 sessions by my next post, so hopefully I will have amazing results to share then 🙂

These past 2 months have been extremely stressful for me – emotionally, physically, mentally – but I somehow feel stronger than ever. I don’t worry so much about things, and my daily meditation practice has made things a lot more easier. I have a lot more time to workout nowadays since my commute to work has literally been cut in half, which has also made life less stressful… although, going through a breakup makes things about 10x harder to do, especially when you just want to lay in bed all day. However, I am thinking of getting my 200 hr yoga teacher training next year, so I know the training will be taking up a lot of my time then!

ALSO: I forgot to mention that I won a giveaway from willrun4pizza‘s blog! I have been wanting to try Nuun electrolyte tabs for a while, so I am so glad I got to try them 🙂 I got the tri-berry active tabs and the all-day grape raspberry. The active tabs had a type of fizzy/biting taste to it, which reminded me of drinking a soda. the all-day tabs had a vitamin-y smell to it, but tasted good! My only negative review would be the fake sugars and a few added ingredients like propylene glycol – are they really necessary??  I always forget to add the active tabs to my water when working out, but I like to add the all-day tab to my water at work. I feel like I drink too much water sometimes, and it really throws off my electrolyte balance. These tabs are awesome for helping with that! Has anyone else tried Nuun electrolyte tabs?

Nuun

ACL Post-Surgery 9 Months

9 Months Post-Op Summary (10/16/2014)

  • Running 2-10 miles a week
  • Circuit/tabata workouts 1-2 times a week – with HIIT – sprints on the treadmill, ab work, etc
  • Workout classes like barre and heated workout classes
  • Yoga 1-3 times a week. Classes but also practicing at home
  • Still a little swelling in my knee, it comes and goes. I can sit back a little more easily on my heels since last month
  • I have been running longer distances, usually 4-6.5 miles. I sometimes have to give myself a few days rest, as my knee (outside left) feels a little off/sore. This is an indicator that I need to strengthen my quad muscles more… meaning more squats!
  • Went to an orange theory HIIT class the other week, and my RIGHT knee started to hurt! I’ve been trying to build up more strength on the right side of my right leg – from my ankle to my hip – as there is some serious instability and weakness going on there. I have had soreness in my right knee/knee cap and all up and down my right leg for a while, and I am wondering what is really happening. I have never had knee pain like this before (in my good knee) – I couldn’t jump up or do a squat! This was after doing 30 minutes of sprint intervals on the treadmill (with an incline), so I am wondering if I just overdid it with my workouts.
  • I went to my first Rolfing session today! It is pricey (about $120-$130/session) and painful, but I have heard that it works wonders for athletes (or anyone in general!). You do a series of 10 sessions to re-align the body. I was evaluated standing up: my hips are tilted, my entire left side of my body is slumped lower than my right, my entire torso is tilted/shifted, and my right leg/knee is over-compensating. For my first session, my neck, lungs, shoulders, arms, hips and lower back were worked on. The only way to describe how it felt is that my skin felt like it was being stretched! I could feel the crystals being broken up under my skin, and it HURT. However, only a few hours after my appointment I feel like I have more space to breathe in my lungs (I have always had trouble taking deep breaths). I was told I might feel tired for the next day or so, and to drink lots of water, as the tissue/fascia is opened up, so more fluid is able to flow through. Below is a description of rolfing – has anyone ever tried? If so, what were your results?
    • Wikepedia describes Rolfing as “…an alternative medical treatment marketed by the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration (RISI). The Institute states that Rolfing is a “holistic system of soft tissue manipulation and movement education that organize(s) the whole body in gravity.” Rolfing is essentially identical to Structural Integration, whereby a forceful technique is used in an attempt to re-position tissues under the skin.
    • “Rolfing is typically performed in a progression of 10 sessions, sometimes called “the recipe,” which is claimed to provide a systematic approach to address goals for the theorized alignment and movement of various body areas. The purported purpose is to educate the body to have better alignment within gravity. Rolfers manipulate the body to move the fascia until they believe it is operating in conjunction with the muscles in a more optimal relationship. In addition to physical manipulation of tissue, Rolfing uses a combination of active and passive movement retraining.”
    • “Skeletal muscles often work in opposing pairs called the “agonist” and the “antagonist”, the one contracting while the other relaxes. Rolf theorized that “bound up”fascia (connective tissues) often restrict opposing muscles from functioning in concert. She aimed to separate the fibers of bound up fasciae manually to loosen them and allow effective movement. She claimed to have found an association between pent-up emotions and tension in muscles. This claim of a muscular/emotional connection is not supported by scientific studies.”
    • Benefits of rolfing: “Rolfing Structural Integration has the ability to dramatically alter a person’s posture and structure. Rolfing SI can potentialy resolve discomfort, release tension and alleviate pain. Rolfing SI aims to restore flexibility, revitalize your energy and leave you feeling more comfortable in your body. The genius of the work rests on Dr. Rolf’s insight that the body is more at ease and functions most effectively when its structure is balanced in gravity. Athletes, dancers, children, business professionals, and people from all walks of life have benefited from Rolfing SI. People seek Rolfing SI as a way to ease pain and chronic stress, and improve performance in their professional and daily activities.”

I am seriously so.excited. for how I am already feeling after only 1 session! Back tightness, sinus issues, IT band tightness, lower back issues, breathing restriction, knee problems… I am hoping a lot of these issues are resolved after my 10 sessions.

So 9 months – not feeling much difference from 7 or 8 months… maybe a little more confidence, and not thinking about my knee so much. And my knee flexibility – never thought I would be doing a scorpion in handstand like this EVER! The human body’s ability to heal after surgery continues to surprise me everyday.

scorpion

Also – I ran my first race last month – 4 miles! Normally, I would have run at a 7:45/8 minute pace… however, I ran at an 8:40 pace. The course was awesome, but I was not feeling good. About 1.5 miles in I was ready to be done! I feel like I have really grown to dislike running because my pace times are not very good. I have to be patient with myself and realize that it will take time to get back to where I was! Besides, I am enjoying yoga and my heated fitness classes way more than running every day 🙂

ACL Post-Surgery 8 Months

Not much to report – i would say my knee feels about the same as month 7. However, I have been feeling stronger in my workouts, pushing myself to do sprints on the treadmill or run over 6 miles at a time. I am not sure how I expected my knee to feel at 8 months post-op, but it is still not 100% back to normal. It feels pretty great, though! Recap is below

8 Months Post-Op Summary

  • Running 2-6 miles 1-2 times a week
  • Circuit/tabata workouts 1-2 times a week – with HIIT – sprints on the treadmill, ab work, etc
  • Workout classes like barre and heated workout classes
  • Not applying oils to my knee or icing anymore – no pain
  • Yoga 1-3 times a week. Classes but also practice at home + lots of handstand work!
  • Still a little swelling in my knee, it comes and goes.
  • Completed a  whole30 – 30 days of strict paleo – to see if what I was eating was causing any inflammation. I made it to 3 1/2 weeks before I started introducing foods like grains and dairy back into my diet. I honestly didn’t notice a difference, but I was also eating a lot of nuts/fruit to compensate for my lack of chocolate.
  • Still have clicking/catching feeling on the inside/behind my knee. Not sure if it is still scar tissue around my hamstring or what… anyone else experience this? No pain, it just feels like a tendon is tight or catching on something.

Flying-Pigeon

So I ran a race the other weekend – about 2.4 miles. It wasn’t a super serious run, because a lot of beer was consumed. I drank a beer before running lap 1, stopped after lap 1 and drank a second beer, ran lap 2 and drank a third beer, ran my 3rd and final lap and finished up with a 4th beer. I did not throw up and I was the first girl to finish! I even sprinted towards the end! I am running another beer run on Saturday, then on Sunday I run my first “real” race that is actually timed – 4 miles! I am trying to be relaxed about my run – I am still trying to get back to my pre-surgery pace, but its been a struggle. I am also not running as much, which doesn’t help. However, I do have a half marathon in January to train for, so I can save my training miles for that 🙂

ACL Post-Surgery 7 Months

7 Months! This is a huge milestone for anyone who has undergone ACL surgery: No more visits to my surgeon, no more physical therapy & release to sports. That’s right – No more Physical Therapy!! I could have stopped a month ago, but I felt like I needed a few more sessions to feel confident enough to be on my own. My last appointment was bittersweet – I really grew to love working with all of my physical therapists, but they rehabilitated me to a point where they could no longer help. Now I am free! I have been going to boxing, running longer distances, more yoga and tennis. My knee is feeling great – not 100%, but getting better everyday.

I look back and can’t believe it has already been 7 months. I have worked so hard to get back into shape, and have finally gotten to a point where almost all of my strength has come back. I look back at my first post and all the research I did to prepare for this recovery – a lot of expectations, fears, but always positive. The journey to recovery was a learning experience for me, and I do not regret having the surgery at all. Time goes by very quickly, and by staying positive, it makes the road seem not so bumpy.

7 Months Post-Op Summary

  • Running 2-5 miles 1-2 times a week
  • Icing and/or applying oils to my knee at least 1x a day
  • NO MORE PHYSICAL THERAPY!
  • Still a little swelling in my knee, it comes and goes. I am doing a whole30 – 30 days of strict paleo – to see if what I am eating is causing any inflammation. Right now I am on day 18 and do not notice much of a difference.
  • Went to a few boxing classes – no issues! I didn’t do any kicking, but I was very aware/careful of pivoting my knee when punching the bag
  • Did Stand-Up-Paddleboard Yoga this past weekend – I think I have found my new favorite activity!! (I’m the blonde in front)

SUP Yoga

PT Exercises/Workouts

  • Elliptical at the beginning of my workouts to warm up, 4 minutes
  • Run half mile on treadmill @ 7-9.5 speed
  • Bosu ball jumps – like this, but only bouncing on one leg. Then I turn around and do the other side (bosu ball is against the wall). 10-15x each leg, 2-3 sets
  • One-legged jumps over hurdles – kind of like this – but, with a half turn in the air. There are 4 hurdles – Jump over 3 hurdles, turn back and repeat. 2-4 rounds
  • One-legged ladder work like this and this and this. Complete down and back.
  • One-legged jumps onto a box – 10x, 2 rounds
  • One-legged jumps off of a box – 10x, 2 rounds
  • One-legged jumps off of a box, with a half-turn in the air. repeat on each leg, 10x, 2 rounds
  • TRX band – side jumps: stand on left leg, jump to left of left leg onto right foot, at an angle. Jump back. Repeat on right side. 5 each side, 2 sets
  • TRX band – one-legged squat jumps, alternating between hopping on right and left leg –10, 2 sets
  • TRX band – one-legged squat jumps to the side – 10, 2 sets
  • 2 markers set up on ground – jump up on a high box (think box jumps) into a squat, then jump down into a squat. PT calls out color of marker, and I run forward to the marker, then back to middle – about 2-3 minute each time, 2-4 times
  • Played Tennis with my PT – it felt great! He threw the ball to me, and I hit it back. Sometimes he would catch it, or it would just rebound off the back wall.
  • Stretching after every workout
  • Yoga – everyday for at least 5 minutes
  • Running on treadmill or outside for 10-50 minutes 2-3x a week
  • Beginning to do HIIT on the treadmill again – jog for 10 minutes, then sprint for 30 seconds, jump off for 30 seconds, repeat for 10 minutes. 

So what’s next? a 4 miler in a few weeks… a Half marathon in January… and my 200 hour yoga teacher training after that. I am a very curious person & love being active, so I will always be pushing myself and always, always learning.

I will be updating my ACL progress every month now instead of every week, since most of my major healing has taken place. Most likely the posts will be shorter, and will continue to post until at least my 1.5 year mark. I really hope that my blog been helpful for anyone undergoing ACL surgery, and am so thankful for those who have supported me through my recovery! Below is a picture I took of my favorite flower – a Sunflower – to remind everyone to always be positive, always look for the beauty in all situations and never forget be the bright & shining being that you truly are, deep down <3

Sunflower

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