Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Power of Momentum in Your Life

Have you ever hesitated to take action and gotten stuck in a rut of inertia? Most often when this happens, you’re waiting for some internal or external clue that tells you it’s okay to move forward. You’re waiting until you feel more confident, or until obstacles dissolve and your goals are easier to achieve.
The problem is, the longer you stay inactive, the harder it is to begin moving forward. So you wait; and wait; and wait some more!

The truth is - it will never get easier to move forward. 

Every moment that you hold back you are settling deeper into your comfort zones, and pushing out of them will be even more uncomfortable when you finally do it.

However, you’ll be pleased to learn about a little thing called MOMENTUM.
You see, when most people procrastinate and avoid taking action, they do so because it seems exceedingly difficult to move forward – and they mistakenly believe that it will ALWAYS be that difficult. Have you ever had the same perception?
What you need to know is this: the longer you work on taking consistent action toward your goals, you will build momentum and it will get easier and easier as you go along.
Eventually the actions you take will seem almost effortless. You’ll begin to enjoy your activities because you’ll feel more empowered and confident about taking action. Not to mention, all of the effort you’ve put in will be reaping great results by that time!
Are you ready to climb out of your rut of inertia today? If so, here is a simple 3 step process to help you begin taking action – and keep taking it!

1. Commit to the actions first.

When many people set goals, they commit to achieving the end result, but they rarely commit to taking the actions that will get them there. Take a few minutes to jot down the specific action steps that will get you to your goal, and then make a solemn commitment to take them every day.

2. Baby steps, baby steps!

Did you know that small, consistent steps toward a goal are often more effective than large, sporadic actions? Even tiny actions will begin to build momentum and bring you great results! Make it your sole mission to move forward consistently, despite feelings of fear, obstacles that pop up, or anything else that threatens to erode your confidence. Keep moving forward no matter what.

3. Don’t focus on results yet.

Many a goal has been abandoned because people take an action, wait to see what the results are, and quit when they don’t see the results they expected. Don’t get so dependent upon the results that you allow them to determine your NEXT actions. In other words, focus only on putting one foot in front of the other, even if you’re not yet seeing the results you want. If you quit, you’re guaranteed not to see results – but by persevering, you’ll make things happen eventually.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Fake yourself and be happy

Do you want happiness? Do you want the secret I have used for years just to cope? It is very simple. Be happy.

Cute girl isn’t interested? Be happy. Cat dies? Be happy. Fail exam? Be happy. Just be happy. No matter what happens, tell yourself that. Be happy be happy be happy. Smile as you spend another night alone, when you see the one girl who might have made you happy in someone else’s arms. Against their lips. Smile.

Because the mind is quite a powerful thing. If you keep this up long enough, soon you will truly convince yourself you’re happy. You can go to and from school or work or college and no matter what happened that day, you’ll still be happy. Only in the early hours of morning will the reality of it start to sink in, but you can just ignore this. And who’s around to see your façade fall at two in the morning? No one, because god forbid they see the sad, self loathing person you are behind the mask. No, mask is not the right word.

Because it is not just a mask of a smile that you keep up, any one could do that. What this ‘mind over body’ stuff is true happiness, so long as you do not think about it. You can go about your day and be genuinely happy, with this new cheery demeanour you can have friends again, maybe there’ll even be a girl who starts to show interest. You’re actually happy. Until you are at home of course, at two in the morning, with no friends or cute girl to keep your mind off itself. That is when you start to remember how sad you are. You have time to think about everything in your life, and you remember why you shouldn’t be happy. But of course the next morning comes with a whole new set of distractions and you can feel happy again.

It’s two in the morning. I feel like dying. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

10 Ways To Motivate Yourself To Lose Weight

Many people start off the New Year by making resolutions to lose weight and get in shape. Sometimes, this task is often easier said than done. Some people last a little longer than others, but for most motivation starts to sag soon into the fitness plan. There are easy ways that almost anyone can use to help motivate yourself to a better body. Whether you are looking to lose a lot or just a few pounds or you want to exercise more to tone your body, you can create a fitness plan that can help you stay motivated.

Confidence: Confidence is the number one way for you to motivate yourself to exercise more or to stick to a diet. Confidence in yourself is also known as self-efficacy and it means that once you believe that you can do something, no matter how hard, you do it. Those that have a lot of self-confidence believe that they have the power to make changes in themselves. Those without solid self-confidence will find that they will have a much more difficult time sticking to any fitness plan and will not exert much effort.

Support: Having a solid support system of both friends and family will help keep almost anyone motivated to reach their goals. When a person starts a new fitness routine or diet program, many changes need to happen. It is important to surround yourself with others that can support you and understand your personal goals. Let those around you know that you need them to support your new goal and try to include them in your plans.

Positive Attitude: Your motivation will soar if you keep a positive attitude towards your new fitness goals. Think about the positive aspects of a healthier lifestyle and exercise plan and keep that in mind you may be tempted to skip a day at the gym. When following any fitness plan, it is also important to remember that you may have setbacks or you may not achieve your goals as fast as you had hoped. Keeping your outlook positive even during the rough times will help you stay focused on your goals.

Follow a Plan: You will find that you have an easier time staying motivated when you make a plan and stick to it. Without understanding each step you need to take to reach your goals, it will be harder to see the end results. For example, if you are trying to eat healthier, write down what foods you want to eliminate and foods your want to add to your diet. As you progress, compare your results with your plan and that will help you stay on track.

Stay Organized: Staying organized will help keep you motivated to stay on your new fitness plan. If you plan on going to the gym a few times a week, you can get everything you need ready to go the night before. Have your shoes, gym clothes and membership card by the door. Not only will this make it easier for you find exactly what you need, but it will also serve as a visual reminder of your goal. Keep your days planned out and schedule time in for healthy cooking or working out.

Types of Motivation: Intrinsic and extrinsic are both types of motivation. Understand what they mean and which one helps keep you motivated. Those who are intrinsically motivated do not need outside forces, such as rewards to stay focused. They have the power from within to stay motivated. Other forces, such as rewards or praise from others, motivate those who are motivated extrinsically. Most people feel motivated both ways. Understand what kind of motivation helps you stay focused.

Reward Yourself: A reward system can be a great motivator, especially in a new fitness plan. Give yourself a small reward when you meet each of your goals. This will help you get to your final goal. You may choose to buy yourself a new shirt when you lose ten pounds or maybe go see a movie. Whatever appeals to you would be a beneficial reward system.

Role Models: When you are trying to get a better body through a fitness plan, look for a role model. That person does not have to be famous, but anybody who you admire. Maybe it is someone you know that takes time to work out or eat right. Use that person to look to when your motivation is sagging.

Information: As soon as you commit yourself to a new fitness plan, arm yourself with lots of information. Look at different diets and exercise plans. Learn the ins and outs of each one and you will be able to make an informed decision to use one that is right for you.

Interests: Another great way to stay motivated is by having other interests. When you start to feel frustrated, you can set it aside and do something you really love. It might even be possible to include what you love doing to help you achieve your fitness goals.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Overcoming a Loss of Motivation

How many times have you started a new activity (such as a personal project or exercise routine) with a burst of enthusiasm, only to see that initial momentum evaporate? This often leads to depression and causes us to give up prematurely. I’ve experienced this letdown dozens of times myself. But fortunately, with a bit of thought and reflection you can turn this negative emotion around.
The key to harnessing your emotions is understanding them. The natural pattern of human emotion is peaks and valleys. When we start a new project we’re filled with tremendous optimism. All we can think about is the expected benefits, and since we haven’t started yet, we aren’t aware of the difficulties involved. This natural high causes a surge of mental and physical activity. The peak is a great thing because the energy boost gets projects off the ground. If you’re a creative type like me, you know that this period is euphoric. You feel like nothing can stop you.
The downside of this surge of energy is that it inevitably ends. Exerting large amounts of energy wears you down, and after the initial optimism wears off we feel extremely tired. However high you started off, you fall down just as low. This causes a loss of confidence. The combination of fatigue, scant results, and an awareness of impending adversity makes us want to give up. From personal experience I’ve learned a few ways to hold strong against negativity.

Be Prepared for a Letdown

Emotions, by nature, lose their power when we understand them. Prove this to yourself. Next time you get angry, take a moment to reflect on the reason behind the emotion. When I step back and reflect, it’s easy to see that my anger is caused by insecurity/selfishness/jealousy etc. After I understand the cause my anger fades away.
The same technique applies to a loss of motivation. Instead of giving into negativity, step back and analyze. Look at the causes. Are you tired, burned out, disappointed by the results? Are these feelings justified, or are they a by product of a low point in the emotional spectrum?
To illustrate these ideas, I’ll use my most recent project as an example, the creation of this site. When I launched Pick the Brain it took an enormous amount of effort. I was completely new to blogging, web design, and traffic building so there was a steep learning curve. Writing new posts, setting up the site, and trying to build traffic took up nearly all my free time. After about three weeks I was completely burned out. I got depressed and started to question if the site was worth the effort. I wasn’t seeing any returns and I started to find enormous faults in my writing and the purpose of the site. There were moments when I was resigned to failure.
One reason I was able to overcome this loss of motivation is that I prepared myself for a letdown. Beforehand, I researched blogging and learned that it generally takes 9-12 months before a site begins to see significant traffic. Knowing that my lack of success was perfectly normal helped me get over it. The same is true for other endeavors. If you know losing 20 pounds in a month is unrealistic, you’ll be able to accept losing only 5 more easily.
I also knew my own emotions and was prepared for the initial emotional peak to pass. When I was first inspired to launch a website, my expectations were through the roof. Dreams of AdSense revenue danced in my head and I pictured throngs of loyal readers as if they already existed. But because I understand my emotional pattern, I realized this optimism would give way to depression. In the back of my mind, I foresaw the impending motivational battle, and when it came I was ready.

Reevaluate Your Strategy and Motivation

The passing of the emotional peak is a blessing in disguise because it allows us to reevaluate our plans from a fresh perspective. At first we are blinded by our own optimism. When we lose our motivation we can see gaping holes our in plan. We can either get down on ourselves and give up, or we can use this negative emotion to discover our faults and correct them. After I pulled myself out of the motivational cellar, I went back to all the negatives thoughts I’d had and applied them to improving the site. Having a pessimistic attitude opened my eyes. It made me realistic about my abilities and expectations. Emotional valleys bring us back to reality. Without them we’d be raving lunatics with unlimited self-confidence.
Use a loss of motivation as an opportunity to reconsider what your motivation really is. One reason I lost motivation is that I became too concerned with the financial aspect of blogging and lost sight of the real reason I started: sharing my passion for self improvement and the pursuit of happiness. When I realigned my motivation with my passion, the lack of results didn’t matter. My motivation returned because I realized connecting with people through my writing is an end in itself. Even if this site never makes I dime, sharing my ideas and experiences to help other people is worth the effort.
In truth, sometimes giving up is the right decision. If you started doing something for the wrong reasons you’ll likely lose your motivation. This is a good thing. It allows us to see what really motivates us. In these cases, the best choice is to move on to a new endeavor. Don’t fight self doubt, use it for your benefit.


Dealing with emotional highs and lows is an experience common to all people. We generally accept our emotions as beyond our control. They are powerful and mysterious and appear quite irrational. But if we contemplate our emotions, if we explore the inner workings of our minds, we find that like all things, emotions obey the law of cause and effect. Armed with this knowledge, we can continue to allow our emotions to dominate our lives, or we can use them to our benefit.
Don’t be surprised by a loss of motivation and don’t be disappointed by it. Understand it as natural effect of the human mind, and utilize this knowledge of self to make your emotions work for you.