Quick intro: Welcome to Part II of our Motivation series about achieving your goals and serving your purpose. If you didn’t read Part I, please do so here. In Part II, we’re going to build upon the practices you learned in Part I – to cope with how you’re feeling, challenging your energy to feel better, and establishing normalcy. In this part, we’re going to identify what’s standing in your way, develop your motivation, and start taking action to address your problem. Let’s get started!
If you’re not feeling like yourself, you’re going to need more than to eat a Snickers bar.
Whenever you’re unmotivated, it’s because you’re misaligned with what your mind, body, and soul needs. You need to take care of yourself! And if you don’t, there will be consequences.
When you ignore your needs for too long, you start feeling disconnected. Little by little, you disengage and lose touch with the people, activities, and parts of yourself that used to mean so much to you. Things begin to feel out of place and you’re not sure why.
Stop and listen to what your subconscious is trying to tell you. Do your best to silence all of the noise around you, externally (tv, music, and phone notifications) and internally (life’s demands, expectations, and the dreaded Inner Critic). If you can figure out a way to slow down and get in touch with yourself, you’ll be able to gain a sense of clarity and direction.
Clarity is essential to establishing your goals and serving your purpose. There are several ways you can practice this. I’ll highlight a few that helped me and dive deeper into how to apply it in your life.
Some will sound obvious, maybe too obvious that you’ll want to skip it. Don’t. Each of these steps was selected to help you get centered and in touch with what’s important – yourself and your purpose. By gaining a better understanding of your purpose, you’re able to establish your goals, real priorities (the ones you set for yourself, not others), and feel motivated again.
When you’re thinking of your life purpose, think about what makes you happy, what gives you energy and what (my good friend likes to say) “sets your soul on fire”.
The next chapter in our Motivation Series
Part I was all about making yourself feel better. You may start to feel more like yourself again. It’s ok if it’s taking you a bit more time. We all have a place we all go to when we’re sad, lost, and hurt. My hope is for you to spend a little less time in the darkness and focus on honing in on your light.
In Part II, I’m going to help you gain a sense of clarity. These practices, paired with those in Part I, have a compounding effect, establishing healthy and productive habits. Furthermore, they also help provide some short term relief when you’re not feeling so great. By getting to know yourself (even those dreaded feelings), you’ll be able to understand what you’re experiencing and start feeling better about yourself. Once you know what you’re up against (even if it is yourself), you’ll be able to break down what you need to take control of your shituation and overcome your adversities. Then, and only then, can you start achieving your high-level goals and serve your purpose.
Sometimes when we’re depressed or feeling unmotivated, it’s because we haven’t processed the trauma and unaddressed issues.
Some of us are rarely presented with the opportunity nor safe space to sit in our feelings. I’m encouraging you to do that now. It’s ok, it can be overwhelming. Bottled up feelings can do that to you. That’s why journaling is so helpful! It’s where you can explore the deepest parts of yourself and express it.
Writing down your feelings allows you to let it all out of a controlled and safe setting.
However you’re feeling thinking about your shituation, sit in it. Write it down. Let it all out so you can gain some clarity to better manage it. Acknowledging how you’re feeling can be hard. We’re often shamed and bullied for the ways we think and feel.
Because of this, we typically don’t know how to manage our feelings in healthy ways. When we feel guilty, ashamed, and/or humiliated, we either suppress our feelings and lash out. Then, we suffer as the pain manifests itself in unhealthy matters and we’re reprimanded when it finally comes out. It’s a dangerous circle that I invite you to break.
Understanding your feelings helps you breathe a little easier and gain a better sense of clarity. You can now face what’s in front of you with a clear mind (and hopefully, a kind heart). Once you’ve allowed yourself to experience your feelings, you’re able to unlock deeper levels of yourself and uncover insights about your experiences.
Friction sparks change.
Explore it. Get to the root cause and understand why you feel, think, and behave the way you do. You’ll be surprised at what happens when you get to the secret levels of your subconscious.
Talk to someone
Although I’m very fortunate to have great people in my life, it wasn’t always easy talking to them about what I was going through. I had a fear of judgment and/or burdening them with my issues (you can only sugarcoat things for so long until they know you’re lying). They were kind and patient; they waited until I was ready to talk about it. When I was, to my surprise, I welcomed with open arms.
Talking about what you’re struggling with does not make you weak. It makes you human. Owning your vulnerability makes you stronger.
Having an accountability buddy! Partner with someone who’s dedicated to helping you stay focused and productive. They work with you on your goals, you help them with theirs. Win-win!
I’ll be honest, not everyone will be able to support you in the way you need to be supported. It’s not that they don’t want to, they may not have the capabilities nor the capacity to understand and give you what you need. Talk to a mental health professional to process your feelings, experiences, and trauma. Disregard the stereotypes and misconceptions about talking to a therapist! They are well equipped to provide you a safe space and work with you through your problems (and you don’t have to worry about burdening your friends or them being noisy!)
Clean your space
You don’t have to overwork yourself and do a deep clean of your entire place. (Unless that’s your thing. By all means, I will send you my address. You can clean my place too and feel really good about yourself.) Start small. Start with one surface at a time, then the whole room and keep going. Play your favorite playlist/podcast while you’re cleaning the bathroom. Call a friend to keep you company while you take out the trash. Watch something fun while you’re folding your laundry (after it’s been sitting on your couch for 3 days).
As much as I hate to admit it (I have some personal trauma with cleaning, it’s a whole story for another article), having a clean and organized space helps! It allows you to breathe easier (without all the dusk), work better (because you can actually use the desk), and think clearer (without all the physical clutter). If it’s that awful to clean your space (trust me, I get it), you can also hire someone to clean it. This way you get a clean space and provide a work opportunity for someone else. Just remember to tip!
Another great way to feel good about yourself is exercise! Exercising is a great way to lift your mood. I’m not talking about working out to lose weight or gain a ridiculous amount of muscles. Proactively moving your body helps release endorphins (you know, the happy chemical in your brain?) You need this when you’re feeling down!
Before you come up with excuses about not having gym equipment, you don’t need any of it! You don’t need a gym membership or to sign up for Crossfit, Barres, or Barry’s to get started (you probably shouldn’t if you’re just getting started. Those classes are INTENSE!) Go for a light walk. Run, if that’s more your speed (haha, get it?). Workout at home with whatever you have laying around (you can run up and down your stairs in your house or apartment building).
Make it fun and dance around your place! My favorite workout is dancing in my apartment (sometimes I do it in front of my TV so I can laugh at my reflection) for 20 mins to my d a n c e playlist. It doesn’t matter how silly I look or what moves my body decides to go into next. It’s all about moving my body, sweating a bit and having a lot of fun!
Work on a hobby or project
Remember hobbies? Remember all those things we use to enjoy before shit hit the fan? Or even that thing you liked to do before you started to beat yourself up about it? Let’s get back into it!
Pick up your [insert instrument here] and start playing again. Brush the dust off your art supplies. Give that blog, video channel, or podcast another try! Learn how to advance your skills and start a project. It can be just for fun, just to get the creative juices flowing. You can build it out to be a larger project or turn it into a business. Who doesn’t want another stream of income?
If none of these calls to you, you can start volunteering. Learn what’s affecting your community or find a way to help people in a different country. Figure out what you can do about it and start a movement.
There are plenty of resources, opportunities, and access to information, there’s almost nothing you can’t do if you really dedicate yourself to it. Use it as a creative outlet! Working on a hobby and/or project allows you to learn about yourself, create small wins when you discover something new or advance to a new level. You’ll feel good about yourself and that is what’s important right now.
Reflect on your personal development journey
So far, you’ve been exploring the inner pathways of your mind. You’ve been cleaning, exercising, and you’re feeling good about yourself. You’re working on a hobby/project that lights your soul on fire. Now it’s time to level up on your PDJ!You’re going to ask yourself a lot of questions, hard questions. Questions you may not know the answer to or even want to face. (That’s a great thing!) Write them down and see where your mind goes:
- How did I get to this point in my life? What am I feeling at this moment?
- What caused me to feel so down about myself, my life and my circumstances? How much of it was grounded in reality and how much of it was I stressing (or having anxiety) about something I cannot, in any way shape or form, change?
- What is it like for me to be in that dark place? How do I think and/or behave once I’m there? How do I treat myself and those that care about me?
- How did my lifestyle contribute to me feeling this way about myself and my life?
- What kind of life do I want to live in? What do I need to work on, in my current life, to get me there?
- After all of this, what did I learn? How can I apply what I learned from this experience so I don’t find myself back here again? And if I do (that’s ok too because it happens), how can I handle myself better and take care of myself?
They’re hard questions. They’re designed that way. These questions are focused specifically on what you’re going through – your hardships, adversities, and trauma. Keep asking yourself hard questions. Get to really know yourself. Carry a notebook or use any note-taking app (my favorite is Notion) on your phone, write down the questions, think about it and try your best to answer them.
Your personal development is an ongoing relationship with yourself.
Allow yourself to meet yourself and really get to know yourself. Don’t be afraid to get to know the good, the bad, the shameful. Much like how you try to understand, love and accept others. You need to do that for yourself too. Self-love is essential to your PDJ. It requires self-healing, forgiveness, and acceptance for where you’ve been, the decisions you’ve made, and lessons you learned.
Unpacking your feelings and insecurities
Asking yourself these questions will allow you a deeper understanding of where you’ve been and where you are right now. Before we jump into setting your goals and purpose, we need to weed out your insecurities, which can limit what you believe you can achieve. No matter how stubborn, confident or self-aware you are, we are all influenced by outside forces, in one-way shape or form.
I know I’m repeating myself but this is why it’s so important to ask yourself the really hard questions! Create a safe space for you to ask what you really want. What would you like to achieve? Give yourself permission to admit what you really want. Indulge in it. Savor it. Play it out in your mind as if you were living it in that moment. What are you doing? What does it feel like? What does it look like? Sound like? What does it taste like?
Then go into why are you so afraid. What are you so ashamed of? What obstacles stand in your way that you don’t believe you can overcome? What does your Inner Critic say? What personal insecurities nips at your ankles as soon as fantasizing about what you want?
Explore where your mind goes when you’re confronting these insecurities. Get to the root of them and “rip them all out, root and stem” (bonus points if you know this quote, without looking it up). Then focus on how you can achieve the life you want to live. How can you create an abundant life, full of so much joy and satisfaction that your hardships don’t even matter? What would you like to achieve if you weren’t afraid of failure, rejection, or not being good enough?
Establish your goals and purpose
Now that you’ve started to ask yourself questions about what you want (and hopefully answered some of them), let’s figure out your goals and purpose. As a friendly reminder, this is not an easy task (so please be gentle on yourself). Many people search their whole lives for their purpose. That said, you don’t want to wait that long to get what you want, now do you?
The challenge is knowing your purpose can help provide clarity in your life. Ironically, clarity is also needed to identify your purpose. Tricky, I know but we’ll work through it together!
It’s important to note, not everyone has a grand vision of changing the world, in a large and significant way. Your purpose can be whatever you want it to be. It can be having a family, working at a good job, and establishing financial stability. It can be focusing solely on building a business and creating something you love. Maybe you want to go on adventures, see the world or create art from the comfort of your home. You can work to serve the people in your community or solve problems for millions of people around the world.
It can be all of those things or none of them at all. No one purpose is better than the other, as no person is better for wanting what they want. We all contribute to each other’s lives in different ways. You shouldn’t be ashamed to want what you want, but you also shouldn’t settle because you’re too afraid to want more either. What’s important is identifying what drives you and makes you feel fulfilled.
Now that that’s all clear, let’s go deeper into what your goals are and what purpose you want to serve. It’s time again to reflect, unpack, and explore the depths of who you are and what you want. Whip out your journal, get into a comfortable meditation position (mine is laying down, no sexual jokes please, we’re all adults here), and let’s get to know what you want better!
- What do I want to achieve in life? Not what others want me to achieve or that I want to achieve to impress others. What do I want? What is my end game?
- Looking back at my life, what really energizes me? What makes me so happy I could burst? Who do I love supporting, working with, and/or helping?
- Looking back at my highest points in life, are there any themes? What about my lowest points? Are there any points I can pick up that connect these points during my highest of highs and lowest lows?
- Moving forward, what are my priorities? What should I focus on to bring me closer to where I want to be?
- What does the best version of myself look like? Act like? Sound like? How do they interact with others? What do they do? And how can I be more like that version of myself?
- What am I ultimately striving for and how can I get there?
Have a better idea now? This exercise is just to give you a solid direction to drive your efforts and focus your ambitions. It’s ok if it’s a little foggy right now. Your vision will get clearer once you get closer. Either way you’re going to tweek it, refine it and polish it as you go. At least now you’ll recognize the patterns, habits, and parts of you you want to strive for. Bonus round (for this article anyways). Learn about what drives you. Really sit and ask yourself (yay! I’m sure you’re so excited to ask yourself more hard questions!). Don’t let outside forces influence your goal or purpose. Don’t do it for pride, greed, or whatever your sin of choice either. Don’t worry about what others think/want for you. It’s not their lives you’re living, it’s yours. Know what you want to achieve and how to get it.
We’re in the big leagues now people. You’re feeling good about yourself. You learned a shit ton about yourself – what you want, what you need and how to get there! You’ve built good momentum by stacking good habits, working on your mindset – journaling, meditation, and affirmations, and are learning so many new things!
As we make our way to the last part of our Motivation series, I just want to say how proud I am of you for making it this far! This article series can be as impactful as you want it to be. You can read it, enjoy the feel good moment, and forget about it. You can start asking yourself these hard questions and hold spacefor yourself to answer them.
Maybe you want to apply some of these into your everyday life! Maybe you thought it was so helpful and thought provoking, you want to share it with others (please do, that would really help us out!). Wherever you choose to go from here is up to you. You have as little or as much power to redirect your life as you decide to have. I believe you can very much optimize your chances of getting everything you want. Doing so, not only will you be successful and happy, you will also inspire others in your community to pursue their goals and purpose too.
I will see you in Part III! I hope you’ll continue to #StriveWithMe!
Many thanks and stay healthy
Inspired by BM, Katarina Minich, Brian Nguyen, Christina Kaputsos, and KT
Influenced by William Charter, Maria Benoff, Leonard de Guzman, Rachael Travers, Toni Lorraine Johnson, and Jimmy White
Melissa Thi Le is the Founder of Strive With Me, a business owner, and community leader. She loves learning about personal development, business, and social impact as she builds a life dedicated to combating social issues affecting millions of people. She created Strive With Me to build a community to support each other on their journey towards achieving their goals.
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