Five Effective Ways to Get Inspiration
Lost for inspiration? Here are five techniques you can use to try and coax something new and exciting out of your brain! They won’t always work, but give them a go, and you might just be surprised.
Go for a Walk
Walks are inspiring for a number of reasons. For starters, they allow us to take a break from what we’re doing and to change our environment. In turn, this leads to new input that can help us to gain new perspective on whatever problem or task we’re wrestling with.
At the same time, walking is a monotonous task that allows our default mode network to kick in. This, essentially, means that we’re daydreaming, which is, often, a source of great inspiration.
Ask the Right Questions
Sometimes, inspiration is just about asking the right questions, which can help to reframe the problem you’re facing in order to look at it in a new way. For instance, if you’re wondering how to solve a problem and you can’t come up with an answer, try asking yourself how ‘Johnny’ would approach it. Likewise, instead of thinking about what you want something to be, decide what you don’t want it to be.
Take a Break
Sometimes, the best thing you can do to spark some creativity or solve a problem is to take a break. This way, you stop trying to force the idea, which simply creates stress, and instead, you simply let it come to you now that you’ve entered all your input. This is why we’re often encouraged to sleep on big decisions.
Listen to Music
Music can be highly inspiring as it alters our mood and energy level and takes us to different places. Often, you’ll find that music can leave you lost in thought, so try listening to some tracks while you mull over a subject, and see if that helps.
Talk it Over
There’s a myth that ideas take the form of lightbulbs or lightning strikes and that they come in a flash, fully formed. Actually, when questioned, most people admit that their best ideas formulated slowly, that they gestated for days, months, or even years before emerging.
Often, the best ideas are not formed in isolation either but rather when we discuss them with other people. Even if we’re just thinking aloud, this can help us to see new perspectives and will often result in new breakthroughs.
Five Effective Ways to Get Inspiration
Personal empowerment is about taking control over your life. Of course, life is multi-faceted. There could be many areas of your life that you want to improve or feel more control over – for example, your finances, your career, your health and maybe even your love life.
Instead of feeling like a victim or like circumstances control you, you can become empowered. The first step to empowerment is to begin to identify your self–empowerment goals.
Your self empowerment goals help you take action and direct your life to where you want it to be. Identifying those goals can feel confusing and overwhelming. Your answers to the following questions will help you define your personal empowerment goals.
3 Ways to Help You Identify your Self Empowerment Goals
1. Where Do You Feel Unhappy?
Take a look at your life and start asking questions. Focus on where you feel most happy and where you feel unhappy. Unhappiness may stem from not feeling appreciated, purposeful, or respected. Explore where you feel unhappy and why. You can then set goals to reduce or even eliminate that unhappiness.
For example, if you’re unhappy because you never have any energy, you can begin researching the cause of your lack of energy. You can then set a goal to get more sleep, eat better, or you visit a health care practitioner to identify the cause.
2. Where Do You Feel Like a Victim?
Whether you feel like a victim of circumstance, your past, or a victim of a person or organization, you can regain control and set empowerment goals to move past this feeling. For example, maybe you feel like a victim of circumstance with your current financial situation. Assess why you feel like a victim and what you can do to turn around the situation.
3. Where Do You Feel Confident?
What are your strengths? When do you feel most confident? In what areas of your life do you feel like you’re most in control? Sometimes when you focus more on these areas of your life and strengthen your sense of joy and empowerment, it spills over into other areas of your life.
Identifying and defining your self empowerment goals takes some time and deep thought. Give yourself time to think about how you feel about your life and what steps you can take to make your future one that you’re excited about.
Grab a notebook and start jotting down goals and ideas for your future. Don’t just stop at the goal that you want to set for yourself; also identify how you’re going to achieve that goal. What steps are you going to take? Identifying your goals is the first step to living a more empowered life.
This summer my son and I traveled to Miami to look at colleges for him to attend. The first morning that we were there, he wanted to wake at 5:00 am to watch the sunrise over South Beach. He had seen photos of how beautiful it is to watch the sunrise here and he wanted to experience it himself. This got me thinking about what motivates my son specifically intrinsic motivation.
Even though I wanted to sleep late, I was motivated to make my son happy and have a fun trip. This is an example of extrinsic motivation on my part.
“Extrinsic motivation refers to our tendency to perform activities for known external rewards, whether they be tangible (e.g., money) or psychological (e.g., praise) in nature.”
(Brown, Psychology of Motivation, 2007)
The next morning, I was laying in the hotel bed fast asleep and I felt awakened by a small voice in my head that seemed to say, “You’re going to miss it…. You’re going to miss it…. You’re going to miss it…. ” I woke up with an overwhelming need to go outside and watch the sunrise over the beach again. This is an example of intrinsic motivation.
“Intrinsic motivation occurs when we act without any obvious external rewards. We simply enjoy an activity or see it as an opportunity to explore, learn, and actualize our potentials.”
(Coon & Mitterer, 2010)
What caused this shift for me from extrinsic motivation (my son’s wishes for us to do something) to intrinsic motivation (my own desire to do something)?
- Experience – I experienced the sunrise and felt the joy of watching the sunrise over the ocean.
- Knowing – I knew that I could wake up early because I had done it before.
- Desire – I desired the experience again for internal reasons.
How can you turn extrinsic motivation into intrinsic motivation?
As you look at your daily task lists, are you intrinsically motivated or extrinsically motivated? As you begin to shift your mindset to intrinsic motivation, these tasks become easier to do each day.
How can you stay true to yourself through simple living?
My grandmother used to say, “If you don’t love what you have, you can’t love another thing.” She was sharing the concept of simple living.
You embrace what you have, accumulate less, and hopefully have more time, energy, and money to spend on what’s truly important to you. However, if you don’t know what’s truly important, then simple living becomes a bit more complicated. Knowing yourself and staying true to that person will help you embrace your life fully and live well with what you have.
The concept of simple living is easy enough. You embrace what you have, accumulate less, and hopefully have more time, energy, and money to spend on what’s truly important to you. However, if you don’t know what’s truly important, then simple living becomes a bit more complicated. Knowing yourself and staying true to that person will help you embrace your life fully and live well with what you have.
From Mass Consumption to Conscious Consumption
As consumers we often accumulate goods without putting much thought into them. When you know who you are and what you want, and you stay true to yourself, you consume less. Instead of allowing impulse shopping to take over, you’re able to stop and ask yourself if the purchase supports you and your desired lifestyle. Mass consumption becomes a thing of the past and conscious consumption becomes your way of life.
To Stay True, You Have to Know Yourself First
Living well with what you have means that you are grateful for the items and people in your life. It also means that you love yourself. And to be able to get to a point where you love yourself and can surround yourself with people and things that support you, you have to know yourself well. You have to know what your strengths and weaknesses are. Staying true to yourself begins with knowing yourself and then creating a life that suits you.
Gratitude plays a significant role in living well with what you have. Instead of always wanting and needing more, you can be grateful for what you have. This mindset and level of personal awareness is essential because it is easy to slide back into old habits.
Staying true to yourself also requires a great deal of awareness. You have to be able to listen to your instincts and also your thoughts. You have to be able to sort your temporary emotions (the ones that say that you absolutely must buy that new pair of shoes) with the vision that you have for yourself and your life.
Living well is about finding a lifestyle that supports who you are and what you want. It’s impossible to find that lifestyle and to maintain it if you aren’t able to stay true to who you are. Every day you’ll be bombarded by distractions and messages that are contrary to your vision of your future. You’ll be told that all the cool people have the new phone or wear designer shoes or have granite countertops. It can wear you down if you don’t know who you are and what you want from this life.
Focus on the Benefits, Not Difficulties, to Stay Motivated
Staying motivated when trying to reach a goal is one of the most difficult things to do. The long-term goal can seem too far off and difficult to reach. A better option to stay motivated is to focus on short-term benefits along the way.
We’ve all had them. Goals we set that we never achieve. Over the years, setting and sticking to them has been difficult. You might have tried to write a book. Or lose weight. Or start a business. Or any number of other personal or business goals.
The cause of the failures could be that your motivation wanes when you begin facing difficulties.
Why should you focus on the benefits? Here are five reasons:
- Focusing on the benefits helps you see the reason you are working so hard. For example, after working out, when you’re exhausted, you feel grateful. Your stress levels have been reduced, and you feel cleansed and happy.
- Focusing on the benefits of your goal gives you a sense of accomplishment. For example, a healthy lifestyle is a benefit of eating healthful foods and exercising. The difficulties to this is having to give up your favorite sugary snacks or getting off the couch to exercise more. It’s easier to fall back into the old pattern if it seems that your goal is too far off.
- When things become difficult, you are tempted to quit. By focusing on the benefits of your goal, you can see the reasons you want to continue. Your difficulties will seem less. For example, let’s say you are trying to reach a particular financial goal. Instead of seeing how far you are from the desired amount or how long it is taking to achieve it, focus on the positive net worth changes every week.
- Losing weight is a very difficult goal. Focusing on the benefits of losing weight can help you stay motivated to exercise. For example, you will reduce your risks for certain diseases, and lower your blood pressure so you won’t have to take medication. You’ll be more active and feel better about yourself.
- Focusing on the benefits of your goal instead of the difficulties allows you to focus solely on one specific step of the goal. For example you overall goal is to run a marathon. One of the steps is to run 3 miles a day. The benefit from this individual step is that your resting heart rate has improved, your body has become leaner and your stamina has improved.
By focusing on the benefits, or the way our goals are helping us make positive changes, we are more likely to stay motivated to achieve those goals. Every goal you try to achieve will have difficulties at some point. It can be as simple as not knowing what to do next when you hit a roadblock or as daunting as having technical problems throw a wrench in your work. When these difficulties happen, it’s important to take another look at your goal and look at all the rewards and benefits you will get once it’s achieved.
Tweet: Don’t toss in the towel when a monkey throws a wrench in your goals. Look at the benefits of the end result.
How Daily Reading Helps Your Motivation
No one can change or move forward in their lives without some kind of help. It might be help in the form of a coach or mentor to help you grow. It could be support from friends and family who keep you motivated. Another form of help is reading about whatever you want to change daily to stay motivated.
How can reading about something keep you motivated?
Reading blogs and books about the very thing you want to change helps you learn the way others have overcome that same problem and met their goals. Reading gives you inspiration to continue striving toward your own goal. It gives you the ideas and steps you need to take to reach a certain goal.
Books and blogs are a great way to do some research on what you want to do. Reading about what you want to change or achieve grounds you so you know what to expect. Books about your subject will give ideas about the difficulties you might face while moving forward.
- If you want to lose weight, read about how others have successfully lost weight.
- If you want to build a successful business, read about successful business people.
Knowing what others have experienced in similar situations lets you adapt and try their solutions along with your own. Their stories can help lessen the worries and challenges you might face along the way.
The Types of Reading
Quotes. Reading inspirational quotes daily can motivate you to continue to take action on your goal. Put your favorite quote on your screensaver. Post quotes on your wall or your whiteboard. Have motivational quotes on your smartphone or tablet.
Read motivational books. Books that help you change your way of thinking can be a great source of inspiration when your motivation is failing. Build a library of motivational and personal development books. If you don’t have time to read them all, get them on tape to listen to while driving or walking. Here are a few notable authors with insights on motivation:
- The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz
- The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale
- Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins
- Great Motivation Secrets of Great Leaders by John Baldoni
- Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? By Seth Godin
Read inspiring stories. Read inspiring stories from others who have already done what you want to achieve, or are in the process of doing it. Read stories on blogs, in magazines and in books. Those who have already achieved what you are attempting can guide you through the pitfalls and give insights on what to expect along the way. You can get inspiration from their struggles and wins.
Reading books about what you want to change daily, or about self-improvement and inspiration, is an excellent way to stay motivated. They can inspire and motivate you to continue.
Tweet: Reading inspirational books and blogs motivates you to continue reaching for your goal.