Staying Motivated (even when it’s hard)

If you’re new to this blog, you may not know that I don’t celebrate holidays. This is the time of the year when I have to defend myself against the naysayers who cannot believe for the life of them why I would forsake Christmas (*insert eye roll*), and be on the lookout for people who would want to deceive me into celebrating. For me, the winter months are just as “cold” as the weather. It’s a stressful time. I can already feel the clouds closing in on me and my motivation plummeting.

That’s why I wanted to send you a quick message on motivation just in case you’ve felt your energy draining too. How do we stay motivated even when it’s hard?

Balancing Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation

Motivation comes from two sources. Intrinsic motivation comes from within you. For example, the desire to publish your book may be important to you. The satisfaction of knowing that you have made a difference in the world by adding your voice and experience is gratifying and provides you with an internal reward.

Extrinsic motivation comes from outside you (environment, family, friends, e.g.) and encourages you to achieve your goal by providing external rewards. An example of this might be the encouragement you receive from someone you love for the potential for your testimony to change lives. They may push you to publish your memoir or put in extra hours at the gym. They may say, “Wow, looking good girl!” You know you don’t really look good (you literally just started working out yesterday), but those kinds of positive reinforcements give you that little push you need to keep going

For times like these, it’s a good idea to balance both the extrinsic and intrinsic motivation in our lives. That is, managing inspiration that comes from ourselves and from others.

Don’t Stretch Yourself Too Thin

I bought a book at the Decatur Book Festival I will be reviewing as soon as I find the time. As de Old People Would Say is a collection of Caribbean Pearls of Wisdom & Experiences. The collection was inspired by the author’s great grandmother who was born and raised in the British Virgin Islands and moved to the US Virgin Islands as a teenager. I love this book! It’s like sitting at the foot of the elders and soaking up all the wisdom of their experiences. One saying is:

“Doan hang yoh hat whey yoh han’ cyan reach.”

Translation: Don’t hang your hat where your hand can’t reach.

The sayings have their meanings under them so the everyday person can understand it. This saying means not to overextend yourself. If you know something is too much for you, don’t put yourself in the position. I used to think loving myself was giving so much of myself to others that there was nothing left for me. When I did this, I burned myself out and had to step back. Don’t spread yourself too thin by taking on too many tasks.

A mismatch between your habits and your schedule causes stress.

Limit Social Media Time

We mimic what we are around the most and in this now technological world we must now consider social media as a part of that. Being around people is no longer limited to being physically around them. When it comes to social media, people have become far too comfortable and tend to use the platform to whine, complain, and criticize others. Even worse, there’s a strange habit of sneak dissing. For those of you unaware, sneak dissing is when someone’s post is a cryptic, subliminal message to someone else. They may think that person is wrong about something or is in need of correction in general. The person disagrees with how that person lives their life in some way. Instead of reaching out to the person privately, the sneak disser will publish a post that is speaking indirectly to the person they wish to correct. It is a form of passive-aggression.

If this sounds cowardly, it is. Social media has many good uses. Unfortunately, it has become a platform for cowards. We don’t talk to each other anymore. Instead, we post how we feel on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Limiting your social media time will help you to stay focused on what’s important and you’ll develop the healthy habit of ignoring non-sense. Less time on social media will also help you to develop better posts when you are logged in. The time to think will certainly help to guide your posting decisions.

If you find yourself lacking in motivation, it may be time to clean up your environment on and offline.

Control Your Emotions: Mind Over Matter

Mind over matter is a popular saying for a reason. Cliche as it may be, it has a powerful meaning. If you can elevate your mental thoughts, you can master the physical things around you to include your actions. For instance, I used to think of this time of the year as “the darkest time of the year.” Although I still do in some ways, I have stopped speaking that over my life. Why cast those kinds of spells over yourself? If you stay in the light, there can be no darkness. One way to stay positive is to stop allowing our emotions to be controlled by others. The truth is that you will never stop suffering if you have an emotional reaction to everything people say about you. Learn to sit back and observe. Let stones people throw at you be used to stand on and the dirt to plant you. Haters are secret admirers and you should be honored to be the source of their inspiration.

Let attacks be the source of growth. Watch, pay attention and master yourself before your thoughts master you.

Do Something Fun

If your life is all about work, you are probably stressed out or just boring. Take a break every now and again to do something that has nothing to do with work, writing, or children. Don’t be afraid to have some fun. A good way to do this is to reward yourself. For example, after doing well on an assignment from one of my classes I decided to stop studying to catch up on one of my favorite TV shows. I also make it a rule not to work continuously for too long. It’s important not to get too comfortable but the breaks help keep me refreshed and excited about getting back to work. I am also one of the grown people who believe in taking naps.  I also enjoy a glass of wine every now and again. I try to limit myself so that when I do drink, it’s a reward for working hard (and not just because it’s Thursday…seriously, drink too much and that starts to affect your outward appearance. You’ll be thirty and look forty. It’s a good idea to moderate your alcohol intake too.)

Over the next few days, I challenge you to think about an inside and outside reward that could help to keep you motivated in your darkest hour. Do you get your drive, your need to succeed, and your willingness to make a difference from inside of you (intrinsic)? Are you inspired by someone else who generates enthusiasm for you (extrinsic) or perhaps a combination of the two? Does the motivation you feel infuse you with the enthusiasm to achieve your goals even when it may become difficult?

 

Remember to take care of your mental health.


 

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Nubian Books Bookstore, Morrow, GA

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of Yah. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of Yah that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

– Marianne Williamson


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About.
Wanda wants nothing more than to escape the oppressive upbringing of life with her abusive foster mother. Miss Cassaundra manipulates the system by bringing lost children into her home turned whorehouse and collecting the money. Wanda knows what it’s like to be abandoned and has no doubt Abby is Cassaundra’s next case. When an opportunity arises, that could save them both, Wanda must find a way to get the paperwork that will secure their freedom. But Cassaundra’s got eyes everywhere and no one can be trusted when even salt looks like sugar.
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The PBS Blog Podcast Ep 10 – You Will Lose People

I’ve learned that caring about what other people think of me is an unnecessary burden that I do not have to carry. People will see you how they want to see you. If they think you are a bad person they will only see bad. If they think you are a good person, they will only see good (no matter how deep they have to search for the light.) You can let people walk all over you and there are still some who will say that you are not flat enough. So, you may as well be authentically and unapologetically you because, in the words of Najawa Zebian, “those mountains you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.”

Listen to ‘You Will Lose People’ now on Soundcloud and be sure to subscribe for notification of new episodes.

 

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No Whining Wednesday – The Company You Keep

Welcome back lovelies! To another No Whining Wednesday, the only day of the week where you do not get to whine, criticize, or complain for a 24hour period. If you are new to this blog or new to this segment, please visit the first post HERE to understand what this is all about.

The No Whining Wednesday Badge

Today’s inspiration is Will Smith’s Instagram video. It has been making its way around social media and for good reason. We live in a world dominated by social media and for this, it’s important to remember that everybody who LIKES you don’t “Like” you. In fact, I am willing to bet that many of us have people on our Facebook “friends” list who are not our friends and people who like our every post but will not reach out in real life. People who say they support you but have never bought a book or left a review or just helped you to promote your work. This goes far beyond writing, this is about life. Who we surround ourselves with has a lot to do with the person we eventually become. This is how important associations are. If the people around you are not encouraging you, lifting you up, inspiring you, correcting you, helping you, etc, why are they around you? Why are we allowing people who do nothing for us to have so much access to us?

“Defend your light with your life.”

No Whining Wednesday – Expect What You Cannot See

It’s been a minute since we’ve had a No Whining Wednesday, where we do not complain, whine or criticize for a 24 hour period.

If this is your first NWW be sure to CLICK HERE to learn more about this segment. For the rest of you, welcome back!

The No Whining Wednesday Badge

We hold onto hope with shaking hands and weak hearts. It is something we fall back on in times of desperation and fear. We cry out loud for it, searching for solutions to our problems when there’s nothing left to do but wait. When things are out of our hands and we are no longer in control then, and only then, do we hope because there’s nothing left to do.

It is time for an upgrade.

Expect What You Cannot See

Hope by definition is the substance of what is expected, the proof of what we cannot see. To strengthen expectation is to begin to expect things to happen that is not yet foreseeable. To build in hope is to start to look at life, not through the lens of what is not here, but what is yet to come.

It may seem impossible that you will be relieved of Child Support or that you will get out of prison in time to see your children grow up, that you will find the love of your life or that you will be healed from that disease. It may seem impossible that you can love again after being broken or recover from a traumatic experience. It’s difficult to look at these kinds of situations, many of which we have no control, and expect things to turn out OK. It’s difficult because everything physical says that it will not. Your appeal was denied, your Child Support Payments increased, the doctor says there is no cure and your emotions won’t simmer from heartache.

All the assistance, research, history, and the data is working against you.

But, then, there is hope…

When you can expect things to turn out differently despite all the physical proof that it won’t, this is hope.

When you start to expect what you cannot see. This is hope.

Hope is expecting something to happen that you cannot see is possible but you still expect it. It is, as the saying goes, taking the first step even though you cannot see the whole staircase. You know it leads to a place. You can’t see where it is or what’s up there but you know something’s there. It is when you are willing to be uncomfortable for a time because you expect that things will (despite the “evidence” that it won’t) get better.

To upgrade the hope in your life, you must begin to expect what you cannot see.

When you change your perspective, the way you see things and the way you think about them, your entire life will begin to change.

The PBS Blog Podcast: Ep 4 – Let Your Light Shine

 

Another episode of The PBS Blog Podcast is available. Today, we are talking shining unapologetically. Not to be confused with trying to be seen of men, letting your light shine is about being a good example to those around you by just being yourself. You don’t have to know the right people, make a lot of money or have the right connections to be a positive influence on the world. You just gotta let your light shine.

Don’t forget to subscribe for notification of new episodes.

***

“Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were all meant to shine, as children do. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

—Marianne Williamson

Ep 4 – Let Your Light Shine

No Whining Wednesday – Peace Under Pressure

Welcome back to No Whining Wednesday, the only day of the week where you do not get to whine, criticize, or complain. If you are new to this blog or new to this segment please do scurry on over HERE to learn more about what this is all about.

The No Whining Wednesday Badge

I’m excited about today’s inspiring quote so let’s get into it:

I’ve been loving on Ryan’s social media pages. His IG is hilariously funny with writer memes and as soon as I saw this nugget of wisdom I had to feature it for today. Whining, complaining, or criticizing really just comes from one source: Lack of contentment or peace. Whether this is because we are upset, confused or frustrated the point is that somewhere, for whatever reason, we are not content with our present situation and we are not at peace.

How do we overcome these situations? After all, it is not that stress is a bad thing entirely. It exists naturally in everyone for a reason. It is there surely to be helpful to the body in some way. How do we allow it to be what it is without over-stressing ourselves? Learning to identify the good in bad situations is one way.

This series I am writing, for instance, is probably the most challenging project I’ve ever written. There’s so much going on as I am writing these books. Personally, professionally, emotionally, mentally, its hitting me from all directions but I have to keep going.

I have been looking for the silver lining in every situation to help carry me through. The diamond in the ruff, the light in the darkness, the calm in the storm, the peace under the pressure. Here’s an example:

If I get not-so-good feedback on my manuscript, instead of focus all my energy on the negative, I look for something good. Unless the person is just a total (fill in the blank) about it, there’s always something positive that is said among not-so-positive feedback. After licking my internal wounds, I look to find the something good I missed and use it as fuel to keep pushing on.

Find the good and when you find it celebrate it. That’s peace under pressure. Don’t ignore changes that need to be made but celebrate the good as well. Be excited about it! Sorry. I don’t mean to yell, but you understand why I have to.

The good is a light. Take it and let your light shine.

But, dear non-writing readers…

….this is not about manuscripts and writing. I’m using myself as an example but this is about life in general.

The message is:

Celebrate your successes no matter how few or small.

It is not easy and sometimes it is good to vent. Good to let off the steam. The problem is when we do not balance this out with anything good.

See, I don’t want to get on my whole “balance soapbox” here but everything in life must have a balance. I spoke yesterday about being yourself on Social Media but even this is with a certain level of balance. You don’t just want to be all out boring. Or maybe you don’t care about blog stats. That’s cool. I get it, but there’s nothing wrong with paying attention to it sometimes. You don’t have to be obsessed with it, but it is good to know where you are. There’s nothing wrong with monitoring growth.

In life, we just do not balance things out as much as we should. We find ourselves venting too much and letting it rob us of peace. We find ourselves not celebrating the good and not forgiving ourselves for the not-so-good.

Today, we will strive to limit our number of complaints by looking for the good in not-so-good situations.

The Second Thursday of Every Month

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Be sure to tune into your favorite Ape the second Thursday of every month starting next month for my articles. Coming Up: “Enjoy the Journey”, Thursday, February 9, 2017 @ 01:100a London, UK Time.

Sometimes we need to slow down and capture the moment for what it is. Step outside of ourselves and see things play out as if we are not there. Then we can see our actions in their most genuine form, identify our mistakes and most especially, acknowledge those things we have accomplished. We spend a lot of time on what need to be done or should be done in order to reach that level of (place your career goals here) that we envision is representative of success that we do not take the time to appreciate the success we already have. Sometimes you don’t need to do anything. Just be still. Take the time to truly love what it is that you do. Enjoy the journey.