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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No Whining Wednesday – Stop Overthinking

Welcome back to No Whining Wednesday, the only day of the week where you do not get to whine, complain or criticize for this entire 24hr day. If you are new to this blog or new to this segment, be sure to see the original post HERE for more on what this is all about.

The No Whining Wednesday Badge

I am sitting here drinking my coffee and reflecting and one thing comes to mind today: “EC, stop overthinking!”

I hope you know by now that the inspiration for these NWW messages come from what I tell myself or what I’ve learned on a very personal level at some time or another. That said, I overthink a lot which leads to anxiety, fear, and a host of other things that sneak in through this “overthinking doorway”. It gets to where I have to step away from social media completely if I am overstimulated. (I am probably the only person who deactivates their Facebook like every two weeks…don’t tell me you haven’t noticed. Speaking of which, it’s about that time lol.)

I say all of this to say that I understand the harm that overthinking can do to a person mind, to their health and to their ability to enjoy the moment. You’re always thinking about what could go wrong or if you’ve done something wrong instead of what could go right and if you’ve done something right. Like the quote says, when we overthink we are creating problems that aren’t there. This is torture of our minds and personal well-being. We are already under attack by others (either people are rooting for you or casting spells, better believe it), there’s absolutely no reason to add to this by doing this to ourselves.

Here are some harmful results of overthinking and I must add, not overthinking is harder than it sounds so don’t beat yourself up about it. Reclaiming that peace takes practice and time like everything else:

Limits you – Instead of taking action you are sitting there thinking about it and creating limitations that weren’t there before and will probably never exist.

Complicates things – Simple things now seem complicated. This is not just in relation to our personal lives but I notice we do this in Indie Publishing too. Sooo much is over-complicated. Honestly, it’s not that hard. I wish we could focus on encouraging each other to learn the basics and building on that instead of creating these long lists of things that will come naturally over-time if we just wait.

Depression – Overthinking leads to depression. Really bad depression.

Lack of Confidence – Over-thinkers expect bad things to happen instead of expecting good things to happen. This causes you to lack confidence in your abilities.

Fear – As a result, you are in a constant state of fear (anxiety is no laughing matter and it is, at its root, caused by fear)

Depletes Your Energy – You literally tire yourself out from thinking too much. The energy you could have used to be productive is now gone.

I hope this small list helps you to not think so much and sometimes you do have to take physical action. For instance, I turned my phone off until I finished this post. Stepping away from social media is also a great help for me. Whenever I feel that I am overdoing it I step back and it gives me peace. I’m an introvert at heart so I can only take so much.

That’s it folks. Don’t overthink it today.

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No Whining Wednesday – Commitment and Consistency

Welcome back to No Whining Wednesday! It’s been a loonnnggg time!

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The No Whining Wednesday Badge

If you are new to this blog or new to this segment please check out our first NWW post here to learn more about what this is all about.

The PBS Blog

Guys, we missed our first year anniversary!

No Whining Wednesday was started on January 4, 2017 and we managed to publish a whooping 22 episodes by years end. Who hoo!

Today’s inspiring quote:

“Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship.  Without commitment you’ll never start and without consistency, you’ll never finish.”

– Denzel Washington

This segment is all about reducing our stress levels by not worrying for an entire 24 hour period and Denzel’s quote is just what I needed. I have not been updating this blog as much as usual because I’ve been focusing on getting out of my comfort zone and today, I encourage you to get uncomfortable and to use it to  help you to decrease your stress levels. Here’s an example of what I am doing today:

For this entire day, I’ve committed myself to not using my cell phone or social media (except for blogging). This means I won’t be sharing this post on social media until the sun sets my time (USA, EST). It also means it’ll take me a tad longer to respond to your comments since I won’t be using the super convenient WordPress app. I am doing this in an attempt to commit to something and to remain consistent with it. Sometimes we can be in a good mood but that mood may easily become affected by the mood of someone else. Complaining is contagious. When someone else does it we often feel the need to do it too.

Them: “Man, it’s too cold outside.”
You: “I know right. It is cold. Hope it warms up soon.”

You may not have realized it but you’ve just joined in with someone else complaint. It’s subtle but it’s there. You are both complaining about how cold it is outside, though you do both have a warm place to lay your head at night.

Complaining has become such an integral part of our lives that we do it without noticing. This means we worry or stress as a normal part of our everyday lives.

Today, commit to something that will help you not to worry so much and try to be consistent with it. It can be reading, writing, walking, exercising, anything that will help you to focus on the good and not the bad.


Yecheilyah is an author, blogger and poet. Be sure to pick up your copy of I am Soul, her latest collection of poetry on Amazon.

5 Clues You are Stressing Out

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It’s easy to say, “Don’t stress” but if we don’t understand how to put this into practice in our everyday life, this is a command that is not so easy to obey. That’s why I’ve been exercising practical ways not to stress so much (because there’s no such thing as not stressing…stressing is natural…we just overdo it).

Sometimes we don’t know we are stressing. This is not good because what you don’t recognize, you can’t change. No worries though, I got you covered.

Here are 5 Clues you’re stressing out:

Overthinking / Overanalyzing

One clue that you are stressed about something is if you can’t stop thinking about it. When you are going over a situation in your head repeatedly. You micromanage every possible scenario on how something can go wrong. You give it so much energy that you even have mental conversations with yourself on what could happen, what did happen, how it happened and even new ways it could have happened. You go to bed thinking about it and wake up thinking about it.

If this is you, you are stressing out and I am going to need you to chill.

Looking for Faults

If you find yourself looking for the flaw in things, you have a problem. Unlike being faced with a situation, you’re looking for one. Every single action is met with your own private investigation. The slightest issue is background checked for “possible” mistakes and mishaps. You even start to bring up old stuff, calculating how that situation and this one is connected.

If you’re constantly critiquing yourself or something/someone else, looking for problems that don’t nor have probably ever existed, you are stressing out and I am going to need you to just chill.

Whining / Complaining

What we think about will eventually come out of our mouths. If you find yourself complaining about every single itty bitty thing, you are stressed. You know that tone. When the inflation in your voice rises and the sentence begins with “but” or “why come” a whine is coming on. If all you focus on is problems you won’t see solutions. If you must complain all the time, you’re stressing yourself out and I am going to need you to chill.

Trying to Guess What People Are Thinking / Saying

This one is a lot more subtle than the others and is the cousin to overanalyzing. If you are having mental conversations about what you think other people are thinking and what they are saying, you are stressing. If you’re trying to find motive where it doesn’t exist, you are stressed because you’re worried about what others think and their reactions so you make up stuff. This is dangerous. Eventually, you will have convinced yourself you “know” what that person is thinking and start to interact with them based on the fictitious person in your head as if that’s who the person really is. You’ll start to look at everything they do based on the version of them in your head.

If you’re imagining what people must think or what they must be saying, you’re stressing and could push people away if your illusions ever reach the surface. Never assume you know what people are thinking. That’s what communication is for.

And oh yes, I am going to need you to chill.

Denial

It’s sometimes hard to see things about ourselves without someone pointing them out to us. This is when we need the help of family, friends, and people who truly care. You know, the ones who tell us exactly how it is… straight, no chaser. So, if someone says you’re stressed and your first response is to deny it or come up with excuses, that’s a big fat red flag that you probably are stressed out…

…and we’re going to need you to chill.

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.

BREATHE

Temporary Cover for BREATHE.

Dear Author,

Writing is just as psychological and spiritual as it is physical. The level of mental clarity necessary to write books is not something that any writer can ignore. From reaching out to people for special appearances, book signings, and speaking engagements, it goes without saying that taking on this enormous responsibility will require the strength of an individual who has worked, not only on his craft but also his mind. Someone who has come to the page with a mindset that he or she will accomplish greatness. Someone who has not only decided on a profession but has mentally prepared for it as well.

At the time that I write this I’ve been publishing books for ten years and within the last three years, I have had the pleasure of working closely with writers in a way that I never have in my career. This intimacy is made possible through writers and the publishing of their most personal thoughts through the platform that is the blog. As I sit back and I observe I have come to understand that doubt and fear is a major contributor and enemy of the writer. It creeps into the mind, seeps into the soul and gnaws the bone. It gets down so deep inside the author that it bleeds through the pen and taints the words. Next thing you know every time you look up that writer is not a writer anymore. That writer is a shadow of his former self, wallowing in self-pity and doubt. That writer has allowed fear to creep in and to steal his gift.

Writing is not a cake walk. It is hard work and often mentally challenging. While writing itself is exciting, the process of pre-writing, writing and then re-writing, publishing and marketing and promoting, can take its toll. Not to mention the barrage of “Thou shall write like this” advice and the author’s own personal life. Who knows what kind of stress the writer battles during production and what kind of sacrifice it took for you to hold that book in your hands. Authors are people too and like any other person, we have lives outside the page and outside the blog, trials and tribulations to endure that can make finishing a book mentally taxing. Writers under this kind of mental strain must somewhere underneath the clutter of depression and self-loathing, find the motivation and the confidence he or she needs to approach the page again. He or she must root themselves in the present moment and find the strength to endure. That writer, he or she, must learn to BREATHE.


“BREATHE: Letters of Writespiration to Keep You Inspired, Motivated, and Writing” is the first book in a series of books that is my next project. A string of letters from me to you, the writer. It does not yet have a release date. I am also not having any fancy launches for this. After The Nora White Story, I am focusing on seriously finishing and producing my memoir which can take some time. These books will be small projects of mine in-between my larger projects such as novels and the memoir.


If you’d like to know more and to read some of the letters before the first book is released (which won’t be for some time), be sure you’re subscribed to my email list. I am doing some redecorating, such as an all-white background for a neater look. I am also sharing Chapter Four of my memoir in the next issue (Chapters 1-3 will be available to download to new list members or veteran members who missed it.) Also, if I have not gotten around to promoting your book, it will be in the next issue as well. Your patience is always appreciated.

The 10-Day Negative Thought Fast

Wow, this is great! What a way to end No Whining Wednesday (today was a good day.) I definitely want to try this.

All About Writing and more

Would you like a simple way to really change your life? Instead of merely getting by, you’ll find that your life can truly be exceptional when you focus on positive solutions rather than the constraints of your challenges.

This 10-Day Negative Thought Fast, originated by Emmett Fox, one of the most popular self-help authors and speakers of the early 20th century, is an adventure you’ll reap many benefits from.

Here are the rules:

1. If you break any of the other rules, you must start the 10 days over from the beginning. To get the full effect, you must complete 10 consecutive days. Giving up negative thoughts is a little like giving up a drug; you’ve got to stop using them completely, otherwise you haven’t truly quit.

2. You cannot focus on a negative thought or remain in a negative emotional state for more than five minutes. Ideally, the time…

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