Six Ways To A More Meaningful Life

“It was not the feeling of completeness I so needed, but the feeling of not being empty.” – Jonathan Safran Foer

My walk Sept 11 2013 015Do you ever wake up to start your day and feel like pulling the covers back over your head so you can go back to sleep? This is common from time to time, but feeling this way a lot is not an easy life to live. The feeling of emptiness that humans have is not an easy pattern to break, but it is possible. All humans need a sense of purpose or meaning to get out of bed each day. Some have more trouble with this. Others it comes easy. Whether you are one to climb out of bed most day with a purpose or not so much, read on to find ways to stop the empty feeling inside and bring more meaning to your life.

1. Change things up in your daily or weekly routine. Some routines are hard to change. For example, taking care of your kids/family, work, school, and appointments are just a few examples of everyday tasks that are difficult to change. However, volunteering, joining a club, and finding a new hobby, are a few examples of doing something different. Meeting new people and doing new things introduces a new purpose in your life.

2. Take control of your life. Are you doing things that you want to do or are you doing things because your family or society says you have to? Are you studying what you want in college or are you studying what your parents want you to or what your friends are studying? Do you have the job you want or do you have a job because society says you should have this job? Are you doing things that you truly want to do or are you doing things that just looks good to other people? Take a break, a breath, and determine what it is you want to do with your life, not what anyone else wants you to do.

3. Stay away from the habits that make you feel empty. This seems obvious, but it is easy to hang around with the wrong crowd, drink & eat too much, watch too much TV, play too many video games, etc… These harmful habits play a role in why people have these empty feelings. Have a healthy lifestyle and that will in turn, make you feel better.

4. Spend time with people who truly support you and want what is best for you. This may be family, friends, church friends, or co-workers. Stay away from people who do not have your best interest at heart.

5. Consider adopting a pet. If you have the time and money, pets are a wonderful way to bring a smile to your day. They know how to bring purpose to your everyday life.

6. Seek help. Whether it is a trusted family member, friend or a therapist, find someone to talk to. Talking to someone you trust and keeping a journal, can help you feel better and find purpose and meaning to your everyday life.

These few steps can help build your life back to a feeling of fullness. Adding these positive changes to you life, plus some of your own, will contribute a well balanced life.

If I Think I Can, I Can!

It has been a while since my last post. I have no great excuse. It is what it is and nothing more. I have had the want to write, but not the creativity. It has been hard to come up with ideas to write about, but I look around my life, this world, and even in the blog world and notice most people can find something to write about it. Anything can be a topic and turned into a great blog post. I need to try harder and push myself to do better. I love this quote I came across yesterday:

“Success is 90% psychology.” – Tony Robins

I have to keep reminding myself, if I think I can or can’t, I am right. Just like “we are what we eat”, I also believe, “we are what we think.” Every one of us have different beliefs, values, and mindsets. I believe most people are doing the best they can with what life throws at them.

I promise myself more than anyone else that I will do better with my blogging and writing.  It’s time to go back to brainstorming for idea’s and writing things down when they come to me.  I have skimmed many blogs today and loved every one of them. Other bloggers help me by providing inspiration and idea’s. There are many bloggers and writers out there that I hope to one day be like. I hope to one day have the talent that they do. If I think I can, I can!

How to Think More Positively

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” – Abraham Lincoln

How many people tell us to think positively? It’s good for you everyone says. Or are some of you the one’s telling others to think more positively or look on the bright side? We all go through tough times and times where we want to quit whatever is getting us down. it’s too much work, it’s too hard, it’s not worth it. It doesn’t matter what our excuse is, sometimes we just want to give up. There are a few circumstances where giving in may be worth it. However, most times we need to keep on going.

For me personally, I have always thought negativity rather than positively. Could be because of my personality, life circumstances, the way I grew up, or none of those things. Most people around me know I want to get into freelance writing. The more I look into it, study it, and read about it, the more I want to keep going. I find it fits my skills, my personality, and my wants and needs in a job. It is also easy to get stressed out over. It is hard work and won’t come easy. Yesterday was one of those days where I thought for a second to give in and do something else. Only for a second though! I asked myself, what else would I do? What else interests me? After coming up with a few things, this interests me the most. I am at the point where I am doing a lot of reading concerning freelance writing. Not only is it interesting to me, but stressful as well.

I came across the quote I used at the start of this blog this morning. It started me on a path of positive thinking. I have always enjoyed learning about Abraham Lincoln. I enjoy watching movies & TV shows concerning him. I enjoy reading about him. I have read many interesting and positive quotes said by him. It made me think of how many people tell others to look on the bright side of things, but do not follow it themselves. I don’t think Abraham Lincoln was one of those people. I have been trying to learn from that and increase my positive thinking. It increases one’s mood, decreases stress and has health benefits. Positive thinking doesn’t always come easy, but it’s worth a try!

I thought of a list of things to help myself think more positively. I hope they help others needing it, not just myself.

1. Just do it! Don’t think anything differently. Just think positively.

2. Ignore what others think of you.

3. Use positive words & thoughts such as, “I can” and “I am able.”

4. Smile and laugh more.

5. Get rid of negative thoughts.

6. Think about a successful outcome.

7. Read positive books and affirmations.

8. Exercise.

9. Sit up straight. It will improve self confidence.

10. Don’t watch the news too much.

I hope that these few tips draw out the negative talk and draw in the positive talk for my readers. It is difficult at times to always look on the bright side of things. We are not always able to do that. When we find ourselves feeling negative energy around us, look at these few tips I listed and think positively!

Jump Out of Your Comfort Zone

A recent episode of the CBS TV show “Mike & Molly” made me think about getting out of my own comfort zone. The character Molly was trying to get her husband, Mike, out of his comfort zone. After having lunch out at their usual spot to celebrate her first published article, she did a number of things to get Mike out of his comfort zone. With being a police officer, Mike is set in his routine and has to be careful what he does. Molly does a good job of showing him some fun out on the town & she gets him to do some things he normally would never do. It was an enjoyable episode to watch and made me realize that I need to do the same thing.

Many of us are stuck in our routine and follow daily habits. Daily habits turn into weekly habits and before we know it, it has been years before we do something out of character. Depending on what it is, doing something out of character, can be healthy and fun. We tend to get bored with the same ole daily grind and even frustrated at times. We can become irritated with the people around us and our job. Yes, being in your comfort zone generally has little stress and little worry. Who wants the extra stress anyway? Jumping out of your comfort zone to do something you normally would not do would mean you might become nervous, have sweaty palms, your heart might race, and you might take on a little more stress. In the end, it would be good for you to jump out of your enclosed area to try something new. Do you tend to avoid social functions? Do you sit in the back row of church? Do you hold your tongue back when you shouldn’t say something? Okay, well, maybe on that one, it might be good to do just that! There are other things you can to do get yourself out of your comfort zone. You can do something once a week or do something daily for a week or however you want it, but thinking and doing a few things to get your heart racing and a little nervous is good for the body and soul.

Here are just a few ideas to do just that:

1. Do something different or out of character for you. Add some spice & fun to your life.

2. Recognize what makes you scared and change your thinking pattern on it.

3. Meet new people.

4. Whatever it is you keep putting off, do it and get it done.

5. Find a new hobby.

6. Change your daily routine.

7. Join a club or a committee.

8. Learn something new.

I believe doing some things that we don’t want to do or generally would not do, can help with personal growth and confidence within ourselves. Trying something to lift us out of our comfort zone could make us happier people. It could also make us become risk takers instead of watching the world go by. What are some things that make you uncomfortable? What are some things you fear, but always wanted to try? For me it is meeting new people. I tend to be a loner and I like that, I am okay with that, and that is me. When it comes to meeting new people, I don’t generally like to. I am happy with being in my house, working on my writing, and having a few close friends. What I need to work on this year is meeting new people, joining clubs, and networking more. This would get me out of my comfort zone. Whatever it is for you, change your thoughts on your fear, take a leap to get over your fear, and do whatever it is that makes you uncomfortable! You will be glad you did!

Keeping Motivation In Your Life

It happens to all of us at some point in our lives. If you are like me, it happens not once, but many times. We lose our motivation to do certain things. It could be a new week, month, or year and there is excitement in the air for wanting to accomplish what you did not do last week, last month, or last year. Then all of the sudden, that eagerness is gone. What happened to it? Putting things off seems to be the norm in many people’s lives, myself included. Here it is the last day of September 2013. Where did the summer go? Where did the year go? Fall is here. Winter is coming and the holidays will be here soon. Did you get everything done this month that you wanted done? In another month or so the news will start airing stories about motivation and new years resolutions. Why is that we need these reminders year after year? What keeps us from improving our lives? What can we do to put that motivation back into our lives?

A simple definition from psychologytoday.com on motivation, is “…the desire to do things.”  First you have to want to accomplish something. If that want is not there, there is no desire. You cannot have that desire given to you. You have to want it for yourself. Many of us have it to start with. Along the way many of us encounter a road block and instead of going over it, through it, or around it, we turn around and quit. For myself, I can honestly say I have never turned around and quit. I have lost my motivation, but I do not turn around and quit. I sit at that road block and think about how to go around it. It may take me months to go around it, but I do not quit. Motivation comes and goes in my life, but the key is never giving up.

There are so many examples I could talk about and this piece on motivation may turn into an ongoing blog article. There is so much to write about on losing, keeping, and struggling with motivation. One example for me is over the last several years I have started running for exercise. Growing up, two of my brothers were runners and they were running stars in my eyes. They were awesome and I was jealous because I had no motivation to do that. It wasn’t until much later in life, into adulthood, where I had that motivation to run. I started running on my treadmill first because I was too shy to get outside and run. I started out slow, but always had a goal in mind for the next run. It really didn’t take long and that desire to run was there. I found myself missing it on the days I did not run. I was able to run longer and a little bit faster. I started to enjoy running and thought nothing could break me away from it. I was wrong! Suddenly my desire to run was gone. It has happened many times before. It could be a vacation, a long weekend get a way, or the holidays and that disrupts my regular running schedule. As soon as my running schedule is disrupted, my desire to run is gone. It takes me a while to get back into it. It happened recently once again because of a week long vacation in August. We went on vacation and once I was home, that desire to run was gone. It took me a while, but I forced myself to get out there and run once again. For me, it only takes that one time and I am back. The desire is back and the want is back. Today is my day off from running and I sit here thinking about tomorrow when I can go for another run.

Going through this whole process of having the motivation and losing the motivation and gaining it back again has made me wonder, why can’t I keep this motivation at all times? Why do I have to lose the desire to run? How do I keep the desire with me at all times? What I have learned for myself is that talking to myself helps. It sounds strange, but when I tell myself what a good job I am doing with my running it keeps me going. Motivate yourself! Talk positive to yourself. Say uplifting things for encouragement to keep yourself going. Another thing that helps me is to have a goal in mind and focus on it. The longest run I have accomplished is 5.5 miles and I haven’t been back there in a couple of years! My longest run now is 4 miles. My goal is to keep the motivation going and reach that 5.5 mile mark once again. Something else that will help keep that desire going is to drop the bad habits. Whatever is getting in your way of accomplishing your goal, get rid of it! My bad habit that gets in the way of my running is negative talk. I have been the one that compares myself to others and I have to tell myself over and over that my running is not a race. I run for me. If it takes me longer to run and longer overall to reach my goal, fine, just don’t give up! One last, but certainly not least piece of motivation that keeps me going is my brothers. You see I grew up with three older brothers and no sisters. Two of my brothers were cross country and track runners while the other was physically and mentally disabled. I now only have one living brother. He lives close by with his wife and two kids and he continues to be motivation to keep my running going. My oldest brother, another running star, keeps me going even though his physical body is not here anymore. When I run I hear his voice. I run for him because he is not here to do so anymore. My other wonderful brother that has passed on did not have an easy life. When I run I think of him. I run for him because he was not able to do so in this life. All three of my brothers are my motivation in their own way.

So whatever is causing you to lose your motivation, find your way back. It is not easy, but if that desire is there, you will accomplish your goal. You will have road blocks along the way, but you will learn to go around them instead of turning around and quitting. Stay positive. Say encouraging things to yourself along the way. Surround yourself with positive people and drop the bad habits. If you focus on your goal and never lose that focus, you will have that desire to keep going.