How do some people achieve amazing feats in their lives? What holds others back from their dreams?
In this post, I share with you EVERYTHING I know about motivation and psychology. I share with you part of my story about why I quit being a counselor. I offer some powerful journal questions and affirmations practices to help you shift your mindset towards creating what you want.
It’s taken me 6 years of studying Psychology and all of my own personal life experiences to learn these lessons. So come on over and start living the life of your dreams!
1) Know your power.
Here’s the truth! YOU have the power to create anything you want in your life. You can get that job, you can lose that weight, you can get that tattoo, you can move to a new country, you can be confident. You have the power to make it happen. All you have to do is believe in yourself, and dare to dream big!
But know this: your power can work for you or against you. It’s up to you to take full advantage! In order to do this, you must know what you want, and you must acknowledge the power that your words and your story-telling can have over your heart. This is a process, it doesn’t happen overnight. So be patient and compassionate with yourself along your journey. You are exactly where you need to be right now.
2) Examine the effects of your self – limiting beliefs.
Here’s a part of my story. “I am not confident enough to be a counselor.” This was my internal story that I tried for so long to hide from. I tried to hide the story from myself and from others. However, it always lingered like an unwanted house-guest in the back of my mind when I was in my graduate counseling internship. I tried to fake confidence “until I made it,” but my anxiety seemed to only get worse every time something minor went wrong. In sessions, I would say the wrong thing, or make too much or too little eye contact. I would zone out, thinking about ” what should I say to this person?” I would look for opportunities to get out of whatever work I was doing, because I did not enjoy any of it. It was not until I truly squared up to face these words “I am not confident enough to be a counselor,” that I realized I wasn’t seeing my truth. In order to finally understand why things in my life were not working, I had to examine the ugly statements in the back of my mind that constantly undermined me.
My truth was that I HONESTLY DID NOT WANT TO BE A COUNSELOR. I was using this story “I am not confident enough to be a counselor,” as a more acceptable guise for something that I really did not want to see. I tried to run so far away from that feeling of insecurity because I knew in my heart that facing it would reveal a much deeper level of issues. I was too far invested into the identity of being a counselor to question that choice. I was afraid of owning up to this, and afraid of the deep sense of loss that I would inevitably feel if I chose to walk away. The truth behind the belief that I was not “confident enough to be a counselor” is that I chose to be a counselor for all the wrong reasons. I did not have the confidence in myself when I was in college to choose the path that I wanted. Instead, I chose the safest path. The one other people would be proud of me for taking. But, if I ever wanted to feel fulfilled in my life, I had to do the dirty work of sludging through the muck of my insecurity in order to get to the life that I truly wanted to live.
Have you ever been so afraid of the ugly thoughts in your mind that you run as fast as you can in any other direction? You can take your power back. Here are 4 powerful journaling questions to help you start facing your limiting beliefs. Take your time in answering these questions, really dig deep, tune in to what your heart is trying to tell you.
What are your self – limiting thoughts and beliefs saying about you?
What fears or needs do these beliefs originate from?
What is happening in your life because you hold these beliefs?
What would honestly happen to you if you allowed your worst fears to overcome you?
3) Accept your truth.
Examining my belief that I was not confident enough to be a counselor was hard work. However, when I finally got to the bottom of it, I understood that the source of that belief was an insecurity that led me to make choices out of fear rather than making choices out of what I really, really wanted for my life. I was afraid of being unacceptable to my family, I was afraid of being financially unstable. I chose a career path that would meet my financial needs and my needs to be validated, accepted, and approved of by others. However, all of these things were very external. If I truly wanted to be fulfilled in my life, I had to swallow the hard pill of accepting this truth. I had to admit some very big mistakes and flaws that I really hated to show to myself or anyone else.
When we come to realize the effects of our beliefs on our lives, some people may feel intense shame. In my experience, shame is borne of perfectionism. It means that facing our own reality causes us to see our own flaws, mistakes, pain, and weaknesses. It means that we have to come to terms with the fact that we are not and cannot be perfect. Life will never be 100% satisfaction guaranteed. In order to accept our truth, we have to be willing to see ourselves and the damage we have inflicted upon ourselves and others. We have to be open to the experience of feeling the pain that we have caused. This is so hard. So many people run far away from accepting their truth because they are afraid and unwilling to feel whatever would come up for them. They are afraid of what it would mean about themselves and their lives. They are afraid of the actions they would have to take after accepting the truth. I know I was! However, when we refuse to see ourselves in the light of reality, we stay stuck; confused; frustrated. Like a hamster on a wheel; we never reach our fullest potential as amazing, powerful human beings who can create ANYTHING! Here are three affirmations to meditate on around the theme of acceptance.
I am willing slow down to see and feel my truth.
I am worthy of love in the midst of acknowledging my truth.
Accepting my truth will set me free to move towards my highest potential.
4) Express exactly what you want.
Motivation is easy! All you have to do is state exactly what you want in life. The difficulty is in maintaining that motivation when you come upon challenges. The more clearly you are able to state what you want, the better. Here are a few powerful journaling questions to help you develop your motivation.
- Why do you want to achieve your goal? It’s easy to say “I want to get in shape.” But the reasons why you want this is the motivating factor that will have the power to push you through the hurdles in your life towards your goal. When you are able to develop a deeply meaningful response to the “why” question, only then will you be able to unlock the powerful drive to reach your highest potential. All that is already inside of you. Go find it!
- What do you want to feel in your life? Loving? In control? Powerful? Confident? Free? Ultimately, feeling is the only reason we ever do anything. Passion drives people towards their dreams.
- What actions can you begin taking right this second, today, this week, this month, and this year, to have a little more of the feeling that you want?
Once you know exactly what you want and why, rehearse it! Write what you want on sticky notes and post those babies everywhere! Remind, remind, remind yourself of what you want and why you want it every single day!
5) Lean into your dreams.
Once you know exactly what you want, it’s time to start manifesting it. One of the best ways to begin this process is by studying it! Here are a list of ideas to get you started!
- Find several role models who seem to embody what you want in your life and listen to their stories. How did they get where they are? What did they struggle with? How did they overcome obstacles?
- Read about your dreams. If you want to get fit, find some books on the subject, follow blogs, get a magazine subscription, watch documentaries!
- Find a support system. Sometimes, our existing family and friends may not understand what we are trying to create. It’s okay! You can find friends who are interested in similar things. Look for chat groups or support groups online that share similar interests. Maybe you could attend meetings or a conference with like-minded individuals in your area. Make new friends with people who want similar things in their lives and share your stories together!
- Journal about your ideas regularly! I love writing. I like to write down my goals and ideas in my journal as a brainstorming activity. Don’t worry, just because you write down an idea does not mean that you have to follow through on it. However, the more you write down, the more likely you are to follow through on ideas that are really, really important!
- Plan it out. Once you feel that you really understand your goal/dream, create a concise plan. Step 1, Step 2, Step 3…. All the way until you get what you want. Plans are great to help us organize our behavior towards reaching our goals. However, it’s good to remember that plans should be flexible, and make space in your heart and mind to accept that your plans will probably change and need to be adjusted over the course of your life. Remember, your plans are meant to serve you, not the other way around.
- Start doing it NOW! It doesn’t matter how slow you go as long as you don’t stop! Working towards the life that you want is a process, and doing a little bit at a time is so much better than doing nothing at all! (You don’t have to dive in head first!) Keep going. Keep moving. Inch by inch! You’ve got this, baby!
6) Dealing with obstacles.
Sometimes bad things happen. I know it! Life happens, we get thrown off course. We procrastinate. We take steps backwards when we feel uneasy. It’s okay! It’s all about your choice of mindset. Business and Life Coach Marie Forleo from MarieTV gives a great example of a mindset-creating affirmation when we feel like complaining or giving up.
- Pick one of these complaints (or create your own!): This is so hard! I am tired! People don’t like me! I can’t do this! I’m afraid of losing my freedom! I’m overwhelmed!
- Then, read this aloud:
“[Insert complaint]… & this is what I want!”
3. Take a moment to notice.
Did you feel a subtle shift in your attitude? The concept behind this statement helps you take your power back by taking responsibility for your circumstances. You are the boss. You are meant to take on these challenges so that you can grow as a person. You choose this path, even in the difficult moments! You can do it. You’ve got this. You are the CEO of YOU!