Routines that Keep Us Motivated

Last week, I wrote about the importance of celebrating wins to stay motivated. But there’s another daily piece that is crucial: developing a supportive routine.

I know that for me, routine is key. As many of you know, I love a good routine and I’m definitely a creature of habit. But what you may not know, is that I am really bad at making creative projects part of my routine.

Like many, I grew up with the idea that creative projects should be done in bursts of inspiration, moments of genius. So, when I get excited about a creative project, it’s really hard for me to pace myself.

When I’m passionate about something, I don’t want to do a little bit each day, I want to put my nose to the grindstone and work tirelessly until the project is finished and I have results.

This is actually a counterproductive way of thinking. Because, it is only with small, short-lived projects that this yields results.

If you want to do something BIG, you have to make it part of your daily routine and you have to prioritize it. According to Big Potential, which I mentioned in my post yesterday, you also need to surround yourself with positive people and influences. So, how do you do those things? Read the steps below to get started:

Step 1: Find the time; and force yourself to show up

That may sound strange, but sometimes it is the long term projects that I care about the most that I have to find time for and force myself to do. It’s because they are hard and scary. Look at your schedule and ask yourself where you could squeeze in an extra 2 hours a day. They say 90 minutes is the amount of time we can sustain focused attention in one sitting, and we need a little time to ramp up and cool off, too. If you have kids, and/or you work, you may need to fit these 2 hours in very early in the morning, or late at night. Identify your natural rhythms, set a reminder, and force yourself to do it.

I get up at 5:00 a.m. every week day so I have time to write and work before my kids get up. Even though it’s hard sometimes, I feel so much more prepared to handle their “special” requests at breakfast. Some days, I’m singing in the kitchen when the kids wake up because I’ve done what I wanted to do, and I’ve done it first thing.

Step 2: Make it a special ritual

Rituals are fairy-god mother of routines. They take something ho-hum and make it magical. Incorporate a special drink, a scent, a daily reading, whatever speaks to you. Even if the work starts to feel hard, you will do the ritual by heart.

When I wake up, I do the same thing every day: I make coffee, light a candle to feel the presence of another energy in the room, read the daily meditation from Melody Beattie’s Journey to the Heart, and pray the words Brene Brown wrote in her book: “Let me have the courage to show up and let myself be seen.” Then, I write.

Step 3: Surround yourself with positive support

There are people in our lives who lift us up, and we need those people the most during this time. Call on them as you work on this project. In his latest book, Big Potential, Shawn Achor echoes this. Being around positivity inspires more positivity in your own life, keeps you motivated, and will spill over into your project.

When I felt ready to send my blog out into the world, I made sure to reach out to a small circle of my positive influencers, first. I set up an accountability check-in over drinks with one friend who is also working on a big project. I’m also trying to reach out to people I admire who I don’t yet know well, so I can learn from them. And, I make a point to read inspirational books, like those I mentioned above.

To close, I wanted to leave you with today’s meditation from Melody Beattie’s Journey to the Heart. It ties in so perfectly with my post from yesterday that it gave me chills when I read it this morning:

August 7: Be All You Can Be
Step out into the cool night air. Look at the stars. See how they shine. Know that it is okay for you to shine, too.

Who told you you had to hold back? Who told you your gifts, your talents, your beauty– your natural, beautiful, loving delightful self– was wrong? Who told you not to be all you could be? Maybe, as some suggest, we’ve gotten too comfortable focusing on our flaws, our errors, our dark side. Perhaps it’s not our dark side we fear. Perhaps we’re really afraid of our gifts, our brilliance our light.

Now is a time of light. It’s time for us to shine. We’ve worked hard on ourselves, dealt with our issues, gone back to the past. We’ve learned our lessons well. The reasons to hold back and hide away are no longer there. Enjoy the fruits of your labors.

Be all you can be, and enjoy being that. Don’t hold back. Use your gifts with joy, use your talents. Let your light shine for all the world to see.

Finally, you are free to be all that you can be.

Let your light shine,

P.S. I want to hear about your routine. What are you trying to build into your life this month? Hit reply, and let me know! And, if you like what you’ve read, subscribe to my email list for more inspiration.

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