Finding the motivation to start over, is a process. We all go through something in life at one time or another that knocks us on our butt and turns our life upside down, mine was illness, divorce and heartbreak. Typically these rough times is a loss of some kind, a challenging change in life. You may logically know you need to let go and move forward, but its hard to find the focus, motivation, and inspiration to do so.
This was my situation, the past few years had been challenging and I felt lost. Deep down I knew everything was going to be okay, but I didn't know where to start or how to take my first step. My mind was clouded by the chaos and stress in the moment, and it was hard to stay focused on the big picture, which now seemed so far away. My health lead me to letting my career go, my marriage unraveled, I now was a single parent, and I had to sell the home I loved. Life as I knew it had completely changed, and it was time for a complete overhaul.
I felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster. Some days I felt numb and disconnected, then hopeful again the next. Deep down I knew all would be okay, and I did my best to try and embrace that feeling. Even though in the moment, I didn't know how. It took time and effort, but after awhile I started seeing the losses as a second chance, even a gift. It no longer felt like just surviving through random acts of being dumped on by life, but a gift to start a new life truer to my heart and soul. This didn't happen overnight, it took soul searching and monitoring my own thoughts to start seeing life through a different lens and to find motivation to start over.
My journey to finding motivation to start over
It took time to cultivate this new perspective. After announcing the end of our marriage to the world, I felt like a lost zombie. I stayed with my parents, and my ex had moved to a different city to pursue a new career, a new life. I did not want to face the ghosts in the home we shared and I didn't have the finances to support the home on my own.
I took a few months of down time and stayed with my parents. They however, were in the middle of constructing a new home. So, my infant daughter and I camped in a tent in their backyard. On top of it all, my dog lost his leg. So here we were living outside, we took showers outdoors, had an outhouse, cooked outside, and had a 3 legged dog. I couldn't help but laugh, I felt like the definition of a sad classic country song.
I eventually mustered up the strength to return to our family home, as I needed to prepare it to sale. Before all this started I had partially demolished the kitchen for the mini remodel, so I needed to head back and finish what I had started. Still completely lost, my 8 month old daughter and I moved back to our family home. I was broke so I did not turn on the phone, internet, or cable. During the day I cared for my infant daughter, and at night I finished the small remodel. My friend gave me the title, the midnight contractor. I busied my mind and wore out my body, so I wouldn’t have to deal with my emotion.
In this way everyone is different, in how we cope, grieve, and process. After the house, more stresses compounded because now the divorce and custody case began. This was the the peak of all the stress in this situation. I began consciously working towards improving my mental well-being, I didn't want to be a stressed out zombie around my daughter. I was carrying around guilt, because I felt like I was missing these precious years of my daughters childhood, because I was faking being happy. I started really focusing on improving my state of mind, not only for myself but for my daughter. I developed an interest in the power of the mind, intuition, and the subconscious. I began practicing the exercises below, and trying to change my negative thought patterns.
The list below are the exercise I used to help pick myself back up, not for appearances, but to regain my mental strength and feel excited about life once more. This list is a process not meant to be rushed. I still fall back on this list. I am now working hard at starting a business and feel burn out at times. This list helps boost my creativity and keeps me motivated and focused on what I want out of life.
Motivation to Start Over
This calms the mind and emotions. Its not a hippy dippy activity, there is much scientific evidence of all it benefits. Studies have found meditation improves optimistic thinking, fights aging, improves sleep, reduces anxiety, improves learning, improves emotional control, and more. For a deeper dive into the benefits of mediation, read this article.
During times of heartbreak and extreme stress, it’s common for the mind to run in a negative hyper-drive state. I found myself reliving and creating negative conversations in my head, and other times I was drained and felt blank. Either way, this exercise relaxes and clears the mind. It’s a mental recharge that strengthens the mind and improves clarity and objectivity. Think of it the same as exercising any other muscle. It takes a little time before feeling the results and gaining strength. Many studies found improvements and brain growth with practicing 6 days a week for 8-12 weeks.
I never meditated until going through this heartbreak. I wish I was aware of this sooner. Even with little sleep, meditating for 20 minutes gives me a boost of energy and sense of peace.
Exercise: There's no right or wrong way to meditate. Just get comfortable, breathe calmly, and let thoughts pass by you. This takes practice, try not to dwell on your thoughts. I typically try to meditate for 20 mins or more. I prefer to listen to peaceful noises, as different frequencies are suppose to improve the outcome, and it helps with reducing distractions, like a barking dog. If you have Spotify or Amazon Music you can find frequency noises for relaxation, heartbreak, etc... I later purchased the course from Equi-Sync to improve my meditation practice, but its not necessary to spend any money.
Studies have found writing about things you are grateful for increases happiness . We spend so much time focusing on the negative, and stressing out about the worst outcomes. This exercise, forces us to pause and remember the positive. When we let go of negativity by switching over to optimistic grateful thinking, it opens up so much creativity and love from within.
Exercise: write down 3 things you are grateful for. It could be something as simple as the kind person that held the door open for you that day. Again, another exercise that helps keep everything in perspective. Don't merely go through the motions, let your self feel and appreciate the things that are you are appreciative of. I find it a little more fun, when I have a pretty journal to write in.
3. Letter Cleanse:
If you are having a hard time focusing, because your mind is clouded by pain and anger. Try writing a letter to the person that hurt you. This letter isn’t meant to be sent. Just when you feel like you are about to burst let it out in a letter. Write until you calm down. Take a break and then read the letter, with these few questions in mind:
1. Does this sound like the person I want to be?
2. Is this really how I feel, is it only my pain speaking, why do I feel this way?
3. If this person was on their deathbed, are these honestly the last words I want to say to this person?
Maybe it is, this isn’t about suppressing your emotion. It’s about finding honesty in how you truly feel. It’s likely there will be somethings in the letter that is pain disguised as anger, and isn't the core of what you really feel. This helps root out the true cause of what's bothering you, so you can address it and move forward. It maybe what you feel in the moment, that's why its important to take a break before reading the letter. You may want to wait a few days before reading the letter, so that you can analyze your words with an objective mind. This process helped me reach forgiveness.
Exercise: Write letter (if needed), analyze letter with the questions listed above in mind, then burn letter. Burning the letter is a symbolic letting go, a cathartic release.
You have probably heard this before, as did I, but I did not really emotionally understand until going through this for myself. Forgiveness is not about the other person, it’s a gift to yourself. This step takes time, and a lot of emotional work within yourself. It is an opportunity to grow.
Forgiveness, doesn’t mean a second chance or dismissing the other person of all their wrong. It’s really about accepting and letting go. Accepting the person for who they are. It is accepting we can’t control others or the outcome.
Its realizing, why burden yourself any longer with feeling bad about something beyond your control that has already happened. Its peace in knowing your can't control them, but you can control yourself.
Exercise: This is the hardest one on the list, and it is a process. You may feel you are getting their one day, then backslide back to the dark side the next. The exercise is to just be aware, work at being rationale, gaining control over negative thinking, and focusing on what you really want, peace to move on. Also, don’t beat yourself up over backslides, just try to find your center again, and realize it takes time.
5. Stay Inspired:
Listen to music, read an inspiring book, or download an audible book. This is a great way to stay focused on what really matters, which is the now and all the possibilities of your future. Nothing has been written in stone. You have as much power as anyone else to create what you want.
I find singing along with my favorite songs to be therapeutic, or listening to an inspiring audio book while driving or doing chores. The energy from music or a motivational book, helps me stay focused on what my heart really wants. Being a mom its rare I find the time to sit down and read a book, so I started using Audible through Amazon to find the time to enjoy books. If you too strong with time I included the banner below, it gets you two free books. The book does not need to be a self-help book, just any topic that excites you!
Exercise: 1. Create an uplifting playlist. 2. Find an inspirational book.
Books I have enjoyed:
Rich Dad Poor Dad: Its about money, but its inspiring. The financial stress of divorce is difficult, this book will improve your outlook on money.
Girl Code: A light hearted book, about starting a business, but its more than that its more about the importance of being kind and connected with one another.
Big Magic: Written by the Author of Eat Pray Love. This is a motivational book, about finding and living true to your passion. Life is short, should we waste time living any different?
If you need help finding a book, you may want to check my motivational reading list. The books on the list I personally found motivational, even though not all of them are technically motivational books.
6. Dress up:
Buy yourself something that makes you feel sexy or powerful. This really is a psychological boost. You feel better when you look better . You may have been hiding out in the house, hair in a messed-up bun, and wearing stained up pajamas like I was, well its time to get out!
Exercise: Fix up in your favorite outfit. Better yet buy something new that fits well and you feel great in. Then, go on a date with yourself or plan an outing with a friend. I just started using Ebates, I don't know why I haven't sooner. But, if you buy online its a good idea to get some cash back, join Ebates for free here!
7. New Hair:
This goes with step 6. Looking good boosts your mood and your confidence. So shed the old, and polish your look for a brand new wiser, stronger, sexier you.
"A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life" - Coco Chanel.
Explore your creative side. Let out your creative beast. Try to get in touch with your soul. It’s likely after years in an unsuccessful relationship you forgot things about yourself. Myself, I put on my favorite music and will paint or go outside and work in the garden.
You have the freedom to explore. What do you like to do; cook, sing, paint, maybe dance? Money may be tight and you don’t have a babysitter, so you can’t make the dance lessons. Do what you can, dance like a dork in your living room, its liberating.
Exercise: Do something creative you love. If you don't know, explore. Just create something.
Fresh air and nature is healing. Seriously lay on a blanket in the backyard and breathe the fresh air. Better yet plan a trip to the mountains or the ocean. The negative ions in these areas are higher, which boosts serotonin. Remember that energizing feeling during a thunderstorm, those are negative ions. They relieve stress as effectively as antidepressants without side effects . Negative ions are weak indoors or non-existent, and strongest in the mountains, and moving water .
During my divorce, I slept in a tent and it was very healing. Those long sleepless nights were bearable under the stars, the trees rustling in the wind, and all the oxygen.
Exercise: Lay on a blanket in the backyard, pitch a tent, take a trip to the mountains or moving water (hike to a waterfall, lay on the beach).
We all know exercise releases endorphin, a quick mood boost. This gives us more confidence, and lets us burn off stress. Try going for even just a walk. I had an 8 month old baby, so she was strapped to my chest in our favorite carrier, and we would walk the property. Combine exercise with nature and kill two birds with one stone. Go swimming in a creek or a lake, and it will be hard not to find some peace.
11. Find yourself:
Get to know yourself, again. I enjoyed diving into personality typing to improve my communication with others, to appreciate my quirks, understand my weaknesses, and its just fascinating. As an example I’m an INTJ, many of the weakness in my failed relationship were stereotypes of our personality differences. My personality type can come off as cold, because I use logic before emotion to make decisions. My ex was the opposite, he makes decision based upon emotion. Neither way is right or wrong, but this was one of the struggles we faced in communicating with one another. You can find out your personality type here. Above all you are stronger than you know, and it may not seem like it yet but there’s a lot of excitement in this opportunity.
Exercise: Take the personality test, then I recommend you cruise on over to Pinterest, and look it up its amusing. Appreciate yourself!
12. Life Lists
I love lists, writing helps to organize our thoughts and perspective. This is more than a bucket list, because those are things we want to do before we die, so they feel far away an unexciting. Instead, write the following 4 lists:
1. Write the positive possibilities that can come out of this difficult time?
2. What kind of person do you want to be?
3. What do you want in all areas of your life?
4. What excites you? Include both big and small things.
Exercise: Circle 2 things from each list that’s most important to you, create an action plan to make it happen, and then reward yourself with a small thing. Now put your game-plan somewhere visible, so you stay inspired. Get the free printable lists below.
I hope this list helps you along your journey and provides motivation to start over. However, I would like to interject that you are not really starting over. As you have gained so much life experience and wisdom. Believe you are being guided to something better. You are not starting over, you are writing a new chapter in a story that's far from finished. Keep your faith, pray if you share this belief. This has been a critical step in keeping me strong, hopeful, and feeling the guidance of God's love to happiness.
If you like this list, I will be hosting a free course guiding you through these exercises. This free course, Inspiration Challenge, is a 6 week email series that offers the opportunity to connect personally with me and other like minded individuals, register here.
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