I don't know about you, but it can be hard to stay inspired this time of year. It's cold outside. It gets dark really early. The holidays are all but over (for a while anyway). Maybe it's just me, but these seemingly simple factors can get me feeling like I'm stuck in a rut. So I've been trying to dream up ways to keep myself staying inspired and motivated. And it's got me thinking about what it means to live an inspired life.
I first want to clarify that I'm not talking about living an inspiring life. An inspiring life is pretty lofty, like a hero. I think Steve Jobs led an inspiring life, or Audrey Hepburn or Eleanor Roosevelt. Trying to live an inspiring life puts the focus on others. I'm not sure it's wise to go about life trying to impress or gain approval from others. Instead I think we should focus on ourselves. Try to impress yourself. Try to top your best efforts. Set up your life, so in the end you will look back and be proud. And that's what I mean by living an inspired life. But how in the world do you do that when we all feel so busy and tired, and well... uninspired?1. It's about attitude, not circumstances.
Wouldn't it be cool if every single day we faced big opportunities that could change our lives? What if every day was the Olympic race we'd been training for or the job interview we'd been dreaming of for years? Guess what, it's not. Every day is just that: It's every day. But it's the little steps that propel us forward. The same attitude you would apply to a big important event, that's how you should approach your everyday tasks. For example, let's say your dream was to write a novel. And you think, "If only I had a book deal, then I would wake up early every day and write." Wrong. You should do that anyway, without a book deal. You've got to have the attitude of the inspired even if you don't have the circumstances (yet).
2. It's your choice.
Inspiration is not always going to find you. There are times when you just don't feel it. Maybe the weather has you feeling blue (that's how I'm feeling this week!). Maybe you are going through some painful circumstances, like a break up or losing your job. Maybe you have started receiving a lot of criticism over your work, and it's got you feeling like you don't even want to create anymore. Or maybe you're just tired, feeling worn out and in need of a break. We all go through situations like these. And chances are, your heroes went through them too. It's hard. But it's your choice how you will deal with it. You can choose to press on or be defeated. The power is in your hands! This may sound like a responsibility or chore, but I think it's super empowering. It puts the ball in our court.
3. Start NOW.
I've heard a lot of comments to the effect of "one day when I have X, then I will be able to live an inspired life." You can fill in the blank with your own perceived limitations: money, a better job, more space to create in, a more supportive relationship, more time (!!!!), etc. Don't wait for life to be perfect. It never will be. Start living your inspired life now. Maybe you don't have tons of extra money to start a creative hobby. Did you know that's why I started cooking and then food blogging? I was living on a really tight budget, but I knew I needed a different creative outlet in my life. I figured I had to eat, and I was already spending money on groceries. So I started to research cooking online and using what I had to learn and create new recipes. And it's turned into a major part of my career. I'm so glad I didn't wait to start!4. Make goals and do them.
It's no secret that Elsie and I whole hearted-ly believe in making goals. We often participate in challenges, like 4 Simple Goals, New Year's Resolutions, and our annual Birthday Goal lists. Goal making can give so much structure to your dreams. Try it! It's ok to start small, just as long as you start. But if you're feeling it then dream big, and make a tangible plan to get there. Break it down into steps. Document and reward yourself for progress made. Start a challenge or set a goal today and watch yourself gain confidence and feel inspired as you work to accomplish it.
5. Get out and dream.
Sometimes you just need to go somewhere and fill a notebook with a ideas. It's necessary. You can do this at home, if you are able to escape there. I often find myself compulsively cleaning when I'm home. And that's because my house is, apparently, always a mess. Ha! So sometimes it's good to get out. You don't have to go to Europe to find yourself. (But you can, of course. :) Here are 10 places to get inspired. If one sounds interesting or doable to you make a plan to go there this weekend and dream, make goals and start living inspired. Good luck!!! xo. Emma