Your Inspiration Toolkit
Peace! At some point we all experience at least a slight desire to change the way we eat, think, create, move, behave, care for ourselves, or live in general. Often, day-to-day obligations or just flat-out lack of motivation causes us to push these desires to the backs of our minds until we’re back in the same rut that we were trying to escape in the first place. We stay in that rut for a few weeks, months, or even years until the mood strikes us again, and lack of motivation causes us to fall back into the same cycle. I suffered from lack of motivation for years until it one day occurred to me that the exact things that I was looking for were around me all along. Drawing inspiration from outside sources requires humility, vision, open-mindedness, and mindfulness that we all sometimes lack. Below, I’ve outlined ways in which you may find inspiration to begin a journey, project, lifestyle change, or creative endeavor that you may be putting off.
Just about everyone I know is subscribed to some type of streaming service, the most popular of which is obviously Netflix. One night, take a break from binge-watching your current addiction, and explore the vast collection of documentaries that these services offer. There’s literally something for everyone. You may want learn more about plant-based eating (Forks Over Knives), the side-effects of over-consumption of sugar and how the food industry keeps us addicted (Sugar Coated), or even explore spirituality (With One Voice). There are also tons of Ted Talks that may spark your creativity with topics ranging from technology, engineering, mathematics, and politics to entrepreneurship, blogging, activism, musicianship, and even cooking. You may even find your favorite conspiracy theory, just don’t jump on Facebook sharing your findings with the rest of us. Kidding. Kinda.
Friends & Family Members
You may be sitting on a ton of untapped resources that are right under your nose. The inspiration to take the first step on your new path might very well be within arm’s reach, in the form of your family and friends. Whether your loved ones are with you in presence or you connect with them via social media, do not underestimate their abilities to give you the push that you’re seeking. Connect with people, ask questions, network, and become genuinely interested in the experiences that they can share. You never know who knows what. Instead of sharing a funny meme (that’s probably not that funny) or tagging friends in the latest viral video, try posing questions that may prompt others to share their wealth of knowledge such as “Does anyone know how I can become involved in (insert organization here)?,” “How can I learn more about (insert topic here)?,” or “What advice would you give to someone who is trying to (insert goal here)?” There’s a pretty good chance that someone in your network is knowledgeable or knows someone who is knowledgeable about your topic of interest.
A caveat that you may keep in mind while utilizing this tactic is that you do not want to overwhelm others or come across as trying to take advantage of them. You should be genuine in your approach and interested in learning about others, and not just how they can benefit your growth. You should probably use this method with those who you have spent time building relationships and rapport with.
Online Before & Afters
If weight loss is your goal then Instagram should be your new BFF! Hashtags group clusters of similar photos together for you to view in one place. There are endless images on the ‘gram of amazing transformation photos that will inspire even the laziest of us all. Do a search for #weightlossbeforeandafter and allow yourself to swim in a sea of badassery. Don’t allow these images to be a trigger for envy or sadness, but use them to see that there are people who started right where you are and that it’s possible to change.
Also, a hashtag search for your specific meal plan (clean, vegan, vegetarian, low carb, paleo, whole 30, low calorie) may lead to the discovery of new your favorite go-to dish and a plethora of meal ideas that will help you reach your goals.
Meetup.com was extremely beneficial to my transition to a new city. If you’re not familiar, Meetup is a site where people create niche communities of like-minded individuals in the same city then schedule events where the members… meet up! You simply sign up, enter your city, and search for topics that interest you. Unless you live in no man’s land you’re almost guaranteed to find a group of people that resonates with you. You can then use those like-minded folks to share ideas and inspiration with. We all need a tribe!
This one seems pretty self-explanatory to me. There is a never-ending supply of vloggers on YouTube dishing about their experiences with any topic that you can imagine. Let their stories save you from some of the trial and error that comes along with beginning a new lifestyle. Use that handy search button to explore a world of free knowledge, just be discerning about the advice that you take.
ITunes, Soundcloud, and a host of other apps and websites allow you download or stream podcasts that come in a wide range of topics. Like YouTube, you simply use the search feature to enter what interests you, and it’s very likely that you’ll find a podcast catering to that interest. Since these are audio files, you’re able to listen to them on the go whether it is during your commute, in the gym, or while you get ready for work. Perhaps you need something to help pass the time while you complete a long or menial task. Just pop in your earbuds, press play, and you’re good to go.
Inspiration can literally spark in any place and at any time. I’d suggest carrying a journal or having some other way of capturing your ideas the moment they strike. These are just a few of my favorite sources of motivation and inspiration. Use them if you’re having trouble finding where to start. Feel free to share with me any sources that have personally helped you or may help others. Approach everything with open-mindedness and a genuine spirit to learn, and in no time you’ll find that the universe has dropped exactly what you need right in your lap.