A young man saw me for counseling recently, in the hopes of finding key to staying inspired. He had a sense of the direction he wanted his life to go, and was even clear on some of the necessary steps for getting there. Yet day after day he was unable to find the motivation to take any of these action steps. Instead, he was planted on my couch, begging me to let him in on the trick to staying inspired.
We first talked about values, and the importance of setting realistic goals that are aligned with one’s values. Then we got more specific. While there are many different “keys” to staying inspired, I find that most of them can be rolled in to four steps.
1. Dream big. Many of us have been indoctrinated with “shoulds” about how our lives are supposed to be, how we are supposed to look, etc. These constraints limit our thinking, and we become accustomed to playing small. Give yourself permission to dream big in order to discover what you really want, regardless of whether or not it garners the approval of others.
2. Crystallize the vision into details. Get specific. As you’re creating your vision, don’t simply “own a house.” What kind of house, in what kind of town, with what type of amenities? The more specific the details, the more likely they are to manifest. (Step 2 B includes making a vision board filled with pictures of that represent your vision).
3. Chunk it down. Now that you have the big (and detailed) vision for your future, break it down into a long list of small steps. Write them down.
4. Daily progress. Now chip away at the list, accomplishing at least one item a day. You build momentum this way, one of the key components to staying inspired.
There’s obviously no guarantee that following this prescription means all your dreams will come true. But staying inspired in your life is possible, especially when you follow a formula that works.
Americana singer songwriter Jeremy Dion puts as much energy into his guitar playing as he does his songwriting. He’s also a therapist, a father, and a lover of black coffee.
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