Road Blocks

A Ganesh Road Opener Ritual

If you are seeking new opportunities and wish to break down any obstacles that stand in your way, a Ganesh Road Opener Ritual just may be your answer!

To perform a Ganesh Road Opener Ritual, print out a picture of Ganesh and place it on an altar. You will also need a yellow candle, candy, a simple plate, a bowl of fresh water and some fresh flowers. Begin by cutting the flowers and placing them in the bowl of fresh water. I prefer to cut the flowers down to simply the flower tops and allow them to float in the water.

You will also want to add a couple drops of Ganesh Oil into the water as you do this. On your plate, place any items that reflect what you wish to accomplish. For example, you can place your business cards, some new silver coins, a job application, a prayer, petition, photos or even an important business contract. Get your yellow candle and anoint it with Ganesh oil, drawing the oil up the candle towards the wick.

  • Here’s a recipe if you want to make it for yourself: Ganesh Road Opener Oil Blend
  • Calamint or Hibiscus essential oils, hydrosols, or fragrances can be substituted for an oil blend.
  • Sesame oil can also be used as a substitute.

Place the candle in an appropriate candle holder and then put it on the plate with your items. When you are ready, light the candle and say a prayer. When the candle has completely burned down, take all the remains and bury it in a flower pot.

Here is the easiest and most effective way to ask Ganesh for help:

  • First study a picture of Ganesh, so that you may have a firm understanding of what he looks like and can recreate that image in your mind.
  • Take a few deep breaths, close your eyes and bring that image of Ganesh to your mind. Try and see him in as much detail as possible. See his beautiful elephant-head, with welcoming eyes, large ears, long trunk and big, pot-belly. See him as clearly as you can.
  • Now, simply speak to him, speak all of your concerns, worries, needs, etc. Know that as you speak he is hearing you and that you are making a connection with him.

That’s it! It’s that easy. When you have done this once, it is said that you will then have a permanent and ongoing relationship and connection with Ganesh. Speak to Him anytime you wish, as many times as you wish. It does not have to be a formal meditation. Take a moment in your day, if you feel the need, close your eyes and speak to him using the above method.

Invoking Ganesh With A Mantra

Another way that you can invoke the power of Ganesh is by repeating one of his mantras. In the simplest sense, mantras are ancient Sanskrit words of power. Each syllable of a mantra resonates a certain vibration. Mantras are used in meditation, to focus the mind, but they are also used to invoke the blessing of a Deity.

  • A variety of Ganesh Mantras can be found here.

What is happening when you repeat a mantra over and over, is that you are matching your own vibrational frequency to that of the mantra and its purpose (wealth, health, success, knowledge, etc.). Each of the Hindu Deities has their own mantra or mantras, which invoke the type of energy that the Deity represents.

Collected from various sources

When You Really Don’t Feel Like It

This post is something I found, but never posted when we were working on our The Little Engine That Could project,  so it’s not exactly a morning routine, but it occurs to me that once I do have the “perfect” morning routine in place, I might find myself at odds with it. Suppose I wake up in the morning and I really don’t feel like doing any of it… then what? So, here we have an article on how to get shit done even when you’re totally unmotivated.

How to Get Shit Done Even When You Really Don’t Feel Like It

When I first started my business, I was surprised that getting clients and making a decent income — the things I feared most — weren’t all that difficult. Instead, the thing that plagued me was actually pretty simple: finding the motivation to actually do the work I’d been given. It might sound ridiculous, but after chatting with enough freelancers, I can tell you this: it’s a common problem. Nowadays, I’m able to get A LOT more done (even when I totally don’t feel like it!). Today’s tips are lessons I learned over the past year (the hard way), which have drastically increased my productivity, motivation, and will to get shit done. Leh do dis.

  • Figure out what you’re afraid of

When I first started out, I had a subconscious fear that my work was going to take a looooong time to finish. Someone wants a new blog design? BRB, see you in a year! I’d built up unreasonable fears about how long the work would take to do and in turn, pushed it off over and over again.

My solution? I wrote out how long I thought each item on my to-do list would take and then I timed myself! I was shocked (shocked!) when my estimates were often 2-3 times longer than the task actually took. It was incredibly motivating to see how quickly I was able to work. This simple activity helped me prioritize my days ever since. What’s really holding you back from doing your work? Fear of how long it will take? Too much pride about not being able to deliver something spectacular enough? The answer might reveal a whole lot!

  • Use the 20 second rule

Want to get shit done? Make it 20 seconds easier to do. In The Happiness Advantage, author Shawn Achor describes a simple strategy for developing better habits and doing things even when we don’t feel motivated. Achor says, “Lower the activation energy for habits you want to adopt, and raise it for habits you want to avoid. The more we can lower or even eliminate the activation energy for our desired actions, the more we enhance our ability to jump-start positive change.” So the next time you decide to skip the gym? Try laying out your workout gear the night before.

  • Cut yourself off from social media

It’s no wonder we can’t get things done when we spend hours of everyday staring mindlessly at a screen that magically sends us funny pictures and updates from our friends. (If given the choice between work and text from dog, one will always choose text from dog). Make it easier on yourself and tune out of social media. Turn off notifications on your phone. Set specific times that you’re allowed to check social media sites (and ONLY check at these times). I think you’ll find that when you hush the chatter of the online world, you’re able to get back into the groove of that pesky to-do list that’s been giving you side eyes since last week.

  • Recognize when you’re at the top of your game

Dudes. I am pretty useless in the late afternoon. Awhile back, I used to start my day with emails, social media, and small, mindless tasks, which meant that I was doing The Big Stuff in the afternoon…when I was tired and not functioning at my best. Figure out when you feel and work your best and then do all of the things that take the most brain power during those times. Twitter can wait. Promise.

  • Create rewards

I’ll be honest, rewards never worked for me, but I do know they work for other people. Tell yourself that once you finish X, you can have/do Y. Another alternative is to reward yourself with something (like a small piece of candy) whenever you knock an item off your to-do list.

  • Organize that hot mess of yours

There is nothing less motivating to me than a completely messy desk. Luckily, this is a simple fix! Spend 15 minutes organizing your work area and cleaning up all that shiz of yours. When your work space is clear, your mind is clear.

  • Give up

I thought we’d end on an inspirational note. ? But seriously, some days you’re just not going to feel it and pushing yourself to work when you absolutely CAN’T will probably only result in mediocre results and even more overwhelm. Play hooky for the day or a few hours. Relax. Take a freakin’ break. Try a few things from this list. I promise you’ll feel a whole lot better tomorrow, you little hustler you.

By Melyssa Griffin

But I Don’t Want To…

When I was writing this post, it occurred to me that the morning routine of my boarding school experience mirrors, in many ways, what happens every morning now….

It went something like this… Finally, I am asleep. Feeling warm and comfortable… safe even… and possibly loved. And then clanging and banging, doors open and slam shut… bells ringing in my ears…. and here I am, alone with people who don’t know me, who don’t like me, who want to kill my spirit… and I don’t want to get up. I don’t want to be good. I don’t want to be happy. I don’t want to be a part of it all. I don’t want to fit in. I don’t want it… any of it.  They reject me – I reject them. I wake up and I think “fuck you!” Well… not actually those words, but that same feeling of rage and resistance…

And, I have to say, that it served me well. I didn’t turn into a little robot kid, I stayed a squarish peg and never ever fit into a round hole. I maintained my sense of self. My barriers held. My life is my own. And yet, I find that still… all these years later. I wake up all too often in a state of resistance, and a feeling of dread.

“No! I don’t want to … ” is normally my first thought. I have that sinking feeling as the alarm goes off. Yes, it’s not nearly as intense as boarding school, and not nearly as miserable or as lonely and isolating, but it’s there… like a wash of gray where there could be color.

Interestingly, this seems to be true for me no matter what day it is… even when I’m on a camping trip and having fun… I wake up… a feeling of dread… “I don’t want to get out of the warm sleeping bag… I don’t want to hike down to the bathrooms… I don’t want to …”  it sets the tone for the day. Everything that happens after is an uphill climb, a downward spiral, or a dead stop.

Clearly, this survival mechanism has succeeded far too well. Yes, some days I need it, but every day? No.

And what about you? Are you stuck in a morning mode that has outlived its purpose? If you examine the morning routines that you find yourself falling into year after year, do you find that they mirror childhood experiences? And if so, how do they serve you now? What would you keep? and what would you change?

Random Thoughts on Obstacles

So, the first time I saw this I thought, “OK, that’s a fail.” However, today, I realized something interesting and important about this little gif. It stops too soon. That little guy just needs to get back up, reach over that rock, pick up his skateboard, and keep on keeping on. Voila! Obstacle Overcome!

This is also true. Sometimes you need an earth shaking maybe even life shattering event to propel you out of a situation in which you feel irretrievably stuck. Of course, something like that is scary and must be approached with ultimate caution. Notice the mouse is hiding “safely” behind a wall before he triggers the event.

For some people, obstacles are a great motivation for creative thought. Movers and shakers love obstacles because overcoming them is what they do best. There’s a lot to be said for this quality. To welcome problems… see the challenge and get excited about resolving it. A life that is too easy is usually pretty boring and possibly meaningless. On the other hand.. too many problems for breakfast can be like too much bacon – which we all know is not good.

Some obstacles aren’t really obstacles at all. We imagine them to be limitations and impossibilities. We create an obstruction in our imagination and think it’s real, and allow ourselves to come to a dead stop as a result.

I love this picture so much.
Making the best of a bad situation.

And then there’s always the “keep on keeping on” method of overcoming impossible situations. Maybe you just need a little bit of help and a whole lot of “I shall not fail” determination. You’ve got to admit, these two ladies (climbing the Grand Canyon) are pretty impressive!

Some goals, no matter how interesting, how elaborate, or how cool are simply impossible. This little engine for example… I love it! It’s a lovely steampunk fantasy and it’s not going anywhere. Well… it might roll along for about 6 inches or so before it derails…

And then there’s this… the occasional disaster! All that work, that energy and enthusiasm, the I think I can’s, the motivational speeches, how to’s, and road maps to success… all of it lost in a moment. Maybe it was poor planning, lack of support, or a simple mistake, something happens and the whole thing goes up in flames. It happens, and lucky for us, our little “Engines That Could” are not real trains!

Giving up is always an option, but are you sure you really want to do that?

Isn’t there always a little spark of hope?
A light at the end of the tunnel?
I like to think so.

Parkinson’s Law

 Work expands to fill the time allotted.

This proverb was coined by the twentieth-century British scholar C. Northcote Parkinson, known as Parkinson’s Law, it points out that people usually take all the time allotted (and frequently more) to accomplish any task.

The total effort that would occupy a busy man for three minutes all told may in this fashion leave another person prostrate after a day of doubt, anxiety, and toil.

Originally, Parkinson’s law was a reference to the self-satisfying uncontrolled growth of the bureaucratic apparatus in an organization. Nowadays Parkinson’s law is usually condensed to saying work expands to the time allowed and is applied to individuals as well as a burgeoning bureaucracies. Parkinson discusses this interpretation in his opening paragraph but then limits his attention to organizations.

This adage, written in 1955, captured a feeling both modern and timeless and came to be known as Parkinson’s Law. It spawned a best-selling 1958 book and has for decades inspired life-hackers and self-help gurus aiming to vanquish the human tendency toward anxiety-producing, productivity-squelching procrastination.

Variations on the theme:

  • If you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute to do.
  • In ten hours a day you have time to fall twice as far behind your commitments as in five hours a day.
  • A task will swell in (perceived) importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion.
  • The amount of time that one has to perform a task is the amount of time it will take to complete the task.

Interestingly, the reverse is not true.

The solution? Set urgent deadlines, program your stopwatches, and stick to the program. No dillydallying, and no toiling over inconsequential details. Mustering mental discipline is, of course, challenging, especially now that smartphones and e-mail make it easy to second-guess, edit, and retouch work from anywhere at any hour.


The Law of Delay

“Delay is the deadliest form of denial.”
~ C. Northcote Parkinson

From: The Times (London), 15 September 1966,
“Parkinson’s Law of Delay” by C. Northcote Parkinson

There is nothing static in our changing world and recent research has tended to show that the Abominable No-man is being replaced by the Prohibitive Procrastinator. Instead of saying “No” the Prohibitive Procrastinator says “In due course,” foreshadowing Negation by Delay.

The theory of Negation by Delay depends upon establishing a rough idea of what amount of delay will equal negation. If we suppose that a drowning man calls for help, evoking the reply “In due course,” a judicious pause of five minutes may constitute for all practical purposes, a negative response. Why? Because the delay is greater than the non swimmer’s expectation of life.

The same principle holds good in a case at law. Delays are thus deliberately designed as a form of denial and are extended to cover the life expectation of the person whose proposal is being pigeon-holed. Where the urgent matter requires remedial legislation, delay takes on a new dimension. The judicious pause will correspond, nevertheless, to the life expectation of the man from whom the proposal originates. DELAY IS THE DEADLIEST FORM OF DENIAL.’

How Can I Recharge My Depleted Motivation?

From Life Hacker, we have this nice little article about how to recharge when your motivation battery is depleted.

Dear Lifehacker,

Lately I’ve been completely unmotivated to do anything. Getting things done at work is a challenge, and it’s even worse at home. My apartment is becoming a mess, I never cook anymore, and I’ve been unable to keep up a healthy diet. I don’t feel depressed or all that unhappy—just very unmotivated. Is there anything I can do to recharge?

Dangerously Demotivated

Dear DD,

A lack of motivation is a difficult problem because there are likely many factors contributing to it, but the simplest way to get your motivation back is to do something you want to do. The problem with that is when you’re low on the necessary energy and willpower needed to start a particular task, your motivation is generally re-routed to indulge in something effortless like food or entertainment. Overindulgence, as you’ve likely noticed, only serves to make the problem worse. So what do you do? First, we need to pinpoint what’s causing your lack of motivation and then we need to find ways you can trick yourself into getting it back.

Social Rejection Can Kill Your Motivation

Motivation can be depleted by a number of sources. A recent post by David McRaney, author of the human behavior blog and book You Are Not So Smart, discusses many of them. One study asked a group of students to meet each other and then write down who they’d like to work with on a piece of paper. The researchers conducting the study ignored their choices and told some that they were chosen and others that nobody wanted them. Unsurprisingly, the rejected were unhappy, but here’s how it changed their behavior and why:

The researchers in the “no one chose you” study proposed that since self-regulation is required to be prosocial, you expect some sort of reward for regulating your behavior. People in the unwanted group felt the sting of ostracism, and that reframed their self-regulation as being wasteful. It was as if they thought, “Why play by the rules if no one cares?” It poked a hole in their willpower fuel tanks, and when they sat in front of the cookies they couldn’t control their impulses as well as the others. Other studies show when you feel ostracized and unwanted, you can’t solve puzzles as well, you become less likely to cooperate, less motivated to work, more likely to drink and smoke and do other self-destructive things. Rejection obliterates self-control, and thus it seems it’s one of the many avenues toward a state of ego depletion.

When you get rejected, you lose your desire to try because it seems as though nobody would care either way. It’s unlikely this is the case, as one instance of rejection from one or a few people doesn’t encompass the opinion of every person in every situation, but it feels that way and so that’s how you react.

Neglecting Your Physical Needs Makes It Hard to Do Anything

Getting rejected in even a simple way is not the only way to destroy your motivation to do much of anything. Similar effects are possible when you’re not eating:

A study published in 2010 conducted by Jonathan Leval, Shai Danziger, and Liora Avniam-Pesso of of Columbia and Ben-Guron Universities looked at 1,112 judicial ruling over the course of 10 months concerning prisoner paroles. They found that right after breakfast and lunch, your chances of getting paroled were at their highest. On average, the judges granted parole to around 60 percent of prisoners right after the judge had eaten a meal. The rate of approval crept down after that. Right before a meal, the judges granted parole to about 20 percent of those appearing before them. The less glucose in judges’ bodies, the less willing they were to make the active choice of setting a person free and accepting the consequences and the more likely they were to go with the passive choice to put the fate of the prisoner off until a future date.

When leading a busy life, it can be very easy to skip breakfast and/or have a late lunch, then find ourselves in a position where it’s difficult to get much done because we’re lacking the necessary glucose to help us think properly. Even after you finally eat, you can end up with a headache from neglecting to do so for much of the day, which doesn’t really motivate you to do much other than lie down. Neglecting our physical needs can deplete our motivation to do much, so it’s important to keep track of that neglect so it can be corrected. One way you can do that is fill out this daily personal inventory form and see if there are any common trends in your days. If there are, recharging your motivation may be as simple as eating breakfast and getting enough water.

Making Too Many Decisions Exhausts Your Brain

One of the fastest ways to get you lying on the couch with a tub of ice cream, however, is to put you in a situation where you have to make several big decisions. John Tierny, in an article for the New York Times, discusses the problem:

Decision fatigue helps explain why ordinarily sensible people get angry at colleagues and families, splurge on clothes, buy junk food at the supermarket and can’t resist the dealer’s offer to rustproof their new car. No matter how rational and high-minded you try to be, you can’t make decision after decision without paying a biological price. It’s different from ordinary physical fatigue – you’re not consciously aware of being tired – but you’re low on mental energy. The more choices you make throughout the day, the harder each one becomes for your brain, and eventually it looks for shortcuts.

This doesn’t just come down to large decisions at work. If you have to make a number of small decisions you can slowly cause the same fatigue. If you don’t manage the number of choices you make each day, whether small or large, you’ll find yourself repeatedly indulging.

How to Regain Your Motivation

Regaining your motivation involves a combination of ccombatingthe sources of its depletion and tricking yourself into taking the first step. In the case of social rejection, you’re going to feel bad and not want to do much at all, but you need to confront the problem. Perhaps there’s something you’re doing that’s causing the rejection, or perhaps you’re just interacting with unpleasant people. Talk to the person (or people) who rejected you and find out why. Look at ways you can correct the problem if you’re the cause, or try to work through it with the other person if they are. If it can’t be solved, consider ways you can remove yourself from the situation because constant unwarranted social rejection isn’t healthy for anybody.

If you’re simply not taking care of your body, the solution to that problem is pretty obvious. As previously mentioned, you first have to pinpoint the issue and you can do that easily with a daily personal inventory. Figure out what you’re neglecting in your physical needs and make it your number one priority to change that.

When it comes to decision making, it can often be difficult to manage every choice you’ll have to make because you don’t always know when you’ll have to make them. One way to get around this problem is to create a to do list of decisions rather than tasks so you’ll know what needs to be decided and when. Split them up, make sure you don’t have to much to decide in one day, and leave room for unknown decisions you may encounter as the day goes on. Don’t forget to include small things like grocery shopping, as you can get stressed out all the same when you’re trying to figure out what should and shouldn’t end up in your refrigerator.

Finally, figure out something you really want to do. This may be on the boring side and mean you want to clean your apartment, or something more exciting like make a game. Whatever it may be, take a very tiny first step that only requires about five minutes of your time. On the next day, take a slightly smaller step. Work your way up by accomplishing just a little bit more each time. When you start to see your accomplishments and how little effort they take, you’ll have an easier time making progress. After all, just getting started is everything

Hopefully these tips will help you regain your motivation. If you combat the causes and take it slow, you should be back to form in no time.


When You’re in a Slump

From Zen Habits, we have this article by Leo Babuata:
Get Off Your Butt: 16 Ways to Get Motivated When You’re in a Slump

Even the most motivated of us — you, me, Tony Robbins — can feel unmotivated at times. In fact, sometimes we get into such a slump that even thinking about making positive changes seems too difficult.

But it’s not hopeless: with some small steps, baby ones in fact, you can get started down the road to positive change.

Yes, I know, it seems impossible at times. You don’t feel like doing anything. I’ve been there, and in fact I still feel that way from time to time. You’re not alone. But I’ve learned a few ways to break out of a slump, and we’ll take a look at those today.

This post was inspired by reader Roy C. Carlson, who asked:

“I was wondering if you could do a piece on why it can be hard for someone to change direction and start taking control of their life. I have to say I’m in this boat and advice on getting out of my slump would be great.”

Roy is just one of many with a slump like that. Again, I feel that way sometimes myself, and in fact sometimes I struggle to motivate myself to exercise — and I’ll use that as an example of how to break out of the slump.

When I fall out of exercise, due to illness or injury or disruption from things going on in my life, it’s hard to get started again. I don’t even feel like thinking about it, sometimes. But I’ve always found a way to break out of that slump, and here are some things I’ve learned that have helped:

One Goal.

Whenever I’ve been in a slump, I’ve discovered that it’s often because I have too much going on in my life. I’m trying to do too much. And it saps my energy and motivation. It’s probably the most common mistake that people make: they try to take on too much, try to accomplish too many goals at once. You cannot maintain energy and focus (the two most important things in accomplishing a goal) if you are trying to do two or more goals at once. It’s not possible — I’ve tried it many times.

You have to choose one goal, for now, and focus on it completely. I know, that’s hard. Still, I speak from experience. You can always do your other goals when you’ve accomplished your One Goal.

Find inspiration.

Inspiration, for me, comes from others who have achieved what I want to achieve, or who are currently doing it. I read other blogs, books, magazines. I Google my goal, and read success stories. Zen Habits is just one place for inspiration, not only from me but from many readers who have achieved amazing things.

Get excited.

This sounds obvious, but most people don’t think about it much: if you want to break out of a slump, get yourself excited about a goal. But how can you do that when you don’t feel motivated? Well, it starts with inspiration from others (see above), but you have to take that excitement and build on it.

For me, I’ve learned that by talking to my wife about it, and to others, and reading as much about it as possible, and visualizing what it would be like to be successful (seeing the benefits of the goal in my head), I get excited about a goal. Once I’ve done that, it’s just a matter of carrying that energy forward and keeping it going.

Build anticipation.

This will sound hard, and many people will skip this tip. But it really works. It helped me quit smoking after many failed attempts. If you find inspiration and want to do a goal, don’t start right away. Many of us will get excited and want to start today. That’s a mistake.

Set a date in the future — a week or two, or even a month — and make that your Start Date. Mark it on the calendar. Get excited about that date. Make it the most important date in your life. In the meantime, start writing out a plan. And do some of the steps below. Because by delaying your start, you are building anticipation, and increasing your focus and energy for your goal.

Post your goal.

Print out your goal in big words. Make your goal just a few words long, like a mantra (“Exercise 15 mins. Daily”), and post it up on your wall or refrigerator. Post it at home and work. Put it on your computer desktop. You want to have big reminders about your goal, to keep your focus and keep your excitement going. A picture of your goal (like a model with sexy abs, for example) also helps.

Commit publicly.

None of us likes to look bad in front of others. We will go the extra mile to do something we’ve said publicly. For example, when I wanted to run my first marathon, I started writing a column about it in my local daily newspaper. The entire island of Guam (pop. 160K) knew about my goal. I couldn’t back down, and even though my motivation came and went, I stuck with it and completed it.

Now, you don’t have to commit to your goal in your daily newspaper, but you can do it with friends and family and co-workers, and you can do it on your blog if you have one. And hold yourself accountable — don’t just commit once, but commit to giving progress updates to everyone every week or so.

Think about it daily.

If you think about your goal every day, it is much more likely to become true. To this end, posting the goal on your wall or computer desktop (as mentioned above) helps a lot. Sending yourself daily reminders also helps. And if you can commit to doing one small thing to further your goal (even just 5 minutes) every single day, your goal will almost certainly come true.

Get support.

It’s hard to accomplish something alone. When I decided to run my marathon, I had the help of friends and family, and I had a great running community on Guam who encouraged me at 5K races and did long runs with me.

When I decided to quit smoking, I joined an online forum and that helped tremendously. And of course, my wife Eva helped every step of the way. I couldn’t have done these goals without her, or without the others who supported me. Find your support network, either in the real world or online, or both.

Realize that there’s an ebb and flow.

Motivation is not a constant thing that is always there for you. It comes and goes, and comes and goes again, like the tide. But realize that while it may go away, it doesn’t do so permanently. It will come back. Just stick it out and wait for that motivation to come back. In the meantime, read about your goal (see below), ask for help (see below), and do some of the other things listed here until your motivation comes back.

Stick with it.

Whatever you do, don’t give up. Even if you aren’t feeling any motivation today, or this week, don’t give up. Again, that motivation will come back. Think of your goal as a long journey, and your slump is just a little bump in the road. You can’t give up with every little bump. Stay with it for the long term, ride out the ebbs and surf on the flows, and you’ll get there.

Start small. Really small.

If you are having a hard time getting started, it may be because you’re thinking too big. If you want to exercise, for example, you may be thinking that you have to do these intense workouts 5 days a week. No — instead, do small, tiny, baby steps. Just do 2 minutes of exercise. I know, that sounds wimpy. But it works. Commit to 2 minutes of exercise for one week. You may want to do more, but just stick to 2 minutes. It’s so easy, you can’t fail. Do it at the same time, every day. Just some crunches, 2 pushups, and some jogging in place. Once you’ve done 2 minutes a day for a week, increase it to 5, and stick with that for a week. In a month, you’ll be doing 15-20.

Want to wake up early? Don’t think about waking at 5 a.m. Instead, think about waking 10 minutes earlier for a week. That’s all. Once you’ve done that, wake 10 minutes earlier than that. Baby steps.

Build on small successes.

Again, if you start small for a week, you’re going to be successful. You can’t fail if you start with something ridiculously easy. Who can’t exercise for 2 minutes? (If that’s you, I apologize.) And you’ll feel successful, and good about yourself. Take that successful feeling and build on it, with another baby step. Add 2-3 minutes to your exercise routine, for example. With each step (and each step should last about a week), you will feel even more successful. Make each step really, really small, and you won’t fail. After a couple of months, your tiny steps will add up to a lot of progress and a lot of success.

Read about it daily.

When I lose motivation, I just read a book or blog about my goal. It inspires me and reinvigorates me. For some reason, reading helps motivate and focus you on whatever you’re reading about. So read about your goal every day, if you can, especially when you’re not feeling motivated.

Call for help when your motivation ebbs.

Having trouble? Ask for help. Join an online forum. Get a partner to join you. Call your mom. It doesn’t matter who, just tell them your problems, and talking about it will help. Ask them for advice. Ask them to help you overcome your slump. It works.

Think about the benefits, not the difficulties.

One common problem is that we think about how hard something is. Exercise sounds so hard! Just thinking about it makes you tired. But instead of thinking about how hard something is, think about what you will get out of it. For example, instead of thinking about how tiring exercise can be, focus on how good you’ll feel when you’re done, and how you’ll be healthier and slimmer over the long run. The benefits of something will help energize you.

Squash negative thoughts.

Squash negative thoughts; replace them with positive ones. Along those lines, it’s important to start monitoring your thoughts. Recognize negative self-talk, which is really what’s causing your slump. Just spend a few days becoming aware of every negative thought. Then, after a few days, try squashing those negative thoughts like a bug, and then replacing them with a corresponding positive thought.

Squash, “This is too hard!” and replace it with, “I can do this! If that wimp Leo can do it, so can I!” It sounds corny, but it works. Really.

Newton’s Second Law

Newton’s second law–When a force acts on an object, the object accelerates in the direction of the force. This means that objects with more mass require more force to move the same distance as lighter objects.

Which of these two will be the easiest to move?

Which brings me to thinking about the “roadblocks” in my life, the obstacles, the “stuff” and the problems that I can’t seem to overcome. How much weight do I give them? How much mass have they achieved over the years? Just how “big” are they in relation to my wished for and dreamed of alternatives?

So, what does this mean in real life?

First of all, I think it explains why it’s so much easier to set small, easy, or fun tasks as goals and actually get them accomplished. For example, one of my granddaughters set a goal for this project that she would spend equal time with both of her dogs. She’s doing an excellent job of achieving that goal because it’s fun, it’s easy, and it’s something she enjoys doing.

It also explains why it’s so much easier to file my tax return the day it’s due, rather than filing early. The force of the IRS is way stronger than my resistance to filling out paperwork. So, it does get done.

I’m pretty sure that if my mother was coming for a visit, and going to stay with me, I’d have that faucet replaced … and the house cleaned… and the lawn mowed … and the car washed…. all done before she got here. Obviously, a visit from my mother carries more “weight” and has more “force” than my own sort of day dreamy idea of having a working faucet.

Obviously, it’s way easier to kick a soccer ball than it is to kick a brick wall.

And yet, how many times do we set ourselves up for failure by not taking into account the “brick wall” we are trying to move?

How many motivational memes, how much self recrimination, how many self help books will help this little guy succeed in kicking that brick wall all the way out into left field?

I’d say… none! Something more is needed.

So, what’s the brick wall that you’re running into? What is your wall made of, why is it so solid, how much mass does it have, how much weight have you given it, how much space does it take up… Figure these things out, and you might be well on your way to actually making some real progress.

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