5 Ways to Find Inspiration Today
My husband teases me about watching weight loss shows. I say, “I can’t help it! It’s inspiring!” I know that these shows are unrealistic, highly staged and orchestrated, filled with product placement, and possibly even detrimental to society. They do tend to make overweight people look like they are sad and broken, and I’ve never really heard them promote anything like what I believe about being healthy at every size. Yet, I watch them because they inspire me to get moving and to take on challenges.
Reality TV guilty pleasures aside, a lot of things inspire me, and part of staying motivated is finding inspiration. What is a Career Girl to do when the inspiration well goes dry?
Here are my top five sources of inspiration to stay motivated, get back on track, and keep improving!
- Friends and Family. Every time I hear about someone in my family doing something great, it inspires me to be a better person. Plus, sometimes hearing what my family thinks about me makes me want to do better because they believe in me! For many people, wanting to be a great parent or spouse is also a big source of inspiration. Everyone has that one friend who is just incredible no matter what, has accomplished everything ever, and manages to have a sparkling personality and attitude even when times are tough. Look to them for inspiration!
- Heroes. A friend or family member could be your hero, but it can be helpful to look to people in your field or those who have accomplished what you’re attempting, and draw on their words and actions for inspiration. I don’t need to be a president to be inspired by Abraham Lincoln, or to be a surfer to be inspired by Bethany Hamilton. Even fictional characters like Rocky can be so powerful in someone’s mind as to be inspirational. I always feel pumped after watching Rocky! Check IMDB for a list of inspirational movies, or visit BiographyOnline to view their list of inspirational people.
- Words. Many people are moved by the thoughts and words of others. Good sources are audio excerpts from famous speeches, uplifting songs, biographies, stories, and quotations. If you’re looking for a mantra or quick inspirational pick me up from a hero or historical figure, check out Brainy Quote. The History Channel also has an extensive archive of clips from famous speeches.
- Art. I always feel refreshed and creative after going to a gallery or art museum. Whether you’re looking to reach a mental, physical, or professional goal, art can be very inspiring. Consider taking an afternoon to visit a local museum, gallery, or sculpture garden. Support your community theater by taking in a show and getting wrapped-up in the performance!
- The Future You. Visualization is a powerful tool, but studies show that thinking about you meeting your own goals and being the best possible you in the future has a profound effect on our mental and physical health:
In a study asking participants to write descriptions of the best possible version of their future selves for 20 minutes, four days in a row, researchers found that when compared with other writing prompts, this exercise was associated with positive mood and enhanced well-being three weeks later, and a decreased rate of illness five months later. In a variant on this exercise by Sheldon and Lyubomirsky, people who visualized and wrote about their best possible selves over four weeks also showed higher levels of motivation and interest than those who were simply asked to write about life details. [A-4, A-13, Happify]
No matter what you’re hoping to accomplish, or why you are looking for inspiration, there are ways to be moved. Sometimes a grandiose scene, a look back at your family history, or remembering an obstacle you overcame can be very moving, too.
What inspires you?