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Ways to Find Happiness and Motivation in Quarantine. And Keeping it.

It’s Saturday, the weather is happiness temperature, I was waiting for the weekend since Tuesday, and yet I don’t want to get out of bed. I have every reason to feel good, but I feel neutral. I start scrolling my feed, and minutes turn into hours: meaningless grins and not a single benefit. Then the […]

It’s Saturday, the weather is happiness temperature, I was waiting for the weekend since Tuesday, and yet I don’t want to get out of bed. I have every reason to feel good, but I feel neutral. I start scrolling my feed, and minutes turn into hours: meaningless grins and not a single benefit. Then the guilt kicks in, of all this time wasted. One day I will regret wasting that Saturday, when it will be my last one.

Since social distancing became a thing, we all lost something. Some lost jobs or sources of income, some lost habits that bring them happiness, while some lost a sense of meaning and existence. Feeling lonely, unproductive, bored, agitated, or just exhausted.

Although good to remember things could be much worse, and that if you are reading this, you probably have a home, the struggle is still there. Locked up in this new way of living and feeling lost or distracted is a common thing. What comes naturally to all of us, is indulging the desire to be distracted, social media, movies, tv shows, games, internet, etc. And with feeding that desire, we slowly lose control over our lives and our happiness. Things are fine. But just fine. Not great, just fine. And fine is not fine. It’s a half-interested and half-engaged life. Everyone can do fine, but it takes a champion mindset to feel great, despite the circumstances and struggles.

If you had a choice to live an unbelievably joyful and fulfilled life, waking up motivated and grateful every single day, and a fine life where everything is ok, what would you choose and why? Would you chose fine because it’s easy or because you can’t see how things could be better? Or are you mistaking fine with “contentment”?

It’s Saturday again, only this time I’m up the moment I open my eyes. I don’t even touch the phone; I make my green gag-flavored juice that keeps me healthy, do the entire morning routine, and feel excited and curious at the same time of what the day brings. I produced something today, felt causeless joy, and created memories with friends that will last a long time.

Why are these Saturdays so different when I’m still the same person? And I happen to be not bipolar. It’s habits. Habits that either serve you or take from you. The activities, routines, content, people, food, everything you do daily and consistently.

Habits are critical to the quality of one’s life, as well as to getting stuff done. To build habits that will support your plans/goals/feelings, you need to develop them when you are in the right mindset. Trying building habits when you are down, behind schedule, and distracted, will have almost no effect, with probably feeling defeated after you fail.

My routines might not work for you; you need to find what makes sense for you. Although I would strongly recommend a routine that involves reading about these things, a set schedule for work (job or personal), some form of meditation, a healthy diet, cleaning your living space, a fun hobby, relationships with quality people, and exercise. Also, think of a happy time in your past when you felt isolated. What helped you get back on track? When you felt down or unproductive, what pulled you up?

Whatever it is, making that a routine can make a significant difference. We are all creatures of habits, and the things we do, the books we read, the content we let into our lives makes us who we are. Forming habits that will serve you is not only needed for a more productive day but critical for the outcomes we get in life. If you spend most of your days consuming news/social media content, engaging in activities that keep you distracted, stressing, and occasionally do something to “recharge,” that’s what your life will eventually reflect. Exhausted, distracted, anxious, and occasionally recharged.

I’ve always looked up to people that can organize their day and have consistent routines. Growing up, I never had much structure in my schedule as my mom was not strict about it at all. I turned out to be more free-spirited and spontaneous than I wanted. And while fun was never a challenge, routines and responsibilities outside of the “must” category (work) were nonexistent. With this mindest and when facing a challenge, my defense system was like a house of cards.

One day I thought about forming a habit around something I dislike and sticking to it. Thinking this mindset could be applied to all things I’m not excited doing, but still need to do. And it worked well for me.

Although being quite active, I had mixed feelings about running. It was a mix of horror, aversion, loathing, and struggle. So it made sense to pick that. First two weeks, I was cursing the existence of goals, other runners for liking running, Satan for inventing running, and myself for doing it. There were days when I didn’t want to get out of bed, but I tossed my leg out, and started dressing up. There were days when I wanted to cut the route short, but I didn’t. After two weeks only, my mindset changed completely, and soon running became my life. It also kept me sane when my mom passed away. I ran 13 miles every Sunday for three months straight.

Being consistent with running not only helped with habits and goals outside of work but made me realize everything I feel is my choice, and with a little struggle invested, I can accomplish anything I want. I wasn’t bad at being consistent. I chose not to be consistent. Everything we do is a choice, and everything we are not good at is also a choice. When the determination to change becomes strong enough, we then make a choice and make the change happen.

Doing nothing is letting unhealthy habits and your mind dictate the quality of your life — mind filled with unnecessary thoughts, anxiety, sadness, cravings, and needs for comfort.

What does your day look like? What activities are you engaging in? Do you often feel joy and content in your day? Are you pleased with how you spend your time? Are you happy with your relationships? These are all critical questions to ask yourself, and if the answers are not satisfying, go on a quest. Learn more about human behaviors, yourself, your suppressed trauma, motivation, and getting your life on track.

I went through a lot in my life, and I can only say anything is possible. Happiness is a choice, and joy is something we all have, but often, those are buried under a pile of junk thoughts and self-defeating habits. Joyful people are not those without problems, but those that made a significant effort to sense and generate joy and gratitude no matter what.

I encourage you to start taking action, and I hope you are already committed to making that next step and accepting the gift of life in full. It’s time to get to a place of power, make conscious choices that serve you, rather than following your impulses that come from ego. Otherwise, that dark Saturday can quickly become your day, month, year, life.

Tips to Help You Stay on Track

Eating Healthy: light non-processed foods, smoothies, green juice, raw vegetables, reduce fridge visits, don’t buy anything you shouldn’t be eating

Mindfulness: Breathing Exercises, Meditation, Gaia series, delete apps off your phone, unfollow people on social media, clean your house, declutter your apartment, create a “zen corner”

Exercise: Running, Biking, Outdoor/Indoor Workouts, Online Classes, Climbing Stairs, Rock climbing, Hiking

Growth: Reading, Masterclass, Accountability Partner, Online Courses

Fun: Create a comic book, paint, learn to play and instrument, throw costume parties on Zoom, surprise someone, make a collage from your happiest moments, write jokes, watch standup comedy, make a funny video, play online games, challenge your friends, write, teach a course of something you are good at, try new recipes, make a bubble bath

Routines: Make a schedule – STICK TO IT, turn off your phone, reward yourself, plan your week, break big goals into small ones, have less goals, print motivational stickers and decorate your apartment, start and finish your day with meditation, say no to distractions, limit conversations and social media, have a set work schedule and a “sacred lunch break” every day

Relationships: spend time with people you love that lift you up, say no a lot to those that don’t, stay in touch, answer the phone, be vulnerable with people close to you

Great Motivational Books

The Motivation Manifesto Brendon Burchard

Man’s Search for Meaning Viktor E. Frankl

Becoming Supernatural Joe Dispenza

Full Catastrophe Living Jon Kabat-Zinn

The Big Leap Gay Hendricks

The Seat of the Soul Gary Zukav

Falling into Grace Adyashanti

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