Languishing? Feeling stuck? Here’s how to get and stay motivated so you can achieve your goals this year!

Let’s face it: it’s hard to stay motivated when the world is in chaos. First a global pandemic, then a war between Russia and Ukraine, and perpetually the ongoing impacts of climate change. How do you even stay sane, let alone motivated?

It’s a question too many of us are asking.

Well, with the world still spinning, answering this question is vital. There’s a great big world out there and it’s calling your name, yearning for your unique contributions. And that means pushing yourself to get up and get out.

So, to help you get motivated and achieve your goals in 2022, we’ve sourced a renowned doctor for answers.

Dr Narjes Gorjizadeh portrait. Image supplied.

Dr Narjes Gorjizadeh portrait. Image supplied.

Meet Dr Narjes Gorjizadeh, a PhD research scientist, certified meditation and mindfulness teacher, life coach, public speaker, and author of Grow Your Mind, Grow Your Life. If there’s anyone who’s bound to motivate you, it’s Dr Narjes. And according to her, the first step is clarifying your destination.

What do you want to achieve in 2022?

“The pandemic has made us slow down in many ways on the external aspects of our lives while at the same time made us busier in our minds with all the worry, anxiety and uncertainty,” says Dr Narjes. “Now it’s time to reverse this: to get calm and clear in our minds, and to get active and productive in our external world.

“Take some time to clearly envision the result you want to achieve. The key is to see your goal so clearly that it feels as if you are already there and you can feel the joy of achieving it.

“When you have this clarity in the mind and you feel how it feels to have your goal accomplished, you will feel excited. And excitement is energy. You will be more energised to make it happen. And you start to think of the steps that can take you there.

“You will be more motivated to get out of your comfort zone and start to create that desired outcome.”

The next step is a little harder, but totally necessary. You must remain focused on your goal. It’s a difficult task considering our modern world is filled with distractions. Smartphones, 24-hour news cycles, and a growing population. So nip it in the bud before starting your day.

“Every morning when you wake up, remind yourself of your goal and make the intention to do something today to move toward your goal,” says Dr Narjes.

“In my book Grow Your Mind, Grow Your Life, there is a simple yet powerful technique called ‘Design Your Best Future’ that helps you focus your mind on your desired future and motivates you to start creating it one step at a time. You can use this technique to support you to stay focused and motivated.”

How do you eat an elephant? No, really… how do you eat an elephant? The answer is one bite at a time. The idea of rebuilding your motivation and getting stuff done can look daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Eating an elephant, for instance, could take a few weeks to get through. But it can be done, and all it takes is one bite at a time.

It’s also what Dr Narjes recommends:

“It is important to start small, take small steps, and be persistent,” she says. “Walk slowly and surely. This helps you build momentum and move forward toward your goal with less effort and more efficiency, and without getting overwhelmed or burned out.”

Keeping it simple and small also makes it easier for us to digest our goals. Even if your goal is as simple as “write 100 words today”, it’s still something. And it could spur you towards greater goals. Soon you’ll want to write 1000 words, and even push yourself towards 10,000 words a day. It can be done with any practical goal!

“Another important thing is to make your environment positive and supportive, whether it is your inner environment (your mind) or your outer environment,” Dr Narjes continues. “This means to watch your mind and make sure you feed your mind with positive thoughts, with thoughts of inspiration and possibility.

“You can read inspiring books or blogs or watch inspiring videos that inspire you to focus on your best capabilities and excite you to create your desired future.

“Also, choose to spend more time with those who feed your passion, have a positive attitude and support you to move forward.”

Of course, focusing on our passions and future goals for too long can be detrimental. It can overwhelm us. It can lead us to indecisiveness, inaction, or even giving up on the goal altogether. So, while you keep it simple, it’s just as important to keep it real, according to Dr Narjes.

“Having focus on a future outcome is to bring the quality of clarity to our mind so that we know where we want to get to, and also to avoid distraction so that we move forward toward our goal.”

“Once you have this clarity and you remind yourself of your destination every day, another key ingredient is the ability to pay attention. To focus on your present moment. If you don’t let go of the future to focus on the now, you will become tense and impatient. You will lose your happiness and inner peace in the process of creating the success you desire.

“It’s important to remind ourselves that happiness is not found in the future and it does not depend on achieving our goals. Happiness is an art and a skill that we must learn to create for ourselves in the present moment while we are working to achieve our goals.

“Otherwise, if we lose our happiness or postpone it to achieve success, then success without happiness is a failure.”

A mindful person living in the moment. Photographed by Pablo Merchán Montes. Image via Unsplash

A mindful person living in the moment. Photographed by Pablo Merchán Montes. Image via Unsplash

Regaining your motivation will take time. It can also be a struggle. And with all the other catastrophes going on around the world, it is important to look after our minds and reduce stress.

“One of the most effective ways to lower stress is meditation and mindfulness,” Dr Narjes says. “Meditation and mindfulness are ancient techniques that work efficiently in slowing down the mind, relaxing our nervous system and deactivating the part of our brain that is responsible for stress.”

You can learn meditation from any decent teacher, or even on YouTube. And there’s no one right way to meditate. No, you don’t have to pinch your fingers, sit cross-legged, and hum. You could simply just go for a walk.

Dr Narjes’ book Grow Your Mind, Grow Your Life shares seven simple strategies to delete stress and increase happiness. They are easy, quick, and science-based tools inspired by techniques and wisdom of meditation and mindfulness and adapted for our modern world.

One of these strategies that you can use is the technique of Mindful Distraction™.

“In Mindful Distraction, we use the distractions of our modern world in a positive way to train our minds to learn to remain in the present moment and be focused,” says Dr Narjes.

“The technique is so simple, yet effective. Whenever you hear a notification sound from your digital devices (smart phone, tablet, computer, etc.), use the distraction to remind you to become mindful for a moment. Pause for a moment and take a mindful breath. For one inhale and one exhale, focus on your breath with full attention, as if the whole world disappears in that moment and only you and your breath exist. Maintain this focus for one breath and then go back to your activity.

“This simple practice trains your attention muscles and wires your brain to be focused. It helps you release stress and increase your productivity.”

It’s practically impossible to come out of a pandemic with full certainty. You are definitely not alone! We are all uncertain. Uncertain about living with COVID-19. Uncertain about the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Uncertain about natural disasters, the rising cost of living and, not to forget, employment. We’re bursting with uncertainty!

But, despite all this uncertainty, there are always things that you can control. And the most important thing you can control is your mind.

“It is important to know that we can always have control on the content of our minds and our choices,” Dr Narjes says. “It needs practice, but it is the surest way to remain calm and in control when we face uncertainty in the external situations in life.

“Once we train our mind and we know that we can have control on our inner world, we are certain that we can handle the situation when the outside world is uncertain. Even though it needs practice, the positive effect that it will have on our life experiences and our wellbeing is so significant that it’s certainly worth it. Because, whether it is this pandemic or not, uncertainty is part of life.

“It is better to develop this skill to navigate through such times with ease and inner peace so that we can enjoy life no matter what.”

<strong>Grow Your Mind, Grow Your Life</strong> by Dr Narjes Gorjizadeh
Image via Booktopia.

Grow Your Mind, Grow Your Life by Dr Narjes Gorjizadeh

Having explored both modern science and ancient wisdom for the past three decades, Dr. Narjes used this knowledge to find the easy way out during her own turbulent times. In doing so, she learned a life changing truth: our mind is the root of our life experiences. By integrating modern science and ancient wisdom, she developed her brilliant ‘hybrid’ approach to effectively alleviate stress and anxiety, and improve our productivity, happiness and inner peace. Whether it is the stress of navigating our way through the routine stresses and overstimulation of modern daily life or unexpected crises and challenges, we can cope better if we know how to manage our mind.

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Feature image: Photographed by Tegan Mierle. Image via Unsplash.
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