The art of inspiration is a daily practice. It is something that is as essential to maintain as brushing your teeth or showering.
So why does that intense feeling of purpose take the backburner in our lives so often? I feel like when we start to lose inspiration, our lives lose their colour. The days just seem to drag on. Small things begin to feel overwhelming, and setbacks feel more like a life sentence rather than a minor hurdle.
Being inspired is like working a muscle. If you want bigger muscles, you have to flex them and work them everyday. Because one place inspiration tends not to come from is in front of the TV, or on the couch (in front of your TV). Instead, if you want to stay inspired, you need to take action and put in real work. It is not enough to just want to do something, or to wish for it.
As someone who stands in front of hundreds of people a week, it is critical that I keep myself motivated. Because the only way to be inspiring is to remain inspired.
Here are 6 tools I use DAILY to keep my mental clarity in check. These tools enforce habits that help me strive for more in my life, and keep me inspired!
1) Reading Empowering Books
Reading an actual book (as oppose to digital) that you can hold in your hands has become such a lost art for us in a lot of ways. It is so much easier to just grab your phone and scroll, or switch on Netflix. But I always feel the most inspired when I’m done reading a great book that I can physically hold, when I can fold the book jacket back, or scribble in notes.
If you are looking for some inspirational reads, my current top favourites are
“The Power of Now” Eckhart Tolle
“Awaken the Giant within” Anthony Robbins
Reading keeps your mind moving and your knowledge expanding, which in turn, keeps you inspired. And when you fill your mind with positive learning, you are able to tackle issues with more clarity. Do yourself a serious solid, and grab a real book.
2) Writing down goals/ pen to paper
Look, I’m not going to say that writing your goals is the end all to achieving them.
But truly, it is the beginning.
I often say to my riders “Picture a goal. A destination. Now ride towards that.” Because it is very hard to stay on a course if you don’t actually have a clear goal in mind. Life can feel so aimless without a concrete vision. And the very act of writing that vision down will motivate you to take action.
It is not enough to simply and vaguely want things to change. You must be willing to encounter the struggles, the resistance, and the obstacles that will UNDOUBTEDLY be hurled towards you on your path.
You must stay focused and rooted in purpose and clarity. Read your goals often. Celebrate the milestones and achievements that bring you closer to them. And once you’ve reached your goals, set new ones. You have never reached so high that you don’t have somewhere else to go. And that in itself is so inspiring to me.
I have a stack of post-its that I carry around everywhere with me. I’ll write down notes ALL DAY (sometimes my boyfriend writes jokes on them and leaves them around our place). And I stick them on my computer. My bedside table. If someone says something that inspires me, I write it down. Before classes, I write down my thoughts or reflect on something I’ve heard. Put your pen to paper and stay motivated towards your dreams.
3) Hang out with people who elevate you
I don’t know where I heard this or who said it. But it stuck with me.
“If you are the smartest person in your friend group, you need new friends.”
Hell to the yes.
Surround yourself with people who seriously ELEVATE you. You do not want to be the most inspiring person you know!
Tighten up your friend circle. Don’t waste your time texting with friends and complaining about everything all the time. Stop just talking about how you want to make a life change. Let’s say (for the sake of an example) you want to party less, and hit the gym more…and yet all your conversations with your friends are about drinking and where the next event is, and all your friends want to do is go out… chances are, you are going out. And probably skipping the gym the next morning.
Some of the best decisions I have made have consisted of zeroing in on my friend circle and surrounding myself with badass humans who make me feel stronger. I get amped by amazing people who make bold and courageous choices with their life, and make me want to try to do more! Even though I am a fitness coach, I myself have a coach (shoutout to the best trainer Jana Finkbiner!) so that I am constantly being pushed and challenged. That, in turn, inspires me to train others harder.
Simply put, you’ll live a happier life if you work out. Not only are you physically stronger, fitter, healthier, burning more calories, taking care of your heart, strengthening your muscles ext (that list goes onnn) but mentally, you are clearing up so much ROOM. It provides the space to sort through life’s challenges, and grants you the space to give you a clear perspective.
Winners reinforce the simple idea that if you work towards something, day after day, step after step (and in my class, pedal stroke after pedal stroke) eventually, you WILL be successful. The outcome WILL be positive. And what can be more inspiring than physically seeing yourself overcome challenges?!
I’ve seen riders who nearly fell off their bikes the first time they took my class, become insane front row riders. People who thought they would never be able to double (meaning two classes in a day) crush them regularly. Riders who can complete SoulChallenges (a 90 minute class) and come out smiling. Some people go and start amazing new challenging workouts, and within 6 months are pushing their bodies to the next level.
Your body and its strength are an endless source of potential, BOTH physically and mentally.
Continue to be inspired by your own strength.
5) Time Alone
Give yourself time, serious time, to do things that you need for you. I know you may fight me on this one and think “I just don’t have any time.” But you do, you can find it. Even if it’s 10 mins alone to just sit and meditate, or to take a quick walk before anyone else is awake.
Because it is nearly impossible to stay inspired if you don’t give yourself the time to figure out what it is that you need for YOU.
Taking time for yourself is not selfish. In fact, the more fulfilled that you feel emotionally, the more freely you are able to give to those around you.
6) Have a mentor
Along with having a superb and uplifting friend group, I think it is very important to have role models. I believe there is a reason people become successful. So study your mentors! Follow in their steps. Of course carve out your own path on this journey, but LEARN from people who have become successful before you.
Nothing gets me more inspired than taking other people’s classes, and watching them excel at something. Ask questions! How did they achieve what you want too? Learn from their mistakes. I have found that people often are very willing to share their journey (should you be in a position to personally speak to your mentors); otherwise, do your research on them!
Following in successful people’s footsteps provides amazing inspiration, and is constant fuel. Yes it can be achieved. And you can achieve it in your own unique way, and excel to all the heights you aspire to reach.
7) Step outside your comfort zone
If you do the same thing, day after day, nothing will ever change. Now I don’t mean you have to up and leave your job every week, move cities or travel the world for a year (unless you want to do those things!) in order to stay inspired. But I’m talking trying different things when you want a different result.
I believe that we get bored and uninspired because we get complacent. We fall into mundane patterns or habits and stop caring about growing. We have a job, great. Bills are paid, cool. And we can think “maybe this is it. This is all I get. I guess this is life.”
New inspiration can start the MOMENT you make a new choice. I have been asked before how I don’t get bored teaching on bikes that don’t actually go anywhere day after day. Now that’s one (totally boring) way of looking at it. But I know that my work is an ever changing and evolving creation when I’m coaching. It may be the same tool (a stationary bike) but where my mind goes, and my purpose, and the resistance knob is ALWAYS growing and changing.
When you encounter new resistance (whether it be in life, or the resistance we put onto our wheel) there is always the uphill struggle to move through more and NOT fall back into old patterns. Of quitting when it feels tough. Of thinking what’s the point in trying something new, when I may fail. Better to stick to what I already know.
The worst thing you can do for yourself is be comfortable all the time. Aspiring to be comfortable is aspiring to mediocracy. And there is NOTHING inspiring about that. When was the last time you cared so much about anything that you were willing to FAIL for it? To be rejected. To hear the word NO.
Now when you are THAT passionate enough about anything (your relationship, your PLAYLIST, ahem SoulCycle instructors, your career… whatever it may be) then there is just no way you won’t feel inspired.
The art of maintaining inspiration is a daily practice. It’s something that truly requires action. Your life should feel purposeful and goal driven. When the magic of your life starts to feel a little dim, put into effect these tips and MAKE real changes! I have had the honour of coaching a lot of you in the SoulCycle room, between NYC, LA and Vancouver. But I’m also very excited to be embarking on a fitness retreat in February, with the amazing Surf Yoga Beer, in Nicaragua! I am thrilled to be combining my passions for yoga, fitness, inspiration and FUN, and hope some of you can join me for the week! (click here for more info on the retreat from February 14th to 19th!)
And remember this. You NEVER know who you are inspiring just by being you.