How to… Rediscover Enthusiasm, Step 2

Last week, we began to Rediscover Enthusiasm (Review and Revise) with Step 1, and now we’re on to Step 2, Do What Works. Hopefully, you were able to do an honest assessment of your current goals as well as to make any necessary adjustments. Chances are, just completing Step 1 brought back at least some enthusiasm. But if you’re in need of a little more spark to get the fire of enthusiasm going and growing, keep reading.

Step Two: Do What Works

As I thought back through successes I’ve had with achieving goals, I realized there were some tried and true methods that kept me enthused and helped keep me moving forward. I figure that if they worked before, they can work again, and they can work for others too. To that end, the following are 5 tried and true methods for rediscovering enthusiasm.

  1. Go through the motions. Sometimes, often actually, getting started is the most difficult part. But if you can force yourself to just start, you’ll most likely get into what you’re doing very quickly. By the end, you’ll be glad you decided to do it, and the next time starting won’t be quite as difficult. Each time you force yourself to go through the motions, you may find that you are having to force yourself less and less.
  2. Try something new. You’ve probably heard the definition of insanity as “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” This certainly holds true when your enthusiasm has decided to stick its head in the sand. So, maybe it’s time to try something new. But what? Read a book or watch a movie that is different than what you usually choose. Try a new recipe or restaurant. Go to a store you’ve never been in. Hang out with someone you don’t usually spend time with. Find some new way to mix up your routine. Trying something new usually refreshes the spirit and often leads to a perspective change.
  3. Surround yourself with enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is contagious. Find an enthusiastic person and hang out with him/her. We all know people who seem to always be excited. Even on bad days, they seem to tackle life with enthusiasm. These are the people to get around. Another way is to watch a movie that always inspires and encourages you. My husband’s favorite movie is Facing the Giants. He likes to watch it the night before a race (half marathon, 15k or marathon), and he’s known for quoting it during his running group’s Saturday morning training runs. Not only does the movie inspire him, but his yelling “Don’t quit! Don’t quit! Don’t quit!” when others are finishing a long run in freezing temperatures (we live in Michigan) passes enthusiasm on. Look for and remember the sources of enthusiasm in your life and get around them when you need a boost.
  4. Minimize the negative input. Just like we all know enthusiastic people who get us excited about life, we also all know people who gravitate toward the negative. While I’m not saying that we completely dessert the negative influences in our life (although, sometimes we should), I am saying that when an individual struggles with enthusiasm and possibly with figuring out how to Beat the Blahs, minimizing negative input is probably wise. A person cannot be strong and positive for others when his enthusiasm is weak. Get strong again, so you can be enthusiastic for others.
  5. Laugh. Nothing erases negative feelings and helps you refocus like a good laugh. Even a little chuckle can make a big difference. Get around people who make you laugh. Read funny stories or comics. Watch a funny movie or television show. Learn to Laugh Often and work to Develop Your Sense of Humor if it seems to have died off. Laughter seems to bring a new perspective almost immediately.

Enthusiasm is an essential element of motivation and is often driven by our goals as well as by our perspective. When enthusiasm wanes, as it is prone to do, our choices lie with simply pushing forward in the mud of “should” and “need to” and rediscovering enthusiasm. While we won’t always feel enthusiasm and will sometimes have to just keep moving forward no matter how flat we feel, we don’t have to let enthusiasm stay deflated. We can Review and Revise our current state and then use go to habits that reliably help us rediscover enthusiasm.

DISCUSSION: What tried and true methods do you have for rediscovering your enthusiasm? Please share them, so we can learn from each other.

4 thoughts on “How to… Rediscover Enthusiasm, Step 2

  1. All of these are great. I particularly think that surrounding ourselves with enthusiastic people is a great benefit. Even if that has to be done by means such as reading, watching video, or listening to podcasts. The environment that we surround ourselves with matters.

  2. Interesting post, Kari. I read about the positive effects of laughter somewhere recently (at least, recently enough to remember that I read it). One practice is to laugh on purpose. You don't need a joke, a humorous situation, or even a humorous disposition to do this. You just start ha-ha-ha-ing. The simple practice of laughing elevates your mood. When I laughed on purpose (best done in the privacy of a car or home), I sounded nuts to my wife (which is not unusual) but found I improved my spirits immediately (which was fine with Ellen–she likes a happier me).

    • You brought to mind something I've done with my youngest son, and I don't know why I didn't think to include it somewhere in this series. Every once in a while, I'll ask him to laugh. He can produce a fake laugh that sounds as authentic as his real laugh, and his real laugh is quite infectous much like his smile. His laugh, fake or real, always cheers me up as well as brightens any room. I'm not sure if I can get myself to do this… but I might give it a shot.

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