Every single one of us has gotten to a point in our lives where we feel stuck – we’ve lost our mojo, life is somewhat colorless and bland, and things just don’t make a whole lot of sense to us anymore.
“What is this mojo he speaks of?” It might mean different things to different people, but in so many words, mojo is energy, passion, vitality, spirit, zest, verve, power, or drive. It’s charm and grace and magic. It’s that certain something which is so hard to quantify, but which always separates the muggles from the wizards, the artists from the color-by-numbers crowd, and the doers from the talkers.
And when we lose our mojo, the flavor seems to go out of our lives. We might get to feeling a bit lost, and most likely unfulfilled, as if we’re just treading water, waiting for the next new thing to pull our attention away from our own lives (a big reason that reality TV is so popular right now, as well as unhealthy eating and drinking habits, is the ease with which we can distance ourselves from our own reality show – our life – with them).
We simply go through the motions – phone it in, so to speak – and the projects and plans and activities and people and things which once brought us joy feeling more like burdens to us.
Speaking from personal experience, many times this feeling is related to the fact that our inner and outer lives are probably not aligned. We’ve made many compromises in our lives, and sometimes those compromises take us in unexpected directions, and then when we next pop our heads up and look around, we’re confused as to how and why we got here.
We’re creative minds stuck pushing paper, we’re philosophers pulling shots at the local coffee shop, we’re musicians employed in a widget factory, and we’re adventurers with nothing but a cubicle to explore. We’re also about ready to scream from the tension of living two different lives.
The bad news is that it is real – our angst, our depression, our world-weariness and frustration with our own life. It’s all real and valid and relevant, and it’s just as important – actually more important – than when we have feelings of happiness and joy, because these ‘negative’ types of feelings are signposts and wake-up calls for us to make a change in our life.
And the good news is that we don’t have to stay in this existential slough of despond. We also don’t have to wait for anyone else to kick us in the ass, either (which is a good thing, as most of us don’t respond well to anyone else kicking our ass), because with a little (OK, quite a bit of) effort, we can make big changes in our lives and bring back our mojo – even reinvent ourselves completely, if that’s our desire.
6 Ways to Get Your Mojo Back and Jumpstart Your Life
- Dream a little dream: In order to get any place different from where you are now, you need to at least have an idea where you’re going, and you need to have some sort of roadmap to get there. Otherwise, you might just be spinning your wheels. So spend some quality time thinking about the changes you want to make in your life, and put them down on paper somewhere (you don’t need to show anyone, you just need to have them clearly stated for yourself). Once you’ve gotten some insight into what those changes will be, and you’ve committed to changing, you’ll need to do a little magic with them. The magic is nothing more complicated than repeating those changes and goals mentally, throughout the day (especially when you notice yourself thinking negative thoughts), in a form which is declarative and in the now, not “I will do XYZ in the future”, but something along the lines of “I am doing XYZ, and I’m happy and healthy”. Some people may call it positive thinking, some may call it prayer, some call it setting your intentions, and some call them affirmations, but whatever you call it, it’s as important to this process as any other single thing you can do, so don’t skip this piece. We need to change our own mental patterns in order to make changes, and when we are stuck in a cycle, it’s hard to get out of it without mentally correcting ourselves, so we can use these statements to gently remind ourselves of how we want to be, not how we are.
- Move it or lose it: The human body is an amazing thing. It responds to changes in our diet and activity levels without any further instructions from us, and it adapts to best fit our lives at any given time. If we sit all the time, we get soft. If we move regularly, we get fit. If we do one particular type of motion all the time, our body learns to do it quickly and efficiently. Many of us are really skilled at clicking a mouse, or typing on a keyboard, or thumb-typing a text message, which may have their particular uses at times, but which are pretty much useless for our physical health. Can you lift your own body up with your arms, as in a pullup? How about pushing your bodyweight off the ground with your arms, as in a pushup? Can you bend forward and touch your toes? These skills aren’t anything special in and of themselves, but they speak to what our bodies ought to be capable of, and if we aren’t spending any time right now getting our body fit and healthy, we might be spending a lot more time and money in the long run, dealing with the side-effects of neglecting our health. And the health of our mind and spirit are pretty closely linked with that of the body, so one sure way to jumpstart your life is to get moving – to the gym, to the park, to the pullup bar in your basement – and stay moving.
- You are what you eat: There is no denying a direct relationship between diet and the health of our body and mind – yes, there are those who would like it NOT to be that way, but in the end, we are meat. We are animal bodies. And those bodies are built out of what we put into it. If we look in the mirror and don’t like what we see, then we need to take responsibility for the food we eat and the effects it has on us, and make the appropriate changes. For some, giving up simple sugars and sodas will be the place to start, for others, it might mean increasing fruits and vegetables, and for some, it may mean skipping wheat products. The general rule ought to be – if our diet keeps from feeling good and healthy, then it’s time for a change.
- Hit the books: Just because you’re finished with school is no reason to play dumb. In order to make changes in your life, you’ll need to educate yourself. And you don’t necessarily have to find a school or a teacher. Chances are, if you really want to learn something, you can probably find plenty of free resources for you online or at your local library. Don’t like to read? YouTube is packed with instructional videos (but you really ought to get over your dislike of reading – just sayin’). And there is no valid excuse for not advancing your own education in topics you care about – we all have 24 hours each day, and as long as we’re willing to give up an hour of sleep, or an hour of TV, each day, we can find the time to learn. Go back to your ‘dream’ list and figure out what you need to learn in order to make each of those changes, and dedicate the time each day to doing so.
- Just do it: The scariest step of most challenges is usually the first one, and many of us spend so much time screwing around, trying to find the exact right outfit or equipment or tool or plan in order to get started, that we never do. Or if we do get started, we’re quick to blame any failures or mistakes on anything but our own selves (“If I only had the right pen, and the right notebook, I could write a bestseller…”). So a tactic that works well in making an end run around our own lizard brain is to just go. Just start. Just do it. Even if it’s not exactly right, even if it seems amateurish to use what you have and start where you are, that’s the best way to begin – at the beginning, with beginner’s mind and beginner’s skills. Just begin.
- Recruit your posse: Who’s got your back? Who can you go to that will both keep you accountable to your commitments, and also be a cheerleader for all the little victories along the way? You need to gather your people together and build a tribe willing to support you through the thick and thin of your life changes. Lay out the changes you want to make, in black and white, and ask for support. You can do this either publicly, a la Facebook or your blog, or privately, via Skype or phone calls or in person. Having a posse that will pump you up when you need it, and maybe even knock you down when you need it, is a powerful thing, and one which can make all the difference in your life.
Bonus: Supersize it: OK, so now you’ve thought about what changes you’d like to make, and maybe even begun some of them, but let’s go back and revisit that list. Take a good hard look at what you want to do, but take a critical eye to it, imagining what would happen if all of a sudden you started thinking bigger. You may have started with giving up junk food, but maybe you really ought to try eating gluten free (for example), or you started with wanting to make more money at your job, but you really want to start your own business. There’s no better time than the present, and no better goals than lofty ones, so dream bigger. Supersize your dreams.
What other ways have you found to help get your mojo back? Please tell us in the comments!