♪ Note: this article is also available as a podcast episode. (Scroll down to find the podcast or click here for this week’s episode.)
This week, as we are knee-deep into Virgo season, I would like to talk about the next step:
How do we keep our fire burning?
Why is consistency so hard (for some of us)?
We’ve been talking about passion-based living, and following your fire, and for some of us, this is the only way we want to live. (Creatives, I’m looking at you!)
While this ensures a life of inspiration, joy, and whole-hearted dedication, there are some potential downsides.
- Burnout. If everything you do is driven by fire, you might get into a cycle of working much harder than is healthy for you, and then burning out.
- Feeling uninspired, bored or unmotivated. On the other hand, when the initial excitement fades, you might get bored, and struggle to motivate yourself to do the routine tasks that you need to do to succeed in the long run.
To be completely honest: it took me much longer than I expected to write this article, because I wasn’t following my own advice. I tried to write this Leo-style: full of fire and in one sitting. (Unsurprising, considering that both me and my business were ‘born’ under a Leo sun.)
Instead, it needed a thermostat approach. I just needed to take my own medicine. I sat down, did the fire moon meditation (linked down below) and reconnected to my steady flame. And then I wrote – slowly but steadily – until I could bring my medicine to you.
Which brings us to…
Passion and the Thermostat Theory
It can be challenging to stay consistent when the end goal is far away. Often, we forget that every step towards your big goal is an achievement in and of itself, and we get bored. We stop showing up. And then we don’t achieve our goals.
How often do you think about your thermostat and what it does for you? If you’re anything like me, the answer is probably “never”. Even though it seems quite stable, it takes constant adjusting to keep your space at the same temperature (and maybe lower at night or when you’re away). We never quite think about this, until it malfunctions, and it gets really cold or really hot.
In the same way, we don’t really think about passion and inspiration, until we get overheated (burnt out), or when we get too cold (uninspired), but it takes a consistent effort to keep our flame on at a healthy level.
For those of us who are driven by inspiration, it is very difficult to follow the traditional advice:
- Just make a planning
- Schedule it in
- Make sure you do your chores
It just doesn’t feel good.
So… what do we do?
The Thermostat Method
The key point of the entire article is this:
We need to find a way to make the small steps feel inspiring too.
- Connect to your dreams (on a daily basis)
- Make it feel good first
- Acknowledge the significance of your habits
- Celebrate small wins (and effort!)
- Let yourself be guided by the moment
1. Connect to your dreams (on a daily basis)
As often as you need to, take some time to check in with your fire. For this, I like creating a ‘living mood board’. Especially for those of us with ‘fast brains’, a normal mood board doesn’t always work. If we’ve seen it too many times, our brains stop registering it as ‘new’, and it loses its impact.
Instead, find something you can change whenever you need to. Create a digital photo album, a Pinterest board, a WeHeartIt selection, a list of things that inspire you. Make it come alive. When it loses its juice, let it go, and create something new.
2. Make it feel good first
Give yourself a little bit of time to get excited about the day ahead. Some ideas:
- Write down 2-4 things that you can do to make today awesome
- Use your “inspiration station” (e.g. your living mood board)
- Journal about previous joys and successes
- Get on your yoga mat to connect to yourself first
- Create a morning routine to look forward to
- Dress like the person you want to be
- Pitch your idea / work to a friend (this often reminds me of how much I love my work)
- Make your work space nice and comfortable
- Try this meditation:
3. Acknowledge the significance of your habits
As we talked about before, it can be difficult to see the impact of your small habits in the short term. To stay motivated, it is important to remember the significance of these actions.
Every small thing you do, has an immediate impact:
It keeps your fire on.
You are adjusting your thermostat, adding a new log to your fire, and making sure you keep going. As we all know, you shouldn’t dump a stack of wood on a small flame, nor should you walk away and stop feeding the fire once it’s on.
Our dreams require constant tending to. It is your job to keep your fire alive, and every small habit is doing just that. Your daily efforts are so important, even if you don’t see it yet.
4. Celebrate small wins (and effort!)
Even if you acknowledge how important your habits are, you might still struggle with the delayed gratification of a big goal.
Remember to celebrate the small wins. All of them.
- Sent the email
- Made the phone call
- Wrote the article
- Started writing the article
- Made it to my desk
- Reconnected to my inspiration
All of these things are important, and you are awesome for doing them!
I like to let my level of celebration be guided by the effort it took me, not by the general ‘difficulty’ of the task.
I built a website in a day and I had a great time. Cool. That’s a celebration in and of itself. I made a phone call that I’d been dreading for weeks. Let’s celebrate!
Find what works for you.
5. Let yourself be guided by the moment
Last but not least:
We are beautifully inconsistent creatures. Don’t feel like you need to show up in the same way every day.
Some days, showing up will be creating, or connecting the dots. Other days, it will be marketing, or communicating. Maybe today you just need to take some time to reconnect to the things that make you happy.
Allow yourself to be guided by your own rhythms. It will help you be more consistent in the long run, and more productive in the moment.
Whatever you do, just keep feeding the fire.