8 March 2017

Why We Lose Our Mojo & How To Get It Back

How to get your mojo back
I am the first one to raise my hand and "plead guilty". Blogging hasn't been my top priority for the last couple of weeks (and, let's be honest, it's inexcusable). I couldn't even give you one solid reason why it happened. It simply did. I lost my blogging mojo. 99% of bloggers would nod along because they've been there. Though, even if you are not a blogger, but a visionary individual whose creative juices just don't seem to flow as usual, this post might be exactly what you've been looking for. It could also come in handy if you are a busy bee, a business owner or a jack of all trades who seems to be feeling "stuck". If you seem to have lost that zeal and passion for things you love, can't find time for anything or struggle to produce the minimum work, it's time to do something about it. The great thing about losing mojo is that it doesn't happen that often (not in my case - thankfully!) and the fact that it DOES come back. I love blogging too much to let my off days take over. So why do we lose our mojo (blogging and non-blogging) and how to get it back?
Weekly goals and challenges, the Dear Diary Planner
I posted earlier today on my Instagram saying that it was time to address the elephant in the room with this post. Because I don't want to come up with excuses why I left you with no blog posts for a couple of weeks or why I've been less active on social media, specifically on Twitter and FB. If you are a blogger friend, you have probably noticed I haven't been leaving you any comments on your posts as well (so bad, and it's about to change). Yes, life gets busy and other commitments sometimes DO take over. Although, this is (almost) not the case here. I lost my blogging mojo.

There, I said it. It's out.
Mojo definition
There are so many reasons and triggers as to why it happens to us. In my case, I started stressing way too much about how I want to re-design my whole website, boost up my social media presence/following and produce content regularly without failing. I literally put too much pressure on myself and... cracked. Yes, a re-design is coming (and it will be phenomenal!) but it can wait. I don't want it to stop me from creating. People will follow and unfollow. It's perfectly fine. It's better to build your audience aka your tribe and REAL engagement. I don't want to stress over those who didn't bother to stick around. It's also important to let go of comparing my journey to someone else's.

If you are a blogger, I know you've been there.

Or, all this might not sound like anything you can relate to, but hear me out. First of all, this is not "normal" for me to "admit" a personal weakness (even though, technically, this is NOT a weakness because we ALL have those days when we feel crappy about ourselves and/or our work). Secondly, because I am writing this post and sharing these thoughts and tips, it's safe to say that Stella got her groove back (not the best pun but I had to use this late 90s movie ref).

I acknowledged the reasons and I came out with solutions.

And I got my blogging mojo back. *celebratory dance*

It made me want to share my thoughts on why we all can have those moments in life when mojo is gone AWOL. On top of that, thankfully, there are things you can do to get it back. I will pause for a minute while you put the kettle on, make a cuppa, sit down and read on.
My goal is to do something beyond my reach
There are absolutely no limitations as to what circumstances can bring us right down and take that "spark" away. Here are the most common ones we all might suffer from at some stage. It's important to know the reasons and the triggers before looking for solutions.

1. Life happens.
This is probably the most vague and vast cause, and it's very personal. Each one of us has unique situations we deal with daily. Yes, we all have problems and circumstances that might seem common at a first glance. But they are very individual. Your struggles might be classified by the society into "real", "somewhat difficult" and "first world problems" but it doesn't mean you're not affected by them.

2. Lack of time.
We all get busy. University, job, family, kids, social life and other important commitments take time and, to be fair, they NEED to have that time dedicated to them. However, constant rush and the rut can easily get you down if you continually lack time for your hobbies, your passion or, in my case, blogging.

3. No plan.
This is a sister of point no.2. Planning goes hand in hand with MAKING time for things that bring you joy. Sometimes when we feel stuck. It can be due to the fact that we don't have a plan or no structure as to where we are going, how we're going to get there and what it is we are after. No plan = no gain (excuse the pun).

4. Procrastination.
Ok, I have a question. Have you ever met someone who never procrastinated? I don't think you have. I don't think such "superhumans" exist. Accidentally or deliberately, we all procrastinate from time to time. Putting stuff off. Migrating tasks to the next day/week/month/year. Suddenly, once you're used to the "routine" of putting it off, something that needs to be done travels all the way to the very end of your to-do list.

5. Too much clutter.
Ever heard the quote "Tidy house, tidy mind"? It can be altered to fit our individual needs. Tidy kitchen, tidy mind. Tidy desk, tiny mind. Tidy wardrobe, tidy mind. It's actually quite scary how much physical clutter can influence our life. It distracts, it makes us anxious (often subconsciously) and it gets us into a slump.
How to get your mojo back
6. Perfectionism.
This one is very individual and some people have no issue with it. Personally, I do. I think that's what got me into my non-blogging funk in the first place. I wanted a better this, a greater that. I would spend DAYS working on each post. Even when it comes to this post you're reading now - it would have taken me at least 5 hours to put it together. And it's OK. I don't mind producing my best. However, I am working on the whole "it's gotta be 100% perfect" thing because sometimes your best work can get scrapped if you constantly label it as "not good enough". What a thief of joy, right?

7. Too much time on social media.
I could honestly write multiple articles on social media alone, and how dangerous it is. In this case, I don't mean physical danger of oversharing on the Internet (everyone needs to be careful about that, especially youngsters). I even don't mean wasting hours being nosey and scrolling up and down your feed (thankfully, I am very much over it). What I am trying to emphasize here is the danger of subconscious browsing, reading, liking, commenting and becoming addicted to it. Sadly, many evaluate their own "worth" based on the number of likes they get. Others want to be liked so badly so they spend hours "liking" everything they see for that imaginary "pat on the back" and "you're really my friend" reassurance. Myself, I don't really use my personal social media platforms for various reasons and I am quite good at taking mini breaks here and there from my blog ones. It's healthy to take time off, believe me. Just count how many hours a week you spend scrolling up your feed. Exactly. Time to re-think how we spend our time.

8. Comparison.
I talked about this "thief of joy" in my How To Overcome FOMO in 7 Easy Steps post. Comparison is intertwined with social media. Especially if you are a blogger who wants to grow their "brand", and sometimes it doesn't happen as fast as you might want. You start comparing yourself to others who are ahead. You start doubting your own abilities. You get down. You can clearly see the pattern of falling into the trap, feeling unhappy and, as a result, losing your mojo. Even if your life has nothing to do with blogging, take your personal Facebook page as an example. What do you see on your feed? Apart from lovely updates, you constantly see people "bragging" about this or that. Some try to "outbetter" each other. It's likely most of them are NOT doing it intentionally. Maybe they are just "sharing". But also, perhaps, some of those posts make you feel awkward and uncomfortable. Read no.7 again.

9. Feeling overwhelmed. 
Sometimes I ask myself if I am actually in the right place, doing the right thing, living the life I am "supposed" to live. Thankfully, in my case, I know that everything IS 100% right because I believe God has a plan for me. And I follow it. But what if you are currently at the stage where you don't know whether you're making a good decision. Another stress / slump trigger comes right from points 7 and 8. You might feel overwhelmed because the society (secretly or openly) expects you to be someone you're not or to be at a certain stage in your life while you're miles and years away from it.

10. You forgot your why's.
This is probably one of my "favourite" reasons that can trigger our mojo running for the hills. In the blogging world, forgetting why you started can lead to becoming a "sell-out" blogger. Or a blogger who doesn't believe in their own content any more. Or a blogger who feels pressured to create only certain type of content that "will do well". That's why I have been seeing so many fellow influencers taking it back to the basics.
Explore, dream, discover QUOTE, How to get your mojo back
Now, it's time for the happy stuff. Overcoming those 10 huge triggers isn't easy but it's possible. You have to be strong and stand up ready for a "fight" to get your mojo back. Here's how to do it:

1. Make a plan.
When it comes to planning, the easiest part is to write it all down while the hardest is, obviously, to do it all. However, sometimes that "easy" part can become a burden we would avoid like fire. Making a plan means you are going to be doing something, and when you're at your lowest it might sound like too much. Pull out that pretty organizer or a planner (I love my Dear Diary one) or open a new Word document or Excel sheet. Start planning by setting small goals and mini projections. When it comes to blogging, think where you want to be in 30 days/6 month/1 year. Create your to-do's aka mini goals that will help you get there. You might find my How To Stick To Your Goals In 2017 post handy.

2. Declutter.
Along with your blogging (or non-blogging) plans, outline what needs to be done around your home to create the atmosphere of harmony, comfort and peace. If you constantly spend your time looking for misplaced items, digging through piles of clothes or having to clean non-stop without much result, it's time to get organised. There are so many helpful people out there who do it professionally. You don't have to invest money or go out to start your decluttering journey. Just look up videos on YouTube. I've been LOVING watching videos that give tips on the KonMari method as well as simple yet effective tips on how to clean and get organised by Melissa from Clean My Space, Alejandra from Home Organizing by Alejandra TV, Clutterbug and many others.

3. Stay focused.
Procrastination is a virus that "gets" the best of us. It usually starts with a little distraction here and a tiny distraction there. But here's the harsh truth: if you're not focused, you won't get anything done. We all know the situations when you see the photo of your friend from her recent holiday. Then you go into the album. Then you see the person who's been tagged in one of the group photos. Suddenly (an hour later, most likely), you find yourself flicking through the posts from 2009 by the person you've never even met before. Social media is designed to distract. If your distractions are offline, remove those too. There is a number of techniques for staying focused, including one of my personal favourite one - the Pomodoro technique. I will blog about it very soon in detail to tell you how I use it and how it helps me to concentrate and achieve my goals.
How to get your mojo back; you got this quote
4. Have a detox & stop comparing.
This point naturally flows out of the previous one. We get distracted by social media. Also, as I mentioned above, social media (if misused or overused) can "kill" our creativity, positivity and damage the way we view ourselves. Start taking short breaks from your phone by temporarily deleting an app you keep opening every 2 minutes out of habit. Also, we are constantly bombarded by information. Someone got engaged. Someone bough a new ASOS dress. Someone doesn't like pizza. Control and filter what information you take in. Don't waste time on useless stuff that won't benefit you in any way. As harsh as it might sound - eliminate negative people from your circle. Ask yourself the reasons why you're "keeping in touch" with them. Provided that all they say or do brings you down spiritually / mentally / professionally, you might want to "mute" or unfollow them. Last but not least, stop comparing yourself to others. Your journey is unique. To quote Dr. Seuss: "There is no one youer than you". "Turn off" , list all the things in your life you're grateful for and keep thanking God for everything you've been blessed with.

5. Treat your body better.
Mojo runs for the hills when you stop taking care of yourself. It's a slow process and you might not even notice in what ways it might affect you personally, but it really does. Eating less junk food, introducing exercise into your weekly schedule, sleeping 7-8 hours every night will do wonders. It won't only change the way you feel physically but it will impact your mental health in a positive way. I, myself, work hard on finding that balance between having a few cookies and going to bed earlier. It's a long process but you will thank yourself later.

6. Get inspired.
Inspiration can come at any moment. Sometimes we can create the environment to "invite" it. If you lost your mojo, one of the best ways to get it back is to go back to the first time you started doing what you love. Remember your why's. Reflect. Let some things go and let other things come in. Browse through Pinterest, listen to podcasts that will help you grow, pick up ideas from a magazine, a thread on Twitter, an inspiring blog post or a YouTube video or a question someone left for you in the comments section. For example, my inspiration for this post came from letting go of the pressure I got myself into because I haven't posted for 2 weeks. Once I crossed week one mark, I started to get more and more upset about not writing anything. I had a serious case of "blogger guilt" and let myself sink deeper into it by week two. Guess what I did?

7. Start.
I did the opposite to what my subconsciousness was "telling" me to do. Instead of hiding from it, I faced it. I sat down and started to write. I told myself that it's OK to take a break. I made a decision to publish a new post before I get my website re-branded. I silenced that eagerness (more like impatience) for getting everything perfect in the future and being happy with the now. You already know that I put a lot of work into each of my posts, and that will never change. I will always do my best but I will also eliminate that "perfectionism factor". The big picture is so exciting and there are so many incredible ideas and collaborations coming up here on Miel and Mint. There is no stopping. My mojo is back. I did and keep doing all of the above but, at the end of the day, I simply pressed "START".
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How to get your mojo back
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Hope you enjoyed this post and found it helpful in some way.
Leave a comment and let me know if you've ever lost your mojo.
If yes, how did you get it back?
Does making a plan help you to get organised?
What are your thoughts on how social media affects our lives?
Do you believe in "Tidy house, tidy mind" concept?
Can't wait to read your thoughts!
If you're in a slump and slumber now, get up and let's press that imaginary "start" button together.
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