Ways to find encouragement: Focus on the present

Ways to find encouragement series:

Focus on the present.

Every day is a new beginning. You are not your failures. The past is gone. You can’t change it. Get over it. Today, right now, is the only thing that truly makes a difference in your life.

It’s always NOW. Now is the only time you can do anything that will have a bearing on your future. Like I said, remember to ask yourself “What can I do right now that is the most valuable use of my time?” and then DO THAT.

When you let go of what you can’t control and direct yourself to controlling the things you can, you become more of an architect of your life. And that’s encouraging.


Ways to find encouragement: Focus on the present

Ways to find encouragement: Focus on solutions

Ways to find encouragement series:

Focus on solutions.

If you have a problem, don’t focus on the problem. Focus on SOLUTIONS.

Feeling discouraged? Think about things you can DO to not feel discouraged. As mentioned in this motivation series, “train your brain“.

And when working on something, always focus on how far you’ve come instead of how far you have to go.

When you focus on solutions, you are much more likely to overcome any obstacles in your path. And that’s encouraging.


Ways to find encouragement: Focus on solutions

Ways to find encouragement: Lighten your load

Ways to find encouragement series:

Lighten your load.

Learn to let go. By learning to let go of the non-essential things that contribute very little value to your life, you make room for things of higher value.

Do you have an assortment of “stuff” you don’t use that simply takes up space? Consider getting rid of it.

Do you have ongoing obligations to things that add little to no value to your life that you wouldn’t agree to do if you were asked to commit to them today? If the answer is “yes”, it’s time to make an exit strategy.

Dramatic life changes can occur when you make a conscious effort to only surround yourself with those higher value things that you truly desire in your life.

When you reduce the number of low value things in your life that you are responsible for, it creates more space for higher value things. And that’s encouraging.



Ways to find encouragement: Lighten your load

Ways to find encouragement: Manage your time better

Ways to find encouragement series:

Manage your time better.

One effective way to manage your time better is to figure out what it is that you do best and where you are most valuable and productive, and do more of those things.

Specifically, things that truly make a difference and lead you in a direction you want to be going.

It sounds simple, but we always have things in our lives that take up time, but are of very little value in the long run.

This can include watching hours and hours of TV — or browsing the Internet without purpose — when we could be doing something of higher value: perhaps reading a book in the field of our interest, writing down and keeping track of our goals, visualizing where we want to be in 5 years — or really anything that helps us get closer to our goal.

If you’re ever wondering what to do at any given moment, simply ask yourself :

“What can I do right now that is the most valuable use of my time?” and when you have an answer, DO THAT.

The more things you do that are of high value to you in your life in those moments, the quicker you will get to your goals.

“An Unfailing Success Plan: At each day’s end write down the six most important things to do tomorrow; number them in order of importance, and then do them.” — Anonymous

When you effectively manage your time, you feel positive and productive. And that’s encouraging.


  • Stop wishing for more time
  • If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way. If it isn’t, you’ll find an excuse.
  • Ways to find encouragement: Manage your time better

    Ways to find encouragement: Write down your goals

    Ways to find encouragement series:

    Write down your goals.

    Write down what you want to achieve. Yes, physically write it down. DO IT.

    Just putting a goal on PAPER increases the odds of it happening. Thinking on paper also helps you organize and focus your thoughts so they are not a scattered mess in your head.

    Most people think they have a “SYSTEM” and everything all worked out in their head — but I guarantee what most people think in their heads looks a lot different when it’s written down on paper. Writing things down makes them more “real” — and you see things you didn’t see before.

    Remember again, whatever you focus on only grows stronger. If you’re writing down your goals, you’re thinking about your goals.

    When you write down your goals, you automatically increase the odds of that they will be completed. And that’s encouraging.


    Ways to find encouragement: Write down your goals

    Ways to find encouragement: Goal setting

    Ways to find encouragement series:

    Goal setting.

    Have a clearly defined target. And make a plan for how you want to reach your target. Break that plan down into small achievable goals. And remember, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it — so be sure you put things on your list where progress is measurable.

    Make sure you have an answer to these questions:

    • What is it I’m trying to do?
    • How am I trying to do it?

    Start on your goals now, but think long-term and be patient. Realize that small steps build up over time. They may not seem like much day-in and day-out, but they DO get you to where you want to go.

    Always focus on making progress — not excuses. And even if you misstep, you learn something.

    When one has clearly defined, measurable goals, it is easier to visualize them happening. And that’s encouraging.


    Ways to find encouragement: Goal setting

    Ways to find encouragement: Positive thinking

    Positive thinking.

    I’ve talked about the power of positive thinking before — specifically in 9 of the What I’ve learned about achieving personal goals.

    The thing about successful people (achievers) and “unsuccessful” people (non-achievers) is that they think differently from each other. Successful people ultimately end up creating their own success through their habitual way of thinking (and then acting on those thoughts). They think they can, so they do.

    If you were successful all the time, would you think differently about achieving goals than someone who is habitually down on themselves? Of course you would.

    The main thought process that distinguishes “achievers” from “non-achievers” is OPTIMISM.

    So if you want to be an achiever, become an optimist.

    Optimists don’t always succeed at everything they do, but they are so confident in their overall success, that they don’t let their failures or shortcoming be anything but a temporary setback. Instead, they just chalk these up as learning experiences and resolve to keep trying things until they succeed.

    Now, I’m not suggesting to just become blind to doing something poorly, or failing, or that blind optimism is a good thing. Thinking positive only gets you so far. Thinking positive can help provide the fuel necessary to accomplish difficult tasks, but it doesn’t mean mistakes or failures don’t happen.

    The trick is to be persistent and to keep trying different things until you reach your goal. You can’t keep doing the same things and expect to get different results.

    One thing that might be somewhat encouraging is realizing this:

    Successful people fail a lot.

    “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” — Michael Jordan

    When one feels optimistic about their life and dreams, that’s encouraging.

    Ways to find encouragement: Positive thinking

    Ways to find encouragement: Train (or re-train) your brain

    Ways to find encouragement series:

    Train (or re-train) your brain

    Whatever you focus on only grows stronger. So if you’re focused on how discouraged you are — or anything negative — then you’re only setting yourself up for more of the same.

    Instead, focus on what you want. If you catch yourself focusing on something you don’t want, stop, take a breath, and tell yourself you’re not doing that anymore. And then focus on something else.

    It can be anything but that negative line of thinking at first. Anything to break that train of thought and those thought patterns.

    But if you can train yourself to flip from those negative thought patterns into thinking positive/productive ones, that will help.

    See, your brain likes the “roads of thought” you’ve built (neural pathways) and it will most often follow the same line of thinking as it has before — even if that proves to not be in your own best interest.

    And when it does this enough, a habit forms. Habits are what we DO when we’re on AUTOPILOT. Your brain goes where it knows — and it takes the rest of you with it.

    The good news is we can teach ourselves new habits (that are life enhancing) to replace those that often work against us. But this typically takes some conscious effort on our part to basically overwrite a bad habit (or an old negative thought pattern) with a good one. But it can be done.

    For starters, I’d say whenever you find yourself focusing on something like “I’m so discouraged” or “Nothing is going right.” — catch yourself in the act and say “Hey brain, not this time.”

    And then walk it down a different path — preferably one that you know will make you feel better. Focusing on what you like in life, places you love, or what you’re truly grateful for can help change your mental state from a negative one to a positive one. Your brain may resist at first and keep turning your attention back towards your negative thought patterns, but with consistent effort, you can truly take charge of it.

    Many people don’t realize they can re-train their brain. They make excuses that “that’s just the way they are” and “they’ll never change” (when they want to) — but they CAN.

    When you take charge of your thought process, you will feel more in control. And that’s encouraging.

    Recommended reading:

    Related videos:


    Ways to find encouragement: Train (or re-train) your brain

    12 ways to find encouragement.

    The following is an exchange the took place last night as a result of someone commenting on this post. While what I wrote was just a comment (a long one), I shared it with someone who said, “That’s not a comment, that’s a blog post.” So I’ve decided to share it here in case any finds any value in it.

    Miss Discouraged wrote:

    From what I see about this blog. I saw a bit of myself. As far as I am concerned, I’ve been discouraged for so long. its starting to become extremely hard to find that part of myself again. Any help or advice to remove discouragement? I’ve been trying hard to pick myself up and again and still start believing that I can still achieve my dreams.

    Hey MD —

    Without knowing your story, this is what I’d say…

    Ways to find encouragement series:

    Ok, I could write more, but I’m losing steam (it’s late here)… lemme know if this is at all helpful or if there’s something specific you’d like to hear my thoughts on. Like I said, this is pretty general because I don’t know your story.

    In any case, I think on some level you know you’re not going to stay discouraged forever — which is GOOD. :) Sometimes we just need a little kickstart to break our thought patterns from what we don’t want to what we DO want.



    12 ways to find encouragement.

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    "Can't." You keep using this word.

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