Getting Motivated…Or Not

I used to be big on motivation. I’d listen to motivational speakers, I’d hang out with motivated people, I’d spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to motivate myself. (Carrot or stick? Carrot or stick?) Sometimes I figured out a carrot that worked, even if it was just the sense of relief I felt from ticking something off of my “To Do” list. But most of the time it seemed like I was making myself do things I didn’t want to do, but felt I should, by being mean to myself. Not very enlightened thinking. And frankly not very effective.

It was especially apparent after I arrived home from New Zealand. At first I blamed it on jet lag and post-vacation blues, but soon I had to be honest with myself. I was sick and tired of trying to make myself do what I didn’t want to do. I started writing in my journal and spending some time thinking about it. How would I rather be?

Then a number of concepts and phrases that I’ve learned from coaches and mentors Michael Neill and John Overdurf flooded my mind. The difference between motivation and inspiration. The next smallest step. What would I love to do today?

Then I made a deal with myself. I’m only going to do what I would love to do each day. If I have to motivate myself to do something, that’s a big clue that it’s not really what I would love to do.

Then the worrying kicked in. But, what if all I want to do is lay on the couch and read a book? Or, I don’t make any money. Or don’t ever think I would love to clean the bathroom. Or exercise. What then? The funny thing I learned right away is that a number of those things I’d had on my “To Do” list for days, even months and years in some cases were getting done. I finally have a new picture on my website, I’ve been writing regularly in this blog, I’m concocting an idea for an e-zine newsletter, I even cleaned the bathroom because I wanted to.

It’s like I’m dealing with a three year old, and as soon as I stopped trying to make the kid do something reasonable it happens anyway. I’m excited to get up in the morning, wondering what fun and fruitful things I’ll do during the day. In short, inspired.

2 comments to Getting Motivated…Or Not

  • Inspired and inspiring! Part of me thinks I don’t have the freedom to do that, but I realize it’s primarily a state of mind you’re talking about. I’m going to give it a try for a week or so. Thanks!

  • Shannon

    Janine, I hope you are as surprised as I am about the amount of freedom you feel when you put the stick down. Even if it is just in your mind. I’d love to hear how well it goes for you!

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