Tag Archives: horse shoe

How to motivate yourself when you don’t feel motivated at all?

I’m tempted to go through my old blog posts to see if I’ve already written about this, but I dislike searching (you could say I’m not motivated to search…). I’ll do a little thinking instead. At least I know why I feel unmotivated: I like results, and I feel I’ve had no result for ages.

  • The flu is not over yet (though, admittedly, I’m better than yesterday, why does my inner critic refuse to count that as a result?)
  • I haven’t worked on my project for a week (well, that’s what it feels like, it might be shorter or longer).
  • My blog hasn’t saved the world yet (okay, that wasn’t my ambition, but still, my inner critic asks me: what’s the use of writing on days when you only have private stuff to share?)

So if there are no results to talk about, or I’m not saving the world, why write? What’s the use of commitment when it leads nowhere? Writing this down, makes me realise it’s the inner critic who’s being discouraging.

Other inner parts to the rescue

I’ll ask other parts of me ‘why write’ and see if they have to add something. And yes, they do. Here’s what they have to say. Write because:

– writing is fun (hello inner child!)
– I enjoy the connections it brings
– it’s useful for me to type out the inner voices (hello inner adult)
– I’ll feel better when I stick to my commitment than if I don’t: I’ll be proud that I made it, and found a way to do it even when it was a struggle

The last sentence is important: it leads to the difference between norms and values. AKA carrots and sticks.

Value and norms

A norm tells you what you have to do, and that you’re bad if you don’t do it: it’s motivation by stick. The inner critic likes to use that stick to beat you into obedience. It fears there’s danger it not obeying the norms, so it tries to help you by criticising you. (Does that make sense?)

A value on the other hand is more like a carrot: a positive force that drives you to act. You do it because you WANT to, because you BELIEVE it’s the right thing. You feel happier when your values are in place, and feel bad when someone treads on them.

(Here’s a puzzle for you: is there a value that makes people want to obey rules? Then obediency might be a carrot for them, not a stick).

Commitment from the place of “I have to” sets the horse shoe in motion that I talked about. It brings out my inner toddler. Or it does now. I have a long history of being very obedient to my “I have to-’s”.

Commitment from the place of a value brings me to what I want. I want to show myself that I can stick to something for 30 days, even when it comes with ups and downs.

Full circle?

When I started my project, one of my goals was to show myself that I could do it: work on something that’s very challenging for me, and not drown. Because I was ill, I had no energy to work on my project. But I can work on my blog from that same goal: get something done (I know how to do that), and make the adjustments I need to get it done in a way that’s good for ME (that’s what I’m learning: boundaries, flexibility, and probably a bunch of other important things that I don’t realise at this moment).

So, in the end, I WAS motivated to write this post. I had to search for it. If I had found none, I truly believe that the healthy option would have been to not blog today. And from there, decided again tomorrow: to continue or to quit? For now, I’ve made it to #NaBloPoMo day 27.

If you would have told me on day 1 of my project that I’d be LONGING to work on it later this month, I wouldn’t have believed you. I do now.

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