On Motivation

For some people, motivation is automatic. I’m sure there are people out there in the world who never hit snooze, never skip a workout, never let the house get messy, never let the dishes pile up before putting them in the dishwasher, and never skip classes.

I am not one of these people.

I do not possess the self-motivation for any of that. This piece from the Thought Catalog most accurately describes my daily inner dialogue regarding self-motivation. And just look at the title: “Self-Motivation for Losers.”  So, yup, that essentially summarizes it.

At this stage in my life, I am primarily motivated by money and not getting yelled at. I do my homework because if I fail, that’s such a waste of money on my education. I go to work because if I don’t, not only will my bosses yell at me but also my parents and boyfriend and anyone who doesn’t yell at me for getting fired for just not showing up to work would be silently judging me for being that person.  Also, I go to work because there are people there who are going to give me their money. Work’s a double-whammy.

When it comes to finding motivation, I tend to seek help from others. Namely, I tell people to tell me to do stuff. My boyfriend, Luke, can attest to this. “Luke, tell me to go to class tonight” and “Luke, tell me to clean my room” are common inclusions in our conversations. One time I even posted a picture of my messy room on the Facebook of my best friend and told her to yell at me about letting it get that way.

Ultimately, the best (and worst) person for me to go to for motivation is my mother. Mothers have the ultimate yelling ability. Mothers raised us. Mothers yelled at us when we did something stupid or were about to do something stupid or were about to ground us for three weeks for being stupid. All of this conditioning has lead to my mother possessing the most powerful ability to motivate me.

The best part is, it works. The worst part is, I’m terrified beyond the capacity of rational thought and a flood of adrenaline and survival hormones take over my brain and inhibit the thought of anything other than the completion of said task. Hence, the motivator of not getting yelled at developed.

Now, when I ask my mother to simply tell me I need to get something done, usually it ends up being said in a pretty apathetic tone without looking away from her laptop at all. This is ineffective.

Sometimes she’ll be up and about and those times she comes up with quips like “go workout – it’ll only take an hour! You can do anything for an hour!” One problem with this method is that I really can’t do just anything for an hour. Anytime I ever think, “she’s right! It’s just running! What’s so hard about that? I’m going to run for an hour because I can do that!” the situation ends messily in me dying on treadmills and sitting in a cloud of guilt for not being able to “do anything for an hour” and eating lots of cookies.

Another problem with this method is that she applies this saying to everything, and the length of time she claims some one can do absolutely anything for often increases.

“Go a month without doing this one thing. You can do anything for a month.”

“Commit to this one thing for a year. You can do anything for a year!”

“Just work hard at this for the next four years. You can do anything for just four years!”

“Just be perfect for the rest of your life. You can do anything for the rest of your life!”

Okay, so that last one is mostly my own self-talk and I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard my mother say that, specifically. Regardless, this time span has spread anywhere from an hour to a year or two, and thus renders this specific motivational tool ineffective to me.

That being said, my self-motivation and self-talk aligns almost perfectly with what TIFFANY PEÓN laid out in the aforementioned article.

I’m counting on becoming a goddess of self-motivation and self-discipline. 

Maybe I’ll just wake up one day to find out that I am that person who never hits snooze and doesn’t count calories burned on the treadmill in units of measurements consisting of how much extra food I can eat now.

That’ll be pretty cool.


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