How do you motivate yourself?
I have been lucky enough to call this incredible woman my friend for over ten years. I'm pleased to have her love and insight with us in 2019. When I read this I NEEDED it. Enjoy! LP
My mom, in an epic fit of procrastination, waited so long to take down our Christmas tree one year, that she actually switched it out for the Easter decorations. In her defense, Easter was early that year, but still. It took her months to get the momentum to take down the tree. Needless to say, I did not have role-models at home to talk me through goal-setting and prioritizing.
At 45, I won’t lie-- it can still be a struggle, but at least I’ve got some tools now that I can rely on to get me to my goals. None of my tips are news, but they might serve as good reminders as you reflect on becoming your best self in 2019.
Set a goal and put a date on it. It’s easy enough to float through life and let circumstances take you where they will. While this takes no effort on your part, you may find yourself in a place you had no intention of being or in a job that you have no love for.
Setting a goal is one thing-- completing a goal is another. When you add a date to your goals, you add a sense of urgency that would be missing otherwise. By being intentional and setting both short-term and long-term goals, you are becoming the driving force in your own story.
Make yourself accountable. It’s easy to talk yourself out of exercise when it’s just you. Perhaps you need to meet a friend to go for that walk. Knowing that a friend is waiting for you at the trail, you are more likely to get up off the couch.
Another way to be accountable is to say your goal-- out loud and to another human. I thought about running a marathon for quite a while before I said it out loud to anybody. Because I opened my mouth, though, people started asking me about it, if I was still going to run a marathon. After months of training and some fantasizing about scrapping the whole idea, I finished my first marathon at age 40. Since I had put my goal into the universe, I felt positive pressure to finish what I had started.
A big job needs to be chunked. Often, people quit before they start because the task feels too overwhelming. It’s easy to listen to that voice in your head that says it is too difficult or it will take too long or it won’t be perfect. To interrupt that negative loop, take the job and break it into smaller pieces.
Don’t worry about a ten-minute presentation. Start with the research. Then, work on your notes, reflecting on what is interesting to you or what the parameters of the assignment are, editing along the way. As you finish each smaller task, you will build momentum. (Don’t forget to high-five yourself as you complete each task on your way to the final product.) Before you know it, you will be thoroughly prepared for that presentation that initially felt impossible.
Stress can be good. While prolonged and chronic stress can have a detrimental effect, stress itself is not a bad thing-- it can be a motivator. As any deadline approaches, stress pulls me into focus, helping me ignore distractions and get down to business. This pressure helps me re-prioritize and get the job done...even though I would rather binge “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” on Netflix. Lean in to those feelings of stress and allow them to do their job: to get you moving.
So, 2019 is upon us. Go and be fierce this year-- set goals that matter to you. I can’t wait to hear about all of the awesomeness that you accomplish.
Amy Lardie has been in public education for 23 years as both a high school English teacher and an instructional coach. Earning both her graduate and undergraduate degrees from Grand Valley State, she has learned life’s lessons in organization the hard way. She works hard to fail forward and keeps working to be her best self. She enjoys reading, running, and lounging when she can get away with it.