You ARE A "Can Do" "Will Do" Person....

....Given Proper Self-Motivation!


"Wow. I feel so blah. I have no self motivation. I know what I have to do. I need to just do it. 

Ok. Well, I'll check my facebook for a second." An hour later, "I can't believe it's an hour later. Ok. Well, I'm thirsty. I'll just go get a drink. Now I can work.  Man I hate to do this. Oh look, the dog isn't eating. Poor thing. Must feel sick. I'll get him some ice cream. Ok. Now I'll work. Oooops, there's the Brighthouse fix it man. I'll have to work with him for awhile. Ok. Now to work. Gee. I'm 
getting hungry. It is lunch time."


And on and on and on. Has this ever happened to you? Just can't get motivated to do whatever it is that you were suppose to do today? Yeah, me too! I could have stayed like that all day but instead, I decided too do something about it.  I decided to get motivated! Find my motivation.  Have you ever felt like this?  Sure you have.  Let's start by looking at three basic facts:

1. No one else can motivate you or me. I have to do it for myself and you have to do it for yourself. But what we can do for each other is called “confirmation”. I am not alone because I know this happens to you. And you are not alone because you know this happens to me. And if it happens to us, than it happens to others too.

2. This isn't forever. The feeling of lack of self motivation generally is not a “forever” feeling. It is a current state of being that is and will pass. I will get through it. You will get through it. Think of it as a “bump in the road” or a “glitch in the system”.  

3. Just do something!  What to do in the meantime. Whatever is done, it should be productive. No one should ever have to look back and say, “Well that was a waste of time.”

Now.  Let's go to work on improving self-motivation:  

  • Stop talking negative to yourself. [1]  If you are like me and you told yourself, as I did, that everything you did was "just a waste of time", STOP.  Interruptions?  Yes.  Waste of time? NO.  Stop the negative talk.  Take a look at how what I did was not a "waste of time", and with having made a few mental notes for the future, everything I did was necessary and purposeful.  

    • Structure your interruptions to your advantage. Nothing is a waste of time if you learn from it and use it wisely.[2]  Just because it isn't what you intended to do, does not mean it was a waste of time. On the contrary, at least something got done. Referring to my starting paragraph: 1) I did check my facebook.  I just spent more time than I had intended. So I made a note to limit my time on facebook to 15 minutes; 2) I got myself a cup of green tea, which is very healthy for me. So while that was a good thing, next time I'll make the green tea and bring it with me saving me from that distraction later; 3) I looked down at my dog and thought "Poor thing,  Must be sick.  I'll get him some ice cream."  This thought occurred to me earlier, but I didn't act on it.  I should have just given him the ice cream to begin with and again saved myself time; 4) I knew the Brighthouse fix it man was coming. I made another mental note that while answering his questions and showing him where the TV is, I can also do other more constructive things to free up the clutter of my mind; 5) Lunch is a necessity and the healthier the better.  That was really not an interruption.  It's just that with all the other things, my morning got away from me.  

So stop with the negative talk.  Just because your attention might not be where it is suppose to be, doesn't mean you're not doing something important.  It just means you need to structure time to give those things the attention they deserve. 

Guy Kissing While Driving
  • Get back on the horse. Don't stop trying just because you are finding it hard to stay focused. If you get sidetracked, don't give up.  Just restart. I had far more side tracking going on that morning than what I mentioned. But with each thing, I caught myself and pulled myself back. It was just one of those mornings. You can't give up. Yes, there is always tomorrow.  But there will never be another today. If what you set out to do seems too overwheliming, break it down into smaller tasks. Then do one thing, then something else, then something else. (I love cliches. They really help to convey a message.) An object in motion tends to stay in motion. When you fall off the horse, you have to just get right back up on it and try it again.[3]  Or in other words, the only time you try and fail is when you fail to try. This is self motivation at its very core. You are building one success on top of another until you feel so great that whatever you do will feel so small, so quick and so easy that whatever you were putting off will get done in no time at all.

  • Fight. Very powerful. Get angry.[4]   I know it sounds crazy, but it works. When I get angry about something or at somebody, I really get to work. For some reason my body says, “distract me before I say or do something I will regret later”. So I read, or write furiously.  Or I'll immerse myself in research or work around the house.  Anything that will get my mind going in another direction, and allow my emotions a chance to redirect themselves into something more productive, is what I will automatically seek out.  Once I've calmed down, I can look back at what I've done, feel good about myself and then think more clearly regarding whatever it was that made me angry.

So, you have to actually think of times that made you so angry that you wanted to go do something else. Then try to feel those feelings again and direct that anger into doing whatever that insurmountable or disagreeable task is that you just can't seem to stay focused on. This technique is used by actors and actresses all the time in order for them to portray sincere and convincing emotions in a film. They have to find an experience inside themselves upon which to draw and to recreate those emotions.

  • Flight. Also very powerful. Get scared. You hear a lot about positive motivations such as listing your goals, your dreams, your wants, etc. and using them like a carrot to dangle in front of you to get you to work towards.  And yes, these are all great technique! But I've seen few talk as much about the power of negative motivation. When I was a child and I did something wrong, I was scolded softly, scolded loudly, had my hands smacked softly, but firmly, and had the fatherly “you better listen to your mother” phrase uttered in that no uncertain tone that struck fear in me purely out of my reverence and respect for him, and not due to anything mean he had done to me. And yes, I came from the generation that got their butt whipped if and when they needed it. I was taught many valuable lessons from negative motivation for which I have always been most grateful.

So just as with fight, the same holds true for flight or fear. Think of a time when you were afraid. What did you do or feel like doing? Did you start behaving yourself when you knew you were doing something wrong to begin with? Did you start running or feel that you would like to run away?  Imagine this. I saw a movie once that depicted a place between death and heaven as a waiting place. In the waiting place was a theater called, “Past Lives” pavilion. One of the spirits waiting to transition viewed one of his past lives as a tribal native running through the jungle because he was being chased by a lion. So he stated that in a past life he was “dinner”.                                                             

 Cute. Funny. And do you see what I mean?  I would run if I were being chased by a lion.  That person feared he would be eaten by the lion, and that fear was just the motivation he needed to make him run!                                                             Think of any animal prey/predator situation.  How about the gazelle and the chita?  The chita only catches the gazelle about once out of 19 chases even though he is much faster than the gazelle.  Why?  My guess is that the gazelle was much more motivated!  What is it that could scare you, at least for the moment, into being motivated and focused enough to quickly and easily accomplish your task?

The next time you are procrastinating, losing focus, or getting sidetracked, first, remember that you are not alone, that no one else can motivate you except you, that your feelings and actions or inactions are not forever, and then just do something. Second, stop with the negative talk. Tell yourself you are a can do and will do person.  Next, get back on the horse.  Try it again.  Keep trying.  When you get sidetracked, pull yourself back to task and keep going.  Don't give up.  And last, you can try listing your goals or wants or dreams as a motivator for forward movement.  And you can also try think fight or flight, anger or fear. They are both also excellent motivators.

Good luck in all you do, and let me know if you use these techniques and how they worked for you. Feel free to post other suggestions.