Today is a great day for a short discussion on motivation: it’s rainy, my eyes are heavy from a couple late nights chatting with a friend, and my list of chores at home just keeps getting longer with every passing day. This is the perfect equation for staying in bed, going back to sleep, and avoiding the inevitable. Instead, however, I chose to focus on the positive energy from simply being alive. If I pay attention enough to my body, I can get a sense for what it needs. Yesterday I woke up at 8am and ended up going back to sleep for two more hours. This morning, despite a little waking grogginess, my brain is awake and alert. So I’ve chosen to focus that energy toward completing a handful of things. It feels good.

And now I allow myself a short break.

This is how my days go. I find I can focus for about an hour at a time before I need to take a break – So that’s what I do. I channel the energy and alertness and I focus on one task until it’s done. Slowly but surely I find myself working through my “to do” list and feeling a sense of accomplishment as I cross things off my mental checklist.

But what is it, you say, that drives me or motivates me to do these things? I guess you could say it’s the sense of accomplishment itself that motivates me. That and having a specific goal and time frame. Just like anything – whether it be weight-loss, cleaning the house, acquiring a new skill, or organizing ones’ finances – setting specific goals that are specific and measurable, realistic and attainable is key to seeing progress which then continues to motivate us toward further progress.

This week, for instance, I have planned to have company on Saturday evening. That means I have to have my list of chores complete in a certain number of days. Now, working around the other plans of the week is where breaking things down into smaller goals is helpful. Prioritizing these tasks and their importance is another extremely useful tool in the process. What is the most pressing task? First things first – take care of the necessary before the optional. In this way, you are almost forced to focus your energy on realistic and attainable tasks.

I don’t consciously analyze each of my choices in a day anymore. It just happens naturally that I break down my bigger goals (ie cleaning my house) into smaller more manageable tasks and then specifically plan them into my day. It is a little bit of extra work as planning and organizing itself takes energy. However, now as I go along I am consciously aware of my progress and specific accomplishments on a smaller scale which then further motivates me to work toward the larger goal. In the end it is all worth it.

And one of the most important things I do as a part of this process which helps fuel the motivation is I allow myself breaks or a change of tasks. I know my brain is more efficient in the first hour of focus. So by taking a short break after that first hour, I can assure that the next hour is just as effective. This way I never feel too tired which would impede my motivation. In other circumstances this may look like an extra rest say in the work-out schedule, or changing tasks at work to keep the brain fresh. For me this week it means waiting an extra day to get the dishes started. But I did get the kitty litter changed, myself fed and showered to start my day, AND I wrote a blog! I’m on a roll!! 🙂

Knowing our own needs in any given situation is the best thing we can do to help ourselves. Know when you need a break and allow for it. Know when you need to sleep and when you can push through the grogginess. And stay positive. Surround yourself with positive people, positive energy (upbeat music, motivational messages), and fill your mind with positive thoughts (acknowledge your accomplishments along the way, no matter how small, and remind yourself how great the end success will feel).

When your motivation comes from inside yourself, you take responsibility for your own success. And that’s exciting! You have the power in your hands – don’t let anyone tell you differently.

…this is my life…

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