It has been a long time and it shows. For one thing, what is grammar how does it work punctuation what is that.
A lot has happened for many of us. Some terrible and some wonderful and some terribly beautiful happenings. If you would ever like to share your past year with me, I’d love to hear from you. For now I will just leave a note on this concept about the relationship between motivation and dedication that was a moment of revelation for me.
In the midst of struggling with motivation to maintain healthy practices, do you ever find yourself searching for inspiration to stay motivated? Has anything been helpful in keeping you motivated for a sustained period of time? If you asked me that, I’d do the comme ci comme ça hand (or meh) gesture and shrug. Apparently Aussies are famous for habitually saying “yeah, nah“1 and I’m guessing it was probably in answer to this line of enquiry.
It makes sense that we run out of motivation but what does it matter if a person is unmotivated but remains dedicated. Committing to the doing of the thing will win out in the end. Yes, perhaps I won’t be enthusiastically throwing myself at the task at hand in the beginning but if I gave myself my word that this task would be done over time, like the way waves lap at the rocks near the edge of the water, the stone becomes polished. It may take a long time but it will be more progress than before.
The last few weeks I have made a commitment to be unrolling my yoga mat at 10am (this was the gap between online school for my 4 year old) and whilst the 4 year old pranced around me and performed rain dances or played with all my yoga props (I had to ask they please leave me my mat), I would do yoga, Pilates or some combination of both. At times because of distractions I would only end up doing 15 minutes but it was more minutes than none at all. Months before that I had been working out in a frenzy in my living room, leaping about to aerobics videos, hopping on the spot for HIIT, performing squat jumps oh the squat jumps, lunging this way and that, the burpees and the burping (sometimes).
Hand on my heart, I feel like I saw more results these last few weeks of plodding downstairs with the yoga mats (I bring one for each of us but somehow we wind up squished together on the one mat) for a bit of yoga and Pilates than I did with all the other things I was doing. I’m stronger, calmer and I’m happy. I have energy leftover for creative pursuits.
I’m no longer motivated to work on things, I’m dedicated.
Tell me, did you already know this little secret? x
Just like that another year is over. I made a lot of great lists and plans, very little of it has been ticked off. Some were very small things I wanted to do and others were ginormous whopping overwhelming ideas that were extremely vague. Surprisingly more of the huge vague ideas came to fruition than the small things like “print out photos for photo album” as opposed to “new home – bigger, nice space”.
Tell you what, I know I’m way more excited to be moving into our new place next year with an empty photo album than if it were the other way around. But it goes to show really amazing shifts can happen it just depends on your attitude going from an “I’m stuck” to “I dunno how but I’m excited about …”.
Here are some very vague ideas that I am excited about and going to try to flesh out in the new year:
That’s what I told myself as I put away baskets and baskets of folded laundry that had been piled up on and around our sofa. There was so much of it that when I facetimed my mum, my brother caught a glimpse of it and said he wanted to cry.
I hear you brother. Everytime I looked at that ever growing pile I was overwhelmed with where to start.
Well now I was overwhelmed and constantly reminded of my brother.
So I pulled it together after teaching today’s yoga class and started putting away pile after pile. I winced a little at how things were not quite colour coordinated and exactly as I wanted but today, they just needed to be away.
Now we have the rest of our weekend to relax on our sofa!
What have you been putting off? Is there any way you can get it done quickly?
B goes through these phases of having a current word that he loves to use. His current one is ’empower’. Not a bad one to have. He uses it in a work context, empowering this associate, that manager, this director, etc.
We all know that I love myself some weheartit action. Whaddya know, there is an inspiration gallery on weheartit called ‘Empowerment’! Hello, this is Synchronicity calling. Oh, it’s for us! So, this gallery on weheartit is girl-power focused but there’s some stuff in there to support all genders as well. The images that caught my eye the most were the ones that remind me that girls need to support other girls. You know the ones:
One of my favourite comedians is Dylan Moran and he made an observation about women in one of his standups saying we will never have the rights we keep demanding because we keep bitching about each other. You could hear the sucked in breath of the audience, the outright guffaws of everyone, all the head nodding and people going, “Haha! So true!”.
I laughed too but on the inside, I was all, “Dammit, Team!”
A very good friend of mine once told me something when I expressed hurt feelings after discovering that someone I thought of as a very close friend had been talking about me behind my back. He said, “Dom, one of these days you’ll learn that not everyone likes everyone and not everyone will like you.”
Stranger things, hey. What are you gunna do.
I was like “Waaaaaaahhhh I don’t wanna learn” (The sound of me experiencing history repeating.)
Flashback to trying to introduce my different best friends in junior school to each other which felt like walking face on into a brick wall. Very painful. They all hated each other. For no reason that I could see. I liked them, we seemed to like similar things hence the bff-ness, so why didn’t they like each other? At least one of them explicitly stated, “If she’s coming, I’m not coming.” Tea parties and movie outings got very tricky.
My squads were more like Noah’s ark passengers and only came in sets of two. No chance of starting a girl band which is a shame because one of my bffs and I had this great dance routine down ahahahaha cue my #squadgoals gallery.
It was actually a killer routine, ok.
“This could have been us but you hatin’.“
Another odd thing that I observed over time was the refusal of women to accept each other.
Have you ever heard someone say, “Yes but she’s ugly.” as a means to downplay that person’s competence or worth? Or if someone is being praised for an accomplishment, another person says, “Too bad she’s fat.” Or about someone who has the figure of someone who works out alot, “She’s probably bulimic.” Or about someone who is beautifully dressed, “She’s a bimbo.” Or about someone who is just generally a lovely person, well off, doing well in her chosen field, beautiful inside and out, you might hear, “But she’s still single hey.”
This hating thing seems to be something that has really picked up over the last couple of years. I’ve been the subject of some hate too: I have been fat-shamed AND thin-shamed, but then hello, who hasn’t had a little shade thrown at them by this point? There’s so much of it to go around.
I don’t know if it has always been this way and I can’t speak to what guys talk about amongst themselves because I’m not a guy. But it feels horrible to me. This should not be the norm. Where have the compliments gone? I’m not interested in lip service and saying nice things that we don’t mean. But the more I see this sort of behaviour — and I know other people must be seeing this hence all the “Women empower each other” inspiration images — the more I think there seems to be this mindset that there is only a limited amount of beauty, brains, health, wealth, best friends, compliments, success, and other great things and it’s every woman for herself. We need to clear this misunderstanding up. There may be underlying issues like a feeling of lack (self-esteem, worth, value) and we need to deal with that too. Not that having issues is an excuse. We may not even be aware of any underlying issues. Although what kind of perfectly happy issue-free person walks around espousing hate? Happy people don’t kill people as Elle Woods puts it.
Hey girl, what lies beneath?
Dunno, but that won’t stop me from hating on other people.
And “she started it” is definitely not a valid reason, either.
The idea that a person may be deeply unhappy without even knowing suggests a general lack of awareness or cloudiness of mind. One of the Yoga Sutras talks about how to attain clarity of mind. It says, “Clarity of mind is produced by meditating on friendliness towards the happy, compassion toward the miserable, joy toward the virtuous, and indifference toward the wicked.” [1.33]
I think of this as one of several keys to ultimate freedom.
What better freedom can there be than to have total peace of mind? To not experience jealousy when one witnesses the success of another but to feel happy? Rather than tearing each other down and belittling the hard work of another we can feel inspired to do more and be more. No, we don’t need to do the old “Girls rule, boys suck” chant either. There is no need for us to put down another gender to feel better about our own. We don’t need to belittle someone else’s life to feel better about our own. True strength doesn’t depend on highlighting the weaknesses of others and we need to be stronger.
True strength NOT brute strength.
All of us are in this together and we have our own challenges to get through. My approach? Well, basically:
For those of us who have been bullied and pushed around: hey, you need to know that you’re a valuable person.
For those of us who have not made the best choice, let’s stop being so shady. I think kindness is a nicer shade on you.
So, if we really want world peace and universal love, let’s give ourselves permission to show each other kindness and find some peace. There are really important things happening out there, tearing each other down simply cannot be the way forward. This behaviour has become a bad habit but habits can be unlearned. It’s never too late to learn new tricks and bring about change. Change your thoughts, change your life.
I am the Emperor (self-proclaimed) of Procrastination with a capital P. It’s my kingdom (emperordom?) so I can capitalise anything I want. Taxes are extremely reasonable here, by the way, and the healthcare system is excellent. The education system is wonderful although my ministers and I are currently trying to address the issue of people putting off graduating. I asked for a list of recommendations but my ministers sure know how to delay handing their findings in. I’ll chase them up just as soon as I get done with thoroughly cleaning the house from top to bottom, getting all caught up on Gilmore Girls, perfect the art of baking croissants (I’m willing to put in the work no matter how long it takes), tidying up all my pins on Pinterest. Oh and after I learn two new languages for fun. THEN I will round them up and sit down with them and get that list of recommendations. Because that’s how it’s done. When I set my mind to accomplishing something, really set my mind to it, no force on earth can stop me, as soon as I jump through all the hoops I set up for myself and I get off this sofa. I’m even putting off getting caught up on Gilmore Girls. I need to be in the right mood for it you know? So maybe I’ll read a few books first to warm up.
The response to this is either *facepalm* or *intense head nodding*. I’m guessing alot of people experience delaying getting started on a task to some degree. Once you get started everything is fine and dandy. But maybe you got delayed somehow and now it’s hard to get started again. Inertia.
Did you ever learn about inertia in school? Did you get shown a video usually of a group of people in a vehicle, wearing seatbelts, the vehicle moves and then suddenly stops but the people keep moving until oooof their seatbelts pull them back?
Whilst we’re on the topic: ALWAYS wear your seat belt people!
But that’s inertia. Once an object is in motion, it will keep chugging along quite nicely until something stops it. When at a standstill it takes effort to get it into motion. Inertia acts on us in much the same way. Sometimes we were on track with a task and then we skidded to a halt because of events beyond our control. Sometimes we just feel so overwhelmed we end up flopping down on the sofa, uncertain where to start. Days go by, weeks and even months!
That’s what happens to me. I get started and if thrown off track, man alive is it hard to get going again. Or I have so many great ideas and dreams, it’s hard to decide which one to start on. Or the importance of accomplishing something is so great that I get scared I’ll make a mess of it, so I freeze instead.
Allow me to paint you a picture with my word salad:
Instead of studying for that physiology exam I would go defrost the freezer. Messy freezer means a messy mind right? Can’t get those great marks by being messy, I think, in my infinite wisdom.
You know how else you can’t get great marks in an exam? Not getting started on studying.
Oh. Good point. But now I’m tired from dealing with the freezer. It’s such a huge task. Better nap first. And when I wake up I’ll get on with world domination.
Instead of whipping up a project proposal nice and quickly since I have all my material ready to go, I go into microscope mode. When I get hung up on one small tiny detail and spend far too long researching it further. I turn into a complete perfectionist, acting like this is my Sistine Chapel. Except that was finished. (In 1512. I looked it up, naturally.)
Or the rut I’m currently stuck in involves editing videos. I finally grumbled and huffed my way to the computer to start editing footage. But then I lost my voice so I wasn’t able to record voiceovers just yet. Did I carry on doing what I could? No sir, I did not! I slowed right down to a complete halt. I still haven’t recovered fully but now I have even more footage to edit. And inevitably find myself wondering where do I even start. And this is something that I WANT to do.
So all of these things go on whilst layered on top is life. Of course daily life continues. I have clients and students to keep appointments with. I have catering orders. I have laundry. Dishes. B. Self care. My studies. Eat, sleep, repeat. The activities of daily life continue meanwhile I am neglecting to work towards fulfilling my goals. I got in my own way. Time to leave the kingdom of Procrastination. Sure, it’s safe and comfy and no one needs to worry about failing to achieve one’s dreams but that’s because no one is trying. Until it becomes harder and harder to get started. Before we know it we have run out of tomorrows.
EXIT THIS WAY.
Ready? We’ll do this together. Deep breath, here we go.
Starting from the top, we need to take a moment to organise our thoughts. Clarifying our intention and setting ourself a goal. Just one goal. I found loads of really cute printables that listed space to write down five goals. Or at least three goals. For each goal, one would then write down three actions. So if you had listed five goals, that’s fifteen actions.
That seems like a lot, to start with. Too much. Let’s turn around. I miss the folks back in Procrastination.
But one goal? I can handle that. Quick tip: A goal that is short-term; measurable; and reasonably specific is even better. I have great big goals and under that umbrella I have smaller goals which add up towards those great big ones. I’m focusing on the small ones first. These are the stepping stones towards the more long-term ones.
Ok, so one goal. Let’s start there. Babysteps. Ease into it.
STEP ONE: Write down one short-term goal you have. And add the words “Start working on” in front of the goal and at the end of the goal write “today”. Someday is not a day. Soon is vague. Let’s start today.
Start working on editing one yoga tutorial today.
There! That wasn’t so bad, was it?
Notice I didn’t write “Start working on my entire backlog of videos today.” I’m setting myself up for success by making my goal as simple as possible.
STEP TWO: Think about the why behind the goal. Why this? Why is it SO important to you? What do you stand to gain?
That’s your motivation right there. And if you don’t go about trying to achieve this goal, this is what you stand to lose or miss out on. We may not lose anything at all, but we might end up wasting a lot of time wondering. Are you comfortable with all the ‘whatif’ moments?
Because we’re only thinking about one goal at a time, this isn’t too time consuming either.
STEP THREE: So what is stopping you? These are your obstacles that you need to muster the strength to overcome.
For each obstacle, you can go take a look at your why section again for inspiration to come up with ways to tackle them. Tell yourself, “Today is the day I take action.”
STEP FOUR: Now list three actions that can get you started on your goal. Just three, and make them really bite sized chunks.
My three actions are:
Select the footage to keep and to clip out.
Add music and any annotations.
Make notes for when I can record my voiceover.
Whilst I still can’t record my voiceover, I CAN make notes of what I will record so I am ready to go as soon as my voice comes back. That way I don’t lose any momentum. When I finish these actions, I can add another three actions. When I finish those, I add another three actions. And so on until I find goal achieved!
STEP FIVE: Give yourself credit and a big pat on the back when you make it to this step! Nice going!!!
NEXT GOAL PLEASE!
I hope that was helpful to you. If you’ll excuse me I have some video editing to do now. Chat soon, please let me know how you go with finding your way out of Procrastination! xx