Psychology Today says, “Motivation is literally the desire to do things. It’s the difference between waking up before dawn to pound the pavement and lazing around the house all day. It’s the crucial element in setting and attaining goals—and research shows you can influence your own levels of motivation and self-control. So figure out what you want, power through the pain period, and start being who you want to be.”
A little story.
While visiting my family in Laguna Niguel, California this past week, me, my Dad and little brother went for a several-mile-long bike ride one evening. First off, if you’ve never been to Laguna, I highly recommend you spending your next vacation on Laguna Beach–absolutely beautiful piece of the world.
The bike ride began easy. Everything was quick and downhill for the most part. The ride back, though, was a different story. Completely opposite. I for one didn’t want to do it, but we had to get back where we started one way or another. I’m sure there’s some lesson there. Not quite sure what it is, though…
Anyway, the ride back was hell, but the worst still had yet to come. The final hill before getting back to the neighborhood was this massive, gargantuous, intimidating thing. I’ve mentioned before how my father tends to act like a drill sergeant whenever me and my brothers need a little nudge in life, right? So as I sat on my bike, staring up at this daunting hill, my Dad is already at the top coaching me with his loud, thunderous voice. I knew there was no getting out of it, so I began; jumped in with both feet and started ascending a hill I figured would be the death of me.
“Come on! Push!” my Dad shouted from above. “Don’t stop, you’re halfway there…Only a quarter left!”
I was shocked at how far I had made it without having to call an ambulance. But I wasn’t in the ‘All clear’ yet–I still wanted to stop pedaling and let gravity do its thing. Though the sun had begun setting, it was still hot as it beat on my back. I was pouring sweat; my heart was pounding; my legs had gone numb but somehow kept pedaling.
“Come on! You’re almost to the top, you can’t stop now!” And I knew I couldn’t. When he said that, I suddenly saw my climb of that hill as some physical metaphor depicting my climb toward publication. And boy, when that thought conjured, I’d never wanted to reach the top of anything so badly.
I pedaled harder, pushed harder. I felt like I could pass out, but still didn’t stop. So what? I thought. As long as I reach the top…
And sure enough, I did.
First thing the next morning, I went back alone and did it again, and everyday to follow while I was there in Laguna. And as soon as we got back to the house that night, I grabbed pen and paper and began to write.
- Post-it notes around the house.
Trying to hammer certain thoughts or favorite quotes into your head? Post notes around your work space, on the refrigerator, or on the wall by the front door.
Even if they’re just to-do lists. Mile markers help. Plus they make you feel a bit better when you can check off something. Progress, people, PROGRESS!
There is nothing more empowering for me than music. In fact, listening to an inspiring song before I write has become a ritual of mine.
- “The fear.”
If you’re a fan of the show “Friends” you know what I’m talking about. If not, then look it up. 🙂
- Don’t get too comfortable.
You get comfortable and settled in then you lose your drive. You got a new fancy car and love it. Haven’t finished writing your novel yet, but still, you got a new car you wanna drive around and show off, so who cares, right? I once got comfortable in one place and it scared me so much I got up and moved a month later. A few months after that I finished my novel and got certified in Health Information Technology. Put a wrecking ball to that shiny car if that’s what it takes. Honestly, which is more important?
- What do you want?
You have to know what you want, where you want to go, and at least have an idea of how to get there. You can’t just drive aimlessly and hope you end up where you didn’t know you wanted to be. Also, make sure you’re doing something YOU want to do. If you’re not, then what’s the point?
- Motivational videos.
Hit up Youtube. You won’t be disappointed–promise.
Think about what it is you want to leave behind. How do you want to be remembered? I can’t remember who, but one author said he writes books so he can continue having a voice after death. Stephen King maybe?
I don’t know how or why, but whenever I experience psychological distress, I also experience an overwhelming surge of motivation. My whole life I’ve always used art to vent, so I suppose it does make sense. Take your pain, and set it alight. Let it be your flame, your fuel.
“Madness can be a medicine for the modern world. You take it in moderation, it’s beneficial.”
- Guts over fear.
You’ve got to believe in yourself. Block everyone and everything else out. Set your sights on what you want and go full on tunnel vision if that’s what it takes. At the end of the day, it’s all up to you. At the end of the day, you really have no one else to blame.
If there’s a mountain in front of you–no matter what size–climb it. Don’t stop. Don’t look back till you’re at the top and you take a long glance back at how far you’ve come. There’s no feeling on this Earth greater.
Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you enjoyed. If you liked this post and are looking to read more like it, I’d recommend checking out Maladaptive Daydreaming 🙂