I may not be available this evening to play hostess so talk amongst yourselves. I pulled together a little piece on motivation.
Motivation is that magical force that transforms us from couch potatoes into go-getters, from dreamers to achievers. It's the spark that ignites our inner fire, or in my case, a tiny flame that flickers faintly until the aroma of fresh coffee wafts in.
The NYT this morning published an article that really resonated with me: How to Get Things Done When You Don’t Want to Do Anything.
Looking forward to a reward isn’t the best for long-term motivation. But several studies suggest that pairing small, immediate rewards to a task improves both motivation and fun.
Lora Park, an associate professor of psychology at the University at Buffalo, ran marathons before kids but now finds it can be hard to find a workout window before dark. When she uses the treadmill for an evening workout, she pairs it with Netflix to make running inside more pleasant.
Relying solely on external rewards can be a slippery slope. It's like being trapped in a never-ending cycle of "I'll do this if you give me that." Before you know it, you're stuck in a maze of carrot-and-stick situations, desperately searching for the next dangling vegetable.
To maintain motivation, set your sight on goals that are as tantalizing as a fresh pizza straight out of the oven: goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (a.k.a. SMART goals).
Motivation is the energy that gets us to take action — and I’m not the only one finding it hard to come by. Some of us might have full-on burnout after a year-plus of loss, grief and pandemic challenges. Others could feel more like I do — nothing’s terribly wrong, but we can’t quite find our spark. Whatever situation we’re in, a closer look at motivation might give us more fuel to move forward, both day-to-day and into an uncertain future.
Motivation isn't a one-time deal. It's like a fickle friend who visits sporadically, so we must be prepared to woo it back when it decides to ghost us. Break down your tasks into bite-sized pieces, celebrate even the tiniest victories (like remembering to wear pants to a video conference), and surround yourself with cheerleaders who believe in you—preferably the ones who bring pom-poms, not just snacks.
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