How to: Motivate Yourself

Persistence is…

Keeping your foot on the gas as you inch round the side of a mountain.

Crossing off each day as it comes without ripping up the calendar.

Seeing the chink of sunlight between two angry rain clouds.

Not slowing, or walking, or giving up until you reach that mile.

Writing a thousand blog posts before someone reads one.

Watching the sun set before you stop working.

Watching the sun rise before you go to bed.

Making a diary entry on a duvet day.

Repeating a monologue until you embody the character.

Finishing this poem.

That’s all well and good – but to be persistent requires a great deal of motivation. How can you convince yourself to keep going against all the odds? Here is how I do it.

  1. Imagine the end goal: each task, each chore, each exam you do has a purpose. Whatever you are doing, there is a reason for it. By trying to picture where you will be once you have achieved your goal, it is much easier to motivate yourself to get there.
  2. Give yourself treats: separate your one big task into several mini milestones and place a reward at the end of each one. Obviously, it makes sense to leave the largest reward to the end, but don’t forget to congratulate yourself along the way.
  3. Stay healthy: yes, I know. Healthy mind, healthy body = yawn. But there is a lot to be said for how energised a short burst of Zumba or jogging will make you feel. Doing some exercise is an accomplishment in itself, leaving you feeling more positive about your other goals.
  4. GET ON WITH IT: Lying in bed thinking about the impending task at hand will not help you to conquer it. Sometimes, you have to just bite the bullet and begin, however painful. An hour in to the task, you’ll wonder why on earth you were dreading it in the first place.
  5. Know when to stop: once you get into a rhythm of work, it can be hard to take a break. You might think that interrupting your flow will be detrimental to the end result, but you need time to relax, reflect and rewind. If you don’t, you’ll wear yourself out and have no energy left for the next time around. A break of about 10 minutes every hour should do it.

So go on, get motivated!

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Disappointment in the Search for Inspiration

Having always considered myself a supporter of women’s rights and professed to my colleagues that that was, in fact, all I ever wrote about, I decided this evening to get up off my opinionated, yet lazy, backside and actively do something about it.

I went to a local Feminist Society for inspiration. Tell me what, oh feminist idols, can I do to support the cause? To make my opinions known and make a difference in the world? How does one respond to the humiliating grab of one’s arse by a chauvinistic, drunken male on a night out and make him see the light? I might sound derisive, but I genuinely looked to this group of people as the proverbial shining beacon of hope in a world of darkness. They, I told myself, are sure to have the solutions, the ideas and the guts to put them forward and make a change!

But, as when one goes to afternoon tea on the promise of giant scones with ladlefuls of jam and cream and receives what could almost fit inside a thimble, I was disappointed with the Feminist Society. Hardly any members proffered any insights on the matter in hand (EcoFeminism- not exactly my specialism but I thought I’d give it a chance) and those that did, timidly commented on the issue with that oh-so-irritating raised intonation at the end of their points. How are we supposed to take you seriously if you doubt your own ideas make any sense? Next the discussion turned into an apathetic and incoherent babble of points, some randomly and some fundamentally, related to the cause (uh hello! We know about binary opposition, go back to year 10), but none were genuinely, or even remotely, inspiring.

Not even the committee members seemed to know what they were talking about, with the ‘exciting’ plans coming up soon yet to be decided. What kind of a plan is that? Why bother to run such an organisation if you are not motivated enough to make something happen that promotes its interests?

Needless to say, unless anything mindboggling reaches me through the airwaves I will not be returning to the society. Instead, I will probably revert to passive-aggressiveness in the form of a cutting review (such as this, ha!) and cower silently in the shame of having done exactly the opposite of what I looked to the Feminist Society to achieve.