Theresa O’Connor

Musings on Motivation (or the lack thereof, as the case happens to be)

Being motivated and being active are inseparably intertwined in a feedback loop with one another. When you’re motivated, you’re more likely to do things and get results, which then positively effects your motivation, and so on and so forth. When you’re feeling apathetic and/or unmotivated, you tend to do less and achieve less, which at the least doesn’t improve your motivation.

Knowing this, how can we effectively extract ourselves from unmotivated and/or apathetic moods? Clearly, there’s a difference between accepting the advantages of being active intellectually and motivating oneself to act on that conclusion.

This is an exploration of the state of having accepted the first but having yet to do anything about it, and is directed at people in such a situation (which not-so-coincidentally happens to be my present condition). As such, I’m going to outline a few strategies that may be effective.

  1. Consider values to work toward which fulfill these criteria:

    • are relatively easy to get, and
    • result in an increased state of awareness on your part.

    Pick up an interesting book and start reading, listen to a particularly moving piece of music, something along those lines. The idea is that, once having become more actively aware, you’ll begin to be more active and aim toward more cool things.

  2. Sleep better. Here’s one area i definitely need to work on. Maintaining a decent sleep schedule has absolutely fabulous effects on your life. This is something that typically results in having a more satisfied time when you are awake. Being better rested allows you to use your waking hours more productively.
  3. Eat better. This is also an area that i should work on. Healthier eating makes for improved awareness of your mind and body. It allows your body and mind to better function. This is a good thing.
  4. Don’t get yourself into way too many entangled commitments. This is related to the skill of time management. This is not something that comes automatically. If you manage your time better, you’ll find that you’re more able to do the things that you want to do and that you get the things done that you want to get done better. Try to pick your commitments very selectively, and only commit yourself to something after evaluating its place in your plans.

It’s interesting that I started to write this as a means to bring myself out of the motivational funk that I’ve been in the past few days, and while this exercise has been interesting and has actualized some not-quite-finished thoughts that have been floating around in my head for a while, it actually hasn’t been effective in getting me more motivated. I’m in one of those ‘oh screw it, I’m going back to bed’ sort of moods. Actually, if some of the above is not clear or did not make sense to you, I’m willing to bet that that is, at least in part, due to my lack of motivation while writing this.

Anyway, brainstorming to come up with effective, everyday practices for maintaining focus and motivation strikes me as a worthwhile endeavor. I’m always up for hearing about how other people approach this. If you’d like to share some insight into this, please do.