Thursday, March 17, 2011

Q & A with Lauren: How Do You Get Motivated?

Hey everyone! So, I decided today that I wanted to start opening my email inbox to you guys. One of girls I've been talking with lately gave me a shout out on Twitter this week and confessed she was really struggling with something, and I told her to shoot me an email. She gave me permission to share our conversation with everyone, and I hope that maybe you can dig something out of it and apply it to your own life.

Do you have more answers or advice for her? Leave them in the comments!! W ant to ask me a question? Send an email to me at laurennicolelove[at] & I'll do my best to answer. Much love.

Note: This email exchange is 100% unedited. Cut and pasted. It's long. If you only have a minute, please skip to the bottom and read the 21 point list that ended up being the crux of my answer to her!

Question, Part One: I've just been having a hard time getting motivated lately. There are so many things I want to do, but I don't ever do them because I am so un-motivated. I know that you have gone through some of these kinds of places in your life, and so I was wondering how you got out of that "pit" because you've accomplished so much!

My Answer: Hey love! Man, that's so hard. I know exactly what you're talking about. Being unmotivated takes several forms for me, actually. Sometimes it's just the general, "I just want to do NOTHING" and sometimes it's "I want to do all these things but I don't have the energy to, or I just don't want to ENOUGH." You know? So I think it helps to be able to pinpoint which of those it is. There's also when you catch yourself starting to believe that nothing you want to do is truly worth doing, so you just start letting things slip out of your hands because you say things to yourself like, "well other people are already doing this," or "other people can do this better so there's no point in me doing it," etc etc. I've definitely been in all of those places, countless times.

There are lots of things that I've done to try to help, and to push myself out of those spots. I am NOT a to-do list person, but sometimes if I make super cute ones, or really annoying ones, or cool ones, I catch myself wanting to check things off. I use a lot and I love it. Also, I am a big believer in setting goals for yourself. Weekly goals, monthly goals especially. Monthly goals are awesome because if you have a couple days when you just crap out and fall apart, you still have time to recover, and you can also break your monthly goals into smaller sub-goals that you do every week.

I have a lot more ideas and things to say about that, but first I guess I should probably ask you what are the things you want to be doing? What are you most passionate about? What are the things on your plate that you NEED to be doing, and are putting off? Spill them all. It always helps me to have someone look at my life on the table and say, "that's important, that's not. Stress about this, don't stress about that." I don't mind doing that for you at all. :)

Also, what does your daily look like? Work, school, family, friends? What are the things you are committed to?

Question, Part Two: I think the things I am most passionate about are my music, and animals. I ultimately want to glorify God using my music and be able to worship Him in that, and someday I would like to have an animal rescue. As of right now, what I NEED to be doing is, well, homework. That is something I always always always put off, even though I don't even have much of it. I also need to be finding a job. I am completely broke, and I haven't done well with actually applying at places to try and get a job. I am also stressed about needing to be in contact with my parents and grandparents more. I do a poor job of staying in touch with them while I'm at school. My fish's tank thing needs cleaned or he is going to die, but even when I'm not busy I never do it because I just don't feel like. This weekend, I am working on planning my birthday party, so I need to get that stuff done.

My days are usually pretty uneventful. Monday's are busiest for me, with class in the morning and at night and then our floor does "Girls' Night". I also have a morning and evening class on Tuesdays, and then the rest of my week, I only have one class a day. I have an hour of counseling on Wednesdays, but that is pretty much it. I don't work right now (as you have probably guessed), so I pretty much just sit at home on my computer not doing homework. Ha. It's a daily battle of dealing with roommates/friends also. There have been a lot of issues with some of my closest friends, so it's really hard for me to just sit here, but I never really have anything to do. And I never really want to do anything but just sit here or sleep. I'm not really that busy, I just don't want to do anything.

My Answer, Part Two: Ah, okay. I have a better feel for where you're coming from now. Here are some sporadic thoughts & truths that I've come to realize over the past several years. I hope this helps. Give me your thoughts on them!!

1. always remember what you want, and what you hope to be. that will be what drives you, don't ever lose it.

2. never beat yourself up for stopping, resting, failing, or not accomplishing as much. you're human. accept it.

3. understand that everyone you look up to fails, and fails hard. everyone ahead of you has been exactly where you are.

4. be painfully aware of what kinds of things you procrastinate against. dig and press into WHY you don't want to do them. you'll learn a lot about yourself here.

5. figure out which things you are truly obligated to and which you obligate yourself to out of guilt. get rid of those second things. clean up your life. IE: that fish tank causing you stress? get rid of the fish. seriously. get rid of it. having a fish does not make you a better person.

6. learn what time of day you are most mentally & emotionally driven to accomplish/resolve/tie up loose ends. clear out that time of day if at all possible so you can act immediately.

7. get it all out. sit down with a huge piece of paper and draw out your life. venn diagrams, lists, maps, circles, pictures, anything and everything. this is step one to getting the clutter and "overwhelmed" feeling out of your mind. it's hard to move forward before you do this.

8. when there are worthless things (i.e. homework) that you have to do, don't think of them as what they are, think of them as character building. tackle them & tackle them hard. you'll find that it's mostly a mental obstacle, and they'll get easier.

9. let go of emotional stress with family members. it's better to love them fully in sporadic bits, than half-ass it all the time and never feel like you give enough of yourself.

9, part b. set times. instead of 'oh man i'm such a bad daughter' for five solid emotion-wrecking minutes, call them and say, 'HI MOM i only have 5 minutes just wanted to say i love you!" and get off the phone in 4 minutes and 59 seconds.

10. ask god for a job. admit that it's hard for you to work on finding one, and let him tell you exactly how to go about doing it.

11. get visual inspiration. find out what motivates you and inspires you and makes you wish you were better, and SATURATE yourself in it.

12. stick notes, pictures, beautiful things on your walls. this will help push you to move forwards towards more of it.

13. realize that sometimes our bodies need a push to act. drink coffee, do something physical, get in the sun if possible. personally, coffee is responsible for 98% of my productivity.

14. ask for help. every time you start to feel guilty for not being motivated, ask god for help. he loves you, and he. will. help. realize that everyone took help to get to where they are.

15. pay close attention to the music you listen to. get rid of emotionally draining/down beat music for a week and listen to music with pushed drum beats and energy.

16. goals. make them. write down 5 big things you want to accomplish in april. write down 2 minor things you want to accomplish every week in april. and pick certain hours & days to work on each goal.

17. to do lists. use, or make physical to do lists and hang them on your bedroom wall. keep a little booklet of things to do, ideas, inspiration, thoughts, plans in your back pocket.

18. document your progress. tackle things one at a time. want to make progress in music? realize that you're building a resume, and document your life in the world of music. write down everything you played that day. blog what you wrote. talk to yourself and to the internet about what you listened to today that added talent to your internal repertoire and understanding of music theory, structure, skill, feel, agility, and experience. hate that you can't remember the circle of fifths, the correct fingering for two-octave scales, or how to play augmented scales or transpose songs written in minor keys? write those things down, and tackle one every week. too often we make progress and don't see it because we aren't documenting it.

19. talk to people who motivate you. want to get up and do something, but realize you won't on your own? have a person that will give you a 30 second pep talk on the phone or gchat and push you just hard enough to actually MAKE you start.

20. get organized. you don't have to spend a week cleaning your living space from floor to ceiling, but it's worth blocking off a solid 2 hours to organize the hell out of your desk and throw away things you don't need. they've done extensive studies on kids showing that their emotional and intellectual clarity reflects the organization and cleanliness of the space they are in. suck it up and do it.

21. be patient. give yourself grace, and know that when you move slowly it is okay. it's a balance, and moving slowly means you've got half of it down, and just have to work on the other half.

Also, reading this might help you! I wrote it awhile ago: + Life Lessons: What I Learned In The First 22 Years +


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Ari said...

oooo I love this list! It's so easy to get bogged down day after day. One thing I love to do is to ask God for permission to do things. It helps me sort out what is truly important and what I've built up to be a major big deal in my head. Don't give up! Life gets better and better :)

Laken said...

Seriously great post.. Just what I needed to read :)

Heidi said...

Such a great post. And rather ironic that I'm reading it instead of writing my papers.

Hmm... I think I need to print out 1-21 and take a hard look at them. And me.

Heidi said...

Also, something I just thought of... when I make to-do lists, it helps me focus, but generally I get too ambitious and put more on the list than I know I can physically do. I think "Oh, I've been meaning to do that, too," and at that thing to the list, rather than focusing on what is necessary and important. And then I beat myself up for not finishing everything. (Stupid, huh?)

Anonymous said...

I made 1-3 my facebook status (& credited you, no worries). I just love that. It's so true. :)

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