It took me a long time to get to the place where I can admit this without shame: I am a lazy person. Getting motivated and staying motivated is easily my biggest challenge (anybody there with me?). I have tried so (so so so so) many of the “motivational strategies,” but none of them ever seem to stick long term for me. The sirens call of my couch is like really strong.
I know what you’re thinking, “yea, Melissa…couches are wonderful, but can you get to the point?” (I’m getting there I promise).
My point is this: any strategy that you use to motivate yourself has to be tailor fit to you as a person, because all of our brains work a little different. It has seriously taken me all 30 years of my life to figure that out.
When it comes into creating new habits for myself there are a few things that are crucial in making them stick: consistency, accountability, and starting right now.
If you want a habit to truly become a habit it has to feel like second nature, that’s where consistencycomes in. In the first few weeks of a new endeavor I have to give myself a no-way-out-clause. There is no such thing as “I don’t feel like it.” I know thats strange coming from me, because I’m typically pretty outspoken about doing what feels right.
But here’s the catch: it’s not about what feels right or wrong; it’s about comfort versus discomfort. New habits are ALWAYS going to feel uncomfortable. While you’re creating a new habit you’re usually getting rid of an old one, and I don’t care who you are that shit is hard.
I feel like this segues nicely into my next point: accountability. I always (always always) work better with a buddy. If I’m going it alone the probability that my motivation will crack is exponentially increased.
I’ve tried charts & goal setting & reward systems, but nothing (and I mean nothing) works better than a real live person to pump you up, pester you, and call you out on your shit. Unlike a reminder on google calendar, you can’t just dismiss your friend or tell them to “remind you later.” Well, I mean, you can…but I can’t guarantee a positive outcome.
Last, but really definitely not least, is starting right now. I’m pretty much the grand poobah of “I’ll get to that tomorrow” but the dirty secret is that I very rarely “get to it.” Usually Tomorrow Melissa is too annoyed at Yesterday Melissa for procrastinating to get anything done.
There is literally no better day than today and no better time than right now. So let’s quit it with the “I’ll start next month/week/tomorrow” or “I’m going to wait until after XYZ is accomplished/over” (I’m talking to myself here too).
Let’s all start right now.