Uncategorized

Motivation in the Strangest Places

The last few weeks have not been easy. I’ve been trying to carry myself further than before, but kept finding myself distracted or down right depressed. Things are at last coming to an upswing, but even while I wasn’t doing my absolute best, I did get to find some fresh motivation.

Netflix, the bane of so many of our existences, the bringer of binge watching, the commercial free Satan to my weekends. Oh, Netflix, how I hate to love you. Obviously during my off weeks I visit that dark screen more often than I should. Usually this results in hours of Gilmore Girls, New Girl, or any other show with a female lead that makes me smile. Lately it hasn’t quite been the case. Something about summer nights makes me crave movies. Which leaves me with half hearted attempts at whatever else Netflix thinks I should put on and I don’t know about you guys lately, but my screen has been filled with two topics – food and climate change.

(more…)

Making Excellence Routine

1s2xpo

Often credited to Aristotle this quote was written by Will Durant in The Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the World’s Greatest Philosophers when he analyzed an excerpt from Aristotle. Check it out here!

 

I read this for the first time in the exploration of a friends house. Simple words, hanging on the wall. I didn’t understand them then. They seemed silly, when I thought of all the feats I wanted to accomplish. Those words still hang there and it surprised me that they came to me while writing this blog. Except, it makes so much sense. I wish I could go back to fourteen year old me, sit her down, and have a long talk about that quote. I may have been a lot further along in my life than I am now.

(more…)

A Little Tough Love

Let’s start off with a fun fact that might surprise you guys. As much as I preach the self love, I myself come from a pretty conservative, right winged, military family. In fact, I’m kind of the freak in my liberal, “hippie” ways. All that really means is that it is a constant training practice for me to not immediately shout “SUCK IT UP, PANSY” to myself and anyone else when they are hurt/sad/sensitive.

While I think this has some draw backs (an ineffective habit of self abusing thoughts) it also has some serious pros. Number one, I am always, involuntarily a complete fucking bad ass. Of course if you ask my mom she might mention something about how I’m a huge baby, but after that she will admit all of her kids are pretty Arnold Schwarzenegger-esq. In my family we don’t get sick, and if by some means we do, we drink water and then we’re fine. We also firmly believe, unless it’s bleeding you’re fine. Actually unless it’s bleeding a lot you’re fine. And anything can be accomplished if you just suck it up and do it.

image

Treat life like a god damn pickle jar. (Free img from pixaby)

Now I do recognize that some of these mottos don’t really take mental health into account, trust me, I do. The thing is they provide me with enough strength to get moving often. They also can give a seriously handy sense of confidence. I mean, growing up in my family the “fun” thing to do was to have push up contests. I still find that fun. That right there proves I may be a badass, and really fucking good at push ups.

With that little interlude of competitive, intense Cara, let’s move on to talk about the real business. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and get your life moving. How? Let me give you an example.

For some sick reason (see family history above) last year I decided to give up naps for Lent. I’m not religious, at all. Just the idea of removing one of my major loves of my life and seeing how insane it could make me really intrigued me. Did I mention I’m sick? This year, I gave up Facebook. Now for some of you neither of those things may really mean anything. You need to understand. I LOVE naps, sleeping in, and sleep of all sorts. Facebook, is just a way to make your brain sleep for hours without actually sleeping. Facebook also feeds my nosing around addiction. Sleep feeds my shutting off from the world because I’m sad addiction. Both of these things were perceived as necessary to life for me. Imagine coffee, or chocolate, or oxygen being removed from your life. Sounds terrible, right? Yeah. It is.

Now I am about half way through this hell, for the second time in my life. Every day I am desperate to curl up and just stare at facebook for hours. You have no idea how much I’ve gotten done in the last few weeks, which is completely exahausting. I just want to turn off my brain. Every day I dont. Every single day I suck it up, and keep going. I mean yeah, I whine profusely about it. Still, I get shit done. Why? Because I know it’s good for me. Because I know I need to do it. Because absolutely nothing feels better than getting shit done. That sense of accomplishment? That feeling of pride? Brings me back to ruthlessly destroying my older brother in spelling, feeling like a Boss.

This is not always the route to go with yourself. Balance is necessary. I repeat though, BALANCE IS NECESSARY. We can’t always go through our days letting life slide by, shrugging things off because “it just isn’t time”. Yes, we need to be kind to ourselves. No, I don’t berate myself when I screw up. Yes, we need to take initiative. We need to try. We need to test our limits and see just how much further out of our comfort zones we can go today!

How does that saying go? “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” I know that we have built our walls of excuses and defined ourselves into a simple, labeled box. The world is still out there, though. Waiting for you to open up to so much more. Most days I don’t feel like I am blossoming. Blossoming sounds elegant and beautiful. No, I feel like I am prying off layers, like I am ripping down my self. Most of the time I feel like I am standing bare, getting whipped up in a storm and barely making it out alive.

Still, I pry and pull and shred. You only have one wild life to live. Take it. Wake up. Suck it up, buttercup and fucking LIVE. Challenge yourself. Not every day. Hell no. We all need breaks and to rest. But challenge yourself. Pick something and attack it. Change your lifestyle. Make it count, NOW. Because tomorrow is not yours, stop pretending it is. We have nothing in this mad house except for our choices, except for our moments.

Give up a bad habit. Stick to it, at least for 46 days. It isn’t impossible, and you won’t regret it. Just think, if you don’t, if you just keep doing the same thing every day even though you hate it, what the hell are you doing with your life?

Get on it.

They say the Key to a good relationship is Listening

Last week I asked you to do one thing. Find your Love. Think about it, sit with it, write it down. I hope you did. If not, it’s okay. The great thing about your life is it’s yours, and if then wasn’t the right moment, make Now the right moment. I mean, you’re sitting here reading this. In the time it could take you to finish this post, you could have a whole new life goal determined. You could be so invigorated with motivation you march right off this screen and into life. In that case, hell yes! Keep it moving, sweet being!

If you’re not feeling quite so fiesty, that’s all good. You’ve come to the right place.
We still have some things to work on, anyways.

Do you have your Love yet? Is it snuggled up besides you, lazily asking you just what do you expect it to do? Good. That means you found one with some tude, and those are the best. Before we go any further I need you to look at this Love of yours. Stare this passion down. Wiggle it in your fingers, lift it above your head. Throw it against the wall, roll it down the stairs. Wrestle this Love. Then hold this Love. Listen to it, ask it if it’s okay. Tell it a terrible joke, see if it laughs. Make sure this Love is YOUR LOVE.

See, for a long time I thought I had met my Love. I brought it everywhere with me. Pulled it out at parties, showed it off saying “see this, this is what I’m going to do.” People would ooh and aah or snort. It didn’t matter. My Love and I were tight, and I told myself it would stay that way. I was pretty sure my Love was the one for me. I had picked it, I hadn’t let anybody tell me which one was best. It had to be true, right?

Wrong. Somewhere I had gotten my Love and my Goals mixed up. Now, Goals are cool and all. Very useful for making plans. Except my Goals kept popping in my life, snickering at how little I was getting done, always poking fun at me. Here I was thinking my Goals were my Love and I couldn’t understand why they kept treating me so wrong. Eventually we broke up, and then I just hung around. No Goals, no Love, just lost.

Until one day I was feeling sulky, and I started writing about all the things I wanted. I wrote a couple of different lists, a couple of different times. Things like a functioning car, all of the cats, endless money, some new jeans popped up. They seemed important, especially the cats. Only they were always at the end of my list. Things like, a job I love, making sure my friends and family know I love them, completing my bucket list. Those stayed on the top. Again and again. Slowly I started to see my life, to have a haphazard idea of the “important stuff”. Not your typical important stuff, not someone else’s idea of success. My own strange, vague stuff. Then I got to writing about that, and then I figured it out. This weird idea is my Love.

What is my Love? Well, it’s hard to explain, and I feel silly telling people about it. But I think an example is necessary. My Love is to live my life seeking out all of the love. I want to do the things I love and I want to love the things I do. I want to give up bad habits that break me from the beauty of life, I want to commit to the good habits, to the things that make me happy like a wolf brutally on the hunt. I want to wake up and when I am sad, cry and when I am happy, cry. I want to move mountains with this illogical passion that I have spent so many years burying in fear. I want to give myself to the world, completely.

I wasn’t lying when I said it didn’t make sense. I know it’s stupid simple. Isn’t there some cheesy line about the truth being like that? And I will tell you, after figuring this out, it’s been a helluva lot easier to get out of bed in the morning.

This wasn’t what I meant to type in this post. Still, I think it’s the right thing. A life passion isn’t something to take lightly (not all the time, at least). As much as you may feel ready to jump at the throat of life and take it down, maybe you should take just one more minute of self relfection. The knitty gritty will still be waiting tomorrow. Your Lovd deserves a little more of your attention. It is, after all, the most important stuff.

All the ways to Love

Last week I asked you to do one thing. Find your Love. Think about it, sit with it, write it down. I hope you did. If not, it’s okay. The great thing about your life is it’s yours, and if then wasn’t the right moment, make Now the right moment. I mean, you’re sitting here reading this. In the time it could take you to finish this post, you could have a whole new life goal determined. You could be so invigorated with motivation you march right off this screen and into life. In that case, hell yes! Keep it moving, sweet being!

If you’re not feeling quite so fiesty, that’s all good. You’ve come to the right place.
We still have some things to work on, anyways.

Do you have your Love yet? Is it snuggled up besides you, lazily asking you just what do you expect it to do? Good. That means you found one with some tude, and those are the best. Before we go any further I need you to look at this Love of yours. Stare this passion down. Wiggle it in your fingers, lift it above your head. Throw it against the wall, roll it down the stairs. Wrestle this Love. Then hold this Love. Listen to it, ask it if it’s okay. Tell it a terrible joke, see if it laughs. Make sure this Love is YOUR LOVE.

See, for a long time I thought I had met my Love. I brought it everywhere with me. Pulled it out at parties, showed it off saying “see this, this is what I’m going to do.” People would ooh and aah or snort. It didn’t matter. My Love and I were tight, and I told myself it would stay that way. I was pretty sure my Love was the one for me. I had picked it, I hadn’t let anybody tell me which one was best. It had to be true, right?

Wrong. Somewhere I had gotten my Love and my Goals mixed up. Now, Goals are cool and all. Very useful for making plans. Except my Goals kept popping in my life, snickering at how little I was getting done, always poking fun at me. Here I was thinking my Goals were my Love and I couldn’t understand why they kept treating me so wrong. Eventually we broke up, and then I just hung around. No Goals, no Love, just lost.

Until one day I was feeling sulky, and I started writing about all the things I wanted. I wrote a couple of different lists, a couple of different times. Things like a functioning car, all of the cats, endless money, some new jeans popped up. They seemed important, especially the cats. Only they were always at the end of my list. Things like, a job I love, making sure my friends and family know I love them, completing my bucket list. Those stayed on the top. Again and again. Slowly I started to see my life, to have a haphazard idea of the “important stuff”. Not your typical important stuff, not someone else’s idea of success. My own strange, vague stuff. Then I got to writing about that, and then I figured it out. This weird idea is my Love.

What is my Love? Well, it’s hard to explain, and I feel silly telling people about it. But I think an example is necessary. My Love is to live my life seeking out all of the love. I want to do the things I love and I want to love the things I do. I want to give up bad habits that break me from the beauty of life, I want to commit to the good habits, to the things that make me happy like a wolf brutally on the hunt. I want to wake up and when I am sad, cry and when I am happy, cry. I want to move mountains with this illogical passion that I have spent so many years burying in fear. I want to give myself to the world, completely.

I wasn’t lying when I said it didn’t make sense. I know it’s stupid simple. Isn’t there some cheesy line about the truth being like that? And I will tell you, after figuring this out, it’s been a helluva lot easier to get out of bed in the morning.

This wasn’t what I meant to type in this post. Still, I think it’s the right thing. A life passion isn’t something to take lightly (not all the time, at least). As much as you may feel ready to jump at the throat of life and take it down, maybe you should take just one more minute of self relfection. The knitty gritty will still be waiting tomorrow. Your Lovd deserves a little more of your attention. It is, after all, the most important stuff.

If at first you don’t Succeed ask yourself – Why?

What makes the difference between those of us who will procrastinate until we can’t function and the people who tackle obstacles for fun? Were they born with some super gene that keeps them going? Do they have access to some illegal energy drink that we don’t?

This guy's trying to figure it out too.

This guy’s trying to figure it out too.

I can’t vouch for the entire population but there is one factor that psychologists have pin pointed. A difference between the go getters and do-it-laterers. Why we are motivated. Why do you want to go to the gym? What is the point in eating healthy? Why are you waking up early? Are you doing these things to avoid something? To gain something? Then you are being extrinsically motivated. Extrinsic motivation is carrots and sticks, rewards and punishments. It is an outside force motivating you. Those super powered beings? They are generated by intrinsic motivation, the desire to do something because they want to. It is motivation generated from the motivatee. Here’s an example; why am I writing this article? Am I writing it because I want to be a famous blogger or am I writing it because I enjoy it? If I’m writing it to be famous that’s an extrinsic motivator. Because extrinsic motivators can be intangible, like receiving praise or recognition, or avoiding shame. If I’m writing it because I enjoy it then I’m intrinsically motivated.

Now a lot of us have been convinced that rewards and punishments are always the way to motivate someone but this is not true. Extrinsic motivation can sometimes help but really once you put a price on something it loses that inner reward. Once you lose that inner reward well, no bribe or threat can really replace it. Intrinsic motivation gives us that push that even money can’t. Now after I learned about extrinsic and intrinsic motivation I kind of started to freak out. Everything I did was extrinsically motivated. I tried to read certain books to seem smarter. I went to the gym because I didn’t want to get fat. I worked my job because that’s just what grown-ups do. Everything I did was done because that’s what grown-ups do.

Then it dawned on me. Screw being a societal grown up. Screw doing anything because that’s “what you’re supposed to do”. I’d rather talk about magic than politics. Running around playing tag is always more fun than on a treadmill. Working a million jobs to avoid working one job I hate is worth it. I don’t care if I look like a responsible adult. Everything I did was extrinsically motivated because I had taken all of my intrinsic motivation and shut it down. My little spark was dying. My spark of curiosity and challenge, of passion and awe. I had allowed other people and outside ideas to determine what I should do. When I couldn’t force myself into that image, I felt inadequate. The thing is, I was never inadequate, I just had to actually be me.

When you’re trying to motivate yourself to do something, stop. Ask yourself; why am I doing this? Is this something I want? Do I enjoy this? Are these actions reaching towards a goal I made? Take the time to listen to your brain, instead of always stuffing it with more nonsense. Put down the so under ground it’s cool interest. Walk away from the images of what other people have told you to be. Find your little spark, and then make it a fire. Delve into the things you love and you will find yourself burning up with motivation. Keep that childlike wonder in everything you do. Turn to the challenges that you want to win. Chase after the things you are passionate about. Curiosity will take you farther than any candy bar could.

Whether your spark reaches for fantasy books, ultimate frisbee, knitting, or even world domination just go with it. And tell me about it! I would love to hear about your crazy dreams or geeky interests. I would especially love to hear how you feel about this post so let me know!

Coming Home

Trying to accomplish any goal is frightening. You’re nervous and people will tell you why you can’t do it. It’s strange and new and there is a serious possibility of failure. Then people will swell around you with support, or you just make the leap on your own. You go forward and try. Negativity falls away and you find yourself chasing dreams you never thought you could.

Then something happens, and you find yourself failing. Quietly your great ideas start to disappear and motivation is squandered. You stop following your diet, you don’t sign up for that class, you stop writing. Until you let it die, plagued with your shame. That failure lurks in the back of your mind. All those negative things people said thundering in your thoughts. Trying something new is frightening. Going back to try again is paralyzing. Because you did fail. Those people were right. You really couldn’t do it. Each time you try to push yourself closer to taking the leap again you find yourself further and further back. Failure looming in front of you, you quit and keep on quitting.

Dreams though, are not so easily deterred. You might have hid it in the back of your mind, buried it in excuses and shame. You thought it was dead, never coming back because it hurt so bad. It’s still there. Creeping along in the corners, whispering quietly into your thoughts. Until you find yourself toying with it again. Planning for it again. Obsessing over it again. And it’s all you can see, shadowed by the fear, shame, and guilt of your failure but refusing to leave you alone. You can’t get it out of your head. So you begin to take the leap, again.

This post is my leap. I am not a great writer. I am not a good blogger. I am not very motivated. But I can not allow myself to stop just because I couldn’t do it once. A dream is there for a reason. It’s the instinct of your soul, the reality of your purpose. Stuffing it down and hiding it only makes this life one we aren’t living. Maybe your dream is more insane than others. Maybe everyone says you can’t. None of that matters. Attack what you love, stop wasting time being afraid.

I ran away from this blog after I stopped posting. I was ashamed, and I didn’t want to post again and bring that shame to light. But I realize this blog isn’t about research and experiments for me. It’s sharing my experiences with you. It’s talking about what it really means to try to accomplish your goals. This blog is the real struggles on being motivated and what I’m doing to overcome them. And in my own personal experiences I hope you find a connection. I don’t want to feel alone in trying to do something everyone says is crazy. I don’t want anyone to feel alone in that. So I’m back. Stay tuned for all of the insane, overwhelming, I really-don’t-want-to-do-it steps to hopefully, one day, aquire my own dreams. I hope you’ll share your same with me.