Motivation is a sly, elusive little scoundrel.
Sometimes I get it in big spurts, and suddenly I find myself completing 100 different tasks I didn’t even realize needed doing… and the world seems like this really manageable place where anything can be achieved with enough elbow grease and a positive attitude.
But other times, motivation is like an endangered species that I have to go searching through forests and jungles to locate. And I hack my way through this proverbial wilderness with increasing frustration – I just know it must be here somewhere. The other day I cleaned out the fridge and color-coded my entire closet in the same hour; why is it that today the only achievement I can manage is replacing the empty toilet paper roll?
On days like this, when there is something that really needs to get done but I lack the motivation to do it, I try to reason with myself with simple, ironclad logic:
I should really do the thing.
- This is a good thing to do. There are a lot of tangible benefits to doing the thing. If I do it, I will see real, immediate results. My life, and possibly the lives of those around me will be improved. Doing the thing will provide instant gratification.
- There are no potential negative results to doing the thing. I am not taking any particular risk. No one is in danger as a result of doing the thing.
- The thing is not hard – in fact it is very easy. It does not require copious amounts of time, energy, or effort. I will not exert myself by doing the thing, and it will not inhibit my ability to do any of the other things I really want to do.
- There are no obstacles in the way of me doing the thing. I have all of the necessary supplies. The required resources are all available to me.
- I have nothing better to do than the thing. This time has not been otherwise accounted for.
- I don’t want to be the kind of person who doesn’t do the thing. Those people are pathetic. People who can’t muster up enough energy to complete the thing lack drive. Those people are going to end up flipping burgers and living out of their parents’ basement or something. I don’t want to be known as that girl who doesn’t do the thing.
- Perhaps most importantly, once I do the thing, the thing will be done. Then I won’t have to think about it anymore. Then it won’t be weighing down on me. It will be one less item on my To Do list, and I will feel accomplished and capable. Then maybe it will be easier to tackle the rest of the things.
…So anyway yeah, I should definitely, totally, no-doubt-about-it do the thing. I have absolutely zero excuse not to be doing it right now.
And yet, I still don’t do the thing. Because trying to drum up motivation with logic is like trying to hammer a nail with a banana.
Right now the thing is laundry. And I am extremely unmotivated to go do it. So instead I wrote a blog post about having a lack of motivation. Which is… still… productive… kinda… so that makes it okay. Right?