12 Jun

Well once again I come to my #blogjune writing late late at night. I’ve fallen behind in the daily target and hence am considering what could motivate me more in future.
The most obvious motivator is setting yourself something to do that you enjoy. Once you want to do something it’s more about external factors such as money or time that you have to contend with to fulfill your goal.
However it’s more likely that I seek motivation for things that might be good for me, stretch me, break a habit – and so although future Ruth wants me to be the sort of person who has taken on such challenges, present Ruth isn’t really motivated; it’s internal obstacles I need to get past to tick off these achievements.
So send me any motivators you use in the comments please. All ideas gratefully read.
Motivators: rewards for achievements

I currently offer myself this in a couple of ways.

The old fashioned To Do list certainly connects with some part of my brain so that ticking completed items off feels like I have gained something of value. I use the online app Wunderlist, because it offers me an automated list format, unlimited number of lists for free, and syncing across my phone/computer/iPad. The lists are easy to reorder or search, allowing the feeling that I retain autonomy over which I choose to do, and am not locked into previous prioritizing.

If merely ticking something off one of my lists is not enough – I have a fabulous paper sheet divided in half. One side says Things I need to do and the other side says Things I want to do. So for each thing I tick off on the left, I get the reward of doing something on the right.

If that sounds childish, it is; but fun is often targeted as childish as you get older unfortunately. Which leads me to another reward: gamifying your to do list. I like earning magic potions for my daily workload or habit changing attempts with the app Habitica.

Using this app you enter your own To Do list, habits you want to encourage or change, and daily requirements. Every time you tick one you get points depending on the difficulty level. Certain points offer you prizes, increase your health or move you to the next level. Gasification isn’t for everyone, but for those it does work for (like myself) it’s a fun and hence positive motivator for unrelated tasks.

Another motivator I have is to discuss what I am going to do, and how, with friends and colleagues. It makes the task more real, and having told someone else’s  going to do it I am far more likely to push myself to follow through on it.

I do have to be a little careful with this ‘telling others’ motivator though. One deeply ingrained motivator I have that I’m trying to undo, was to tell myself off if I didn’t do something on my internal to do list. It initially seems to work, however for myself, it sets up a dangerous good/bad self view, and can lead to internal lectures way out of proportion for whatever the task was, leaving me feeling too flat to actually do that, or indeed other stuff.

So I’m learning to be kind to myself, worry less about what’s not been achieved in the past and focus more on what can be achieved in the present, wasting less time on what cannot be changed and reserving my energies for positive directions.
So tonight I’m not going to go back and make up a blog post for the days I missed. I’m just going to accept it, decide it doesn’t matter and focus on ideas for blog posts in the future.


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