Do you have that one person that, no matter how much time has passed, you can connect with as though it had been mere hours since your last conversation, not the months it had been?
I have quite a few people like that, all of whom I connect with on different levels and for various things.
Yesterday was a day that renewed my motivation for writing to you. It started with a delicious latte, a gingerbread cookie, and meeting a good friend who I went to college with. We don’t see each other very often, and our lives have taken us in different directions. She focuses on research; I focus on information architecture. She works on educational systems; I put my focus into healthcare. Our audiences are different, but our careers are intertwined.
I asked her what motivates her. I asked her what gets her writing on a daily basis, and what gets her sharing her brilliant mind with the world.
There are two types of motivation: Intrinsic Motivation and Extrinsic Motivation.
Extrinsic motivation is the most common form, and it often leads to burnout. Those New Years Resolutions you plan? Those tend to be based around extrinsic motivators.
Look back at your resolutions. Why are you doing them? Some of the most common examples include:
- More money; this buys happiness and status, right?
- Being thinner; most of us compare ourselves to our friends and those photoshopped models in magazines
- Flaunting your ability to do something difficult – such as waking up early in the morning; not everyone can do this and surely they end up scrambling through their days trying to get everything done!
All of these are external things that others can see and weigh. You are pushing yourself to prove something, not because it makes you feel good.
Intrinsic motivation is what becomes sustainable and enjoyable. I draw because I love the feeling I get from creating something new, not because I’m building my portfolio. I want to blog because I want to be able to feed my need for social interaction, not because I want to post x number of times in a month.
Some other common examples of intrinsic motivation include:
- Curiosity; I want to learn more about women in technology and how I can make a difference in my own little way
- Independence; I don’t want to ask for help… I want to do the things I love to do without needing to ask for help
- Acceptance; I want my co-workers to accept me for me, because I am an awesome person and I am happy with where I am in my life
So where am I at?
In looking back on my conversation with my friend, I realize that extrinsic motivators were creating most of my goals… and that was why I was unable to keep up with them. I would look at my bullet journal each morning and sigh with frustration when I couldn’t check off my habit tracker for the days before. I was burning out and only two months had gone by this year.
- Why am I blogging?
- Why do I want to open my own Etsy store?
- What benefits do I gain from losing weight and getting myself on an exercise plan?
These are the questions I began asking myself. This coming month is my time for self-reflection. 2017 is going to be a year of change and improvement for me but it’s going to be as such because I am inspired to change for myself, not for others.
What motivates you? How are your New Years Resolutions going? Are they failing or are you rocking 2017 right from the start? I would love to learn about your thoughts around what motivates and inspires you!