Emily M. DeArdo


Summer Scribbles: Seeking Motivation

essaysEmily DeArdo2 Comments

I am a hard person to motivate. 

Well, wait. Let me rephrase that. 

I'm a hard person to motivate--sometimes. 

I'm not a hard person to motivate when it comes to doing things for other people. If the essay needed written for school, it got written. If I have to be at the doctor's office, I'm going to get up early and be there on time. If I have to go to a class, I'll be there. I'm good at being held accountable in exterior ways. If someone is depending on me, or needs me to be somewhere, I'll be there, and I'll do it. 

I am very bad at self-motivation. 

If you've read Better than Before, by Gretchen Rubin (and if you haven't, get on it), then you realize that I'm an Obliger. 

Rubin writes about how there are four tendencies--everyone is one of them. You're either an upholder, a rebel, a questioner, or an obliger. To determine what you are, you can take this quiz. But it basically boils down to how you respond to interior and exterior expectations. 

An Obliger, which I am, "Meets outer expectations but struggles to meet expectations they impose on themselves." 

So, it's hard for me to do things without accountability. Exercising and diet is a huge area where this is true. If I had someone to go to the gym with, or to go to class with me, or even someone I lived with to cook with and for, that would be a huge help when it comes to meeting the nutrition and exercise goals I've set--because I'd be responsible to someone else. 

One of the ways I work around this is by using my Powersheets--I have my tending list for the month, which has all my goals broken into monthly, weekly, and daily sections. I schedule my Barre 3 classes ahead of time, so they're in my calendar, and if I don't go, then I lose money. I have "meal planning" as one of my weekly goals. And yes, as sad as it may seem, I do get a thrill when I can check off the boxes indicating I've done these things. 

But it's much, much easier for me to get off track with what I know I should do if I don't have an external motivator or someone/something to keep me accountable for what I do. Or don't do, as the case may be. 

I also have an avoidance policy on things I'm not good at, like math. I probably, intellectually, could've done fine in Math. But I hated it, because I wasn't automatically good at it, and a lot of it just didn't make sense to me.  I'm that way with exercise--fi I don't get it pretty quickly, then I tend to give up and feel like a failure. I'm trying to get through that with my barre classes, and I have found that, as you would expect, the more I do it, the better I get at it. I'm just not a person that likes doing things that I don't have a natural affinity for, which probably makes me like most of humanity. 

I have some friends that I talk about nutrition and exercise with, and they do a good job keeping me motivated to keep trying. So they're my external accountability, for the moment. 

But I'm still looking for that fail-proof motivational tool. I'm guessing, sadly, it doesn't exist. 

What sort of temperament do you have? 

How do you motivate yourself to do things that you know you should do, but you don't necessarily want to do?