I stare at my outline in the fog covered mirror. Water beads streak over my reflection as I swipe my hand across the vanity. I catch my own eye. With my glare, I attempt to will myself into submission—to do those things I’ve avoided doing. I sigh. My reflection steams up again.
Consider this blog post me looking in the mirror, giving myself a pep-talk. Kind of like in Cool Runnings when Yul makes Junior yell, “I see pride! I see power! I see a bad-ass mother who don’t take no crap off of nobody!”
Most of this last year I have not held up my end of the bargain for my writing goals. I started out strong, but when I packed up my office and began working from home in March, it all went downhill. My motivation to write, create, work on my projects and care for myself still comes in small waves. I’ll have days where I feel pretty positive, like we’re going to come out on the other side of this pandemic-mess ok. Then I have other days where I worry about stockpiling food and mapping out a route to a safer place.
The problem is, I really don’t think I am going to be successful with my goals surviving off spurts of motivation. I can tell you it definitely hasn’t helped my health goals. I’ve stayed pretty consistent in NOT getting healthier. (And I don’t mean weight. I mean health.) I am learning that consistency with goals is more important than motivation. Of course, put the two together and we could all be the next best-selling authors.
So how does one remain consistent in completing their goals?
I don’t know. This is my pep-talk remember?
Ok. Ok. I have picked up on a few tips from my day job as an Academic Advisor coaching students in student success. Implementing these is a bit trickier than knowing them. That being said, I do believe these are effective:
Pick a time, stick to it.
I’ve tried mornings. I’ve tried cutting my lunch break walk short. I’ve tried evenings. What works for me is as soon as my kids are in bed, no later than 8 p.m., I get to work. I commit to at least one hour. A person can do a lot in that amount of time. Sometimes I choose to work longer.
Set a timer for 15 minutes
Have you heard of FlyLady? I couldn’t really stick to her rigorous cleaning schedule, but I learned one very important thing from her. “You can do anything for 15 minutes.” I use this in more than just writing/projects. If there is something I’m dreading, I set my timer and get to work. At the end of the timer, I can stop if I want. But often I keep going. This comes in handy on hard-to-focus days, where all I want to do is drown my sorrows in Outlander. I tell myself, just 15 minutes. That is easier to swallow than an hour. And if on those days I truly do need a break, 15 minutes is sufficient.
Put it on your calendar
If you need some longer spurts of time than just an hour each day, pencil in a day or more each month of a work-on-projects-a-thon. This was easier for me to do pre-covid when sitting at coffee shops was still legal. Now I have to lock myself in a bedroom which I already do five days a week for my day job. But wherever you fancy to work on projects, just put it on your calendar and stick with it.
Find someone reliable to check in with you to see if you’ve worked toward your goal. It’s motivating to think about having to fess up about not doing what you should be doing.
Turn off all distractions
When it’s time to work, put your cell phone in a different room. Or get one of those apps that locks you out of your phone for a certain amount of time. Log out of all your social media accounts. Turn off the T.V., your kids and spouse.
At the end of the day if all these fail, you can always yell at yourself in the mirror.
“YOU HAVE PRIDE. YOU HAVE POWER. YOU ARE A BAD ASS MOTHER WHO’S GONNA WRITE THAT BOOK. DAMN IT!”
P.S. I accomplished one writing goal recently! I published my first [small] book of meditations. Check it out here: “25 Imaginative Meditations to Spark Creativity”.