Last week, a friend asked me the following question.
What motivates and inspires you?
Not long ago, I would have had a hard time giving her an answer. Motivation? Inspiration? What is that? I had no idea how to set and accomplish goals, and obstacles always seemed to take center stage in my mind. Now, my outlook is completely different. I see inspiration everywhere, and I know exactly what motivates me.
I'll save the inspiration part for another day. Today, I'm going to talk about motivation (well, at least one piece of the motivation puzzle) because it ties into the 2013 WordCount Blogathon, which officially wrapped up yesterday.
I've learned that I am very motivated by participating in challenges that have set times frames, specific guidelines and other people to whom I am accountable. I am very much a by-the-book type of person so it seems natural that I would be into this sort of thing. Why did it take me so long to figure this out? I probably knew it on some level, but learning to identify this trait was (obviously) a completely different thing.
I think I started to clue into this the first time I participated in the paleo meltdown at my gym, which was in the fall of 2010. I've participated twice since then (and last fall I was even the overall winner!), and it never fails to have some sort of significant impact on me. I like living within the strict parameters outlined in the program. I like knowing that there is a time frame, rules and prizes. I like knowing that if I stray from said rules, I will be disappointed in myself when it is over. Sure, I have to give up coffee and stay away from wine and dark chocolate and other treats for six weeks, but it is so worth it in end and leaves me with a major sense of accomplishment.
Same goes for the blogathon. I actually hesitated to register, because I knew that if I signed up I would be accountable. That scared me! I finally stopped mulling it over and filled out the form. I knew that if I failed to do what I said I would do I would not be eligible for prizes and I would not be able to display the "I did it" badge on my blog. That, to me, would be failure. I did not want to fail. I refused to fail. So I did it. The thing is, I know that had I made the commitment to just myself rather than the entire blogathon group it would not have happened. I need the structure these group challenges provide, and I like doing them because I learn and grow and am able to do this within the confines of a format that is productive for me.
Now, I'm on the lookout for other challenges that I can sign on for in the coming months. Challenges that will help me grow as an individual, help me become a better wife and mother and/or help me hone my writing skills. Maybe Sledgehammer? Or possibly Nanowrimo?
Where do you find your motivation?