Finding my motivation…

I established yesterday that making concrete plans is not my thing.  I know I have to do it, but I’m really finding it difficult to start.  I’m having a huge problem finding motivation to do anything lately…including work.  What I want to to do is go lay in a lounge chair in the backyard and read a book.  But with an ever-growing to-do list, laying in the yard is just not an option.

Being so overwhelmed is draining my motivation even further, so last night I sat down and gave it some thought and I came up with a list of very specific goals that I would like to achieve before the end of this year.  After I came up with my list of goals, I planned to take each one and break it down further into smaller, shorter term goals.

Except, what I ended up doing was watching the GOP debates and yelling at the TV.  Because I quickly lost my motivation to keep moving forward.

So this morning, I decided to do a little reading on motivation, why we sometimes lose it and what I can do to get mine back.  Here’s what I found out:

Motivation comes from within and is based on our emotions.  True motivation is not external.  Often, we think our motivation is external, like from a work deadline or an inspirational story.  But the real motivation comes from the emotions these external factors create…like the fear of being fired for missing a deadline.

A lack of motivation can come from a variety of sources including things like depression, anxiety, substance abuse and grief, but also from less serious things like confusion, lack of clarity, boredom, fear, burn-out and being overwhelmed.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that my lack of motivation is likely coming from a few of these sources.  First, there is my fear of getting older and of not accomplishing my goals before it’s too late.  There is my sense of being overwhelmed by the size of my to-do list.  There is a lack of challenge…mostly regarding my work…but there is also a vague sense of boredom with my life in general.  I also feel a bit burnt out…it’s been a really long time since we went away on a vacation.

The good news is that there are things I can do to renew my motivation and get things moving in the right direction.

Being positive and grateful are key.  A bad mood kills all momentum.  If you try hard to be in a good mood and you actively remind yourself of the things you are grateful for, it will help.  To me, this is a fake it ’til you make it kind of thing.  When I’m cranky or tired, I’ve got to plaster a smile on my face until I actually feel better.  Switching, even temporarily, to a task I enjoy more might also help, so I’ll try that.  I’m also going to start keeping my gratitude journal again.  Writing down the things I’m grateful for is a good reminder of just how lucky I am.

Good music can be very motivating…mostly because listening to music you like can put you in a good mood.  Interestingly, I was reading this tip as I was sitting on hold with the IRS.  They play the same annoying 20 seconds of music on a loop and it’s maddening.  Total mood killer.  I counteracted the effects of that music by creating a playlist on Spotify called “Afternoon Pep Rally”.  That’s when my motivation is at its lowest and I really need a pick me up.  I filled it with songs that make me want to get up and dance.  I’ll let you know if it works.

I love presents and treats, so I’m going to create a reward system for myself.  At the end of every week, if I can manage to complete my to-do list for the week, I’m going to reward myself with a pedicure or some new shoes or by going to a movie.  I might also use TV time as a daily treat.  For every day that I am actually productive, I get one episode of my current TV obsession.

Apparently, peer pressure helps…which is why I’m putting this all here for the world to read.

One sports writer suggested developing a pre-game routine.  Before he pitches a baseball game, he runs a lap of the outfield to get his head in the game.  I won’t be pitching any baseball games anytime soon, but I think I need a pre-game routine for my day…something I do each morning to get my head right and make sure I’m up for whatever the day throws at me.  I’m going to work on that over the weekend.

And lastly…I have to remember to tackle just one thing at a time.  My personality often makes me want to do all the things RIGHT NOW!!!  I have to keep reminding myself to just take baby steps.  Eventually I will get to where I want to be.

Now…I’m going to put on my playlist and cover some rubber ducks in silver glitter.  Because nothing is better than glittery ducks.

Happy weekend!

Random Musings Friday…

Happy Friday!!!  This week at work has been insane.  The family I work for is traveling for the holidays and they are leaving tonight.  So we’ve managed to cram everything we usually do the last three weeks of the year into the past four days.  It’s been a pile of laughs and a really good time.  Yesterday I didn’t even get to eat lunch.  Luckily, it’s over today and the next two weeks should be relatively quiet. 

The weekend is also going to be jam-packed with present wrapping, holiday baking, shopping (for myself and for groceries for Christmas Eve dinner), dining out and a Giants’ game…oh, and a snow storm sometime on Sunday.  So it will be a busy weekend, but unlike a busy workweek, it will be all fun stuff.  Also, I’ll be able to nap if I’m tired…unlike at work, where that sort of thing is generally frowned upon. 

I was worried about this post because I thought I’d been too busy to really put together enough stuff.  However, it seems I took notes without even realizing it.  Also, J likes to help out and he gave me something lat night to round out my week.  Read on…

  • After I purchased Sarah McLachlan tickets, Ticketmaster suggested some other shows I might be interested in.  One of them was “An Evening with Captain Sig and the Hillstrand Brothers”.  Now…I’m not sure if you are familiar with the show Deadliest Catch on Discovery…but it’s a big favorite in our house.  For those who don’t know, Captain Sig and the Hillstrands are captains of crab fishing boats in Alaska and the show documents their trials and tribulations.  It’s very entertaining.  I could seriously watch that show for hours…and I have.   But who would want to go watch them on stage, talking about crab fishing?  What are they going to talk about?  It sounds really boring.  And the tickets?  Are $75.  I almost want to go stand outside the theater on the night of the event, just to see if anyone shows up.
  • Last Saturday, I was shopping at the outlets.  There were several Salvation Army people out, ringing their bells and collecting donations.  It seemed that no matter where I went, I couldn’t escape the damn bells.  Then I went over to a different side of the complex and I saw a Salvation Army guy without a bell.  He had a tuba instead.  Which he was playing…badly.  So badly that it made me wish he had a bell.
  • I was watching TV and something came on about Ryan Reynolds and Scarlett Johanssen getting divorced.  J, who was quietly working at his desk piped up with the following “Maybe he should stay away from women who are nuts…but at least this one was an upgrade from Alanis Morissette…she’s a total freak.”  There you have it, Ryan Reynolds…dating advice from J.  I’m sure it will come in handy.
  • I had eggs in the fridge that were close to expiring, so I decided to make brownies last night so the eggs didn’t go to waste.  Upon discovering them in the kitchen, J brought the entire tray into the living room, along with a gallon of milk.  He ate two brownies…and then, in a fully juvenile way, licked the rest of the brownies, so I would not eat any of them and they would be all his.  This didn’t really shock me, because J is well-known for this type of juvenile behavior.  However, this seemed odd to me.  When he came back into the living room, after putting the brownies away, he said “So are you going to blog about that tomorrow?”  Aha…so that’s what it was about.  Despite all his protests to the contrary…J likes being the star of the blog.  And so…I’ve decided to placate him and blog about his childishness. 

There you have it…my week in a nusthell. 

Remember to get all your comments for this week’s 12 days of Christmas presents in before midnight.  I’m going to the post office tomorrow, so I’m going to be drawing the names tonight…at 12:01. 

Next week is going to be a big deal around here…the biggest gifts of the 12 days are coming up and there is a birthday celebration as well. 

Have a great weekend!

Random Musings Friday…

I’ve been getting a lot of complaints about the sporadic way I’ve been posting lately.  To those who have complained…you have been heard and I promise to be better.  As I said the other day…I have big plans for the rest of the month…but more about that later.  For now, here are this week’s random musings…

  • There is a sign on the subway for City University of NY (part of the state university system).  The bottom of the sign says…U might B eligible 4 financial aid.  Really CUNY?  That’s appropriate to put on the sign of an institution of higher learning?  Things like this are the problem with education in this country.  I am frightened for the future.
  • A guy sat across from me on the train the other night…good looking, well dressed.  He got settled in the seat and pulled out a newspaper.  As he read the newspaper he placed his hand firmly over his junk…in sort of a protective gesture.  He would remove it only to turn the page of his paper and then back it would go…right over his junk.  It made me wonder…are some men really so attached to their penises that they have to hold them in public?  I noticed his wedding ring and wondered what his wife would say.  I would kill J if he did that. 
  • The other night J put on “Punkin’ Chunkin'” on I think the Discovery Channel.  At first I thought “Oh, funny idea for a show”…until I realized this wasn’t something done for a show.  It’s like a thing…that these people do…every year.  Yes…teams build these pumpkin throwing contraptions and they compete to see who can throw the farthest.  There are different categories and prizes and all kinds of craziness.  They even have a website.  I find this to be a spectacular waste of time, but apparently other people love it.  For example, one spectator they interviewed said it was her anniversary and when her husband told her he was taking her to Punkin’ Chunkin’ she was super excited.  It seems there was no place else she’d rather be.  I looked at J and told him not to get any ideas.  Because he was totally thinking it. 
  • I was buying a train pass the other day after work.  I put my credit card in and was waiting for it to approve the charge.  As I was waiting, a woman came and walked around me and started trying to put her money into the machine.  I said “Excuse me, but I’m using this right now.”  She looked at me like she’d had no idea I was there.  Seriously?  She continued to stand right at my shoulder until my transaction was complete.  People are so odd sometimes.

That’s it for this week’s musings.  Now…on to more important things. 

I’ve mentioned before that I love Christmas, right?  Well…starting on Monday, I’m going to have my own little 12 days of Christmas here.  Each day I’m going to tell you about something different that I love about Christmas.  That’s not the fun part by the way.  My absolute favorite part of Christmas is giving presents.  So the fun part is that on each of my 12 days of Christmas there is going to be a present to one lucky reader!  See…I told you it was fun. 

The presents are going to be things I’ve come across in my shopping or things that are on my own list this year.  I have some good stuff lined up.  So make sure you check back on Monday for all the details and rules and excitement. 

Have a great weekend!

Random Musings Friday…

The word musing means contemplation or reflection.  The title of this weekly feature might lead one to believe that they are about to read something deep and meaningful.  Ha!  Most weeks you are going to read about something J did, something my brother said, some strange person on the bus, random facts about Bret Michaels or some other such nonsense.  I’m sorry if the title is deceptive…it’s not meant to be.  I’m also sorry that I can’t live up to the name…I’m just not that deep.  See below for proof…

  • On Sunday I watched a lot of Bravo.  Every other commercial they showed was the ASPCA commercial with the poor puppies and kittens who were abused or abandoned.  One of the kitties has a little cast on its leg.  They all look so sad and I want to adopt them all.  They just kill me and make me so mad at the same time.  I mean, how can you look at those little adorable faces and hurt them or abandon them?  People who don’t like animals suck.  Also, the people who make those commercials suck too.
  • Yesterday at the grocery store I bought a People magazine just so I could read the article on the Duggars and judge them.  Because those people? Are assholes.  I mean seriously…what is she going to do…keep going until she dies?  And leaves all those kids without a mother?  Enough is enough people.  Time to start watching more TV and having less sexy time.
  • So I’ve told you about my new neighbors.  They are a bit strange but, overall, very nice.  The thing is, the husband always asks to speak to J when he needs something.  Like last night when he came over to ask us to move our cars this morning so he could have a dumpster delivered.  But J wasn’t home so he had to talk to me.  It made me giggle, because he really needs to figure out that I’m the one who makes the decisions around here.  Also…I’m the nice one.  He’ll learn that eventually.
  • I was buying cold cuts at the supermarket the other night and the guy next to me was trying to decide what he wanted.  He sampled about 12 different things before deciding on some Monterrey Jack cheese.  First he asked for half a pound.  Then he asked for 4/10 of a pound.  So the woman cut him 4/10 of a pound.  She went to wrap it up and he asked for 5 more slices.  She cut the 5 slices and again went to wrap it up.  Then he asked for 3 more slices.  After she cut those, he asked for one more slice.  Really, dude?  One more slice.  Is it really going to make a difference?  People are freaking strange. 
  • We order from Outback a lot and every time we do they forget to put something in the bag.  Every. Single. Time.  How hard is it to double-check the list? Isn’t taking the time to double-check the list better than having me come back raving like a lunatic because my salad dressing was missing?  I’m cranky when I’m hungry, people.  And that dressing?  It’s the reason I order from you in the first place.  Don’t think I’m not going to upset when it’s missing. 

That’s all I have for this week.  Actually…I have more, but all hell is breaking loose at work this morning and I have to run.  I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!  See you Monday!