I've been thinking a lot about motivation lately. Or, more accurately, the lack of motivation that seems to be a constant presence in my life. As I type this, there are about fifty things I should probably be doing. Like cleaning up last night's Fronanas (that's what I've decided to call it - last night we made chocolate with rainbow sprinkles), or folding laundry, or weeding in my garden, or wiping up the smoothie that Anna spilled all over the coffee table. Instead, I'm goofing around on the Internet and seriously contemplating a nap.
It's a funny thing, motivation. Because, at least for me, it seems to only appear when I really need it. Procrastination and I go way back. In college, I was the girl who started her papers the night before they were due, furiously typing into the wee hours of the morning, scrambling to make it to my professor's office with my freshly printed essay in one hand and a ridiculously large coffee in the other. I distinctly remember that the one time I actually completed a paper more than an hour before it needed to be handed in I got a C - a clear indication (so it seemed) that I was much better off waiting to work on any assignments until the last minute.
The same thing goes for my house. Until very recently, the only time I would put a concerted effort into straightening up was when I knew someone was coming over. Because even though I never really loved all the chaos and frustration that went along with my unorganized habits, I could never motivate myself to get it together unless I knew how embarrassed I would feel if anyone saw how messy I really was. So the hours leading up to a visit (from anyone) would be spent maniacally dusting and scrubbing and throwing things into closets. Or bathrooms.
Not too long ago, I ran a half marathon. I trained for over four months, and during that time I think I missed only a handful of runs. I had no problem hopping on the treadmill four or five times a week, and actually, to my surprise, grew to love and enjoy and look forward to my runs. I was totally motivated. I became a runner. And then after my race was over? I think I've gone running maybe four or five times. Suddenly, with no race to train for, I can barely lace up my shoes and get out the door.
Why is it that I can never keep my house clean just for myself and my family? When I know that I love running and how it makes me feel, why can't I seem to hit the pavement when there isn't a race looming in the distance?
Luckily, I don't have any more papers to write (I hope). My house is a work in progress - my kitchen and bathroom surfaces have been abuse free for over a week! - and I hope one day soon to not shake in terror at the prospect of someone stopping by unexpectedly. I half-jokingly tossed around the idea of sending weekly photos to my sister to prove to her that I'm staying diligent. Or inviting people over for weekly parties. At least then I'd have an excuse to drink...
I've come to the conclusion, though, that sometimes we need deadlines, or house guests, or sisters, to motivate us to do the things we can't seem to do on our own. Sometimes we need the races to push ourselves to get off the couch. And that's okay.
Which is why I signed up for another half marathon. Detroit, I'm coming for you. Right after I finish folding all this laundry...
I'd love to hear about what tricks and tips you have up your sleeves for staying motivated.