If there’s one thing that I hate to admit, it’s that I often really struggle with motivation. It’s not that I’m unmotivated to do things – I’m actually very driven and often don’t have enough time to do everything that I want! – but I’m talking about those little things like cleaning the house, washing dishes, or other things that fall outside of our “jobs.”
Honestly, I’ve been looking at how dusty the area around my television is for at least a week now. And before I broke down and cleaned the kitchen this morning, it had been a couple of days since I had bothered to load the dish washer. Yes, I was running out of clean dishes off of which to eat, and yet I couldn’t motivate myself to do them. (I’m making myself sound like a slob, I promise it wasn’t that bad!)
I like having a clean house, I really do. But when it comes to cleaning, I just dread doing it. And that dread leads me to just sitting on the couch for longer. And that sitting on the couch turns into hours, which turn into night, which turn into the chores not getting done at all.
And thus begins the cycle.
So how do I motivate myself to do the things that I really don’t want to do? Now, this is going to sound overly simplistic and almost dumb, but hear me out on it…
I tell myself that I have to go through the motions, but I don’t have to follow through.
What does that mean? It’s easier if I give you examples. When I know that I should go to the gym, I tell myself that I don’t have to work out once I get there, but that I should at least go and stand in the gym. This has motivated me to go on multiple occasions and never once have I gotten there and thought, eh maybe I’ll just head back home. When it comes to cleaning, I’ll tell myself that I don’t have to actually clean anything but I have to pull out the supplies that I’d need. By the time I’ve put in the effort of grabbing what I’d need, I might as well just quickly dust off everything. Those dishes? I don’t have to clean them, but I need have to go in the kitchen and touch each one of them and move them to a new place. If I’m gonna move them anyway, might as well move them into the dishwasher.
I know it’s silly. Even when I make these little micro-deals with myself, I can’t help but think, “I can’t believe this works on me.” But it does, pretty much every time!