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Motivation & Progress...Are they related?

My brother said to me today, “I know I should go for a walk, but I’m just not motivated.” I heard the same thing from a friend as we were walking around the park this morning. She admitted, “I didn’t want to go walking today. I didn’t feel well.” She followed up by saying that she had seen something posted by Mel Robbins implying that motivation doesn’t just happen to us. I thought this quote captured the essence.

How often have you said, I’ll do that when I’m motivated or inspired? How often do you actually “get motivated or inspired” to do something? I had a friend that used to say, “tomorrow never comes.” It suggests that if we wait for tomorrow, we will never do the thing.” The beginning of the calendar year seems to be a good time to reflect on all the things I intended to do during the year and to identify what it is I intend to do in the new year. It starts with intention, but intention alone will not keep us motivated. I loved what Mel Robbins had to say about this too.

One of my visualizations for this year has been to learn a different language. So far, I’ve missed about 72 days of practice. That seems like a lot, right? How could I have even imagined that I would practice a new language every day of the year? My practice sessions are probably only 10 minutes each day. I use Duolingo to track my progress and the streaks that have come to tragic endings. I also review this visualization in my mind nearly every day. Even though I haven’t practiced maintaining long-standing learning streaks, I HAVE practiced 75% of the days of this year so far! When I look at my progress like this, I feel good about what I’ve accomplished AND I feel even more motivated to continue learning daily to improve this percentage. It’s all about perspective. It isn’t perfect. But it’s pretty darn good! There are still 82 days left this year. What am I doing to continue this trend? I’m completing my time with Duolingo before I watch TV or scroll mindlessly through social media at the end of the day.

I recently rejoiced with clients who had paid off all eight of their credit cards within eight months of working with me. This is no small task. In the beginning, they said to me, “we earn good money but at the end of the month, we have no idea where it went.” And now, they are working together to establish a monthly budget, they’re knocking out debt, and they are on their way to living a life free from the stress that debt causes so many families. They didn’t pay off all of their credit cards in one swoop. They took the first step of not using credit cards as a form of payment and then little by little chipped away at paying them off. Each card that they paid off helped them build even more momentum to make even more progress faster. I wish this was the case with my language learning, I digress!

Another goal that I had this year was to exercise or walk at least 15 minutes every day. There are days where I did absolutely nothing. I feel ashamed that I didn’t “do” more. And yet, when I look at all the green exercise rings on my Apple watch, I note that I accomplished this 230 days out of the year so far! That’s 82% people. Once again, I’m seeing that I’ve made progress throughout the year, and I don’t want that percentage to go down. I want to improve it as the year ends. What does this mean? It means I’m inviting people to go for walks with me. I’m having phone conversations and listening in on zoom meetings while I walk.

I encourage and challenge you to stop waiting for motivation to make progress towards something that you want to see in or for your life. It doesn’t matter how big or small your goal is OR how much effort you’re willing to put towards it. What matters is that you’re taking consistent steps to achieving something.

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