By Kate Taylor
When you decided to create a backyard vegetable garden, your vision was bright with color and life. You pictured spring-green sweet pea vines and patches bursting with plump red tomatoes.
But now, your gardening gloves are untouched. You stare glumly at the mess of clumpy, overturned earth behind your house. What, you groan, were you thinking?
Your happy vision is stranded in no-man’s land. You’re procrastinating because you’ve lost your motivation.
Don’t worry – you’re hardly alone.
Many of us lose momentum after launching on a project. For any number of reasons, our mojo just deserts us.
It’s not a happy habit. When we repeatedly lose our motivation, it affects our mood and our morale. We begin feeling as if we can’t trust our own judgement. Life begins to feel like surviving rather than living.
But take heart – your garden’s not dead yet. You can save your mojo, and your idea. Here are five simple steps you can take to pump up your motivation and beat procrastination for good.
- Ask Yourself “Why?”
Most people can’t immediately answer when asked what motivates them. Many respond with “money,” but that isn’t quite right, since money is just a means to an end. You earn it because you want to do something with it. Like Parasail. Or buy a Ferrari.
So the next time you make a decision, try asking yourself “why?”
Are you tackling medical school because it will make your parents proud? Are you losing weight because you’re attempting to make your girlfriend to love you again? Are you creating a garden because you’d like to be sure you’re eating organic food?
When you have your answers, you’ll be able to look at them and ask yourself whether you’re being true to yourself.
Try this questioning process, even if you’re making a minor decision. You can learn a great deal about what drives you this way, and you can use that information to help rebuild true and unsinkable motivation. The kind that leads to heathy, happy choices and helps you beat procrastination for good.
- Challenge your fears.
Are irrational fears keeping you from doing what you want?
This is the case for a lot of people, and it is a first-rate motivation-killer. Challenge yourself to face your fears, one little step at a time. When you know that you’re avoiding facing something that scares you (your great aunt? the mouse in your bottom kitchen drawer?), ask yourself how much control you want fear to have over your life.
Life is too precious and too short to live paralyzed by fear.
- Go all in.
The most motivated people throw themselves into whatever interests them.
When was the last time you pursued an interest intensively? Life should have many days like that. If you can dedicate even a few minutes to pursuing one of your interests, fit in even a few minutes a day in dedicated pursuit of your own interest, great. If not, try to at least pencil in some free time for it once a week. Remember, it doesn’t have to involve anything extreme. Even a few minutes of devotion to what interests you counts.
- Drop pointless obligations.
If you want the time and energy to pursue what interests you, then steer clear of things that don’t hold 100 percent of your interest. Perhaps you don’t need to repaint your garage for the fifth time. Or agree to a lunch with people you’re not crazy about. Less interesting activities are clutter in your life. Drop them (kindly, of course) and don’t even think about looking back.
- Take real breaks.
Give yourself regular resets by taking vacations. They don’t have to be sunscreen and plane-ticket vacations, though by all means – take those if you can afford them. But vacations and mini-vacations don’t have to be expensive and time-consuming. A mini-vacation can be a lovely bubble bath or sunset walk with your dog.
When you’re on “vacation,” completely disconnect from social media and your old routine. Let your thoughts roam like curious goats. Think about things you don’t usually think about and keep your eyes open – you never know when something in the outside world will inspire you.
Vacations that depart from your normal routines pack extra punch. Unique experiences — tasting a new kind of food, giving blood for the first time, meeting a new friend — stretch your mind and often shift your perspective.
So pack your bags! Leave your norm behind and try something brand-spanking new! You’ve got nothing to lose and a whole lot of motivation to gain!