What Motivates You?

Why do you do what you do?  I’ve been thinking about this as I write earlier than I might otherwise do because I want an internet badge.  What, you ask?  Yep, I know it is probably silly but the wonderful site 750words.com has incentives to keep a person writing.  It is, by the way, a free site where you just (some just) write 750+ words a day.  I started a little over a year ago and today will be my 382nd day in an unbroken streak.  There are a lot of days when I don’t feel like writing and days when I only write saying how much I don’t want to do anything much and that is how today’s entry started.  But I’m writing before I even have my first cup of tea as I really want to earn the Rooster badge, one of the few I don’t have.  To earn that I have to write between 5AM (not likely) and 9AM (ok, maybe) for 10 days in a row so here I am making sure that no matter what else happens in the morning I get my words done first.  The pets are anxious.  Thackeray is being very vocal because he hasn’t gotten his kitty treats yet, but the words will happen first until next Monday when I will have earned the Rooster badge. (And then I can try for the Bat, the late night one, which will be just as hard and riskier if I do it at 10PM because if I go to bed before then and forget I not only won’t get the Bat badge but I’ll break my streak!).

That all got me thinking about why I do things, and when I do them supposedly best.  I’ve just gotten a treadmill and I try to go a bit further or longer or both each day.  I set a goal and I shoot for it.  I’m doing yoga again, just 10 min. a day, because my doctor says I must.  She says it will help my fibromyalgia or at least keep it from getting worse.  I’ve been doing that for a week now and I’m doing it because I was told to, but I have to admit that it isn’t easy.  I think it is hard to get going when I hurt and doing yoga with a nasty headache isn’t my idea of a good thing, but I was told to do it for my own good, so there I am.

I find the quilting is going faster and better when I set myself a deadline and so the next two quilts I’m doing for Vashon Youth and Family Services will be ready for pick-up next Monday.  That allows me some slack.  The deadline is not unreasonable, but it keeps me moving as I don’t want to disappoint VYFS or the mother and son recipients, so I will find the odd moments in the next few days to make the backs and pin the quilts and then starting Friday afternoon, I’ll quilt, square, and bind them.

And my biggest effort of late, writing my novel in the month of November, was done under the challenge of writing 50,000 words in a month (that got me another badge on 750words.com also, by the way!), and I now have a certificate, web badges, and a t-shirt proclaiming my success.  I still obviously have a long way to go to finish the novel as this is only the first draft, but I have to admit, without the challenge, without the fellow participants, etc., I might not have written my first novel, something I have wanted to do for many, many years!

So maybe the badges and incentives are silly.  And I’m sure I would be better off if I had different motivations, such as doing the yoga and the treadmill out of a sense of self-love instead of because I was told to for my own good, for instance.  But until I develop that ability, the badges do help and I do manage to make my own challenges along the way that keep me chugging and keep the quilts going, and so forth and now, in spite of Thackeray’s complaints, I have a draft of a blog post done, so not too shabby for first thing in the morning.

What keeps you going?  What incentives are effective for you?  Or do you even need incentives?  Have a super day!

One response

  1. What a great post!My biggest incentives: – being complimented or praised for something I've done. – being able to physically see the finished product for whatever I'm working on.These work well for concrete tasks. They don't work so well for abstract goals. In those cases I'll often give myself a little reward at the end like watching a favourite tv show or cracking open a new library book. Maybe it's silly but it really works! 🙂

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