The Two Types of Motivational Pressure

Most people can set goals. Sometimes we go on to achieve them. Then there are times when we struggle with motivation and persevering through the obstacles that inevitably pop up.

When that happens we tend to blame ourselves and we either push through or fall through. If you manage to push through and keep the momentum going then, good for you!

But if you fall through with your plans to achieve a particular goal, the emotional aftermath can trigger a downward spiral. The shame and guilt knocks your confidence and the next time you pursue a goal it will take even more willpower and blind faith in yourself. And you’re not even sure you still have those.

If this happens once or twice, I’d say to just plough on through that resistance. If falling through with your goals tends to be a consistent result, then it may be time to pull back and get back to the drawing board. (Or vision board.)

Achieving goals is meant to be challenging.

It’s part of the growth process of shaping you and your reality. However, if you have less and less motivation surrounding a particular goal causing you to release the pressure on the gas pedal, maybe it isn’t entirely your fault. It may not be that you didn’t try hard enough or that you didn’t rise up to the challenge.

It all begins with our why.

Why set goals in the first place? Probably because we want to achieve something. But what if we were motivated by something other than what is true to us? What if the goals we set for ourselves were borne out of a need to fit in, or please others, or be accepted, or a desire to be loved? What if these goals didn’t originate from an authentic place within us?

Think of motivation as a natural consequence of either external pressure (like stress resulting from financial troubles that prompt you to work two jobs or launch a business) or internal expansion.

Internal expansion is what happens when you feel inspired, curious, creative, energetic.

It’s energy rising within you and then expanding outwards exerting pressure on everything else, prompting you to take action. It makes you want to do that little bit more. Dig deeper than before.

It isn’t as extreme as fleeting inspiration, that rush of adrenaline at the beginning of something new. Motivation arising from internally expanding energy is more balanced, never aiming to build Rome in one day.

Have you ever attempted something just out of interest and not out of pure ambition? You were not invested in a defined outcome but you were just ready to try something different? Maybe it was a cooking class, a gardening course or starting to workout at the gym.

You followed the program and got great results! Or maybe it didn’t go as expected. It didn’t discourage you though, because something kept you going back to do more. You wanted to try again. Improve just that tiny bit. Then you know what this internally expanding motivation feels like.

Needless to say, of the two types of motivational pressure I’d much prefer to go with the second. It puts me in charge of the direction I’m going. As much as possible, I’m going to want to harness this kind of motivation.

Internal expansion only comes from being true to yourself.

There’s no other way. We can fake being curious about something that bores us to be polite, but it won’t carry us for the long term. We can experiment with creativity, but we cannot keep the creative juices flowing long enough for something that doesn’t stimulate us.

Even when it gets tough and we’re ploughing through those challenges, what gets us through it, is reconnecting with why we’re doing it in the first place.

So if your goals are forever on the horizon and you lack the drive to persevere through the challenges, then make some coffee and re-examine your goals. Ask yourself if it is something you truly want for yourself.

A good acid test

If nobody ever knew of your achievement, and you never earned a dime for it (money problems aside) would you still feel driven to figure out the challenges as they come? And would the achievement still be worthwhile to you?

Wayward thoughts #03

Thriving when you’re lacking self-confidence

For whatever reason, we can be riding a wave of confidence when suddenly it crashes over us leaving us scattered and feeling like washed-up beach debris.

Lacking self-confidence can be a signal to pause and reflect

It’s normal on the path to personal success for our confidence to crash. Sometimes it can be a signal that you need to take stock.

Instead of ignoring it, use this phase to examine your strategy and your actions and see if it still aligns with where you want to go.

Low self-confidence phases can be a renewal process if you allow it.

Listen to your intuition, your inner voice.

Silence the inner critic.

A DIY story: How up-cycling furniture gave me hope

Moving house has got to be one of the most stressful life events ever. It is a logistical, organisational nightmare especially if you have ADHD like I do. My planner was full of loose bits of torn paper serving as extra to-do-lists of my actual to-do-lists. Not to mention the other reminders and notes on my phone. Labeling of boxes served my logic – ‘white shelf‘ meaning all items in the box are from the white shelf that used to squat in the living room. This way it helps me preserve my piles of organised-chaos paperwork so that I don’t spend weeks looking for misplaced reports.

I’m pretty sure I lost stuff along the way, but I’m not too bothered. As long as I have the important things with me like my family and pets, we’re good.

My planner stuffed with extra notes.
Embossed with the year 2020 in case
I forget what year I’m in.

Moving house naturally brings up the past, as you dig out things in the back of your cupboards or out of storage. (Hello, electronic keyboard!). I used the opportunity to get rid of a lot of stuff that no longer served me. Many were still unopened in their original packaging. Stuff like a juicing machine, electric grill, clothing, and some furniture. Things I’ll probably be looking for in a few years time, no doubt, wondering what happened to them.

I’m always busy with a hobby or side-project. Drawing, knitting, sewing, music, gardening, DIY projects (ADHD heaven!) Naturally some hobbies never go beyond the first project. Once it loses its novelty, it’s hard to stick with it. Even more so if there’s a lot of friction getting started and it’s not one that can be done anytime or anywhere.

Up-cycling furniture was one of those old hobbies I abandoned. But I can proudly say that I have rescued two pine writing desks, three pine chairs, three pine bookshelves, a dining table of some dark wood from the 1960s and a stool that I thought was a piano seat and have called it such since its rescue. The piano idea was so firmly implanted in my mind, that I didn’t realise I varnished it a dark ebony-ish colour and re-upholstered it in ivory faux leather.

Seven years ago

All of these pieces of furniture were saved from my late mother’s rubbish pile during one of her de-cluttering phases. I restored the dining table and the piano seat. The rest were put straight to use as I could no longer bother to restore them. They were still in relatively good condition. Old, but useful. Like how we all hope to be one day.

Over a period of two or three weeks, I sanded and varnished the dining table and the piano seat. For the dining table I used a sanding machine that left my arms feeling as if I was still sanding the table hours after I switched off the machine.

The dining table does not have an immediate appeal. Maybe that’s why I liked it. It has a simple design, made of solid wood with an odd punch-hole feature. Old cracked varnish and signs of wear and tear shine through the thin coats of new varnish – it is true vintage. It has proudly served as my dining table for the past seven years.

The piano stool was one of the items removed from storage during the moving process. I restored it seven years ago then it went into storage gathering dust.

Until this past week where it eventually found its destiny in this awkward pot plant area in a corner of my new home. You’d think I’d put it by my electronic keyboard, but no. Somehow I like it in this space. A makeshift window seat. My favourite place to have coffee and enjoy the winter morning sun.

Express your originality. Save the environment

With DIY you can be as original as you want. Custom made pieces or decor are literally at your fingertips. I enjoy re-using, recycling and re-homing furniture, appliances, clothing and books. Come to think of it, most of the things in my home are second-hand or up-cycled. My dad, who works in construction, gave me steel garden fencing that one of his clients threw out. That fence has been used at my old house and now re-installed at my new home. Painted a fresh white. Admittedly, I didn’t install it. So it cost me labour and paint.

Often we throw away things that are still in good condition. With some elbow grease and a few coats of varnish I obtained two pieces of furniture at a fraction of the cost. I find this kind of frugality very satisfying. Not to mention it contributes to the environment by reducing waste. Points scored!

A little magic and hope

When I see a worn out piece of furniture get a makeover, it’s like witnessing a tiny miracle. A little bit of magic and fairy dust. I guess it is so satisfying to me because it makes me feel hopeful. That all is not lost. What is broken, can be fixed. What is lost, can be found. What is worn and old, can be restored into beauty and put to use again. What’s more, all those cracks, pock-marks and imperfections will shine through in a beauty like no other. All it takes is your effort and determination.