How to create a blueprint for success
Katy and Lydia, my two youngest daughters, are having a sleepover this weekend. The fun began just because they wanted to see their friends and catch up. Not so different than I feel about my friends, except we don’t do sleepovers. Although I love for my girls to have their friends over, and for them to connect, I was less than enthusiastic about the timing of this get-together. The girl’s shared bedroom, bathroom and bunk bed were in rough shape. Along with the multiple leftovers from their older sisters’ occupation of the same room, they have added two dressers, a huge swivel chair and more clothing than I care to mention. To my knowledge, no one wears much of the clothing anymore but somehow it keeps getting stuffed into drawers. Don't judge me, but I gave up on their room a long time ago. But knowing they had friends coming soon rekindled my concern and I just couldn't shake it. Something had to be done.
In addition to the girls’ bedroom being stuffed to the gills, I'm struggling to pare down our collection of books, of which I have way too many. After using them over the past 25 or so years for personal growth and homeschooling purposes, these books have become treasured friends. Each one elicits a memory. So my house is completely overwhelming to me right now. But as Robert Frost says, “… the best way out is always through.”
Into this mess enter my lovely daughters, and the knowledge that they had less than two days to make the upstairs at least hospitable, if not inviting, to their friends. I don't know where it came from but they had what was needed to tackle this task. Whatever you call it; we need it when the rubber meets the road: motivation, inspiration, incentive, drive. Of course, as often happens when we become filled with the enthusiasm to finish a herculean job, like cleaning a house, there were a number of hurdles to overcome. Mainly, both had a lot of homework, due next week, with some assignments actually due online this weekend. But they were determined and *highly motivated* to get their room clean, and so they came to me for suggestions. Since I always triage by making lists, we came up with what needed to be done and which of those items needed to be done first. This gave them a blueprint for success.
To begin, I told them to work on the area where they felt the most pressure while I took my mom for her physical therapy appointment. Katy felt more pressure to clean their room; while Lydia perseverated over the several big assignments she had looming. So Katy began in their bedroom while Lydia started on her U.S. history assignment. Shortly after mom and I had left the house, Katy called not knowing where in the room she should start. I understood her dilemma...the room was covered in stuff. I suggested she get one of the big clear plastic bins to collect and box up all the things they wanted to keep…like their American Girls dolls and accessories. That would take her at least until we were finished my mom's appointment.
When we returned home, Katy had not only boxed up all the dolls they wanted to keep, but she had nearly filled a giant trash bag with stuff to throw out and another bag with clothes and stuffed animals to give away. And to top it off, Lydia had finished over half her assignment. My mom and I had only been gone about one and a half hours. At this point, Katy had an online exam to take so we sent her to take it while Lydia came up to work in the room. About an hour later Katy returned and the three of us worked the rest of the day. We experienced stunning success with our teamwork. By evening we had completely filled both the trash bag of stuff we were throwing out and started on another bag of trash, and we filled the one of stuff to donate. Then we dusted and vacuumed. Their room looked great. Yes, there is still more to purge, but we made a real dent. They were extremely happy and I was very pleased...and relieved.
Sometimes we want our lives and homes in order, sometimes we want less stuff to occupy our time, sometimes we want to be intentional in how we structure our lives. Other times we want to make, write or create something, but never get around to doing it. All too often we lack the motivation or oomph to do the very things we want to do.
So let's break it down and figure this out.
What is motivation anyway and how do we get it?
Back when I was in college I did my senior research paper over the summer. I was interested in biofeedback while my roommate that summer was doing research on internal versus external locus of control...or is the source of our motivation intrinsic or extrinsic?
Let's consider the girls cleaning their room for a sleepover. Are they motivated to do it because something external is making life miserable (e.g., Mom yelling about the messy room) if they don’t?
Or are they motivated by something internal, like shame (their friends are coming over and they don't want to appear to be slobs) or desire (inspired by pictures of beautifully inviting rooms on Pinterest)
There is a quote that goes something like, "Motivation is when not doing something is more painful than doing it." In this scenario we do it because the pain is greater than if we don't. And this is where another factor comes into play...I need to have a clear focus on what I want, my “WHY”
WHY I want the girls to declutter and purge their room
WHY I want the same for the house in general
I will continue to struggle to get rid of the clutter and eliminate what isn’t necessary.
The external motivation for me is the struggle to cope with all the stuff.
Every. Single. Day.
The internal motivation is more inspirational, freeing me up, decluttering my mind and life to make room for the things I want to do.
The premise for decluttering, living in a more minimalistic environment, is extremely motivational for me. Motivation. in general, will come as we seek to know our WHY. In my case, my WHY is to get rid of things I no longer need or use because "Less is more." When we know our WHY, when we understand the difference it will make in our lives, our minds clear out and our hearts can listen to our dreams and we can think of how to begin a new project or be creative in some new way.
Here are some steps to get you started, to motivate yourself every day:
1. Start with your "WHY"
What will it do for your life if you do this, or don't do this?
This is your motivation.
Write down these reasons.
2. Triage the steps you will need to do to accomplish your goal.
Schedule in your calendar the time to start.
Make some time to do it every day.
The time to do your steps will not appear if you do not plan for them.
4. Consider your WHY again. Keep it ever in front of you. This is your motivation.
5. Celebrate every step you accomplish.
Set up rewards for every step.
No matter how small, rewards are an important part of establishing habits.
You've got this!!!
How and where do you find motivation? Please share below in the comments. I love to hear from you!
Article by Ruth Grunstra
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Hi I'm Ruth
What is the biggest challenge you are facing with your child? My husband and I had the first of our 8 children in 1984 and our youngest in 2002. We've been married since 1980 and we are always learning new ways to engage our children. We would love to hear from you. Contact us and let us know what you have found that works and what doesn't, or ask me a question.
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