Category Archives: Motivation through Non-motivation

Motivation / Determination

My first lesson in determination was that I could start a project, skip a day, and be able to pick it right back up.

I think before that I relied solely on motivation.  I would not stop a project until I finished.  I could start painting a room and keep going until 4 in the morning so I could finish and get everything cleaned up.

My fear was that if I went to bed, I would wake up and get interested (motivated) in another project and leave the first one unfinished.  Then I’d have several half-done projects lying around.  (or at least get busy with my day and never get back to finish my project)

Actually I got this first lesson in determination from reading the Bible.  Well, it took a whole year.  Of course life got in the way and there was a week; nearly two, where I didn’t make the time to read.  From that, I was involved in this constant self-control thing where I repeated to myself, “I have read it.  I am in the middle of reading it.  I am determined to finish it.”  That is when I felt the true impact of defining determination.  I began to trust that I do finish what I start.  I relaxed and recognized while I may have to stay on task, I don’t have to extend myself and “over-achieve” to finish.

It is funny that I don’t remember that lesson being in the Bible, but I got that lesson out of my action of reading it. I could do a whole slough of posts on good and bad attitudes in reading the Bible.  Just the act of reading it is a journey.

Today I am determined to log in 3 miles a day, every day in January.   Why 3 miles?  Earlier this summer my marathon friend and I decided that the tipping point for loosing pounds was three miles.  Any distance is good,  I’m not dissing anything less than 3 miles, but talking among ourselves, it seems like 3 miles is a threshold.  With this in my head, I made a challenge right after Christmas to do 3 miles a day everyday until January 31st.  If I skip a day, I just keep going, then merely count how many days I missed.

Since we have had a little holiday break from exercising, I’ve been getting geared up … actually I’m kind of keyed up … I can hear myself be annoying especially when it comes to other people’s treadmills as I wanted to get started right away.  Well all the sudden everyone’s treadmills are out-of-order.

Like … because … I made a challenge?  ???

Even though I wanted to get started right after Christmas; when January 1st came along I couldn’t argue that the challenge started with a new month (let alone new year) so I ran outside.

Friday, I didn’t get outside before dark, so I went to the gym and because of a 9:00 closing time; they kicked me off the treadmill at 1.68 miles.  Ouch.  I should have went to the one across town because I think they are open until 11:00 maybe midnight.

I saw it coming, I was on that treadmill thankful that this disruption happened early while my motivation was still high.  The non-motivational skills that I talk about are good for doing what is familiar.  Keeping the pattern.  When it comes to jumping hurdles and smoothing disruptions my non-motivational skills get umm … grumpy.  It is easier to say screw it. I have done it.  I am in the middle of doing it.  I am determined to finish my challenge.  Just because I skip a day doesn’t mean I won’t finish.  Then I will skip that day.  — That is perfectly okay.

But seriously, to skip a day on my second day?  !!!  My motivation was way to high for that.  My day was running out and I was determined to jump through hoops to get things figured out and meet my goal.  So I went to the nearest gym and tested the limits to see how late they would let me stay after close.  Now I know, when the clock starts passing 8:00 to go to the other gym.  If it were later in the month I might not have been as determined to figure out what I don’t know.

I’m still in an internal battle that I only met half my goal on the second day, but I also know that I didn’t let any excuses stop me and now I have gained new information for the rest of the month.  Plus I’m not counting any days missed.  I can justify any way I want.  That is the problem with justifying.

To be fair to the person working, I didn’t even ask if I could finish, they said, “It’s 9:00 we’re closing.” and I pouted “okay.”  My ongoing lessons in determination has been big in learning how to handle interruptions.

My time on the treadmill got me analyzing, “How close are motivation and determination anyway?”  The higher the motivation the more determined a person is?  How about when your motivation isn’t there, is your determination more firm?  That’s what keeps you going when your motivation isn’t there.  Isn’t it?

I found it funny that the synonym for motivation is determination but motivation didn’t show up as a synonym for determination.   A synonym for one but not the other. ??? At least according to my computers dictionary, it is possible to have determination without motivation.  (Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus 2008)



  • reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way
  • the general desire or willingness of someone to do something



  • firmness of purpose; resoluteness
  • the process of establishing something exactly, typically by calculation or research
  • the controlling or deciding of something’s nature or outcome
  • the cessation of an estate or interest
  • tendency to move in a fixed direction

(New Oxford American Dictionary 2010, 2013)


Day 2.  1.68 miles.  Indoors; treadmill   The Curve   “It’s green because its manual and doesn’t take electricity.”   (I should see if the distance/calorie/time read-out is powered by batteries or by me)

Day 28 NaBloPoMo; Motivation 3rd post of 3 part series.

In the first parts I talk about how fleeting motivation is and I talk about how I had to work on non-motivational skills to carry out some of my goals.  That leaves, what to do when motivation strikes?

Go for it!  Like I said motivation is fleeting, capture it when you can.

Just remember to keep things balanced.  Shower, cook and eat your meals, get enough sleep, and spend time with loved ones.

This is where the work in my non-motivational skills hit home.  If I went to bed which can halt my motivation I can keep up the task even though my motivation waned.

For instance this month.  I was able to meet multiple goals.  My personal NaMo project was to create a timeline for a fiction series that I might get to someday.  Once I found out about the blog posting challenge, I thought that was a great way to build a new blog.  I was highly motivated. But, since I did some work to not rely on motivation, I still was able to get some work done on my timeline and I kept at it for most of the month.

Then my editor returned my manuscript for my next book and I was highly motivated to get it published. After that, it was a daily fight between a daily blog post and to format daily until published, until I got it done.

Not to mention my hours increased at work; cutting into my writing time and my cleaning time.

Now that I mention it, I was also not as motivated to clean my floors or my oven, instead I kept choosing to work on my blog and formatting my book.  Since I wasn’t waiting around for motivation to strike, I found pockets of time to clean and I finished a day a head of time.

I did short myself of some sleep, but the culmination of everything is winding down.  Thanksgiving is over.  I published my book and I’m having a free giveaway day tomorrow, (Saturday) and another one on Cyber Monday.  I have a new project simmering and NaBloPoMo is ending this weekend.

The only thing that took a real backseat this month is my exercising and running.  Earlier this year, my running friend wanted us to join in on the jingle run we have right before our Christmas light parade.  Umm,   I guess that was tonight.  Like right now.  Well motivated or not I blew that goal.

Humph.  Maybe there is a New Years Day run….

Day 9 NaBloPoMo; My Work in Non-motivation pt. 2 of 3

I spent some time working on “non” motivational skills before I quit smoking.  I was looking for something to sustain myself through the withdrawal.  In the past when my motivation had waned, I’d quit quitting, and would decide to try again later when my willpower was stronger.

With the False Quit Dates, I was getting tired of relying on motivation.  It was a frustrating lesson because motivation is so fleeting.  Motivation has peaks and valleys of energy flow.  If my to-do list consists of exercising and cleaning house, motivation may have me expending my energy to one so I can avoid the other.  Sometimes, when I was sitting around waiting for motivation to manifest itself, I could have done the chore.  There were times where motivation had never come.

Instead of waiting for motivation, I was training myself to just get it done.  I’ve never been in a job that I particularly loved nor was a natural extension of myself.  I’ve never been motivated to go to work.  Except I do, everyday, rarely call in sick, and do my best while I am there. I also may whine all the way through it, but! I show up, do my job, get paid and pay my bills.

Why am I doing this?  Honor.  Integrity.  Money.  Fear of being lazy.  I want to succeed. (Although success has more to do with my back up plans.) But seriously? Because when hired, I said I would show up and do the work.  I made an agreement with my employer, I’m told what time to show up and I show up.

Overlay this onto cleaning house. A lot of my lessons in motivation centered around household chores and adjusting my attitude towards them. First I had to ignore the urge to look inward for that quickening that brings energy and excitement to mundane things.  You know, when all done to go, “Wow, that was fast!  And so easy!” — Don’t search for it.  Don’t wait for it. — I say I’m going to do the chore.  I allow enough time for the chore. (It’s not race nor competition to best any times set in the past.)  I do the chore, because I said I would and it is time.

I did keep it kind of loose, like…  I need 20 minutes before work, after work, before bed, but, I had to get it done that day.

Again, overlay this lesson on to quitting smoking.  I continued with the False Quit Dates because I knew being ready wasn’t just going to come from nowhere.  I learned how to be ready and be ready without a doubt in my mind.  I was making some big moves, such as putting money down on a cabin.  I was going to leave my family for two weeks.  I was to be by myself with no distractions and no excuses.  Most of all, no cigarettes. I was also giving myself every opportunity to quit without those big moves.  If I didn’t quit at the end of this, I was never going to quit.   But I did.  Because I was ready and because I didn’t rely on motivation or will power.  I quit because I wanted to quit and I said I was going to quit and I allowed enough time to finish the quit.  (the withdrawal)

These days, I overlay this lesson on exercising.  Even though I have all this knowledge, it is hard keep it routine.  I haven’t done any real exercising for over two weeks now, but in the meantime, I got a lot of other stuff done.  Does that make it right?  Does that make it okay?  I can say that it’s different from exercising a few years ago, I’m not so negative about downtime.  I know I will pick it up again.  I also believe the downtime is shorter in duration.  I don’t wait for motivation to schedule a time to exercise.

Working on my “non-motivational skills” has been one of my best time savers.

My Work in Non-motivation pt. 1 of 3

Motivation pt. 1 of a 3 part series.


When I quit smoking, I split my issues into “directly related,” such as withdrawal or  finishing off a meal, and “indirectly related,” dealing with conditions that make you stomp off and go smoke.  Sometimes it was hard to tell.  Motivation could be disguised as a direct issue but it’s not.  For example, I was able to quit smoking without relying on motivation by focusing on cleaning house before I quit.

What does cleaning house have to do with quitting smoking?  Well, that’s why it is an indirect issue and this is where the path veers off and gets crooked.  Cleaning house has everything to do with quitting smoking when you come home from work to a messy house and your attempts to get other people to pitch in and help out aren’t working.  That stuff will still go on long after you quit smoking and you won’t be able to stomp off and go smoke.  Moreover, when this stuff happens in the middle of your withdrawal, you toy with the idea to quit quitting and try again later.  One momentary loss in motivation to quit and you are heading for those smokes.  How do you sustain yourself until the motivation comes back?

This does not mean you have to become the perfect housekeeper before you quit smoking, this means you watch and learn how fleeting motivation can be.  Don’t control it.  Learning how to drop the struggle in trying to manifest motivation, is a practice in of itself.  Take a few days to be aware of when motivation appears and when it leaves.

Oftentimes I would sit unmotivated and go “ugh, that means I have to get up and clean when I feel like this.”   … And I would continue to sit there, getting used to the idea.  Also, this was personal work on ownership.  “This is my time.  This is my timeline.  This is my house.  This is my stuff.  It will get done.  My stuff will get done when I do it.   Anytime I want.”

Who said I was NEVER going to do it in the first place?

Sometimes that means going to bed with everything undone … and not getting done in the morning either.  Sometimes that means standing with your mother-in-law, in the middle of your mess, while thinking, “my house, my timeline,” while not uttering one excuse or apology.

Pretty soon, your thoughts snap into place about what you want done and why you want it done.  It has nothing to do with your spouse or your kids, or worthiness, or where in the heck is my motivation to get up and go do it.  You just get up and put one foot in front of the other, put one thing away, then another, and all the sudden you’ve accomplished something.  And you are doing it because it is your stuff, your house, and its your time.

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