Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about motivation. Why do we do the things we do? What drives us? How and why does this differ for different people?
For the past week or two, my motivation to write has been seriously lacking. Then on Saturday, one of my friends asked why I hadn’t posted a new blog in over a week. I told her I just hadn’t felt like writing but I knew there was more to it. If I’m being honest with myself, there is a more superficial reason for why I haven’t been able to sit down and write. My last few blog posts haven’t had a huge number of views or a lot of feedback. I’ve been feeling sort of discouraged. I’ve had thoughts like “maybe my posts are just annoying to people” or “maybe people just think I don’t have anything worthwhile to say.” It doesn’t really motivate me to write when I don’t think anyone wants to read my words.
I mulled over this issue in my head for a while and I asked myself: why do I post blogs? Do I post for the views, for the feedback, and for the likes? Or do I post because I love to write and I love to share my writing in hopes that it might help someone else?
If I’m posting solely for the views/feedback/likes, I should stop right now and delete my blog because 1) I will never be satisfied with the amount of engagement I’m getting and 2) I won’t be able to post completely authentic content because I’ll only be concerned with what content will get more the most engagement.
So then why do I let the views/feedback/likes or lack thereof get to me? Part of it is because as a millennial who has grown up in the age of social media, I sometimes still get tied up in attaching the worth of something to how many likes it gets. The other, less vain, side of me knows that the more views I get means the more people who are reading my words and are possibly being helped in a positive way by them. And truly, although I still don’t know what I want to do with my life, I do know that in some way or form I want to be helping people each and every day. I want to live a legacy of a whole network of people who have been positively impacted by me in some way or form. So, the ultimate reason why I blog is because I love to write and I hope that each post can help someone have a better day, week, or life because of something that touches them in my posts. And I have to remind myself that even if my blog gets one view, that’s one person that I’ve reached.
Finding my “why” for blogging has helped me get through my writer’s block and has motivated me to sit down and write again. It has also led me to think about my “why” for other things that I do. As I’ve been doing some job searching and thinking about what I want to do, I’ve found myself focused on the money and not on the actual job. I’ve had to think about what motivates me to go to work and what would motivate me to leave my job for a new job. Is it helping people? Is it a positive work environment? Is it doing work that is challenging and fulfilling to me? Or is it the salary? Thinking about it in this way has changed my search a little bit. Yes, I need to find a job that allows me to pay my bills but I also want to find a job that is fulfilling and that involves work that I don’t hate doing every day.
Once I started thinking about my motivation, I couldn’t stop. I started applying it to everything. Why do I go to the gym every day? Is it to look good, to feel good, or to be able to tell people that I went? Why do I take so many pictures? Is it because I want to post them and get likes or is it because I honestly love to do it? Thinking about your motivation can change your mindset. If you find yourself becoming stagnant in your every day routine or unhappy with your life, spend some time thinking about your “why.” Why do you work where you work? Why do you live where you live? Why do you spend time with the people you choose to spend time with? Why do you choose to do the things you do in your free time? Think about your “whys” and then ask yourself if you’re okay with your answers. You might work at your job just because you like the people you work with, or because you like the work you do, or because you like the money you make; whatever your “why” is, as long as you are satisfied with that “why” then it’s valid. But if you’re working a job you hate with people you don’t feel supported and encouraged by, but you make good money, you have to decide if the money is enough motivation to stay. And if it’s not, you have to realize that you are in control and you can find a job that you are more motivated to go to.
You can apply this to every aspect of your life. Think about your “why,” what motivates you. Only you can decide if your “why” is “good enough” or enough of a reason to keep doing what you are doing. And if it is, use that knowledge to re-energize you. Maybe you exercise all the time but lately you just haven’t felt like doing it. Or it’s been a struggle to get to the gym. Focusing on WHY you exercise can renew your motivation. Whether you exercise to feel better or to look better or to let off steam or just because you really enjoy it, remembering why you do it can make it easier to get up and do it even when you’re busy or it’s been a long day.
For me, I needed to re-focus on WHY I love to write. And it’s not because I like seeing my WordPress stats show me that I have a lot of views. And it’s not because I like getting a lot of likes on Facebook. It’s because writing is something that comes natural to me and I love the idea that my words can help someone.
So if you’re struggling or feeling unfulfilled in your life, I encourage you to spend some time thinking about your “why.” And finding your “why” can help you focus on what is important and let everything else fall away.
As always, thank you for reading my thoughts and ramblings. I appreciate each and every one of you who takes the time to read and/or give feedback. If you enjoy my blog posts, I encourage you to share them so my words can spread even farther.