Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Motivating Yourself - Just Try!

(from Turbo Monkey Tales archives)

"The aim, if reached or not, makes great the life." -Robert Browning

In a writers' workshop a few years ago, the leader asked us to stand up and twist around as far as we could, and then note how far we had turned. Then we did it again, but this time before we twisted we chose a spot farther than we'd reached the first time. You know what? The second time, everyone reached their farther point. The difference was that for the second time, we set a goal and were motivated to reach it.

Chances are, many of us have set goals for 2014. Now here we are, nearing the end of summer, and we may be having trouble reaching those goals--or we're wondering how to go about reaching them. 

A few years ago I read a story about Beverly Cleary that inspired me to try new things. When Beverly Cleary was a young girl, she entered an essay contest because her mother had always encouraged her to try new things. She won the contest, and learned from that experience always to try, regardless of the certainty of the outcome.

After reading that, I adopted the "Just Try" method for doing many things that seemed impossible to accomplish. And it worked! I found that just trying frees me from the paralysis of fear and self-doubt; it allows me to explore, to play with ideas and directions, and to go beyond what makes me feel comfortable. "Just Try" includes the possibility--and acceptance--of failure and looking foolish, thereby dissolving their power over me. I've danced more, sketched more, sung more, traveled more, written more, explored more, experienced more--accomplished more--than I would have by wishing or dreaming about them.

Here are 4 simple steps for trying anything:

1. Write down what you want to try.
2. Imagine yourself doing it. What does that look like? How will you feel?
3. Imagine yourself accomplishing it. What does that look like? What rewards come with it? How will you feel?
4. Try doing it. You don't have to do it perfectly or be the best at it, or even finish it--you just have to try doing it.

You'll find that whether or not #3 comes true, you will have done #2--which has its own rewards and is a lot further than #1.

What do you do to motivate or inspire yourself?

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