So I bought a new planner for 2020...
Its cover reads: Now Is the Time to Live Out Your Dreams (Today is the Day). Inside the positive affirmation shell, it continues to hand me little gifts of positivity. "Nothing is out of my reach." "Be true to you."
It also has a place where I can record my short and long term goals. When I first purchased this planner, before Christmas while carols played on overhead speakers and glittery lights sparkled from retail end caps, excitement flooded through my veins like electricity from a lightning bolt. "Yes!" I told my optimistic self. "This is what will get me motivated! This little book with its hopeful messages and guided tips to self-discovery will change my life!"
It's now December 3rd, and the only thing I've written into my planner is "clean the kitchen and vacuum the living room." I don't know about you, but to me this already feels like a letdown. What happened to the inspiration this book was supposed to engage me in? Wasn't this planner going to change the trajectory of my life? After all, it has all these little prompts to get me into a highly motivated mood. Why are my only goals focused on cleanliness?
So I sat and thought about this. Because, you know, lying around and thinking is at least doing something. And I think I have some idea of why this "plan your year!" thing isn't working for me.
For one thing, I do this all the time. Every day I draw up goals and write them down. Most of the checked boxes are next to easy goals such as: exercise, do dishes, get groceries. Unchecked boxes are beside the loftier goals of: work on movie script, finish editing, add to painting. So what makes this planner any different from the ones I had in previous years?
Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Because my attitude hasn't changed. January 1st was no different from December 31st (except I slept a lot more). I didn't jump out of bed these last few January mornings with renewed hope and clarity. Buying a journal, a planner, a book of motivational sayings, isn't going to make me want to plunge into the depths of my creativity like a diver searching for buried treasure in the vast ocean. I need to pinpoint one thing I want to make happen this year. Just one.
Which means I need to go down my long list of "desires" and figure out which ones are the most attainable, then decide from that smaller list, which ones will make me money, and then from that list, what ones will bring me joy. Then fine tune those into ONE goal. And work on that goal every freaking day.
So the planner gives me a place to recognize where I have work to do, the the planner won't do it for me. Just like purchasing a treadmill doesn't mean one will instantly lose twenty pounds, or stocking a fridge with vegetables doesn't mean one's body will automatically become a lean, mean, healthy machine.
Which sucks, because wouldn't that solve most of the issues we have with ourselves? No, I'm not talking body image here. I mean we wouldn't have to concern ourselves with how to become motivated. I feel that if I can solve that problem, everything else will just fall into place.
What motivates you? What keeps you moving forward? I want to know. I can use any tips you can throw at me. Because, you see, my planner doesn't seem to have that answer.