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5 tips for getting motivated (when you'd rather just lie on the sofa)

by Meagan Francis on April 28, 2011

Has it really been three days since I last posted? I think this is the longest I’ve been away from my blog in months. But after the whirlwind pace of the last few weeks, which have included my book launch, several in-person events, a trip to New Orleans, and a family wedding, I’ve felt the need to retreat a bit to reclaim some normal family life and re-establish routines.

And did I mention, I needed to clean up? The mad packing-unpacking-repacking-unpacking cycle of the past few weeks–not to mention the fact that we TWICE forgot to put out the recycling, and it started taking over our house– had led to total organization meltdown and I decided to embrace spring cleaning over the next week, even though it doesn’t really feel like spring outside just yet.

I’ve also had to extend my yard work intentions into next week after daily rain this week plus a couple of sick kids kind of derailed my plans. We’ve still been getting out a little every day, but not nearly as much as I’d hoped, and there is still a ton of yard work to be done. That’s the nice thing about intentions, though–they aren’t contracts you’ve signed in blood, and you aren’t a failure if you don’t quite make the mark. It’s okay to adjust or scale back your intention to fit real-life circumstances–or, like me, give yourself another week to reach your goal if life gets in the way. It’s not a race–it’s all about improving your life over the long term, instead of meeting a short term goal.

So: I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me, but the gray skies are really making me want to curl up in a ball and read Better Homes and Gardens while my own home falls to pieces around me and my “gardens” remain scraggly, untended mud pits. But no worries! I’ve been un-motivated enough times in my life to have come up with a go-to list of things that help reboot my energy levels and get me on track. Here they are: five of my favorite tips for giving motivation a boost:

1) Take a shower.
I know, it’s tempting to say “What’s the point of taking a shower? I’m just going to get dirty cleaning the house or working in the yard anyway.” Point taken, but it’s often hard for me to get moving before I’ve had a shower. It might seem illogical to get clean just to get dirty again, but if it works, who cares?

2) Leave the house.
Go grocery shopping. Go for a walk. Go visit a friend. Somehow, when I’ve been upright and out in the fresh air and moved my body a bit, I feel a lot more motivated to jump into a task when I get home.

3) Put on music.
For years I could only vacuum while listening to The Pretenders’ “Back On The Chain Gang.” True story. A good beat makes a huge difference in getting me off the sofa and into the mix.

4) Log out of Twitter or Facebook.
Trust me, you won’t miss anything that awesome while you’re gone. And if you do, people will still be talking about it in a few hours.

5) Make it a fun ritual.
No matter what you’re avoiding, is there a way to make it more enjoyable? Take spring cleaning, for example–what are some ways to inject some fun and pleasure into something that seems like, well, just a chore? Maybe you could use yummy-smelling cleaning products like Mrs. Meyers Clean Day, or make your own (one part vinegar, one part water and essential oil of lemon or lavender makes a nice-smelling and non-toxic all-purpose solution.) Don a fun apron. Imagine you’re Laura Ingalls in that scene in Little House on the Prairie (the book) where Ma and Pa take Mary to college and she decides to do all the spring cleaning with her little sisters. (I can’t be the only one wh0 devoured that scene over and over as a kid?) Maybe you use it as an opportunity to teach your kids how to properly wipe down tables. Or use this chance to discover a new podcast you’ve been meaning to check out. Maybe you make a yummy beverage to carry around the house and sip on as you clean. Use your imagination–there are ways to make almost any task more fun by injecting a little ritual, creativity, and maybe a nice smell or taste into the mix, too.

I’ve got a busy afternoon ahead of me, so it’s time to shut off the computer, put on some music, and get cracking–just as soon as I’ve run out to the grocery store to get a change of scenery and stock up on some tea. And speaking of getting things done, I was so thrilled by the great suggestions you all gave for our new Monday tradition. I’m still considering them all and will announce the winning suggestion on Monday!

In the meanwhile, I’d love to hear how your goals are coming along this week–or aren’t (be honest!) We all hit snags–so let’s take a moment to motivate one another.

My blog book tour is wrapping up this week, but there is still plenty of activity. Check out:

A great review at Parent Hacks
Review and giveaway at Aspiring Mama

Giveaway & review at Tree, Root and Twig

My guest post about finding happiness in the kitchen at Words To Eat By

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Cate @ Liberal Simplicity April 28, 2011 at 9:28 am

I love these tips–especially “Take a Shower.” I was feeling a little frazzled this morning and wasn’t sure where to start with my to-do list. Instead, I gave my toddler a leisurely bath, then took a shower myself. It didn’t take very long and I felt SO much more capable afterward.

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mindy April 28, 2011 at 1:50 pm

I recently found your blog through simple mom and just wanted to let you know how much I’ve enjoyed reading your last several posts. Thank you for being a different voice. We have chosen to be mothers and should choose to be happy and enjoy the everyday moments with our families:)

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Angela S April 28, 2011 at 7:55 pm

Those are all great suggestions. I agree with all of them but, I can really relate to the shower one. If I take a shower first, the rest of my day goes so much better.
My goals for this week and coming along pretty well. I still need to clean all the 2010 papers out of our filing drawer and order prints of recent pictures that we took. If I get those things done, and the “normal daily stuff” done, I’ll of finished my list for the week.

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cagey April 29, 2011 at 7:49 am

My week went GREAT – my primary goal was our basement! It had become a breeding ground for junk, errant holiday decorations and spiders. And while I do adore tarantulas, I prefer my arachnids to remain in CAGES.

Yes, the Great Arachnid Massacre of 2011 was a resounding success and my kids can play in the basement again. Huzzah!

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Naomi April 29, 2011 at 7:57 am

Thanks! I needed that today.

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Elisabeth April 29, 2011 at 8:28 am

Love this straight-forward and helpful post. I’ve only been following for a month or so but like what you’re doing so much you’re in my feedly and your new book is on my bedside table. Thank you for your sane and supportive voice!

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Rose May 1, 2011 at 3:06 am

Thanks for that very helpful post. I’ve got that problem so often!!!
My intentions have been going according to plan on Wednesday and Thursday but then not at all anymore on Friday and even worst on Saturday. Things just happened that came in the way and I think I also lacked a plan clear enough…
I hope Spring cleaning is coming along fine!

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Mama Sweet Pea May 3, 2011 at 3:26 pm

I just finished your book in three days (I MADE myself make time for ME), I LOVED it! It made me feel so much more confident in my own mothering style and really realize that being a mommy doesn’t make me unhappy, just the junk that has to be done around it. Thank you for sharing your ideas, I’m looking for another mommy to share this book with!

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Elizabeth March 27, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Thank you. You are the most normal person I know. (and I don’t even know you.)

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Bonny March 19, 2013 at 11:52 am

Routine, routine, routine. It’s the only way I get anything done! My biggest struggle is balance – Go at it 200 mph, conquer the world, crash. Did I mention I need a routine to stick to? ;-)

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