Happy first day of November, and with it, my second annual Ground in Gratitude challenge!
Each post this month leading up to Thanksgiving will focus on one thing, tangible or not, that I am grateful for in my life. This time, I’m taking it a step further by trying to be hip with a hashtag and incorporating it across social media platforms, expressing gratitude in all areas of my life. And with that hashtag, I challenge YOU (yes, you reading this) to also devote time to gratitude. If you share something online, I’d love if you’d use the hashtag so I can find it and even give you a shoutout.
With the background information out of the way, I want to dive head-first into this month discussing motivation. This already is fairly abstract, but I think having motivation is a key element to really making your life less about sitting back as everything goes by, and more about switching to the driver’s seat and feel empowered with the route you take.
I wanted to start with motivation because personally, I’ve felt a struggle recently to find any. My health has been sub-par, and that has led to a major depressive episode that has left me feeling drained by doing anything. Completing homework ahead of time has been hard. Going out to socialize and not just give excuses has been hard. Heck, even writing blog posts has been harder than it usually is, a pastime that I can usually pull out without much extra effort.
When I come across these times of barely dragging myself out of bed each morning, that doesn’t mean I’m completely helpless. Instead, I change my perception of what motivation and productivity look like. Now more than ever we see people, especially women, feeling more empowered to become “girl bosses” and glorify “the hustle,” and while that’s such a great thing to see, it overlooks the times when we can hardly take care of ourselves, let alone rocking out some major projects and plans.
Rather than seeing motivation just as the bridge to working hard and accomplishing a list of achievements, let’s celebrate motivation more as that little nudge ensuring we take care of ourselves each day. That voice of reason reminding us to reach out to that friend you haven’t talked to in awhile, to go get some groceries when you’re running low on food, to take a shower if you haven’t done so in a few days. Motivation is not some outside authority telling us what to do; it’s ourselves and our own desire to be the best version of ourselves each day, whatever that version may look like. And motivation in that sense might be even more empowering than the work-your-tail-off kind.
So those times when we think about our current state or look in the mirror, disappointed in what we see, realize that we wouldn’t even be standing without some form of motivation, whether that be for loved ones, goals, or the innate desire to stay alive. We can fall flat on our faces a million and one times, but that inner motivation never truly goes away. We can ignore and suppress it, but if we want to see any sort of step, no matter how big or small, forward, motivation is the tool moving our foot in the right direction.
Despite feeling a fog billowing in my vision and clouding my usual level of ambition, I am grateful for my motivation to keep waking up every morning, to still share my ideas on this blog because I know how much I love it and would miss doing so. I am grateful for still taking care of myself, for still doing my best in class. I’ve pictured so many different scenarios of what I could possibly be right now if I chose to completely wallow in my depression, but I’ve decided to grasp onto that spark of motivation to keep my eyes set toward the lighter times inevitably in my future.
If you’re drawn to a certain idea or activity, there’s a reason for that random little jolt of motivation compelling you. Don’t deny yourself that, but follow the path, even if it’s in unknown territory, and see where it takes you. At the end of the day, your biggest obstacle is yourself, your own fears and hesitations. But that means you’re also your best tool for overcoming those self-doubts, and that potential is really empowering.
On this first day of November, I hope you find the motivation within yourself to focus on at least one thing each day and express your gratitude for it. After doing this last year, I really want others to hop on board because the mindset you adopt from doing so can drive even greater motivation to not only better yourself, but to better the world around you.
What motivates you? It could be anything. I’d love to hear about the varied ways motivation seeps into our lives and helps direct our paths.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie