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Staying Motivated To Reach Your Goals

As Published In Professional Organizers Blog Carnival
Staying Motivated To Reach Your Goals

Motivation — sometimes you have it and sometimes you don’t. It’s an elusive state of mind in which you really WANT to accomplish a goal, you’re excited about getting started, and you’re naturally compelled to see that project through to the end. The high is better than any drug, but it’s unpredictable. Many days, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t locate the “on” switch for your internal motivator — too bad you can’t buy enthusiasm in a pill!


Motivation is directly linked to a sense of expectation — the more positive the perceived outcome, the more willing we are to expend time and energy on that activity. It’s a no-brainer, really — work that we enjoy is inherently more rewarding than work that we don’t, so we’re more likely to initiate activity on our own, without someone having to beg and plead and cajole to get us moving. That’s why we’re more motivated to do fun stuff than drudgery, and will devote hours to something that sounds like “play” when we can’t even get up off the couch to do something else that feels like “work.” For example, most people view cleaning out the garage as being less gratifying than, say, setting up a new entertainment system in the basement — so they are less inclined to tackle that particular project, and more likely to spend the afternoon watching action movies with the surround-sound blasting at full volume.


Which brings me to another issue — what constitutes a “reward” is very different for each person. I know accountants who get a great deal of joy from crunching numbers, while other people consider bookkeeping their idea of hell. I thrive on pushing my body hard in a workout. Some people are intrinsically motivated, meaning that a personal sense of accomplishment is enough to keep them going. Others need extrinsic motivation — which could come in the form of money or material rewards, praise from others, winning first prize in a competition, etc. One individual is driven by the experience of pleasure and does better with a “carrot” (they will complete a task to earn a good meal, a soak in the tub, or a shopping spree) — while another is more motivated to avoid pain (they will complete a task to prevent debt, ill health, marital problems, a jail sentence, whatever.) Which one are you? Not sure? That might be why you’re having a hard time accomplishing the to-do’s on your list.  Getting and staying motivated is nothing more than a big game of “know thyself.”

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and

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