I’m Looking For Motivation

We finally made it out of January which seemed to last about three years. February comes with is own challenges like having less than 30 days, finding a Valentine, or whipping out black history facts. Today we’re going to talk more about finding motivation.

In an earlier post, I covered getting past procrastination. However, the true goal is getting face to face with motivation and learning whether or not it’s real.

Motivation can be authentic and natural, but this can be inspired by intentional redirection. Some people are naturally driven to complete certain tasks or goals, while others feel forced to complies with those requests. The difference here is whether something has become second nature or habitual for the individual.

So I am of the mindset that motivation is innate: you either have it or you don’t. However, if there’s something you really want, you can do things to create motivation. For example, by nature, I am quite the perfectionist and artistic. Those two qualities can be the best combination for a piece or lead to it’s demise before it even manifests. Due to my perfectionism, I’m often paralyzed to create things because I want them to look a certain way. In art, this is not always the case, but it could be with years of practice. So when it comes to painting, I have to find my own motivation to get the job done.

Earlier, I mentioned that motivation can be created. The most effective way for me has been to make a schedule and stick to it. When you make a schedule, you prioritize certain tasks and actions according to your own value scale. Therefore, if I need motivation to paint, I start with a small commitment to myself of painting for one hour at least 2-3 times a week. As time progresses, painting becomes more important for me and I get into a habit of working a certain amount of hours on it.

This could be done with almost anything. Need motivation to finish an essay? As soon as you get the assignment and answer all your questions about the prompt, open up that calendar. See how many days you have until it’s due. Then do yourself a favor and change the due date to a day earlier. Look at the number of stages or pages required for this essay and build a schedule backwards. So if I have a 10 page essay on why left feet are associated with bad dancing:

  1. Identify the due date and made your personal due date.
  2. I have 2 weeks to write 10 pages. This means I have to write 5 pages a week or be more specific. Ex. I will write this many words a day. I will write 2 pages on Tuesday and Thursday, then 1 page on Sunday.
  3. Determine what stage you have to be in the process. Ask yourself, “How much do you know about this topic? What do I need to research? How many sources do I need?”
  4. Then you can pick a date to either just conduct research and gather sources. Or set a date for your research to be completed, so you can just write and edit.
  5. Be sure to edit on your due date and submit as earlier as possible so it’s off of your mind.

So again your motivation can be created from having easy tasks on a variety of days. Eventually you’ll get into a habit of scheduling out enough time to complete those assignments. That’s how I find motivation: doing small this here and there with an end goal in mind.

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5 Steps to End Procrastinating

Welcome to the new posting schedule of 2018! From this moment on, all Gap Year Journal posts will populate on Saturday afternoons. Now let’s stop procrastinating and get right to the point.

1.Decide.

First things first, you have to make the decision that you want to stop procrastinating. Why did you click on this post? Why do you care enough to procrastinate long enough to solve your procrastination? Do you honestly want to stop? There is something within you that was triggered that caused you to stop acting. Whether you are overly concerned with something being perfect, you are afraid of failure, or you are just not interested, you have to make the decision to actively combat procrastination.

I am currently procrastinating on applying to graduate schools and job applications. I am procrastinating because I do not think that I have enough time to make everything perfect (event though I know that does not matter). I’m also procrastinating because most of it requires writing about why I want to attend those schools or be a part of that company. Because I love writing and I want clarity in my ideas, it takes full commitment to sit still and write. I am also just really lazy after traveling over the winter holidays. But I am currently making a decision to stop procrastinating, because I do not want to be paralyzed. Worse case scenario, I do not submit anything and receive no response! So I am going to stop procrastinating.

2. Assess.

Assess your limitations or inhibitors. You have to be honest with yourself and know your weakness to ensure you are the best you that you envision you to be. Write it down if you have to or tell a friend to hold you accountable.

I am a perfectionist and worry that I won’t be able to communicate how awesome I am in one page. Like how do I fit all my awesomeness in one page?! I deserve a novel or two or a trilogy. Ego aside…I also worry that those university or companies won’t see my worth. In this world, you don’t deserve things, you earn them. But I know that I’ve worked hard to know and deserve my worth. Will I be just a number to those university or companies? If so, that’s not the culture that I want to be a part of. Lastly, I just don’t like making decisions that seem life-changing. Yet, every day we make small decisions that alter our future. For example, the chili fries I bought over bell peppers or soda over water. See really, it’s perspective. My perspective about myself, my work, and my world is stopping. That uncertainty of finally leading my life is terrifying.

3. Plan.

Plan your next step, love. As I have mentioned plenty of times before, plans should always be realistic for your lived experience. If these plans are for productivity, I’m assuming that there is a tasks that you wish you could complete; therefore, we do not have to discuss making the plan measureable. You have told yourself that you will no longer procrastinate. You have been honest with yourself and your situation. Now consult with yourself on how to end this procrastination session.

You can write some notes, motivate yourself by looking in the mirror, work with a trusted friend/ coworker/ family member, etc. Decide on what is the goal and how to get there in a way that is realistic for you. I will make a fully list of things that I need to do. Set alarms for when they should be completed. Through typing this up on my blog, I now have to revisit this published document as a reminder.

4. Select.

Select your method of motivation or reward. If you struggle with procrastination, you more than likely struggle with motivation. Some people are motivated by obtaining money, providing a service to others, enjoying the process of what they love, beating deadlines, etc. Other people might complete tasks in order to reward themselves by going shopping, eating their favorite foods, watching a good movie, going out with friends, etc.

I am definitely more reward oriented. My motivation comes from getting rid of notifications or constantly seeing something. I just love the feeling of crossing things off my list. I might set alarms in my phone at specific times to do specific tasks. I also will create little sticky notes for my mirror and doors. I reward myself with long naps, long baths, or long hours shopping alone in H&M. I just worry that I’ve stopped caring about whether I finish the next step. So we’ll just have to see how this goes.

5. Stop.

Stop reading this post and go do the things. You have graduated from Cayla’s quick course on the end to procrastination. So in order to put number one into action, close out your window, put your phone on airplane mode, and revisit step number one. Go do all of the things!

Best,

Cayla Jae

 

Why You Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions

Alright, so you all know what time of the year it is. In the U.S.A, we have entered and are still recovering from the financial hardships following the winter holiday season. Seeing as we are about three days out from 2018, I felt the need to reflect on and respond to 2017.

In January of 2017, I was huddled up under warm blankets on my couch watching Miami’s 2017 New Year celebration, because duh Pitbull. I was sipping lightly on a new bottle of dry, red wine and heading into my last semester of undergrad. I was disappointed by the newly elected president, confused about what my future would be following my graduation, and consumed by my upcoming gallery show. New Year’s Resolutions (NYR) just weren’t enough to cover all that 2016 threw up on me. After seeing what 2017 became, I feel that now is a great time to start setting some goals, but not in the way that you might think.

I’m assuming that this tradition derived from a sense of hope and unlimited possibilities in the future. People want to know that things will get better and improve. People are constantly trying to “fix” themselves and become enough. One of the reasons I think people shouldn’t make NYR based on these things is because they assume it is a quick fix to their problem (no matter how small or big). The difference in my approach to the new year is to reflect and respond.

As I reflect on 2017, I witnesses democracy and justice being challenged at every turn. I witnessed all the isms (racism, classism, sexism, etc.) being exaggerated and polarized. I have never seen so much exposure of problematic ideas and standpoints. These events were not surprising by any means, because I always knew they existed, people just never have been so bold to share it. There have been various natural disasters, courtroom battles, and peaceful protests which painted the way many of us see 2017. In 2017, I achieved various academic achievements, such as presenting my research at conferences, finding my artistic style, and graduating in one of the laude categories. In 2017, I began loving myself and cleansing my life by getting rid of toxic people and habits. In 2017, I traveled, wrote, created, laughed, and grew.

In creating NYR, I respond to 2017 by identifying what I care most about and what my talent is to make things just a little bit better. When some look at and experience trauma, disasters, and negativity, they want a quick fix. I am hearing more often about revolutions. However, what I have come to realize is that most people want social evolution. To me, a revolution is a sudden, quick, burst of violence to make things right. It often leads to confusion, death, struggle, and non-sustainable solutions. In my mind, it is more realistic and peaceful to go about social evolution. By contrast, this would mean a subtle community transformation. A peaceful and productive method of changing social norms for the benefit of the people.

I respond to 2017 by realizing that the main problem in the U.S.A is hegemony and a lack of understanding (or interest in doing so). I care most about people actually knowing their “enemy” before persecuting them. My talent, skill, or contribution is through creating. I make art well. I write well. I enjoy holding conversations about political issues, because our lives are political. I want muted groups and minorities to not just feel heard, but to be listened to by others. Some of you reading this may not see responding to 2017 as political. Maybe you bought too much yarn and did not actually crochet with it. Maybe you entered too many toxic relationships in 2017. Maybe you have started a new family unit in 2017. You’re response to your lived experience in 2017 will be different. But I encourage you to not leave your NYR at the surface level. Don’t just make a list! Respond to your experience in 2017.

For me, I will be focusing on how my art or line of work can serve my community to make some ripples in social evolution. I want to get my 2018 work into a gallery or local coffee shop. I want to do more commission work. I want to committ to dancing on a regular basis again (at least twice a week). I will continue to narrow down my occupational goals. Finally, I will challenge my own outlook on life: to be less impulsive, concerned about negative things that people might think about me, and worried about things that may or may not occur. I want to be more financially self-sufficient by this time next year and I believe that I have a good game plan to get there.

So remember: reflect on 2017, respond to the events of 2017, create a realistic action plan, and start small. Next week (Next YEAR, ha!), I might go into detail about making realistic goals and building good habits. However, for now, be specific and unapologetic about what you want, be sure to measure your progress, be forgiving with time you give yourself to complete something, and take baby steps!

Best,

Cayla Jae

Untitled (Blue) 2017

This piece was the heart of my show last spring. It was the last piece that I began working on and the first one that came to life. Although loosely created as a self-portrait, it embodies the spirit of the impact I wish to leave and the person I am creating.

6' by 3.5" acrylic portrait painting
Portrait of my guiding spirit and mood of my new mindset.

Wunderlust

After this summer, I know two things for sure: if you truly want something, it is yours to have, and also remain flexible, because you’ll never know where this world will take you. With a positive mindset and a good amount of stubbornness, I have no doubt that you can turn life’s unfortunate events into dreams. I had heard an artist say before that the most important thing to them was to “craft their life” and not just let it play. Being humans, we are creatures of habit and without a little bit of creativity or curiosity, we find ourselves stuck. Always question, always challenge, and always grow…for not all those who wander are lost.

Rest Your Mind

“Now that he was safe from the world outside he was being attacked from within his own head.” – Cal by Bernard Maclaverty, p.106.

The art process is very vulnerable and uncertain. Much of the time that I spend working alone is filled with doubts and negativity from my mind. Art involves so much self criticism that one become less bothered by others expectations. One of the things my professor tells students is to not forget what you do well. As a group, we spend more time attempting to perfect that which is already perfect. Let your mind rest and enjoy your days.

Pub Life: Community

Traveling aboard has shown me a different side of drinking culture. In many parts of the states, going to bars is all about getting trashed and remembering bits of your night. Here in Ireland, I see something much different. Sure there are drunkards roaming in the wee hours of the night and plenty of tourist who have one drink too many; however, the pub culture here is about community, socializing, and entertainment. Pub life is less about drinks and getting trashed, but more about the relationship we have with one another.

The Dead

This month, I’ve been traveling along the coasts in Ireland. In learning about the culture and history of this country, I’ve realized that the world and stories of the dead never leave new generations. Every generation reforms the traditions of the past and it is only through understanding that history that we are able to take full advantage of the present. #irishturtle

Strength

Although everyone experiences rock bottom emotionally at some point, I think it’s important to remember three time frames. The past is that which remains unchanged. Remaining in it’s suffocating embrace, weakens the spirit and mind. The present is that which remains in process, creating the future that is always ready for you to take charge. Sometimes we have to move away from our pasts, in hopes that our futures will seem like dreams.