Motivation is a fickle beast. What may motivate one person has no effect on another. What motivates a person today may do nothing the next. Finding that right motivator is a difficult task, especially if you’re trying to motivate a kid to clean.
Crash earned Minecraft for his tablet last weekend when he helped us stack wood at his grandfather’s house. He’s been asking for it for a solid year, at least. We kept trying various tasks for him to earn it: don’t instigate his brother, help clean the house, clean up his Legos. Nothing worked. I’m not sure if Minecraft (which he seem to need so desperately) just wasn’t worth it or what his deal was. We stacked firewood for about two and half hours last Sunday and while he worked slowly he did it. Mind you he’d stack a piece then sit and complain about being tired or hot. Or thirsty. Or his back hurt. Or he was sweaty. Then he’d stack another piece and repeat the process. After about an hour and half he finally realized that he was going to have to work for it.
It’s time he learns that you can’t get something for nothing. A lesson he probably should have learned long ago.
Anyway, he worked and he earned. But now that he has it he has to continue to work to continue earning his time. He has daily chores to do now. The difficulty of the chore determines how many chores he has. Making his bed, and putting away the silverware from the dishwasher are all easy so he has to do them all in one day. Cleaning his toys in the basement is big so that was his only chore yesterday. Guess what. Cleaning his toys proved more difficult than playing Minecraft was worth. He’s on day two of not cleaning his toys. Bang helped me clean his portion of the toys this morning. Crash played Legos and cleaned diddly squat. So apparently, Minecraft that he was dying to get, just isn’t worth the 15 minutes of cleaning it would take to play.
This leads me to think about what motivated me. I enjoy a clean house so I most days I don’t mind it. Plus it’s not worth it to tell DW she folded the clothes wrong, so I just do it myself. But, I’m now thinking of a slightly different form of motivation.
Exercise. I enjoy it. I don’t mind the sweat and heart thumping it entails. But some days (most days until recently) just putting on my running shoes was a huge effort. Thanks to my Fitbit and a few challenges from friends and family, I’m getting back put there, albeit, a bit slower than I was 3 months ago. But I’m running.
Motivation to do, to accomplish, to just try, ultimately comes from within yourself. Right now, close your eyes and think of what it is you want to do, to accomplish. Think of what it will take to achieve. Think of yourself in the moment you acheive it. Now open your eyes and make it happen. Yes, it’s as easy as that. Will it be easy to accomplish, probably not. But anything easy isn’t worth accomplishing.
I’ve put my running shoes back on. Now, if I could just motivate Crash to clean!