English: Female Lion Français : Une lionne (Pa...

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Last spring, I was really behind on just about everything. I was reaching the end of April in a bit of a panic because, not only did I have a lot of catching up to do, I also was taking a class that summer and would have even less time than usual. I needed to commit myself to doing more work in May then I’d done in any month prior and it felt impossible.

But I was going to do it. Or I was going to at least try my hardest. That’s what I promised myself. While psyching myself up about this, I gave this challenge a ridiculous nickname because I am a dork: Where there’s a will, there’s a May!

I will be the first to admit that this slogan doesn’t even make sense. But I repeated it in my head whenever I felt overwhelmed and for some weird reason it kept me on pace. I got more done in May of that year then any other single month. Not only did I accomplish more individual tasks then any other month, I somehow also wrote more words that month they any other the rest of the year. I was a productive powerhouse!

I mention this because this wasn’t a challenge like NaNoWriMo or Script Frenzy where I had a large internet support group to tap into or a tangible goal in mind. This was literally just an arbitrary goal I set for myself that (other than a brief mention of it on my writing blog) no one knew I was even trying to do. I was accountable to no one other than myself. There was no reward, no milestones to aim for, nothing to keep me on pace. It was just mental self-trickery and nothing else. It shouldn’t have worked.

But it did.

Sometimes we get into our head that inspiration and motivation need to be this elaborate system of rewards and complicated organization when, most of the time, all we need to do is give ourselves a goal, a deadline and honestly commit to them. If that goal has a dorky name that keeps it easy to remember, more’s the better. Whatever it takes to make that goal feel important enough to YOU to stick to, it doesn’t matter if no one else in the entire world even knows about it or cares.

So, as I find myself completely behind after unexpectedly losing 2 weeks of February to illness, I have my work cut out for me this March. I was mentally gearing up for this onslaught of work when the battle cry of, “In like a lion, out like a BAM!” popped into my head. I’ve already used it twice when I wanted to slack off to remind myself to get back to work. It’s completely cheesy but it’s exactly what my brain needs to stick to this completely arbitrary set of goals I’ve set for myself this month. To go into this month working and come out working EVER HARDER.

What do you do to self-motivate?