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Mission Motivation: Baby Steps

Now we’re getting somewhere! So, we know that by Creating the Space that we’re not talking about a literal space but creating a change within our everyday routine. Creating this space means that we’re able to practice our barbershop in the comfort of our homes, but where do we start? How do we become consistent? 

Where do we find the motivation?  

Not everyone is the same. That’s what makes this question of motivation so very difficult. We all, however, can motivate ourselves by starting small as we propel ourselves to continue moving forward. 

And here’s the rub: I can’t tell you how to “Create your Space” because I’m not you. What motivates me as a person will not work for everyone. I know what my schedule is like, I know how I learn, and I know what resources I have available to assist me in my process. 

However, I do know that we’re all capable of creating that space. Sometimes, we just need something to work off of to get the ball rolling. Here are a couple of core components that we can all use moving forward:

What are Your Needs?

I’m not talking about our basic needs like food or shelter. I’m talking about our specific needs as we work through our creative process. When I’m working on my art projects, I need a great deal of space, good lighting, heat, and something to listen to playing in the background like a movie or music playlist. Our wants come later – we must make sure that our needs are met first.

This is the part where you get to know yourself a little bit and ask yourself how you learn and work in the space within your life. This can and will get tricky.

Case and point: 

A few years ago, I was running quite a lot and I started yoga so I could prevent potential muscular injury. I bought the mat, yoga leggings and found a teacher that I liked. I thought that since I’d already made time in the morning for running, I’d use that same time for yoga. Perfect, right?

I hated it. I was unbalanced and distracted for the entire time on the mat finding no sense of satisfaction or relaxation that I’d heard was pretty much the whole point of yoga. 

Completely frustrated, I talked with a co-worker at the time that I knew had practiced for years asking for guidance. She said to try again. I remember thinking at the time, “…well that’s not helpful.”

Alright – one more time. I went home from work that night and started a different practice. I knew within 5 minutes that everything was different. By the end of the practice, my body felt better than it had in weeks and I was calm.

And here’s what I found out about myself: 

Running in the morning = Good. Running at night = Bad. 

Yoga in the morning = Bad. Yoga at night = Good.

So, as we move forward, we not only have to ask what our needs are but test them out too. Are you a night singer or a morning bird? Are you more likely to sing while walking around or standing still? How long do you really need to warm-up?

Take some time with this step – you’ll need it.

Set a Goal…then a Mini One

Goals are meant to be achievable. Let me say that again. GOALS ARE MEANT TO BE ACHIEVABLE. That means you have to be practical and honest with yourself. 

Let’s use the running example for this: Person A has a goal to run 3 miles every day for 3 months but has never run beyond a mile in their life. Now, I’m not going to say this scenario is impossible, but how likely is Person A going to meet their goal?

Choose a goal that fits your routine and your needs (that you’ve outlined above). Goal: I want to regularly practice my barbershop for at least 15 minutes a day. Does this sound achievable?

Wait! There’s more. Setting the goal is all fine and dandy, but how do you plan to get there? Next comes the mini goal(s). These are the smaller, easy to achieve goals that work like your reward system. You can take this literally, (like I will) but the point is that you are rewarding yourself towards your goal – the ultimate reward.

Be Consistent 

This kind of falls in with setting up your goals, but still needs to be said. 

How much time do you have – really? We’re all busy – no question there – but if we can’t ensure that we’re consistently working on our goals then there’s really no point in starting them in the first place.

This step requires flexibility. 

Wait…you just said that we must be consistent. Flexibility and consistency…how does that work?

Telling yourself that you’ll only sing between 6:00-6:30 may work for some people, but I’ve always found that life finds a way to interrupt.

A new study in behavioral science in creating new habits has recently shown that it takes between 2-8 months depending on the habit, the person, and their circumstances. This can be disheartening to hear, but there’s hope!

In the same study, it was determined that missing an opportunity or making mistakes didn’t affect the development of the habit – meaning that it’s okay if you miss a day or two.

Being consistent allows flexibility to meet our goals on OUR time. You can always change your goal to be more or less progressive, but just having a goal and working towards it is enough to “create your space” for barbershop. 


Reward yourself

I can’t stress enough how important this step is.

This step applies to our baser needs of positive and negative responses. It’s simple and obvious from the outside and yet this step is constantly overlooked or seen as superfluous or self-indulgent. 

Rewarding ourselves does 3 things:

  1. It acts as a motivator to continue earning more
  2. It positively reinforces our actions teaching self-control and consistency
  3. It revitalizes the passion or creativity rather than stinting it.

Strangely enough, this step is surprisingly tricky for one reason: you have to choose the right reward. 

One of the biggest mistakes to creating a reward system is that we usually choose something that we already do as our reward. For example:

Goal                                    Mini-Goal                                       Reward

I want to lose weight.       I’ll exercise for 1 hr. a Day        I get to eat all the food

There are two problems with this example. 

One: I have to eat. I need fuel for my body to be healthy, so why am I rewarding myself with something I’m going to get no matter what?

Two: My reward is counterproductive. I’ve now rewarded myself by creating a bad habit of eating whatever I want with no restraint. In the end, I’ll be caught in a never-ending loop of constantly trying to lose weight while teaching myself to eat anything I want.

Here are two things to consider when rewarding yourself:

  1. The reward needs to align with your goal! Make sure that it is either not affecting the new habit or is acting as a positive, motivating force!
  2. Try and find a reward that you don’t get regularly. A reward doesn’t have to be extravagant or cost a lot of time, energy, or money. It just needs to be something that will inspire or excite you.  

If I leave you with anything on this journey towards rebuilding your motivation, it’s that you’re not alone. This past year has affected everyone in one way or another. We’re all trying to regain what we’ve lost. I’ll be working right alongside you on this. 

Check in here to see my progress as I try new exercises to get myself motivated!


Published by sjungblut

A woman in the workforce by day, a singer by night, an artist in between it all.

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