Sometimes we all need a little motivation to help us reach our practice goals. What is yours?
By Melodie Cannon
“Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.” –Mario Andretti
Let’s be honest. Sometimes we have to do certain things we don’t necessarily want to do. We must wash the dishes, do the laundry, take the dog outside a thousand times, wake up early… The number of responsibilities are endless. Then there are the things we love to do that require significant effort in order to maintain them, such as cooking, raising a family and playing an instrument. All these wonderful things come with a cost; money, commitment and daily effort.
Sometimes these endless responsibilities are so overwhelming that we may become disheartened and discouraged, causing us to give up or have bad feelings about what we’re working for. We may have thoughts such as, ‘Is playing an instrument really worth all the work? Maybe I’m not cut out for playing an instrument … do I even like playing?’ Sometimes we focus so much on the work put into maintaining something wonderful that we forget how it feels in the good moments.
Is there a solution to this situation? Is there anything that could help us work towards the success and joy even through the hard times? Good news! There is, in fact, a solution!
Motivation. Motivation can help us see the light on the other side of the tunnel and give us enough hope to keep working through the annoying responsibilities in order to get to the prize. Motivation is what keeps us going.
But there is another big question we must discuss. Does it matter what motivates us? Are there really good and bad motivations? Absolutely!
Bad Motivation vs. Good Motivation
Here is a great example of a bad motivation:
Deborah so badly wants to run a marathon this summer, but she needs the motivation to get up early every morning and train her body. But sometimes she doesn’t feel like getting up so early and take the same old run every single morning. She’d rather get up on her own timing, eat eggs and toast, watch the Today Show, and then go out for coffee with her best friend Paula. She realizes that she needs to find something to motivate her. Something that will be worth getting up early every morning in order to workout. So, she decides that every time she successfully gets up to workout she will treat herself for a strawberry ice-cream cone afterwards.
What’s wrong with this scenario? Should ice-cream be her motivation? What if it did motivate her to get up and workout every morning? The next thing Deborah knows, she’s gained ten pounds. Now, working out is miserable because the sugar is causing her to be unhealthy and is sabotaging her workouts.
What would be a better motivation? It must be something that will motivate her but will not sabotage her workouts. She really wants to run the marathon, but how will she if she doesn’t succeed in her training?
Discouraged, Deborah goes out to coffee with her friend Paula. Surprisingly, Paula excitedly tells Deborah about this new sugar-free chocolate she bought at the store. Intrigued, Deborah tastes the chocolate. Bingo! She finally knows what she can use as a motivation! From then on Deborah is motivated to get up early in the morning and do her workout because she knows that a piece of her favorite chocolate is waiting for her when she was finished. A few months later, she successfully and happily finishes her first marathon!
That was a great story right? I know … it’s pretty cheesy, but hey … I made my point, right?
I’m going to tell you what I did when I needed some motivation:
I started taking an online Latin class and the work load was extremely overwhelming. I began to procrastinate to the point of getting severely behind. I finally realized that something had to change and I needed motivation. One day I was sick and decided to start a new TV show. I liked it so much I decided to use the show as my motivation to get Latin done. Only if I’d accomplished at least an hour of Latin could I watch my show. It worked! I now am making significant progress in Latin, mostly because of the motivational TV show. So, on nights when I really don’t want to do Latin, especially when I’m tired or not feeling well, I ask myself, “Well, do you want to watch your show?” This question usually nudges me towards working through the Latin so that I could have my reward.
This same method can be applied to your musical journey as well. If you’re finding that your music practice is lacking a bit, consider finding a motivation that will appropriately help you get back on track to your progress. Musical journeys are hard and take much dedication and work to maintain, but the joy and rewards are worth it!
What’s Your Motivation?
So, what motivates you? Is it helping you reach your goal or is it sabotaging you?
I challenge you to think about how you can improve in your musical journey. Is there anything you’re lacking in? Anything you’ve been neglecting out of procrastination or discouragement? Think of an appropriate goal and then find something that will motivate you enough to work through blood, sweat, and tears toward success. A whole musical journey is waiting for you to take the first step.
Please let us know what motivates you by leaving a comment below!
Share as much detail as possible in your reply. Many come here each week for insight and inspiration. Your story may help someone else find something new to motivate them to help reach their goal.
Thank you so much for joining us, sharing your voice and making this spot on Accordion Life fun and interactive!