Motivation vs. Inspiration

IMG_7264Today is my rest day – well from the gym anyway – which really means “clean the house, do the laundry and a lot of cooking day”. I started today like every other day, with my coffee in hand, then cozy up in my favorite chair. I like to talk with God and then catch up on some of my favorite apps and social media before diving into the morning chaos. I love checking Pinterest to see what’s new (and to see what funny pins my niece sent me), and as I was scrolling I came across a great quote from and it made me think. So I pinned it and moved on to check in with PumpUp, my favorite fitness app. There I noticed a trend… people asking, sometimes pleading, for motivation. Motivation to start exercising, motivation to eat healthier and cleaner, motivation to be happy. This literally hurt my heart. I wonder why people aren’t motivated to do these things on their own. I mean, I don’t need motivation from others. I love to workout. I need to workout.. I crave it! Nobody has to convince me, talk me into it, or drag me along, and I certainly don’t complain about it being hard or scary or that it hurts. I don’t need people trying to convince me to eat clean. I love cooking and continually learning about nutrition and new ways to cook and eat clean, healthy meals. I am not swayed very often by unhealthy foods. I actually cringe at processed foods and most unhealthy foods and get a bit stressed about finding a suitable meal if eating out (yeah, I know, I’m obsessed!). I’m not trying to sound conceited here, but I ask myself what is the difference between them and me?

Nothing, except time and proper motivation. This subject really touched my heart and I feel compelled to share what I have learned about myself over the years and what the difference is between motivation and inspiration in my life. The laundry, cooking and cleaning will have to wait.

FullSizeRenderI look back at that quote. I remember that woman from yesterday. I remember being at that starting point. I remember not liking the way I looked. I remember feeling insecure and inadequate. I remember eating processed foods and driving through fast-food restaurants. I remember walking into a gym for the first time. I remember the intimidating feeling of starting something I knew nothing about. I remember the feeling of failing and of starting over. And I remember looking for motivation and at pictures of people wondering if I could ever be like that. I am certainly a very different woman today than I was yesterday. Would I have believed someone if they told me five years ago I’d be where I am today? Probably not. Yet here I am, a completely different woman today- inside and out.

So what is motivation anyway? In it’s simplest form.. literally the desire to do things. While inspiration is something that makes someone want to do something. Hmm, so what’s the difference? The difference is “desiring” to do something and “wanting” to do something. A quote such as Eleanor Roosevelt’s, “Do one thing everyday that scares you.” is certainly inspiring, makes us feel good and maybe even revs us up a bit. But do we actually do one scary thing everyday? Probably not.

Everyone wants to be motivated and we look for it everywhere. We look for it online, in self-help books, TV and from people in our daily lives. We look for inspiring and meaningful quotes and surround ourselves with like-minded folks hoping to absorb some of what they are and to have what they have. You get encouraged and take some steps forward only to find yourself back to where you started, feeling guilty, unhappy, self-loathing and eventually feeling sorry for yourself which you then find yourself in this seemingly endless downward spiral asking yourself, “What the heck happened”? “Why can’t I get going”? “Why can’t I stick with this”? and worst of all, “What is wrong with me”?

Let’s go back to motivation. The desire to do something. We are talking about the source of it… where does it come from? The only motivation that has ever worked for me, and will ever work comes from within me. The true desire from within to be something, do something, change something, create something. You may have an idea in your head and people can give you all sorts of inspiring tidbits, but if the desire doesn’t resonate in your heart you will never be motivated. Motivation is self-generated, not given.

Over a year ago one of my very best friends suggested I write a book, or at least start a blog. I was inspired by his work, after all he is very intelligent and an amazingly talented author, but I had no desire to write. I did know that there was something missing from my life though. Even though I am blessed to be able to stay at home and raise my children, I knew I wanted something more than just  washing a seemingly never ending amount of laundry and dishes.

Over time he would encourage me and poured into me affirmations of the talents he saw in me. He would encourage me that I had something to offer to people and that I could make a difference. I started thinking about it a little. And a little more. Then I thought, “Nah, who wants to hear what I have to say?” “What makes me any different from anybody else doing the same thing?” “How can I be any good at this? I never even finished college for Pete’s sake!” “I don’t even know where to start.” So I let it go. Or so I thought.

Over the next year I really searched my heart and asked myself, “Do I want to do this, and if so why? What is my motivation?” I had come to the realization that I did want to pursue this.. not because of or for my friend, but because I realized that my passion for this lifestyle I had embraced and fostered over the years, as well as my passion for helping others was ready to be shared. Starting this blog was the tool I needed for me to share my passion.

IMG_4030No matter how inspiring someone may be, you need to dig deep, and ask yourself if this is something you really want and why. If these reasons match up with your own desires, goals, dreams and passions then I believe you will succeed because you will now have true motivation. That is what makes the difference in changing you from the person you are now to the person you want to be.

Ok, so now you’re ready to start…now what? You make a goal. Regardless of whatever fears you have, how unorganized, inadequate and doubtful you may feel, you take a step. If that step doesn’t work, take one in a different direction. Then another. And another. Until you reach that goal. It’s ok if you stumble. It’s ok if it’s messy. It’s ok if you fail! Get up and keep moving forward! You will be rewarded with confidence and self esteem after every little success. You set another goal. You take more steps. You never stop taking steps. Thomas Edison tried and failed thousands of times before succeeding at inventing a working light bulb – literally thousands of times! Yet he stayed positive and persevered. And to think we get discouraged with the smallest of setbacks.

All of our journeys have twists, turns, bumps, hills to climb and pot holes. It is never a straight-lined means to an end. So we get a little banged up.. keep on going and stay inspired. Because you are the motivation for the person you will become tomorrow, who will be thankful you didn’t give up today.


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