Inspiration or anxiety? What’s really motivating me?


22 Sep Inspiration or anxiety? What’s really motivating me?

How to get and stay motivated

Motivation is something that everyone struggles with at one time or another, especially me. Have you ever noticed that when we are in the flow, nothing can stand in our way, and at other times, with no apparent warning, ~ZAP!~ our momentum, our creative fire, our juice, is mysteriously gone. What the *&&%^^% happened?! Where did it go? How do I get it back?

So many of my clients (including the ‘client’ in my very own brain) report (in a whiney tone, I might add) that they know exactly what they want, often even exactly what to do to get there, but for some reason, the path to reaching their goal seems to be fraught with demons of the mental/emotional sort.

Perfectionism, self-sabotage, low self esteem and self worth, victim mindset and ancient self-defeating mental scripts of all sizes and shapes get in the way, either before they even start, or somewhere along the journey. What’s an ambitious person to do?

Well I’m glad you asked, because the other day, I (finally) got off my duff and wrote out a list of questions that you can ask yourself when you are in the midst of a ‘motivation crisis’, questions that may help you get to the root of what’s blocking you so you can get back on track!

I will post them here, but you can also download them in .pdf format so you can print them out and keep them handy for emergencies.


Inspiration or anxiety? What’s really motivating me?

35 questions to ask yourself before acting.

According to the Pain/Pleasure Principle, pain is a much greater motivator than pleasure. In other words, we are culturally hardwired to act faster and to do more to avoid pain than to gain pleasure.

But what about the underside of that pain or pleasure? Sometimes it’s just not obvious exactly what the pain is that is blocking us from a moving forward. Here are some questions to ask yourself when you feel stuck, or when your body is giving you cues that you are not acting or thinking in alignment with your integrity. (This disparity can come in the form of a stomach ache, a nagging feeling in your chest, a headache, butterflies in your tummy, stress, grumpiness, tension in your muscles, exhaustion, etc.)

Use the questions below as a guide whenever you are unsure about a decision or action. Remember, there is no right or wrong here, only what works and what doesn’t. Not all will apply, but try and allow the truth (your truth) to emerge. Ultimately, whatever ‘it’ is, it’s up to you.

  1. Does my impulse to act come from within, or from an external pressure?
  2. Am I doing it for myself or for the approval of others?
  3. Am I truly committed to this or am I acting in desperation?
  4. Does my body say ‘yes’ or ‘no’?
  5. If I had no fears in this situation, what would I do?
  6. What is my first instinct?
  7. Am I hiding, or am I incubating? (hint: if something hatches, you’re incubating!)
  8. Am I making excuses, or is there a real explanation?
  9. Am I avoiding something or am I taking good care of myself?
  10. Is this the best decision for all involved?
  11. How would I advise my child or a close friend in this situation?
  12. Is it guilt or a desire for freedom that is prompting this action?
  13. Is my motive based on love or fear?
  14. Can I live with what I choose?
  15. Do I hold my breath or sigh with contentment when I think about it?
  16. What is the bigger picture? How will this affect the whole situation?
  17. If I could see the sound of my idea, would it be beautiful or ugly?
  18. When I talk about it, do I feel confident or unsure?
  19. If I let it go completely, would it come back to me?
  20. If I let it go completely, would I feel relieved, guilty or sad?
  21. Does it inspire excitement or dread in me?
  22. Do other people have a supportive or negative reaction?
  23. Am I making someone else’s feelings more important than mine?
  24. Am I being selfish or self-loving?
  25. Am I ready to stand behind the consequences?
  26. Is my perfectionism stopping me from starting?
  27. Is it abusive or nurturing to myself and others?
  28. Will it produce the highest and best outcome for all involved?
  29. Is my overwhelm a warning or a tap on the shoulder?
  30. Who am I trying to impress? Is it worth it?
  31. Are my expectations realistic or fantasy?
  32. Am I willing to admit this may not be the best idea?
  33. How will I feel if it doesn’t work out?
  34. What does my inner voice tell me?
  35. If someone takes it from me, how do I feel?


  • Paula Nelson
    Posted at 17:18h, 22 September

    You instinctively know what prompts an individual to do something. Lately, I am feeling inspired after tackling a task I have procrastinated over. Today is trash day, and I see two large bags of shredded paperwork that doesn’t live between my ears. One more drawer to tackle today. Praying before I empty it’s contents.

    • Jessica Waters
      Posted at 13:33h, 01 October

      two bags full! That is awesome, Paula. You go, girl.

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