It’s so easy to end up doing all the wrong things because you didn’t bother to stop and ask questions. That’s why you need to look at your motivations and potentially reassess some of your choices.
You need to know what is driving your choices. Implementing this one practice could change your entire life.
Look at Your Motivations
For most people, life tends to be busy. Slowing down isn’t something that comes naturally. We need to be reminded to rest and practice self-care and work to be more present in our lives.
Living intentionally takes some thought and work. You don’t live a purposeful life on accident. It takes focus and considering things like your motivations and actions.
When you’ve thought about your why and know what’s most important to you, it’s easier to understand where your decisions are not lining up with your intents.
Your motivations are unique to you. Know why you are doing what you’re doing. If you need to make changes, do it.
What are your motivations?
These are some common areas of life where you should examine your motivations and choices. If in looking at these areas you find that your reasons don’t make sense or aren’t good, make adjustments as needed.
Be clear on your whys and make sure that your motivations that align with your values and ideals. Your choices should reflect your purposes and intents in your life. Pausing to process through your motivations will help you do that.
Questions from kids
If you’re a parent, you know kids ask so many questions every day all day. The questions I hear most in my house are in regard to food or an activity.
Can I have a treat? May I have a snack now? Can I go ride my bike?
So so many questions. It gets exhausting. When my kids are asking me for things, my gut response is often to say no almost every time.
Candy? no. Play in the rain? no. Paint? no
I have to admit that when I look at my motivations for my response it often has to do with laziness. I don’t want them to paint or play out in the rain because that means more work for me.
Other times it can be tempting to just choose the path of least resistance. I sometimes say yes just to get them to stop asking. Other times it can be tempting to just go with the flow of what you see other moms doing.
When I stop and question my response and motivation, it doesn’t always change my answer, but it does allow me to think through why I am saying yes or no so I can make a more informed choice.
I recently saw this video posted on Facebook about how this mom said yes to her kids for a week. It made me laugh and wonder what on earth would happen in my home if I tried something like this. I haven’t been brave enough to try yet.
Questions regarding your schedule
This one comes up often. There are birthday parties, school events, church events, community events, and family things. There are always options for things you can decide to participate in or not.
As you consider your yes or no in this situation, consider if that commitment will align with your priorities and values. Think about why you are or are not doing the thing. Are you going only because you don’t want to miss out? If so, that isn’t a great reason.
Are you saying yes because you feel obligated and saying no would make you feel guilty? Again, not good reasons to agree to something.
YOU OWN YOUR LIFE.
Your time is precious. Protect it. Don’t waste your time and your life because you feel bad saying no. Boundaries are important so create some and stick to them.
As a family, decide not to overschedule yourselves. Protect your time together and enjoy a simpler schedule so that you’re able to be flexible and have more time to relax.
When to say no
I was talking with a friend last night via text. She knows that I write about simplifying and that I’m big on saying no to protect my schedule.
We talked about an upcoming commitment that she was trying to make a decision on. She realized that the only reason she would be saying yes to it is because of her fear of missing out. There wasn’t a strong feeling of wanting to participate, which we both agreed was her answer.
“If it isn’t a clear yes, then it’s a clear no.” -Greg McKeown
It’s so easy to spend your life on things that are not meant for you. It’s easy by default to end up overcommitted and burned out. Look at your motivations every single time before you add something new to your schedule.
To the people pleasers of the world: you can say no and people will still like you (and if they didn’t who wants that kind of person in your life?). You can be respectful and polite in how you say no, but you need to start practicing. It gets easier. I promise.
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Questions on what to do with your money
Do you save it or spend it? How much do you give and who or what do you give to? It’s easy to be overwhelmed just thinking about your finances.
Your priorities in life should be reflected in how you spend and save your money. Don’t get caught up in advertising and hollow claims. Choose to live simply even in a consumer culture.
When you want to buy something, look at your motivations. Are you trying to impress others? Are you wanting to buy things because you are feeling sad or depressed and want a quick fix?
When you create a budget, you are more mindful of where your money goes. As you consider your finances, know what motivations are driving your decisions and your goals.
Questions about what you own and why
Have you ever looked around your home and thought where did all this stuff come from? Why do I have these things? So often we are so used to what we see day in and day out that it’s easy not to even think about it.
Look at your motivations for why you are hanging on to your clutter. Is it guilt? Obligation? Regret? Denial? There are so many different emotions we can get caught up in with our clutter.
Just as you considered why you are buying things, now consider your motivations for keeping them. Does hanging onto these things support your goals for your home? If not, it’s time to look at how you could be motivated to begin decluttering your home.
Questions about your goals
Life can get so busy that we don’t stop to look at what we are running after and why.
Why do you work at your job? There isn’t a right or wrong answer. Not every person is going to love their job and feel like it’s their life’s mission. Sometimes a job is simply a way to put food on the table.
Other times we need to work on being more brave and persistent. People like being comfortable and may be motivated to maintain the status quo.
But if you want more out of your life, don’t stay stuck there. Get outside your comfort zone and work towards that goal. Dare to be brave.
What about your health goals? Look at your motivation for eating better and exercising more. Is it because of how you want other people to perceive you? Are you trying to fit in? Are you trying to prove something? Again consider what is driving the goal.
One of the reasons we so often fail is because we didn’t have the right motivations. If our minds are not fixed on wanting something for the right reasons it’s easy to just give up.
When you set better goals with the right motivation and reasons, you’re more likely to achieve the results you are after. And it should be noted that not all goals require you to do more. Sometimes you need to do less.
When you look at your motivations, it can change everything.
Don’t let life pass you by without stopping to look at your motivations. When we can intentionally slow down enough to stop and think we may just realize we’ve been doing the wrong things for the wrong reasons.
When you know what you stand for and make decisions that align with your values and your goals, you’ll get better and more meaningful results.
In a very distracting world, it’s important to take the time to focus and consider what’s motivating us. If you want to live more intentionally, set aside time to step back and reflect. It may just change your life’s course.
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Thank you, Julianna! This was a very thought-provoking post. I often get so focused on just putting one foot in front of the other that I don’t think through my motivations very well. I especially relate to the default “no” answer to whatever the kids ask 🙂 I am looking forward to the worksheet!
Thanks, Hannah. I appreciate your comment and yes so easy to not stop to think through things and also to default to no! I often write posts as reminders to myself too 😉
Beautiful post and great ideas to focus on! I’m not brave enough to have a “yes” week either!
Thanks for your comment, Suzanne. Baby steps, right? Maybe just saying yes a few times per day is what I am working on 😉