The Sublime Thrill of an Empty Box

It’s said people are motivated by two things: seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. Of course, we also want to make a difference in the world, be compassionate and kind to animals; that’s the big picture.

Those big picture motivators don’t always work so well when it comes to finishing an organizing project.

Sometimes we just don’t wanna do it and that’s that.

Discovering what motivates you in terms of pleasure and pain can help you over that hump. One of my clients noticed how excited and pleased she felt when she emptied a cardboard box and tossed it over to the door for recycling. Whee!

She realized how important it was to celebrate her “little victories.”

It gave her a ton of encouragement to go on, just seeing one more box leave her apartment for good. She exulted in the empty spot where the box had been taking up space.

What about avoiding pain? That can be pretty motivating. Finally setting up automatic bill pay after racking up way too many late fees is an example of that. Another one is installing a hook near the front door for your keys so you can stop being late to meetings.

What are some ways you’ve motivated yourself to do something that you really want to do, but are having trouble staying committed to?