Internal Motivation vs. External Motivation.
I must admit that I am always searching for external motivation, or some external “thing” that will motivate me to get going. Whether it’s a new meter, a new pump, some new software, a new endo, a new support group, reading or writing a blog entry, or whatever – something external.
This may work, but only for a while. That’s the problem with external motivation – the “newness” wears off after a bit.
There are the BIG external motivators, such as my family and such, but as powerful as they are, they don’t keep me going on a task level. I can’t explain that. I want nothing more than to live a long and healthy life, growing old with my wife and watching my kids grow up. But it doesn’t move me on a daily task level. Maybe they are too big? They’re just so big that I don’t incorporate them well on a daily task level? Is that possible?
Does it have something to do with an acceptance that I have yet to come to? I can, most of the time, do what I have to do in order to get through the day – but why can’t I do it consistently? What is this need for motivation to do the stuff I’ve been doing forever? Why has it not yet just incorporated itself into my life? Or, rather, why have I not yet incorporated it into my life (it doesn’t just do itself does it?)?
It has something to do with frustration and anger. Frustration around having to do all this stuff and keep track of a million things (Kelsey’s post comes to mind). Anger around not always being able to pull it off or anger with myself for falling off the wagon sometimes. All this is in addition to the regular stresses and challenges that life presents outside of the diabetes realm, which in and of themselves sometimes feel like a lot (financial struggles, working to do a good job raising the kids, paying some attention to my beautiful wife, striving to be better than average at work and whatever else comes along).
It has been said that managing diabetes is different for each person, and it really is. Some of us have to think more about it, or work harder at it. For others it is second nature unless something unexpected happens, for which they shift attentions for a bit to “fix” it, then get back to their regularly scheduled program. Why is it so different though? And how do I get to be one of those other people who do it so easily? Maybe it’s a phase…
I think the key to it is finding the right internal motivation for our life situation. In some cases it’s very easy, and in others it’s not so clear-cut. Is it possible that it’s also a moving target? A certain motivation may work well one week (one hour?), but not the next? I think so.
Another tricky variable in the equation is the blood sugar. I’ve found that I’m so much more susceptible to the grasping claws of depression and the blues when my blood sugars are high. This can be both for a single event or for a longer time period. For the single event it would be things like being high and still wanting to snack, breaking down and snacking even though my rational mind knows it would be best to hold off, or the longer time period being running higher than healthy for a few days and just feeling down overall. Getting a good nights sleep can make or break the deal on most days too. Getting a good solid 8 or 9 (or 10 or 11) hours of sleep makes me feel more resolute in the decisions I make through the following day.
There are a lot of things that can pull me off track. Finding the right recipe of motivation to keep me strong and on the right path is what I’m after.