Motivation is Key

Meet Makayla

She’s eight and man do I love this kid. She’s emotional, strong-willed, and a serious momma’s girl. I’ve never worried about her ability to thrive in life. She was 9 pounds and 14 oz at birth. Her first day home she rolled over; she’s been in beast-“go get it” mode from day 1. If this kid wants something, she does it. If she doesn’t want something, she will fight it for days and then bring it up a year later.  My only concern for her is the direction she takes this energy. It’s a little overwhelming at times and feels selfish. We work on both physical and emotional boundaries daily. We also talk about her love language and that not everyone has a deep need to spend every waking moment together, connecting (it’s my language too, so, I totally get it).

The area we struggle in most is cleaning or just getting her to do things she doesn’t want to do. If there is any doubt she made the mess, the kid goes into lawyer mode – negotiating areas and trying to push the blame and responsibility on others. I’ve often said that if she doesn’t become an engineer or lawyer I haven’t done my job. Yesterday I had a little bit of a breakthrough though. I worked on her cleaning her room for something like three days. Finally, I told her one night before bed “I’m going to Starbucks tomorrow and if you want to go, you must clean your room.” The next morning it was done before breakfast.

Motivation Factors

I haven’t been in college for 5 or 6 years but one concept I remember are the powers of motivation. There are pull factors and push factors. Pull factors are aspects in your environment that encourage or nag you into behaving a certain way. They are consequences outside yourself that produce. For instance, me telling her constantly to clean her room is a pull factor. Push factors are internal thoughts or emotions that push you to behave. From memory, push factors are always more effective at producing than pull. They are intrinsic; meaning the person wants to do the task.

My Experiment

As a Mom, I feel like I repeat myself a hundred times a day. “Pick up your socks.” “Clean the table.”  “Listen to me, listen to me.”  “What did I say?” And I have kids talking to me ALL THE TIME. Have you ever lingered outside the door of the car, with the kids inside, for a minute or five, just for silence? I do it frequently. I spend too much time talking, but now I’m experimenting. I think if I introduce a series of activities each day, they will do whatever I want, hopefully. Kids want you to spend time with them. So, after dinner, I have built in a game time. The kids can only play games if they have completed the tasks I have given. There must be boundaries on my end too. I plan to give them a list at the beginning of the day. You may ask, “What if they don’t’ want to play games? Good question. If that’s the case I introduce another activity I think they will like – going to Starbuck’s, making cookies, painting our nails, or extra reading time.

Warning: Follow through is a must or the motivator doesn’t work. I realize that if I ever give in, the kids will push their luck every time. Also, if I don’t follow through with the reward they will not believe the reward will be given to them.

I’d love to hear your tricks or tips for motivating others to get stuff done. If you are an employer and you have a magic trick, please share. I don’t think the environments are that different:). Hope you guys have so much fun planned for the week and are feeling on top of your game.