How Are You Motivated?

Recently, Mr. E. and I have been talking more than usual about our dreams and how to get there. It is fascinating to me how differently the two of us are motivated!

It took me a while to realise and appreciate that what lit a fire in my belly was not necessarily the same things that made Mr. E. charge full speed ahead. It was confusing in the beginning, and it seemed like we were talking around each other.

I suspect this is something that might frustrate or confuse other people as well.

“Why doesn’t this work for me, when it works for them?”

It might also grow to be a source of confusion and even frustration, if your friend, spouse or family member is motivated in a polar opposite way from yourself. It’s a communication issue waiting to happen!

Luckily, the solution is simply to talk to each other, and to learn to appreciate and respect how other people’s brains work.

Are you a carrot person or a Pants-on-fire! person? Or perhaps you are motivated in an entirely different way?

Carrot

I am undoubtedly motivated by the carrot.

I’m the type of person who will browse pinterest and our local house listings to look for gorgeous, dreamy homesteads/houses in the woods we will one day be able to afford.

I save these in folders on my computer or bookmark them for later. When I feel down, I pull that stuff up during a break and tell myself “YES! This is what we are working for, this is where we are going!”.

I look for recipes, plan what sort of plants I want to grow, think about what sort of feeling I want to create with the cheap house of my dreams would be like (hint).

If you’re a carrot person too, it might help to write down your dreams in a journal, breaking your goals up into smaller pieces in a bullet journal and feel accomplishment as you reach one tiny part of your goal at a time.

One challenge with this style is that sometimes, we get so hung up on daydreaming that we forget to actually work towards what we want, so remember to dream without loosing all your time!

Pants On Fire!

Mr. E. on the other hand is not as motivated my carrot approach. He doesn’t mind dreaming about the house in the forest we are aiming towards, but it doesn’t light a fire in his belly in the same way it does mine.

Instead, Mr. E. is motivated by the fear of failure. By what might happen if we didn’t get our finances in order, what might happen if we incurred credit card debt or got kicked out of our flat.

To help visualize this, he has found a Norwegian show which translates directly into “The Luxury Trap”. It is a show where people apply to be on it and have experts help them clean up their finances. Typically, these people have just incurred more and more high interest debt on things like shopping, junk food, gadgets, keeping up appearances, etc.

They may or may not borrow shamelessly from family and friends, they burn or throw out their bills, and they are depressed and frustrated because they see no way out of this hole they dug for themselves.

Seeing so viscerally how bad things could get is what lights a fire under Mr. E.

A part of him goes “At least we’re not that bad!”, and another part goes “Let’s never get that bad!” and then he goes full speed in the other direction.

PS: This is a feel-good show, so you always leave the people on the show with them having more control of their personal finances and feeling better about the future overall.

Putting The Two Approaches Together

Because both of us need a regular influx of motivation, I will send Mr. E. a couple of listings for houses with land that I find particularly attractive (or just downright ridiculous/extravagant).

For Mr. E, we will watch a couple episodes of Luxury Trap every week to keep his fire going. It is a show that clearly aims to educate the general population as well, and not just create a lot of drama, so as a reality-ish thing, I like it.

The bottom line is that if you’re not motivated by someone else’s recipe – don’t use it!

We’re all different after all, and if something doesn’t work for you, change it instead of giving up.

Other Motivational Approaches

Motivation - Two different approaches. #motivation #personalfinance

I only covered two different kinds of motivational approaches in this post because honestly, they are the only approaches I am familiar with.

Do you have different approaches that help you reach your goal?

Do you just enjoy writing extensive todo lists so that you can feel the accomplishment of ticking off the boxes?

Or do you not think too much about motivation or how it works, and just carry on full steam ahead towards your dreams?

6 Comments on “How Are You Motivated?

  1. Fantastic post Kristine! It brings to mind yet again how so many spouses are like chalk and cheese. Opposites do indeed attract.

    I guess like you I am also more of the carrot approach. Thanks to your sharing a page of your bullet journal, I got inspired and am doing that regularly. More than visualising, to me bullet journalling just helps take each day at a time and tell myself that I am taking small steps towards my carrot.

    My husband is another type of person altogether. While I believe he is also one of us carrot people, he is somehow more of an invisible carrot person. He doesn’t believe in sharing his dreams but keeps reassuring me that they are big enough.

    What I really like though is how you and Mr. E are accomodating each other’s different approaches and making that work.

    • Thank you Aparna! We are often reminded of how different we are, but it all works out anyway!

      I am so happy the bullet journal is helping for you! It helps me keep track of sidehustle projects and savings goals, I really like seeing that visual reminder of how I’m doing. πŸ™‚

  2. Hmmmm now you have me thinking about myself and my husband. He’s definitely a more focus on the present kind of person while I can’t help but dream out 5, 10 years down the road πŸ™‚

    • I know! Castles in the sky are so enticing!

      Doesn’t help us focus on the present though. πŸ˜‰

  3. I’m a little bit of carrot and stick… Between my partner and I, I like to plan and research. Like house hunting. Ideally we’ll get more space. We made 600 sq feet bachelor work but it would be EASIER to have a bit more space for our hobbies (leather working and painting).

    Knowing this, I’ve been looking over listing to get familiar with current trends and prices. His approach is to start looking when we’ve saved as much as we’re willing to put towards this then see what we can get.

    So I get where you’re coming from. It used to frustrate me when I didn’t get how his approach made sense.

    • Yeah, I am the same. I stalk the listings even though we are far from having the downpayment saved up. I’ve even started to follow the bidding war on some of them, just to get a feel for the market. I hope that means I have less of a chance to get ripped off on what is most likely going to be the biggest purchase of our lives.

      On the other hand I get how someone might not want to spend time and energy on it until it is actually realistic.

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