Winston Churchill says "Kites rise highest against the wind--not with it." Another person, Jane Smiley, said: "In my experience, there is only one motivation and that is desire. No other reasons or principle contain it or stand against it." Other advice I have found suggests that it is helpful to state your goals and envision both the results of your actions and the process you intend to follow to achieve them.
Therefore, the following are my Goals: I will meet all of the deadlines I have previously delineated in a letter for my professor that has already been delivered to her. The deadlines are July 12th, 17th, 21st, 24th, and August 6th. When I turn in the required assignments, I will email my professor immediately. I will follow up on the results of my work during the week of August 9th. These assignments will be high-level work that has been thoroughly researched, understood, and will also be well communicated, highly polished prose. These papers will exhibit a high degree of critical thinking and will be good examples of academic writing.Finally, what needs to be mentioned is how, while all of these goals center on my life as a student and future instructor, there are numerous goals concerning my relationship that I haven't mentioned here. For example, among these goals, I will devote the necessary time into being a good partner and take responsibility for my actions and behavior. I will protect the needs of my partner and not impinge too harshly on our needs to be together.
The Process: I will devote a significant portion, several hours, of every day before the final, ultimate deadline to writing and researching these papers. I will not begin to revise before I have finished drafting. My first step in the writing process will be developing the main features of the argument, so that I have a rough framework to hang my writing on. For each day's preparation, I will try to do ten minutes of free-writing about my thoughts concerning the assigned topic. I will not become bogged down by the extraneous nuances of the work or the argument, but will focus on the crux of every issue. I will use the checklist I have for writing persuasive papers. I will not spend more than thirty minutes on the Internet checking mail, or looking at news. I will review my goals at the beginning of every work day. I will review the results of my effort at the end of every day.
The Results: In September, I will be an interested, high-achieving student who makes a good impression on his professors because of the high quality of his work and intense dedication as a scholar. I will be an accomplished and well-prepared student instructor who assists his freshman students in achieving their goals as writers, and I will supply them with the necessary writing skills to succeed in their future classes. I can see myself in my graduate courses arguing an important and interesting point about our assigned texts. I will have read every text and have all my assignments completed on time. I will be the most-improved student and will achieve some measure of distinction for being so.
While I may continue to post on my blog from time to time, I will return to these goals and continue to find and develop the necessary motivation to achieve success. Frank Clark says "Everyone is trying to accomplish something big, not realizing that life is made up of little things." Stephen Covey, a guy I normally detest, said "Motivation is a fire from within. If someone else tries to light that fire under you, chances are it will burn briefly." That is something that I can agree with. Overall, the message for me is that I have to find the desire to succeed inside myself; I have to return to that desire often and use it as kindling to spark my individual efforts every day. And, I need to accept the responsibility of my actions so that I am not distracted by what could have been, but focus on what can be, and what will be if I work for it.