Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Get MOTIVATED: Take Charge of Your Life

Have I got a treat for you all today! I am blessed to introduce to you our Early Bird teacher from the ACFW Conference. Margie Lawson is going to share with us some things that will really help us grow as people and writers. Please welcome Margie.

(Margie is the pretty lady in the white gown. She's with Mama Ruth, Brandilynn Collin's mom. I had to share this photo from the awards banquet at the ACFW conference!)

Get MOTIVATED: Take Charge of Your Life

By Margie Lawson -- Psychologist, Writer, Presenter

A huge thank you to Angie Breidenbach for inviting me to guest blog. Angie and I met face-to-face at the ACFW conference last week. Lucky me! Now – to the blog post.

Often people pursue therapy because they need to do something differently, but their lack of motivation holds them hostage. And keeps them hostage.

Most know what they need to do, but they can’t seem to haul their motivation out of their mind-mucked swamp. My job as their therapist is to create a tailor-made map, help them find their way out of the swamp, and get them launched on a happy life trail.

Easy. Right? With some people it is. They get the map and get moving in the right direction. Others seem unmotivated. They talk, but they don’t change behaviors. Homeostasis wins. They lose.

When we break down motivation by stages, we can see where people get stuck. Let’s look at exercise. Most people realize they need to exercise, or need to exercise more.

They start at PRECONTEMPLATION, thinking they need to exercise, but do nothing.

At some time they shift to CONTEMPLATION, considering options like joining a gym, buying a bike or exercise equipment. Still, they do nothing.

In the PREPARATION stage, they join a gym or buy a bike. They talk about exercising. They’re almost ready to commit.

The ACTION stage shows full commitment. Exercising regularly. They feel better and look better.

MAINTENANCE is the final active stage. Research indicates carrying out a behavior 21 to 37 times in a row forms a habit. Rewards maintain the new behavior.

But there’s one more stage: TERMINATION. Duh – when people quit. You all know this stage is what keeps gyms in business. Such a high percentage of well-intentioned people buy memberships and don’t use them.

Why doesn’t everyone maintain new behaviors that are good for them? People allow negative moods and debilitating self-talk to derail them.

Why am I guest-blogging about motivation? Because people get stuck in those stagnant stages of change.

Where’s your motivation? Which stage are you in?

Who’s in charge of the chatter in your head?

How do you reward yourself?

We all have goals and dreams of how we’d like to live our lives. I hope my thoughts on motivation trigger some thoughts, and action. :-)))

Here’s a motivational quote I wrote that helps keep me on track:

Every day, every hour, follow your map to success.

Angie: Thank you so much! I really enjoyed your post, Margie. So everyone, let's hear some answers to those questions Margie posed. Here's mine...I am going to work on my head chatter! I'm going to post a little more about her Early Bird class over at my personal blog. Come visit:-)

A little about our guest blogger:
Margie teaches writers how to add psychological power that turns their writing into a page turner. She’ll be teaching a power-packed on-line course, DEEP EDITING: The EDITS System, Rhetorical Devices, and More, in OCTOBER. Please drop by her web site,, or e-mail her for more information, .

Thanks again to Angie Breidenbach for inviting me to guest blog. From chatting with Angie at the ACFW conference, I know she has a strong map. She’s taking charge of her life.

Angie: I just have to say how honored I am for the kind words from Margie and for her teaching here!


  1. WOW!

    Margie, thanks for guest blogging today. I'm one of those folks who buys the gym membership and never uses it. I do not want that to carry over into my writing, but it can so easily.

    Angie - you are always full of ideas. What a treat to invite Margie here. I plan to purchase Margie's info from ACFW and take the online course. Can't wait.

  2. Hi Margie! So great to have you. Too bad we can't just settle in with some sweet potato fries and carrot cake and make a day of it.
    I so enjoyed meeting you and wish I could have made your class. So today's post was a treat for me.
    I guess I would have to say I'm in the action phase. If I wasn't before conference, I certainly am now. Head chatter is huge. I love that song by Casting Crowns called "The Voice of Truth." It's become my mantra. No more listening to the lies of the enemy.
    Rewards? Easy. Chocolate. Dove dark, please.

  3. Good Morning to Christy and Mindy,

    CHRISTY -- Ah -- sounds like you'll be pushing yourself to the ACTION stage with your writing. Good for you! I look forward to seeing you on-line in my October course.

    MINDY -- You're so fun! I enjoyed our group dinner on Thursday night. Connecting with new friends rivaled the dinner - both were amazing. :-))

    I wish you both great success with your writing!

    NOTE TO ALL: I'm a full-time psychologist and I'm off to work now. I'll be back on-line after 6PM Denver time. See you then!


  4. Margie,
    You may be surprised (or not) to know that I received great comfort from snuggling a certain Russ brand bear last night. He is so cute. Maybe I'll name him Lawson. That would be quaint don't you think? :) I really enjoyed getting to know you and learning craft in your fascinating class. I hope to see you next year, too.

  5. Hi Angie & Margie,
    I thoroughly enjoyed the Early Bird session and learned SO much! I have been one who gets stuck in the preparation stage or terminates in the very early days of the action stage on many projects. At this year's conference, I found an accountability partner. We each made a promise to send each other our work every Friday. I want to get out of this rut! Thanks to you both for sharing on this topic.

  6. Margie, thanks so much for joining us today! I especially appreciated your example of excercise! I just joined Curves last week so started into the action phase. I'll pray that I don't terminate! :)

    As for writing, I've been in a little lull after having completed a new manuscript. Now I need to get moving again on revisions! Thanks for the guest blog!


  7. Hi Margie,

    Great post. I tend to reach the action part, but then comes the termination part. I need to figure out how to remain in the action part! So frustrating.

    I won't give up though. One day at a time.

  8. Something I forgot to mention, Margie. Did you really have to use exercise as the analogy? Talk about stepping all over my toes. Sheesh! :-)

  9. Hi all,
    I'm going to continue to post things I learned at conference from time to time, but you just have to go see what Margie enabled me to do over on my personal blog! I have a plan!!!


  10. Anybody who hasn't yet taken one (make that ALL) of Margie's online courses is really missing out. This gal is an A-One instructor and motivator. And FRIEND. She blessed me a million times over at ACFW with her listening ear and timely advice. And she promised to appear as a guest on my blog in the near future, too, so be watching and hop on over! Love ya, Margie!!!

  11. Okay. I was already feeling like I missed a huge blessing by not being able to attend, but now I'm convinced!
    Margie, I've already learned something about myself just by reading this post.
    And Mindy, I've got 2 (count them 2) pieces of Dove Dark Chocolate right beside me on the desk.
    Margie, I will check into your online classes. They sound great.

  12. Hello Everyone! Thanks for chiming in. :-)))

    AH -- Linda has an ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER. Excellent!

    I teach Defeat Self-Defeating Behaviors on line every January, and one of the components is having people get a CHANGE COACH. We go deeper than accountability -- but that's an important piece. Linda -- keep going strong!

    Missy -- You were so smart to join CURVES. Hope you have a rewards plan!

    Angie -- I'll pop over to your blog now and check out your magic. :-)))

    Michelle -- I'm so glad you snuggled that lovey teddy bear. Lawson is a perfect name. AND -- I decided that I'll give away a teddy bear everywhere I present workshops. Seems so right to give it to the writer with the most recent rejection. I'll be traveling with teddy bears to Omaha, Colorado Springs, Vancouver Island, and San Francisco between now and Nov. 10th.

    If anyone has writing friends in those areas, let them know I'm coming! You can check my web site for specifics.

    Audra Marie -- Line up a Change Coach. They'll help you stay on your path to success one day at a time.

    Mindy -- YES! EXERCISE! You'll boost your energy as well as your creativity!

    Myra -- I should hire you to be my publicist! Thank you! It was my joy to chat with you. You're a fabulous person -- and I had such fun strategizing with you. I'm so glad we had a chance to enrich both of our lives -- and have fun too! I'm looking forward to being creative on your web site. ;-))

    Okay -- Now I'm going to Angie's blog. I'll pop back here later tonight.