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Getting Started - Interview with Alex Waters

Questions by Perri McGillivray...

P: I loved reading your blog post this month. I, and I’m sure a lot of our readers agree, found it very relatable, especially as a student in my last semester. You mentioned how hard it was to write about motivation when you yourself are still struggling with it. How did you finally settle on what to write? What comes to mind when you hear the word “motivation?”

A: When I first brainstormed what I wanted to write about, I was pushing towards displaying motivation in a positive, easy to obtain manner that didn’t feel quite right. Every little draft I wrote seemed inauthentic until I realized my unsettling feelings were because I didn’t truly align with what I was saying. When I finally wrote down “I am not a motivated person”, it clicked. I needed to speak my truth and hope that it could reach someone who felt the same way.

P: You talk about list-making as a way to inspire motivation. Is this a strategy that you’ve started recently or have you been doing it for a long time? How has it impacted your ability to find motivation to complete certain tasks?

A: I’ve always written down little notes on my phone or on a paper to remind myself that I needed to get something done, but it wasn’t until college that lists became a necessity for me. Recently, I’ve been writing a list of tasks I want to accomplish the next day before I go to bed and separating those tasks from most urgent to least urgent and also when they need to be finished. This helps because I can prioritize what I need to get done and see if I can push back a task if something else comes up. Plus, I enjoy crossing them off when I finish them.

P: I really enjoyed reading the list of goals that you included in this month’s post. Have you added anything else to the list since writing your blog post? Have you made any progress on any of the goals that you included?

A: Yeah! I remembered how I always enjoyed taking photos and wanted to get into photography. I added to the list that I wanted to learn how to use my camera and possibly take a course on photography. So far, the goals on the list are in progress. I have the materials for a compost but I haven’t started it yet, and I have read four books so far this year out of the twenty that I want to finish.

P: Perfectionism is a strong opponent against motivation, as you talk about in your post. What advice do you have for our readers who may be struggling to combat their perfectionism? Have you found any strategies that help you overcome this hurdle?

A: The thing I always like to point out whenever I get asked about mental health questions is recognition. The first step is always to look inward and recognize when it is happening. If we get so engulfed in the feeling, then we easily let it take control over us and believe that whatever negative thoughts our mind is telling us is true. If we are able to step away from it and notice it we can control it easier. Once we have a better understanding of our thoughts, it's easier to get to the root of the problem and find ways to heal it.

P: I found it really interesting how you reflect on your life and goals with the moon cycles, something I’ve never really heard someone say before. What first drew you to checking in with the moon cycles? How long have you been using the moon in your personal reflections?

A: I have a really good friend who is spiritual and when I lived with her in the past she always took me along on her moon rituals where we would drive out to the desert and sit under the star-filled sky and write our intentions on a piece of paper and burn them. I don't go out into the desert for this much anymore but I found that it was a good marker to keep track of myself. It also served as a conscious reminder of time, grounding me to the present and allowing me to reflect on the steps it took to get where I was in that moment. I also believe there is some sort of a historical and ancestral connection to the moon. Here’s an article if you want to read about how we used the moon in our history.

P: What do you hope our audience gets from this post?

A: I hope our readers know that they are not alone and that we as writers are far from having it all figured out.

P: And, as always, where can our readers find you?

A: On the blog! And Instagram: @alexandwaters.

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