The book I go to when i am stuck procrastinating is called Unstuck, by Jane Anne Staw, Ph.D.  She is such a loving and nurturing author that any page I turn to reminds me of real tangible things I can do to motivate myself.

I can go outside and that takes the gloom out of starting my practice.

I can bring something nice to my practice space, like a vase of fresh flowers with a nice fragrance.

I can plan a reward for getting through the first 15 minutes.

I can have an event that I have to leave for at a certain time so I know that my practice will end in time to get there (when there is no event pending, I feel guilty if I don’t practice for as many hours as I have opened).

These are all great ideas.

I have entered a passage from the book below, but in place of writing I have used practicing or music:

To play guitar you have to take music seriously. And to take music seriously you have to yourself seriously. This means being exquisitely sensitive to yourself, to what supports and nurtures your practicing of music. To whatever helps you to begin and allow those first notes to be played.  Now, for perhaps the only time in your life, you have permission to think of yourself first. So be selfish.  Do whatever you can think of to lure the music out of the guitar. From then on you just might be swimming with the current.

If you engage on a regular basis in any activity that gives you pleasure and a sense of confidence, it can help to visualize yourself engaging in this activity before you begin practicing.  If you swim, for example, you might close your eyes and imagine yourself swimming, stroking and kicking effortlessly as you glide from one end of the pool to the other, and back again.

Try sitting quietly for several minutes before practicing…breathing deeply, and invite yourself to begin.  Say to  yourself “You are going to begin practicing in a few minutes.  And there’s nothing to be afraid of.  You’re going to practice for (an hour)  only, and after that you’re free to go for a walk.  Just relax, and don’t worry.  I’ll be there with you.”  (and another hour or two, but with rewards after each hour).

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