I’m so motivated!
I hope I can stay motivated.
I lost my motivation.
I just need some motivation again.
Okay! It’s time we put these myths of motivation to rest once and for all!
It’s time we stop thinking of motivation like some mysterious quality that comes and goes with the wind. Absolutely, it is one of the most frustrating factors in achieving lasting health and well-being. The fact is we have control over our own motivation. Yes, we really do! When we understand it, we CAN activate our motivation.
Fact: We are already motivated. The first myth is that we don’t have motivation. We all have motivation to do something. It might be to work late, veg-out on the couch, or take a walk – whatever we are doing it is because we have motivation to do it.
Fact: Motivation = Resources > Barriers. We explored these two factors in the first week of this series. Being motivated to work through lunch instead of taking a walk means the balance of these two factors increased motivation for working more than taking a walk. It’s a simple equation that requires awareness to see all the factors influencing motivation. When we use mindfulness to notice without judgement the factors involved in that choice, we take charge of our motivation. We can then lose the guilt and create a balance of motivation between these competing goals.
Fact: We tend to focus on the barriers. The default mode in the brain is searching for problems in order to keep us safe. It is perfectly normal. When we are not paying attention, this drains motivation for our true goal. We have a strong tendency to forget about all the resources available. Remember though that our brains are very adaptable. (Check out this short video illustrating neuroplasticity). What we choose to focus on often becomes what the brain learns to focus on more easily. Focus on resources and motivation will not only soar but get easier too!
Fact: We have way more resources than we realize. Check out the list of powerful resources below. We have many untapped resources through how we think, our environment, and creating a positive support system. One of the most powerful is the image of the true goal we started creating last week.
Fact: Actions follow thoughts. Because we get to choose our focus, we have control over our motivation. Certain barriers are very real – limited time and energy, pain or physical limitations, or not having the know-how needed to change. When we get so focused on these, we lose confidence in the ability of our resources to outweigh the barriers. When we discover our resources, we have power over the barriers.
Bottom Line: We take control of our motivation by asking three key questions:
- What am I telling myself?
- What is my environment encouraging?
- What are the culture and people around me encouraging?
Each week this month, we will explore one of these questions as they relate to motivation to be well.
Activate It: Use your mindfulness skills to notice how these factors play out with your own motivation. Notice what you are doing and how the resources and barriers affect that choice. Notice whether your environment is a resource for your true goals. Notice where your thoughts go when you are not paying attention – to the barriers or the resources? What happens when you redirect thoughts to the resources?
May You Be Well,
Janet Huehls, MA, RCEP, CHWC