How To Get Motivated For Change
Motivation is defined as a general desire or reason to do something or to take action. Motivation is what drives or compels us to take action, and it's at the very center of all actions taken - Whether positive of negative. We are all motivated by something. Having motivation to change can vary within each person, and factors such as depression, anxiety, or stress can hinder a person’s motivational level. One of the symptoms of depression and anxiety is lack of motivation, while stress can also produce overwhelming feelings and thoughts that can hinder motivation and lead to said depression. However, depression and stress can sometimes be painful enough that they motivate positive change.
Often times a person knows they want to change but are lacking the drive to take the necessary steps. A person’s success is dependent on their level of motivation. Getting motivated is the first step in making changes that can increase happiness in your life.
1. Identify what you want to change.
Make a list of everything that you feel you would like to change. Be realistic. Be specific. For example, improve health is a broad category. Changing it to losing 10 pounds, or cook healthy meals at home 5 days a week is more specific. If you know that your work schedule will only allow 3 days of cooking from home, then your realistic goal should be for 3 days.
2. Make a plan for each item on your list.
List how, where and when you will be taking your actions. For example: Cooking healthy at home 3 days a week: Make a menu on Sunday. Make a grocery list on Sunday. Go to the store on Monday night after work. Cook from home on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. Keep track of progress on calendar. Re-evaluate in 1 month. Set up short term, intermediate and long term goals.
3. Keep track of your successes.
Journal the desired outcome of each of your plans, and track your progress. Using a calendar, a scheduler, or a journal can help you to keep track of where your plans are successful or where they need re-evaluation or change. Even small steps of success are steps of success.
4. Reward yourself for steps of success.
If your goal was to attend church every week, and if you were successful for the first month, go out for a coffee or a breakfast with church members. If your goal was to eat healthy 3 days a week and you lost 5 pounds, maybe buy 1 new article of clothing as a reward to yourself. If you were very successful, you may be able to buy a better fitting article of clothing ; ) Set up short term, intermediate and long term rewards. If you believe you can lose 8 pounds in 2 months, then a long term reward would be set for 2 months.
5. Have support.
Identify family, friends, coworkers, or church members that can support your change and keep you motivated. Sharing your goals can help to keep you on track and accountable. In addition, they can help keep you motivated to continue to change. Talking with someone in your support system can help you to see the small steps of success as well as help you to identify a new plan if you are having trouble with being successful.
Motivation is important for making change, and it's important to know what you need plan and to make the changes you want. Having support can help keep you motivated. In addition, it is most important to be realistic - Change takes time, so do not be over critical. If you are not successful on your first attempts, do not give up. Even the best of plans can prove to be less successful than anticipated at first, but adaptation and persistance is the key for overcoming these challenges.
If your plans are not successful the first time, identify what happened in the plan - Were you unable to meet the time or financial obligations? Were there other circumstances that got in the way such as getting ill or having to work more hours than anticipated? If there were circumstances that are not typical, adjust your plan. For example, if you were unable to go to the health club because you had the flu, your plan was not necessarily unsuccessful. Instead, it was just set back, which you can overcome.
If your plans were not successful because you had lower motivation, identify other short term, intermediate or long term rewards that will help to keep you focused. Reach out to those in your support system that can help re-evaluate the plan and help you to stick to goals. Staying motivated takes time, practice and patience, but in the end will make you happier in your life.
- Kim B.
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