As a general rule, humans like things they are comfortable with.
We like certainty, which is a common reason we experience worries: the unknown can be scary!
Even if we know what is going to change, or have a change we wish to make, there is a massive mental block between wanting things to improve, and actually making that leap into the unknown of changing it. Motivation depends on energy, on how we perceive things improving an on what we might lose in changing.
Perhaps the very idea of a new experience excites you. Things seem better in this future – we know we can make the change, and that it will be worth it.
And yet, we hesitate.
The first thing to bear in mind is that it’s normal and common to feel apprehensive about changes. Secondly, that realistic goals, where we can measure our progress and see the changes having a positive effect are massive for maintaining motivation.
We need to see progress – we want to know things are moving the right way, that this change is actually worth the time and effort.
But results can take time. We compare ourselves to others or past-us, or even to unrealistic versions of future-us. We feel discouraged, feel this is a waste and often, we fall back into those habits of familiarity. It’s easy – we don’t have to think and question and remember things – it’s just our natural rhythm.
And things remain; stagnant and unfulfilled; or whatever it was you wanted to be different.
Change isn’t easy, which means we need a really strong motivation, a key reason to remind you why you’re making changes.
The Why: Exploring the Deep
“Those who have a ‘why’ can bear with almost any ‘how.”
– Victor Frankl, quoted from A Man’s Search for Meaning.
We all experience that sensation of wanting to just… give in or do it later. To take an extra chance to rest or maybe even quit something. But when we re-connect with the ‘why’ of that task – finding the deep motivator can really help keep us on track.
Most people come up with some reason to begin a change – to be happier, to not feel this lethargic anymore, to avoid something bad happening (again), or because we’ve been told we should.
But those abstract concepts can be difficult to connect with. In that moment of routine habit or new choice, your Why needs to be powerful enough to guide you towards the positive choice.
The key to a strong motivator is depth.
Surface Level: “I know I should eat healthily.”
Well, so do we all. But we still remain stuck: comparing ourselves to other, unhealthier people who are fine. We feel we have time to change that later. We’re great at telling ourselves we deserve that cake. That fact alone is not strong enough for most people.
Shallow Waters: “I don’t have time to play with my kids, and I miss being with them. They deserve my time and energy.”
That’s a little deeper; you’ve made a personal connection and used another person as a reminder of why you want to make the change. But really, what is it that means you want this? What, deep down for you, is that reason coming from? Think about the beliefs that shape your world, the motivators for other changes you’ve made. What do you cling to when everything else isn’t strong enough?
The Deep: “Every day I wake up depressed, exhausted and I no longer love my life. I feel like a zombie, following the same old motions. I want that joy I used to have back, to make my mark on the world, to be a good parent, to see my children grow up and to support everyone around me. This is my calling, I just need to reach it.”
Much deeper. Specific to the person, with examples to remind them of what they don’t like now and what they will like in the future. We can see the journey this person wants to take; their current location of stuck and the destination they want to reach.
Do you have a dream that isn’t being realised?
Do you know where you want to go, or feel stuck where you are? Have a think about your Why.
What would you change if you had the motivation to?
P.S. If you would like some support to look at your Why, or if you would like some guidance to making those changes, take a look at the Focus sessions, where we can discuss motivation and realistic goals.