Motivational struggle

Motivation seems most needed whenever there are things we need to do that we do not like doing. The goal might be wanted, but that does not make the way easier or more fun. Three little things might have a huge impact on keeping your motivation alive.  How? Make things pleasurable, likely to succeed and let others help you. It sounds easy, but applying this knowledge can be hard. We sometimes want things that are not pleasurable at all. If one thing is impossible to apply to your motivational struggle, the other two focus points might help. Like you, I have days where I don’t feel like doing what I know I should do. The opposite of the advice (making it pleasurable, likely to succeed and get help) can make it even harder: you don’t want it to be painful, while in fear of failure and rejection of your friends for what you are trying to achieve. Pain vs. pleasure Avoid change that is painful or hard to do. You can think about tough work outs or really hard brainwork. Try to make baby steps to make the change easier. In physical workouts this is really easy to achieve, by trying to start slowly. If you reach the goals you set for yourself you will feel much better. For all things that do are painful: try to get motivation elsewhere (eating less in itself isn’t fun). Hope vs. fear If you fear your planned behavior is too hard to stand out, this fear of failing will make success and motivation less likely. So make sure you believe you can do what you planned to do. There are at least two things you might do to keep your hope alive....

Changing is not simple

Failing hurts, so do everything to make success more likely. When we try to change, a mistake that is often made is to think in goals and abstraction (Tiggelaar). To reach a goal you will have to act, so you need behaviors. Realizing which behaviors are necessary is a huge step forward on your way to achieve your goals. So think in behaviors, not goals or abstractions. What behavior are you targeting? Thinking in terms of goals brings two problems. Firstly we don’t realize which new (repetitive!) behaviors are necessary and secondly we don’t realize how to implement these new behaviors into our daily routines.   Habits: tiny entities The best thing about habits is that they don’t take a lot of effort. Once a habit is in place we perform the action without much thought and there is little motivation needed (Fogg). That is why they are so great! The only problem is how to get a habit in place. Next to the importance of triggers (see below) I want to endorse the importance of baby steps. A major change is harder than a small change. Trying to change step by step is a way to make the complicated process easier. You might wonder why you want to make the process easier? Our brain associates (new) activities with how we appreciate these activities. If you keep on pushing yourself, you will do things ‘against your will’. This will create a negative reaction towards the wanted behavior. This negativity will greatly influence your chances of success, so avoid it with baby steps! Triggers To think about behavior, we need a trigger. The trigger itself is not motivating, neither does it make the action easier. It just reminds you to...