Cultivating Motivation

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As we get closer to the beginning of another year, now is a great time to set your intention around the goals you have for yourself. A key factor in how successful we are with our goals is our level of motivation. Take a look at these key components of motivation to better help you meet your goals.

Value: A strong factor in motivation is the desire to achieve what we are working towards. That is, the goal is meaningful to you! When your goal connects with a core value and is deemed important within yourself and also beyond just yourself, your desire to pursue your objective stays strong.

Autonomy: The freedom to choose is a powerful motivator. Involvement in the decision making process always makes us more invested in the outcome. The ability to be independent also connects with the quality of our core values, as we will likely choose and be more successful with what is important to us.

Optimal difficulty: Motivation is fostered when the objective is challenging to the appropriate amount. If the task is too easy, you may become bored; If the task is too hard, you may feel defeated. Finding the right balance will keep you actively engaged.

Energetic tipping of the scale:  At a certain point, it becomes easier to change than to remain the same. That is, it becomes more painful not to do the behavior you have been procrastinating. The hardest part is usually to start something new. Once you begin, momentum takes over and it feels easier to continue. In this way, motivation can be seen as the product of behaviour change rather than the cause of it.

Reward: Intrinsic and extrinsic positive reinforcement for our behaviour encourages that behaviour to be repeated. Intrinsic rewards can include personal accomplishment and a sense of joy or connection. Extrinsic rewards can include a physical token of achievement and a monetary reward. While intrinsic rewards are usually a more powerful long term motivating factor, both kinds of rewards produce motivation toward our goals.

Putting it into practice:

  1. Choose a behaviour or goal that is important and meaningful to you.
  2. Check the optimal difficulty is right for you – where you are right now (This will change as you do!).
  3. Set a schedule for the behaviour. Make a date with yourself to engage in the desired behaviour regularly, until it becomes a habit.
  4. Reward yourself after a week of success. Let the reward be something that compliments your hard work and is also valuable to you.

Bonus Tip: Let your hardest task be the first objective of the day! The rest of the day will feel like a breeze.

For help practicing motivation in your life or to hear about a Behaviour Activation Program specifically designed for clients with depression, anxiety and trouble getting motivated – email Maggie directly:

For more information on counselling therapy, EMDR therapy or to book a free 15min consultation with Maggie, please call Acacia Health at 250-475-1522.