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  • Writer's pictureEve da Silva Msc, PgDip

How to get motivated. First steps that will keep you going.

Updated: Oct 29, 2022

According to a definition provided by Very Well Mind:

"Motivation is the process that initiates, guides, and maintains goal-oriented behaviors. It is what causes you to act, whether it is getting a glass of water to reduce thirst or reading a book to gain knowledge. Motivation involves the biological, emotional, social, and cognitive forces that activate behavior."

Motivation is therefore a natural place to start when you are thinking about the fundamentals to thriving. Motivation is that special state in which our thoughts, emotions and actions align with a goal and we exert energy toward it. Unfortunately it is typically the case that we experience ambivalence; defined by the Oxford Dictionary as:

the state of having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas about something;

With ambivalence we can find ourselves stuck in an in-between space - somewhere in the middle of a goal and a state of inertia.

How do we overcome inertia? How do we overcome self sabotage?

How do we get that energy back in order to align our actions with our plans?

Core principles that I have found personally helpful are the ideas of

"permission giving beliefs"

the power of

"imagination and visualisation"

the importance of quieting the inner self-critic

ensuring our goals link clearly to what truly matters to us so we aren't experiencing ambivalence because it is an externally imposed goal...

This week will be all about learning about these concepts and how to integrate them into your life.

For today, you can start by grabbing your journal or the notes app on your phone or a post it note or whatever works for you and jot down which personal goals you are experiencing ambivalence about... it could be something you know you need to do but are putting off... or it could be something you are excited about but find hard to find time for... don't overthink it just jot down what comes to mind for you... that is the first step in self discovery.

Fundamentals of Flourishing Series: Motivation

Home Practice:

Are you ready to discover some core principles that will help you move past ambivalence to action? It’s not too late to join in with this week’s theme of the Fundamentals of Flourishing Series: Motivation.

Challenge yourself a little and identify 2-3 personal goals that truly matter to you. Choose goals that have fallen to the bottom of your list lately; things that you have meant to work on but have found it hard to find motivation for.

You can do this in a journal or you can just keep a note on your phone, whatever works for you. It is helpful if you approach this exercise with curiosity and compassion. If you notice that you experience a lot of self-criticism or frustration when you write them down it may be that self-criticism is one of the barriers that gets in your way.

Try not to let it stop you from writing down the things you would like to work on – self-criticism emerges to try keep us on track – but if it is getting in the way of moving forward then it isn’t serving a purpose on this occasion, you can give yourself permission to pay attention to your goals as opposed to negative thoughts about yourself.

At the end of this exercise you will have written down 2-3 personal goals that you have mixed feelings about or have found it hard to get motivated toward.

Example: My 3 Goals - Learn how to paint a watercolour sunset - Go to bed earlier - take a bag of books I no longer want to the charity shop

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