15 MOTIVATION ESSENTIALS
Motivation can be overcomplicated very easily, but in therapy we shouldn’t underestimate its importance. Here I’ll try and break down what you need to know and leave out what you don’t to make things easier.
- WHAT IS MOTIVATION?
The simplest definition is that motivation explains your behaviour, it’s why you do what you do, why you want what you want and why you need what you need.
- WHY DO I NEED IT?
Because it’s part of a cycle of achievement, if you want results then motivation is not optional. The more motivation you have in therapy, the better.
- INTERNAL MOTIVATION
As the name suggests, this comes from within you. What do you love doing? Do you remember how you used to play as a child with no reward other than the sheer enjoyment of the process? Think about your ‘Me-time’ and that’s internal (or intrinsic) motivation right there. It’s as unique as you are and tends to be lasting.
- EXTERNAL MOTIVATION
This can be the carrot or the stick, for example money or punishment, and it’s the opposite of internal motivation because there is a (desired or undesired) outcome. In therapy this could be someone who wants to change something because there is a reward for doing that or a drawback for not doing it. In other words they don’t want to do it just for themselves.
- DIRECTION IN MOTIVATION
Really important is where you are going; are you moving away from pain, or towards pleasure? If it’s a little of both, that tends to work best in the therapy room. Choice is key here, smokers may think they have no choice but to smoke but can go for a long time without a cigarette on a holiday flight.
- PERSISTENCE AND CONTINUING
Can you stick at it? The important thing here is to change the idea that it’s a hardship, of course you may suffer a setback, it’s part of being human. In therapy we don’t see things as linear or so black and white, it isn’t snakes and ladders after all! If you can learn to be gentle with yourself and remember why you were doing it, and what your motivation is you can get back on track.
- FAR BEYOND DRIVEN
We’ve all seen intensity and we know what it looks like, but intensity can be daunting and it can also be turned down by turning down the difficulty level. How do you see yourself? Letting go of the labels you may have given yourself makes it easier to move on from that old version of you
- I THINK THEREFORE I CAN
Guiding behaviour through goals (literally, in the case of sportsmen) therapy helps you to visualise an outcome and then build the psychological architecture to succeed. This is very powerful at a subconscious level and represents a tool that you can use for your own results.
- TAKING SMALL STEPS
By taking small steps and checking off the simplest milestones on your list towards your desired result, you build encouragement and therefore motivation. Do you know you can do it? Have you done something similar before?
- FOLLOW THE LEADER
Do you know someone else who has done it? Seeing others succeed before you can build motivation and help you to get where you want to be.
- COME ON, YOU CAN DO IT!
Do you have a champion of your cause? Is there someone in your corner that can support your efforts and encourage you along the way to change?
- YOUR BELIEFS AND ATTITUDES CAN HELP YOU
Your beliefs, emotions and behaviours can all help here; having a strong belief is a big step in making your change. Do you have one habit that you can use as proof that you can form a new and more beneficial habit?
- SURVIVOR NOT VICTIM
You may have had hardships and it may feel like you are the victim of events that conspired against you, but you’re still here. Seeing those challenges as having strengthened you because you got through them rather than weakened you and made you more vulnerable changes your perspective and can increase motivation.
- OWN YOUR GOAL
When you take ownership of a deeply held goal, you build subconscious motivation and you bring the subconscious into the process. Your subconscious is a powerful tool for change and ally in the process; it’s yours, so use it.
- SPREAD THE WORD
We can all increase motivation if we understand it, nobody else’s aim will be exactly the same as yours, it isn’t a contest, so spread the good news about motivation and see the benefits multiply.
Stuart Cale is the founder of Talking-Cure, a bespoke Psychotherapy and Hypnotherapy practice specialising in anxiety, stress management and self-esteem.