Therapy Blog

Motivation

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First, let me clarify something rather important: Motivation is NOT always necessary for healthy action to take place. I know that this may sound odd, but once you understand it, it can be quite comforting and encouraging.

We all know that there are times, especially if we feel depressed, anxious or stressed-out where we just don’t feel like messing with things. . . we may know that it would be in our interest to do these things, but we just don’t feel like it! Common things that are difficult to do when we don’t feel like it are:

  • Exercising
  • Cooking healthy meals (vs going to Burger King)
  • Meditating
  • Cleaning & other chores
  • Studying & doing homework
  • Waking up & getting out of bed
  • Going to work

And I’m sure we could all think of many more things that can be easier said than done during those tough times. And yet, most of us can recall times finding a way to get something done in spite of ‘wanting’ to do it. This may be finding a different motivation other than just the task itself, or it can sometimes be that we just do it anyway.

Action when you’re not motivated still comes back to motivation

This may seem like a paradox, but it’s really not. For example, you may not feel like getting up to go run when it’s cold and damp outside; and you genuinely do NOT feel like doing this–you’re not really motivated by the jogging itself . . . or even by the result of feeling better during the day. But if you have been told that your life depends on it (heart troubles, high cholesterol, hypertension, etc.), you will do it anyway. In this case, the motivation may be a desire to live longer, to be with your spouse, kids, family etc. as long as possible. . . not the exercise itself. When the motivation is succeeding in following through on a healthy behavior, that’s great! But when that doesn’t seem available, see if you can find another motivation.

And if motivation really doesn’t seem available. . .

Do it anyway! Seriously. Don’t spend too much time thinking about motivation and what it should be. . . just get up and go.

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