Part Three

Genuine Motivation!

Motivation is such a huge factor in creating change – it can make the difference between a dream being born and simply fading away. But – and this is important – many of us are doing it wrong.

Sometimes when it is hard to get started or keep going we simply force ourselves forward and, although this works in the short-term, it is not sustainable or kind (although developing discipline is important, true discipline usually comes from a more genuine place than simply forcing).

They call it digging deep for a reason. Genuine motivation comes from the inside; it is our true purpose for doing something, our deepest reason.

Therefore, in order to create a change in our lives that is sustainable, relevant and authentic – we need to find the deepest reason underlying our goal.

I hear a lot of reasons that sound sensible but are not the deepest reason from my clients, and they work as motivation for a short time before they simply fail to motivate people to continue. However, when we find their genuine motivation they continue much longer and without complaint, following through time and again. This is because that reason makes sense all the way through to the core of their being.

Let me give you a couple of examples to illustrate:

  • Someone decides to start an exercise program to help him get over his chronic back pain. He knows that this will help him in many ways as his pain affects almost every aspect of his life, so his stated motivation is to get over his back pain and to feel and move better. However, his genuine motivation (which can easily get him out of a warm bed on a cold morning, or away from his favourite TV show) is actually to be fit enough to play with his kids. He wants to be strong for them, to have fun, to be able to lift them up and swing them around. He wants to create these kinds of memories for them so they remember feeling happy and protected, he feels a deep desire to be able to do this for them and himself.
  • Another person has decided she would like to meet a partner, even though she is pretty happy as a single person. Her motivation (in her mind) is that she’s bored of being the odd one out and would like someone to go to events with. However, her deeper desire is a longing for connection, intimacy and love. She wants someone who sees her for who she is, supports and loves her, and although that can come in many forms – right now she craves it in the shape of a romantic partner. Understanding this true motivation could carry her through the difficult work of uncovering any blocks to giving and receiving love, awkward first dates and the admin of modern dating.

Can you see how their deeper motivations would carry them so much further than the more superficial, general ones? How it could help us to navigate our fear of change and resistance? The great thing is – for every goal that is authentic to us, there is a genuine motivation underlying it. To find that is to find the key to sustainable change, and it also tells us something important about ourselves.

Are you ready to find yours? Take your time and go down the list for each of your goals, finding your deepest motivation for each one. When you come up with a motivation, try asking yourself “and underneath that, my real reason is…” until you feel you have arrived at your deepest one. Take your time. You’ll know when you have found it because you will feel connected to it deep inside, or because it will just feel right.

I recommend that you write your motivation down, perhaps on your last worksheet underneath each goal. You can also write it somewhere that you can look at it when you need some extra motivation, but I would recommend not putting it somewhere that you see it every day as it may start to lose its meaning and impact.

Well done on finishing this part of the course! It is not always easy to look so deeply within us, but it is so important to make sure the direction we are heading in is meaningful and real for us.