Today we’ll be discussing the barrier to change: Lack of motivation. Like all the other barriers, there is a feeling associated with Lack of Motivation and that feeling is apathy. When you’re feeling that apathy there are things that you can do to push yourself out of that space and realign yourself with your goal.
To provide a personal example, I carry one factor for the gene that passes on Alzheimers. Working with Apollo Health, I have the knowledge of optimal brain health strategies that can act as a preventative measure for Alzheimers. With this knowledge I am aware that by adhering to the KetoFLEX 12/3, I can help prevent Alzheimer's symptoms within myself. However, being a human, there are times when I find it hard to motivate myself to stick to the Ketoflex diet despite the obvious benefits it could provide to my long term health.
There are times when sticking to that kind of diet is more difficult, or inconvenient, that impacts my motivation for sticking to this goal. Specifically when out of my usual cooking environment, and am out with friends where sticking to dietary restrictions is a hassle. In addition, every so often I find myself getting disinterested or feeling apathetic about starting the KetoFlex diet because I don’t actively have symptoms and am generally pretty healthy. A lack of urgency and motivation fuel this feeling of apathy, or inversely, are fueled by it. Lack of motivation can also stem from timing. It’s important to set goals that align with what is practical and possible within the timing of your life. Starting a goal right before the holiday season, where your schedule may be erratic or out of your control would be an example of this.
When faced with that feeling of apathy, and lack of motivation it is good to ask yourself the following question:
“Am I willing to do the hard work and sacrifice that’s necessary to achieve my goal today?”, “Am I willing to sacrifice (something) to achieve what I want?”
Sometimes the answer to that question is no, and it’s important to accept that in the moment if that is what you are currently feeling. Many times, that admittance that you are not motivated in a moment can lead people to be invaded by intrusive thoughts. Speaking in “I should haves” that ultimately, aren’t productive. Being compassionate to yourself in these moments is important.
Oftentimes we’ll see our clients get stuck within this lack of motivation, specifically when the other barriers intersect and stack. This can feel somewhat overwhelming and can keep you from seeing a viable next step. In those moments, one barrier can actually help get you unstuck and push you towards the next step. As values conflict and motivation often go hand in hand, using and analyzing our values is key to providing that missing piece of motivation. If you’ve reached a point where you realize you will need to sacrifice (something) in order to achieve your goal, you can ask yourself the following question to yourself as a coach for your client, or for yourself.
“What do I want more than that sacrifice I’m not willing to make?”
Naming the thing in the way of your goal and comparing it to your values can give you the leverage to pull yourself out of the behavior. Sometimes that is all that it will take, and acts as a way of creating another doorway or path to the goal.
For example: Say your goal is to walk more, and you are finding yourself unmotivated to do so. You are sitting in your living room watching tv. In this moment where you are feeling that apathy, ask yourself, “Do I want to watch this episode of this show more than I want to improve my health?” Sometimes you do actually wanna watch the show more, and occasionally that is okay, but calling attention to your action as it’s taking place can help provide you with the leverage necessary to pull yourself out. If you can identify that (something), asking yourself that one question can help you or your clients get unstuck.
Another thing we often ask our clients that face lack of motivation is: “If you’re not motivated to do this (whatever the goal is), what are you motivated to do?” Asking that question keeps you in movement towards whatever you are trying to achieve which can be really empowering. This also provides you with the next step of breaking your goal down into smaller more manageable pieces. Identifying what small steps are necessary to reach an overarching goal support many different levels of functioning.
As you make these changes and ask yourselves these questions, we recommend reconnecting with your why. What got you prompted to try to make this change in the first place. Doing so will help you appreciate the progress you’ve made and help you reinvigorate your passion for your goal.
We hope this information was helpful to you! We highly recommend accompanying this written piece with the video component where we outline these topics, and give them further context. You can find that video here.
To watch the demo where we unpack some of these ideas further click here.
To learn more about habit change please check out our other blogs covering the Barriers to Change.
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