Can you believe it’s already March of 2020? It seems like it was just yesterday when we were celebrating the new year by setting goals and resolutions for all of the great things we would accomplish. We planned to lose weight, save money, be healthier, and do more things that make us happy, or maybe we just set the goal to get more sleep. Statics tell us the vast majority of people never accomplish any of those goals or resolutions. In fact, Burpa, an international healthcare group based in Britain, recently completed a study on New Year’s Resolutions and discovered only 12% of those who made a resolution in 2019 followed through with it. The participants were asked why they felt like they did not achieve their goal and over 50% said they lacked the motivation to keep going. This begs the question, how do we stay motivated to achieve the goals we set for ourselves? In this blog, we’ll take a look at what motivation actually is, how it helps us to change, and why we need motivation at all. Need help getting or staying motivated? Consider scheduling counseling sessions. As a counselor, I often help people to set goals, plan to achieve them, and help them stay motivated to succeed.
What is Motivation?
Motivation is the “why” or the reason behind the goals we set. It involves the biological, emotional, social, and cognitive forces that activate behavior. In other words, why do I want to lose weight or save move? The “why” behind our goals is just as important as the goal itself. There are many different reasons that push us toward new achieving goals or bettering ourselves. Understanding the motivation behind your goal is an essential part of the goal making process. Achieving your goal requires the ability to push through obstacles, endure struggles, and rise above difficulties all for your underlying, motivating “why.”
How Does Motivation Lead to Change?
In order to understand how motivation helps you achieve your goals, let me give you the three components of motivation of affective motivation:
- Activation involves the decision to initiate a behavior. If anything is ever going to change you must do something different. You must choose to do something different. There are all kinds of schemes to lose weight quickly, to become a millionaire in six weeks, and three easy steps to change your marriage, but the bottom line is you must choose to change your behavior. As they say, talk is cheap. You can talk about losing weight, or you can change your behavior to make it happen. You must activate it.
- Persistence is the continued effort toward a goal even though obstacles may exist. You are going to hit a roadblock at some point. You are going to want to quit, but you must choose to continue pushing forward even when the obstacles make continued progress difficult. Change in our behavior never comes easy. When obstacles arise, you must fight back to overcome. Be persistent. Decide ahead of time nothing and no one is going keep you from achieving your goal.
- Intensity can be seen in the focus and effort that goes into pursuing a goal. Any goal worth pursuing is going to require your time, energy and focus. Positive change in your life doesn’t simply happen. It requires your focused attention. For example, if you are trying to lose 50 pounds, you must understand you gained the weight through unhealthy habits. Over time, the more you practiced those unhealthy habits, the weight kept climbing. In the same way, losing those unwanted pounds is going to take time. Effort is going to be required…constant effort…focused effort.
Why is Motivation Important?
We can find motivation from within (Intrinsic Motivation) such as the joy of losing weight to feel better about ourselves. You can also find motivation from outside of yourself (Extrinsic Motivation) such as achieving a goal for money or an award. Regardless of where the motivation comes from, realize it requires activation, persistence and intensity. Those 2020 resolutions are still obtainable. You simply need the motivation to achieve them.
What if I need a Little Help Getting Motivated?
At Central Arkansas Group Counseling, we have a skilled team of counselors who can help you achieve any goal you set for yourself. Whether you’re having trouble getting motivated due to an underlying diagnosis like depression or you’re just struggling in general, counseling sessions are a great opportunity to reset negative thought patterns, engage with and understand big feelings, and change your habits. To get started, contact our team in Benton or North Little Rock today. We look forward to hearing from you.