Motivation – The What, Why and How!

Author : Sean Connolly, Health Promotion Officer

The word “Motivation” all on its own can provide a challenge for everyone, especially those of us who may suffer from bouts of anxiety and/or depression. Some of us can welcome challenges, others have a genuine fear of them. Those with the eagerness to grow and those unsure of where to start can feel boxed in, that they have no clear way to take on the challenges of the day, let alone for the personal or professional development into later life.

Motivation can be lacking or non-existent for a lot of people, the effort of trying to predict the unknown adds further emotional weight, locked around our waist like a boulder, slowing our progress and inhibiting our potential growth. It brings a dense fog to our minds eye, unsure of what is ahead, what we should be seeing and how we can navigate through it. Trying to see what this motivational urge or want is, trying to break through at full speed with zero visibility, no compass at hand, all the while dragging an unwanted emotional boulder behind us.

So in everyday life if a weight becomes too heavy to physically move or we drive through dense fog do we continue to drain our energy and effort? Do we speed up even more though the way is unclear?

To answer these questions let us look at the What, Why and How of Motivation:

What is Motivation?

‘Motivation is a biological, social or psychological state that drives a person towards a specific action’. So that can be something as simple as making a meal because you’re hungry or putting on those new runners and beginning that new 0-5k Running Plan you have been looking forward to. No single action or goal is too small or too great!

Why is Motivation important?

“Without motivation, you can’t achieve anything”. Say that to yourself again – remember that! Motivation is what makes everyone unique. We are all different, with different perspectives, ambitions and goals – Motivation is the fuel that drives us!

How do we become motivated?

It’s a hugely important question. “I want to be more motivated but I don’t know where to start”, “I want to begin that new course but it can wait for another day, too much on now”, “I can catch up with my friends when I have more time”….. sound familiar? If we look at the initial questions above along with the others shown here we need to look at what is the one constant that stands out in every scenario? It’s you, the individual – Acceptance, Accountability and Action are essential and cannot be ignored but should be embraced!

How we become motivated is by looking within ourselves and asking these questions and examining that inner dialogue. You may not like the answers or responses you get but you need to accept them to understand them and yourself, not ignore them and brush them aside. By doing so you will gain inner strength to tackle these emotional boulders, gain better insights which will reward you with that inner compass to give you true direction towards that destination.

Motivational obstacles such as these emotional boulders can be examined and accepted which gives you the tools to completely smash it, break it down and turn it into a much more manageable load to deal with as you begin to move forward, you train your brain to give you the tools to break problems down as they occur, you gain more resilience and an almost autonomous regime in how to tackle them. That thick fog that was in front of you, blocking your view of the destination you were straining to see is now irrelevant. You are looking too far ahead. Long journeys require preparation and stops along the way so you can strive forward with strength and positivity. Focus on what is immediately around you, become present. If you look too far ahead into the future you will find it extremely difficult to focus on the task at hand and the steps you need to take in order to grow. As you begin your motivational journey being present is paramount. It will lead you down new pathways for your mind to grow upon, cross paths with other versions of yourself that you may use along the way to give you clear line of sight to that destination while appreciating these stops along the way and learning more as you grow.

You must also be aware of the physical world around you and those within it, know that there are others on similar journeys as you so be expressive and welcoming to them also. Express your goals, be mindful and accepting of change, embrace these challenges and fuel that motivation.

As you welcome new challenges always remember that the positive motivational light here, is you – you broke that boulder down and tackled it piece by piece, you found that inner compass to give you solid direction and it was you who shined a light through the darkness to get you to your goal!

“If you deliberately plan on being less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you’ll be unhappy for the rest of your life.” – Abraham Maslow