What is “motivation”? People often complain that they lose their sense of motivation and end up quitting their healthy eating or exercise routines. 

Let me explain to you what motivation is, and is not, so that you can understand yourself better, and get back on track with your goals!

Motivation is, very simply, movement toward a goal. It is the energy, direction, and sustained force that is needed to propel a person toward reaching a goal. 

In order to have motivation, you must have a desired outcome in mind. You must know what you want, and where you are going, in order to focus your mind on reaching your goal. 

Your energy follows your attention. 

You have to define your goal in very measurable, distinct ways that can be attained in plausible steps so that you have a clear path toward your goal. 

Let me use weight loss as an example. 

With weight loss, people often focus on avoiding a poor health condition, such as high blood pressure. If your attention is focused on avoiding a negative circumstance, then you are only avoiding something, and not moving toward a desired goal. Certainly it is ideal to want to avoid certain unhealthy things but your attention is not focused on what you want instead. It is only focused on a negative thing that you want to get rid of or avoid. 

If your attention is focused on wanting something, such as healthy blood pressure, or more energy, then your attention is focused on getting what you want. That is movement and energy toward your goal. That is motivation.

Order what you want off the menu of life.

When you order food at a restaurant, you don’t tell the waitstaff what you don’t want. You don’t say, “Don’t bring me a steak.” You tell the waiter or waitress what you want. You say, “I would like the big salad, please” or whatever you’re going to eat. 

You say what you want, not what you don’t want. 

You identify your realistic, specific goal, and spend your energy moving toward it. 

So, order what you want off the menu of life and stay motivated toward your goals!

by Diana Zilly, MS, MA, LCPC. Diana is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Hypnotherapist, Life Coach and Educator, and former Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Joliet Junior College.

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