Several years ago I ran across this formula for success in making lifestyle changes:
Importance + Confidence = Motivation
The definition of motivation is “the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way”. “Acting” and “behaving” are what this is all about because we may find our actions and behavior don’t support what we know we should want to do. That word “should” can hang over our heads and even send us on the downward guilt spiral.
There is nothing worse than lacking motivation. “I don’t really want to do that”. “I don’t want to give up my favorite foods”. “I don’t want to wear spandex and sweat.” “I don’t want to give up tobacco”. “I tried before and I just ended up quitting after a few days”. If motivation is a zero on a scale of 10, with 10 being very motivated, then I will agree with you that you shouldn’t undertake trying to make changes. Anything less than a motivation of 8 out of 10 is not likely to be find much success.
The good news is that you can increase your motivation. A good place to start is to think about a time when you were doing what you wanted – feeling proud, feeling strong. Where did your motivation come from then? What strengths were you using to help move you forward? If you’ve done it once, you can do it again. The other tactic is to at least begin noticing information on why lifestyle changes are important and thinking about how those relate to you.
Stay tuned as I’ll talk about the ingredients of motivation (importance + confidence) in later blogs.