By Trafalgar’s Editorial Team
This Content is Created By Kinga Burjan, M.A., R.P.
Learn about Motivation
Have you ever wondered how it seems like some people might be more motivated, such as a successful athlete? Do you ever wonder if they wake up in the morning feeling motivated to actually practice in the morning? The reality is, most people don’t.
So motivation is about finding simple ways in which you can form a desired action into a habit.
And the important part is keeping consistent and following through with the habit. One concept to think about in motivation is the concept of compounding positives, so these are healthy habits that you do overtime that may actually feel hard in the moment.
For example, working out, if you start working out and don’t have a lot of muscle mass lifting, five pounds can feel really heavy and strenuous. However, each time you show up and engage in lifting the weight, it becomes easier and easier over time. This is like any habit at first. It might feel mundane, it might feel bothersome. Some days might feel good and rewarding. Other days might feel like a chore.
The more you keep at it, the stronger you get and the easier the habit gets.
Likewise, there’s also the concept of compounding negatives, so this happens when we do a habit that feels easy to do in the moment and actually feels good in the moment. So it might actually address some discomfort we have or temporary pain that we have. But over time, it results in negative consequences or has a negative outcome.
For example, smoking feels good in the moment for those that do it. But shortly after it doesn’t necessarily last and in the long run it can cause problems breathing, health issues and even cancer. Other examples are eating poorly, so eating foods that aren’t nutritious, perhaps engaging in the behaviour or substance of choice. So in the moment it feels good and might address a temporary fix, but over time it results in a negative outcome.
So the more we engage in these unhelpful actions, the quicker it becomes an automated habit. This is the power of habits. It can be done over time for good and it can also be done over time and result in a negative consequence.
So this is why self-awareness and self-reflection is so important. I’d like you to take a moment to think back or think about your current life right now. If there are any compounding positives that you might engage in, such as parenting, you keep showing up and being a good parent for your child, even if it’s not 100 percent perfect. Overall, your parenting skills and techniques are resulting in a healthy child.
Perhaps you’re engaged and working out or going for regular walks or meditating or building your career or positively working on relationship communication or perhaps on your recovery or sobriety or maintaining your mental health.
Now, think about areas in your life where you might be compounding negatives. Perhaps you use a substance in the evening to help you stay calm. Perhaps you are going back to a toxic relationship, even though in the moment those two actions might help you or it feels like it helps you long term, it actually is having a negative result and some actions they might have, both positive and negative.
So take a moment to think about how this action, this consistent action will serve you long term, not just how it impacts you in the moment.
Now, some action steps. I’d like you to think about what your daily habits are. Feel free to write them down. You can pause reading if you like, to create an inventory of which habits might be harmful. So they might have a long-term consequence and which ones are healthy or in alignment with your goals.
And there might be some habits that are kind of neutral. So looking at them based on your personal goals and motivations, and I’d like you to take a moment to think about what your underlying reasons are, to follow through with your desired habits.
Such as waking up at six a.m. in the morning, allows me to be tired at night so I can fall asleep and have a good night’s sleep. And when I have a good night’s sleep, I am more productive during the day. My mood is more stable.
I’d like you to think about how you can commit to sticking to your habit, even if it’s for a few minutes a day. For example, you might want to set a timer on your phone. You might want to have an accountability partner. You might even want to write up a contract for yourself and sign it and have a witness.
Whatever works for you to stick to your habit. And again, the habit just needs to be for a couple of minutes a day to get started until it becomes that automated routine.
And then you can enhance your habit, make it longer, tweak it. It’s all about the daily self-reflection and looking at the long-term perspective and how you can change the little actions today to affect your tomorrow.
Another question you can ask yourself is how you can set yourself up for success and following through with these habits. So maybe there are certain things you can do, say, the night before and you put out your probiotic just so that it will help with your gut health.
If you prepare yourself for success, the more successful you’ll be.
And also take a look at any habits that you have that currently aren’t necessarily helpful for you that you could substitute with a healthy habit.
For example, perhaps at night before you go to bed, you like to have a glass of wine as you’re watching a show or reading the news. But you think long term, you know that drinking wine every night might not be the best for you. It costs money and you may have addiction in your family. Perhaps you want to cut that back or change it.
Perhaps the action of drinking is still there, but you can substitute it for chamomile tea, which is also relaxing. So is there anything that perhaps you already do that you can substitute to make the change of this habit easier for you?
So take a moment to pause the video and write any of these things down in terms of self-reflection.
A reminder: Motivation doesn’t always come when we want it to come.
Having good habits in place that are aligned with our goals is a bridge to create more motivation to become the best version of ourselves we can. And remember that you are worth it.