Motivation springs from both internal and external sources. Internal, or intrinsic, motivation comes from deep inside ourselves. We are motivated to achieve a goal or take an action because it aligns with our concept of who we are or who we want to be. External, or extrinsic, motivation is the result of goals or tasks imposed on us by others; usually someone with authority, such as a parent, employer, doctor, or concerned spouse.
Intrinsic motivation, which stems from your vision and goals, is thought to be more effective. And, it’s important to note that motivations that begin as external can become internalized as we realize the benefits and understand how they help us reach our personal goals.
When you consistently revisit and reconnect with life vision and goals – including your wellness vision – you are reinforcing your motivation to make that vision a reality.
Over time, your commitment to do what’s needed to reach your goals can fade. You may have encountered some roadblocks, needed to deal with other priorities, or just lost sight of your vision.
Periodically, you may want to check your level of motivation to reach your goals and give it a boost. Following are some strategies to help.
- Reconnect with your original vision. Remember why the vision is important to you. Allow time to let your emotions gather around your vision as they did when you first dreamed it.
Assess where you are facing challenges. Quick and honest answers to some questions may be helpful:
“Is my motivation dropping because..."
- - I’m hesitant about putting forth the effort that is required to reach my goal?
- - I need more “courage” or support to take the necessary risks to reach my goal?
- - Other priorities in my life are taking time and energy away from achieving this goal?
- - I hear my inner critic telling me I can’t do it?
Evaluate whether your vision is still what you want, or whether it needs to be updated. Your drop in motivation may be a signal that your vision needs updating.
- - Visualize how things will change if you realize your vision. How do you feel?
- - Now imagine how things will or will not change if you don’t reach your vision? How do you feel? If you experience no particular emotions of sadness, or even wistfulness, then your drop in motivation may signal that you need to change your vision.
- - It’s not a failure to change your vision – your goals and priorities will change during your life and your visions will change accordingly.
- Are you pushing too hard? Sometimes pushing hard can lead to burn out. Give yourself a break, but be sure to set a time limit to the break and return to working on your goal. If your vision is still forceful, then a small break will not impede its progress.
- Share. Your support team can help you stay motivated. They can point out possibilities and make suggestions to help you overcome obstacles. Many times, their perspective will help you see the progress you are making, even when you can’t. They can provide external motivation when you need it!
- Acknowledge that a drop in motivation is not failure. It is a sign that your vision needs to be revisited, and perhaps re-evaluated or re-imagined. Use it as a marker that you may need to ground yourself again in what is important to you.
- Celebrate your successes! Celebrate your progress as you work toward your goal. Recognizing that achieving your vision is a journey and by celebrating the steps, you can reinforce your commitment to your vision, and stay motivated!