All kinds of motivation are not created equal, however.
Studies show that internal motivation is more powerful at helping you stick to a plan than external motivation. Therefore, understanding the different kinds of motivation that exist can help you to use them to your best advantage.
Self-determination theory distinguishes five different kinds of motivation. The first three are internal, and the last two are external. Let’s take a look at each, and also at ways that you can boost them, and use them to help you get where you want to go.
Intrinsic motivation is when you enjoy what you need to do to achieve your goal. For instance, if you want to get fitter or control your weight and you really enjoy dancing, then that is probably the best type of exercise to add to or increase in your life. If you want to give up smoking, then finding a habit to replace it with, which you enjoy, is a good way to go. You could drink a herbal tea every time you want a cigarette, for example, or have a small piece of dark chocolate. Just make sure you aren’t replacing one bad habit with another equally bad habit.
Ask yourself: what aspect, element or variation of this activity or goal do you most enjoy?
How I can help: Hypnotherapy can be a great way to increase your intrinsic motivation. Firstly, because it can help you become aware of what you already enjoy, which can increase your sense of enjoyment through increased awareness. Secondly, hypnotic suggestions can remind you to become aware of that enjoyment when you are actually in the moment, rather than getting distracted by what you are going to have for dinner, the latest news, or some project you are working on.
Integrated regulation basically just means that the activity you are taking part in aligns with your sense of identity or your values. Taking the example of becoming vegetarian, that might fit with your view of yourself as an animal-lover, as a highly ethical person and as someone who is highly empathetic.
Ask yourself: how does this goal align with my sense of self, with those things I most value?
How I can help: In terms of this kind of motivation, coaching can make you more aware of what your values are, and hypnotherapy can increase your emotional connection between that value or sense of self and the activity you want to feel motivated to do.
For instance, if you want to control your weight, you may want to exercise more. Feeling more strongly that you are someone who is independent and that staying active will help you stay independent for longer might help. Or, if helping others is important to you, emphasising that by getting healthier and stronger you will be able to support others more effectively and for longer could give your motivation that extra boost. Hypnosis can help you make these high ideals feel real, bringing them into your everyday in a way that connects with both your senses and your emotions.
Do you really want one or more of the outcomes associated with that activity you want to stay motivated about? That’s what the term identified regulation is about.
Thinking about weight control, one outcome associated with eating less sugar and junk food would be achieving a slimmer figure. Another would be a greater sense of wellness, which could be measured through lower cholesterol and none of the warning markers associated with diabetes.
Ask yourself: what outcome of this activity or goal do I find most desirable?
How I can help: There is good evidence that imagining a desired outcome makes you more likely to achieve it. With hypnotherapy, you can do that very effectively, bringing all your senses into play and communicating that image clearly to both your conscious and subconscious mind.
You might imagine seeing that new, slimmer you in a mirror, admiring your achievement. Or you might imagine talking with a nurse who is congratulating you on your blood tests: ‘I wish everyone had numbers that good!’
These internal motivators are powerful and positive, but what about those external motivators?
A word many may recognise from psychology, this is about internalising other people’s ideas. For instance, your parents might have told you ‘Eat your food, there are children starving in Africa!’ In later life, you may find it almost impossible not to eat everything on your plate, even if you aren’t hungry.
While a few of these introjects may motivate you to be ‘good’ – ‘Don’t eat ice cream, it’ll make you fat!’ – this motivation is rarely effective, and may even be counterproductive. It’s not unknown for people to rebel against such introjects, even if the advice is valid. This can lead to self sabotage: the overall goal may be one you embrace, and yet you find yourself doing the opposite of what you ‘know you should’.
Ask yourself: What old patterns am I following, and do I really believe in them?
How I can help: Hypnotherapy is great here for untangling introjects so you can either kick them out of your head or embrace that part of them that truly resonates with you. Either way, you remove the self-sabotaging.
Here, it is still other people’s voices and ideas that act as motivators. This is the realm of ‘Everyone says you should workout at least three times a week’ or ‘All my friends are having botox’. While these motivations based on what other people think or do are less likely to lead to self-sabotage, in the long run they are not very effective. If something starts to feel too hard, like too much of a sacrifice, if the motivation doesn’t come from inside yourself you are unlikely to stick with it.
Ask yourself: Which ideas or habits from other people work for me?
How I can help: Identifying which bits of common wisdom or peer pressure really matter to you can convert some of these into internal motivators. And then you can apply one of the many strategies suggested above to reinforce them.
The Bottom Line
Getting clear about what motivates you towards a particular activity or goal will help you achieve better results faster. Develop your strong, internal motivators and make sure there is no self-sabotage getting in your way. Then, watch how you seem to achieve your goal almost without effort!
If you want some help with your motivation, why not get in touch on 07561 231 281 or on firstname.lastname@example.org