Finding Your True Motivation: Getting Through the “I Don't Wanna's”

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 01/21/2016 - 02:24

Motivation. What does this actually mean? When  it comes to losing weight and exercising we often hear the message from people we know and from the media that in order to work hard and get results, we must be clear about what is motivating us to do it. This can be a hard question to answer. People often think, “I want to look in the mirror and feel good about what I see, or “ I want other people to think I look good.” While these are important wishes, they may not be meaningful enough, and therefore don't help us when it comes down to actually eating differently and doing a work-out.

Often the thought and feeling of, “but I don't wanna do that” interferes with taking action. So focusing on our actual motivation will help us get past this. 

Many times we believe that if we dwell on the “I don't wanna's” it will make it harder to take action, but it may be important to listen to this message more carefully, as doing this will give us information that will actually motivate us. In other words, asking ourselves the reasons why we “don't wanna” can help us to see that these reasons are not a part of our actual wishes and desires. We might not wanna eat the right foods because they don't taste as good, or we might not wanna work-out because it's uncomfortable and we get tired. Validating these feelings and not negatively judging ourselves for having them shows us they we truly want to understand ourselves better, and that we care about how we feel. We are not ignoring or downplaying the importance of our feelings, we are, in fact giving them great importance.

With this in mind, we can then ask ourselves about what we truly wish for. The things we truly wish for are basic appropriate and healthy needs to be fulfilled. Needs we've had since early childhood. For example, we all have a need for self-efficacy, that is the need to believe that we are able take action to accomplish something we really want to achieve. If anyone has ever observed a small child in a playground, this can be easily seen. The child  looks and studies the way to climb the jungle gym, and then runs ahead and accomplishes the task he/she set out to do. This fundamental desire to set up goals and wanting to reach them never goes away in us. So, if we return to our true motivation, after listening to the “I don't wanna's,” we are more likely to purposefully do the  work it takes to reach our goals. The feeling of self-efficacy that results from this can provide the energy to keep going, even when at first the goals seem very difficult to accomplish. In the case of eating properly or working-out, this self- listening will make it far more likely for us to follow through on eating the right foods and doing the work-outs.