Motivation is usually sparked by realizing there is incongruency between your current state and your desired state. When this realization happens it sparks motivational energy and people will set a goal. Goal-setting is a vital piece to starting the implementation process of having the desired outcome or state. There is significant amount of research that supports the theory that when people write down their goals they are more likely to achieve them.
First, you need to discover if you are avoiding an outcome or approaching an outcome because of choice. As an example, are you exercising because your doctor said if you don’t you will die? Do you exercise because you are afraid you’ll get fat? This by the way is the number one reason most women exercise. When trying to attain an outcome and to sustain not only the pursuit of the outcome it requires an approach attitude made by choice. If you can turn the goal of exercise into a personal choice because it will make you feel strong, smart and be a source of vital energy this is a better approach then using an avoidance strategy. In my experience, individuals who have suffered a heart attack are highly motivated to change their lifestyle. Despite this initial high level of motivation, unless they frame a lifestyle change to an approach goal when the fear and stress of the heart attack is a distant memory and these individuals will resort back to old lifestyle habits. So, you are wondering how I change my thoughts to approach a goal. You must write out goals. There is good reason for this because research proves it. People who write out their goals have a 60 % chance of achieving them. This may not seem all that great of odds but wouldn’t you rather have a 60 % chance than any chance?
It’s also important before writing these goals to ensure you have adopted the change cognitively. This means when thinking about losing weight and exercising does it create anxiety, or apathy or deep down hopelessness? “I’ve tried so many times it won’t actually happen”. Once you discover your repeated thought on the goal you will need to move the thought to an approach statement such as, “I recognize I have attempted this many times in the past but today I’m making a choice to exercise for at least 30 minutes and choose fruit and vegetables at each meal”. It’s my choice today and when tomorrow comes I will make a decision then. We only have today and it’s the choices today that roll out what happens in the future. This was the most difficult part of goal setting for me because I would create such a discrepancy between where I am today and where I want to be in a future. Yes, I am incredibly impatient so goal setting is a reminder of where I am not as opposed to where I’m headed. Thank god for age because I have matured slightly giving me a little more patience to stick with my plan for achieving goals.