Have you ever considered psychotherapy for motivation? Attaining the goals that we set for ourselves is no easy feat. Whether it is to create a regular fitness routine, learn a new skill, or set aside time for self-care, it takes hard work to stay motivated and consistent with our plans. However, there are easy fixes you can make to build your motivation, overcome resistance, and stick with your goals. These can be done on your own or with the support of a therapist.
Many clients don’t achieve their goals because of practical barriers. For example, take the goal of playing tennis once per week. Failure to achieve this may not be because you don’t want to play tennis, but because of logistical issues like finding a court. When you find yourself not achieving a goal, try to get a better sense of what’s getting in your way. Is there anything you could be doing differently to make it easier to accomplish this goal? These types of questions can be part of the therapeutic process, and a therapist can work with you to problem solve the practical obstacles and identify solutions to achieve your goals.
When we don’t put something down in writing (in pen), we are more likely to blow it off—especially when it’s something that doesn’t come with more tangible consequences (deadlines for work, due dates for school assignments, etc). Let’s take the goal of spending one hour a week doing a self-care activity like journaling or reading for leisure. For many of us, our needs and wants tend to have the lowest priority, and so when schedules get busy, our self-care is the first to be sacrificed. Try putting specific times in your schedule for activities related to your goals and make them non-negotiable. You can also find ways to remind yourself with phone alerts or post-it notes in strategic places.
Many people suggest reading motivational statements such as “just do it!” and “no pain no gain!” to encourage us to follow through on our goals. Often, these platitudes seem empty and uninspiring (like those cheesy posters we used to have in elementary school). Instead, try coming up with your own personalized coping statements.
So what are coping statements? They are different from overly positive “just do it” messages because they incorporate and acknowledge what makes a task difficult. If we skip acknowledging why something is hard, the statement won’t ring true. The most important thing about a good coping statement is that you actually believe it!
Take the goal of learning a new language with the help of an app like Duolingo. Some examples of effective coping statements may be:
• “I’m already exhausted from work, but I know I’ll feel proud of myself when I finish one lesson and I’m closer to reaching my goal of learning to speak Spanish.”
• “Learning a new language is hard and it seems like I’m never going to get better at it. But every day I practice I will be getting better.”
So what do you actually do with these brilliant coping statements? You find some way to internalize these statements so you can draw upon them when you’re wavering over whether or not to take action towards your goals. How you do this is entirely up to you. Some clients write their coping statements on a notecard and review them several times per day, some have them in their phones and set reminders to read them, and others like to record their statements and listen to them when they feel like giving up.
So what are some of your goals and what’s standing in the way? With the support of a therapist, you can work to overcome the obstacles that stand in the way of you reaching your full potential.
If you are considering psychotherapy for motivation, speak with one of our experts today: