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Now that we are two weeks into the “New year,” how are you doing with your goals? How has your motivation been? I know for me, my motivation has been very slow. I actually put it out there to some of my facebook groups asking for tips for motivation to do what I “should” do when my motivation is elsewhere. You know what they shared? Everything I already knew: Put it in your calendar as an appointment. Jump in with one action step. Don’t try to do too much. Any action step is a step forward. Reward yourself.

But there were two responses that were absolutely amazing eye openers for me. The first was stop “looking” for motivation. Motivation will follow action. Light bulb! The consequence of action is motivation. I heard this about time awhile back and it really helped. Don’t find the time, make the time. If you want to exercise, you can’t find the time; there just isn’t the time. You have to make the time. So don’t look for motivation, just act. The second response was a youtube video which I posted on my facebook page Meg Berry LCSW but can be found on youtube Youtube video

I want to talk more about this video. I absolutely LOVED it. I loved it so much because Mel Robbins talks about motivation by using the brain. She explains the why behind lack of motivation by digging into the different parts of the brain, how and why each work, and how they interplay with your motivation. Here’s the deal with what she said: “Motivation is garbage. It is never there when you need it.” She explained that the brain is designed to protect you from anything which is considered dangerous. Anything new is dangerous. We don’t know what to expect, and therefore it is dangerous. So when you set a goal to go to the gym, this new behavior is considered dangerous. You get out of work, go home to change, but the way there, you tell yourself you’re tired and don’t want to go. When you hesitate, it sends a stress signal to the amygdala saying in essence, something is wrong. You didn’t hesitate to put your shoes on, or to brush your teeth, but you are hesitating now, so something MUST be wrong. Side bar: I explain the amygdala as a smoke detector – it doesn’t care if you burned the bread or your house is on fire; the smoke detector goes off. The amygdala doesn’t care if you really are in danger or not, it puts the body into fight flight just in case. So, back to the Mel Robbins: When you hesitate to do something, this stress signal is sent to the amygdala and the logic part of your brain shuts down (you KNOW you should go to the gym right now), but logic gets turned off. Emotions take over (fear frequently). Often this isn’t noticed as fear, but as lack of motivation. She explained that if you are stuck, you are in your head. You know what to do, but when you hesitate, it starts the cycle of being stuck as the amygdala activates.

How cool is this!? Motivation is not your problem. Hesitation is. If you look at your goals this week from a different point of view – from a standpoint of not hesitating to do what your goal is, you will take that first step towards action. When you leave the gym, you feel motivated and excited to go again right? Motivation follows action. Start action from the moment you notice hesitation. Mel Robbins gives a tool of a five second countdown. Say (out loud if you want) 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. One is an action word. Kids kick into action when you say “1” whether as a countdown or count up. It is an action word. It is also the end of the line. There’s nothing after 1. (And don’t tell me there are negative numbers) 😉 When you do a countdown, you interrupt the spinning cycle of your brain telling you not to do something, it gives your logic time to turn back on, and when you get to the action number of 1, you just do that one action step.

This week, try the 5 second count down for one of your goals every day. I’d love to hear how it works for you! It actually got me going on some of my goals!! (As did the other statement of The consequence of action is motivation.) You can share on my facebook page located at Meg Berry LCSW or send me an email at email. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!