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Dr. Hallowell's Blog

How to Get Motivated: Know Your WHY(s)

by Rebecca Shafir, M.A.CCC Personal Development and Executive Functioning coach at the Hallowell Center MetroWest

Big projects require powerful and sustained motivation. Big projects have deadlines; no slacking allowed. Motivation must be steadfast and consistent; not up and down.  If you ever biked, hiked or ran a hilly course,you know that going downhill requires control of one set of muscles and the uphill requires you to re-engage a different muscles to keep an even pace (notice how everyone else slows down midway up the hill). That switching back and forth is more energy depleting than the flats. If your motivation runs high, low, hot, cold as you embark on your mission, I suggest you STOP RIGHT NOW and get your WHYs together.

The reasons for starting and finishing a project are your WHYs. A lack of solid, sturdy and visceral WHYs doom projects. They can’t be soft, murky WHYs like, I want to be rich and successful or I want to be somebody. Instead, your WHYs need to be specific and meaningful enough to drive through distractions. They have to be specific and targeted:

My son wants to go to X college; I’ve got to earn that tuition.  

I’m burnt out at my day job; it’s killing me to work for someone else.

This project will re-build my town and provide jobs for my neighbors.

I want to give my aging parents the house of their dreams.  

These WHYs are visceral, you can feel them. If you truly believe them, your brain releases a shot of dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain that spurs strong intention. Your heart rate picks up, you smile and you get to work. Know your WHYs and keep them front and center.

Every morning when you wake up, close your eyes and think of your WHY(s) for full minute. Feel your WHY(s) rushing through your bloodstream. (If those thoughts aren’t strong enough, think of the bleak alternatives)  When you workout, refresh your WHYs, pick up the pace on the treadmill or add a few more good pushups. Post your WHY(s) and share them with others. When you notice your mood or your focus waver, get out your WHY(s).  Your WHYs, if meaningful, specific and targeted, will keep your motivation strong and steady. At night, refresh your WHY(s). How will you make tomorrow better…and why?

Why not try coaching? Let me help you get closer to your WHYs with CoreFour Coaching. Write to me at Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com    

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