Finding Motivation to Change
Updated: Mar 29, 2022
Change. It’s a word we don’t love to hear, and one that often produces a fear of the unknown. For example, when we hear of ‘changes’ coming at work, it generally produces nervousness or fear inside as we wait to see what may affect us.
All of us know there are things about ourselves that we need to change or improve. Yet, there are a whole host of reasons that cause us to not change. We often stay in uncomfortable situations, tense relationships, or operate beneath our potential to avoid changing.
As humans, it is easy for us to get used to what we know. If we are used to a bad boss at work, we sometimes stay there far longer than we should, simply because we know what to expect. It is often surprising to see how many people do not like their job, yet they are not looking for a new one.
While there are a myriad of reasons why we often do not change, many of these reasons rest on what we really desire inside. Ultimately, a key factor that motivates us to change, or keeps us from changing, is what desires are strongest inside of us.
Life often hands us two paths that are contradictory – that of safety (or stability), and that of progression (or improvement). When our desires for safety or stability are stronger than our desire for progression and improvement, we often find comfort in the path of safety and stability. Likewise, when we desire to learn and grow, we find it far easier to change our paths in life and have less need for stability.
Circling back to the job example, if we don’t like our job, but we aren’t actively pursuing a new one, perhaps our desires for stability outweigh our desires for progression or improvement. Perhaps a fear of failure, or of meeting new people, or of the unknown, actually ties back to a desire to be seen a certain way, a desire to fit in, or a desire to be in control of our life.
While fear is a real emotion in and of itself, our fears can sometimes help us see things that we strongly desire. For example, if we are afraid to go and say hi to our neighbor, it may be because our desire to be seen as a non-awkward person outweighs our desire to get to know somebody else or be a friendly neighbor.
Fears naturally protect the things we most desire. So, to overcome the fears inside, we can change what we desire most. To find motivation to change, we can consciously focus on understanding what we really desire, and working to make the highest and best types of desires be those that govern our daily life.
While these are simple principles, we can evaluate our desires in life to see what we are pursuing. Some questions that help us focus on understanding our desires include:
Am I working to improve my current marriage relationship?
Am I happy with my job?
Am I learning new things?
Am I pursuing my potential in life?
Do I know my neighbors?
Have I helped another person in need?
Am I happy with my health?
Am I trying to help improve society?
Am I willing to leave my comfort zone and change something about myself to accomplish any of the above?
If my answer to any of the above is “no”, what other desires do I have that stop me from saying “yes”?
If we are not doing certain things, but know inside that we should be, sometimes we can grow the motivation to change by simply feeding the desire inside of us. Most of us want, at some level, to help change society for good, but that desire often needs to be fed and strengthened to rise to the level of being operative inside of us.
As humans, we have a host of desires that run through us, many of which contradict each other. For example, if we want to eat healthy, we will quickly find competing desires inside of us when we are offered ice cream, chocolate candy, or another unhealthy treat that we like. Ultimately, whether we eat the unhealthy treat or abstain is dependent on which of the competing desires (eating healthy or enjoying a treat) are strongest inside of us at the time.
We are able to feed and improve our desires. Desires can grow in strength. In other words, we can make a conscious choice to cultivate good and healthy desires inside, and over time, these desires will become stronger than the competing desires we have. As our good and healthy desires become stronger, we will find more and more motivation to do the things we know we should be doing.
Ultimately, to find motivation to change, we have to cultivate the desire inside that will promote change. For example, if we know our marriage could improve, we have to cultivate the desire to have a good, strong marriage. If we know we could be healthier, we have to cultivate the desire to be healthy. While the principle is simple, consciously focusing on our desires can help us find ways to be motivated to change.
Often, we act on a good desire, such as making a goal to eat healthier, but then we get discouraged when we don’t follow through. Instead of getting discouraged when we eat a treat we were planning on not eating, we can realize that our desire for a tasty treat is still stronger than our desire for health and that we just need to continue to cultivate and grow our desire for health.
To feed a good desire, we can focus on it. If we want health, putting up a picture of something that represents health to us can help us feed the healthy desire inside, especially if we take the time to look at it each day. This is part of the power that can come from a vision board or other similar visualization methods.
It is important to recognize that each time we act on a good desire, we help to strengthen it. So, even if we took a treat one night, it doesn’t mean that we are weak or never going to get to where we want with healthy eating. It just means that we need to keep feeding the good desires inside, and we do that each time we choose to act on that good desire. For each time we turn down a treat, we are strengthening the desire inside for healthy eating.
So, in finding motivation, we can recognize that motivation and change are a journey. They don’t happen immediately. We do not become healthy overnight; we don’t have a great marriage as soon as we decide we want one. Instead, we start moving in that direction, and we keep walking that way, even if we sometimes stop or stumble along the path.
Life is full of opportunities and neat things. There is so much to achieve and be grateful for, and when we consciously choose to feed good desires, we will find that our life will change significantly as we simply start walking down the paths to which our good desires lead us.
One of the best ways to start the process and help find motivation to change is to simply sit for a time and write down what we really want in life. Helpful questions to ask ourselves include:
What would I be proud of accomplishing by the end of my life?
Who do I look up to in my life? Why? What do they have that I would also like to have?
What am I doing to cultivate relationships with those who matter to me?
What currently occupies my time? Is it something that I will be proud of later?
How do I want to use my talents and resources to help others?
How can I impact the world, for good?
What do I need to learn to be the person I would like to be?
What can I work to remove from my life that does not need to be there?
As we consciously reflect on our life and what we want from it, we start to realize that we often act on desires that do not propel us to reach our potential. As we focus on these things, it helps bring understanding to us. As we gain understanding, we find there is motivation to change that grows inside of us.
There is no need for us to remain in our current place. Life is full of opportunities. Be sure to travel the roads that will lead you to where you really want to be.
Believe is a community of people working to change the world, for good. Members pursue their individual potential and strive to be involved in society at whatever level they can. We would love to have you join us on this journey, as we believe you are a being of divine potential. You have the capacity within you to change the world, for good.